A new year can feel like a fresh-smelling sheet just taken off a clothesline in a Swiss village.
Or it can feel big and daunting, like staring off the side of a big cliff.
However this new year shows up for you, before you put your head down and start working, I recommend anchoring yourself by answering a few questions:
Why do I want to create the things I want to create this year?
- What concrete things will happen as a result of investing my time and energy to build something new this year? Is it important to me? Is it important to my community? Is it important to the current state of the world?
- Why me? What unique perspective or experience do I bring to this work? If I don’t have decades of experience or advanced degrees, do I care more than someone else? Will I work harder than someone else?
- Is it worth trying, even if it fails miserably?
- Why now? Will I regret not doing this thing this year? Is there a reason why this is the perfect time in the market for me to do my thing? If not now, when? Will next year be any different than this year? Will I regret not doing this in 2013?
Whom do I want to serve?
- What are the specific characteristics of people I am excited to work with this year?
- Why do they deserve the very best of my intelligence and energy?
- What will they do with what I give them?
- Will they appreciate my gifts, and bring out my best self?
- Are they fun and engaging to work with?
- Do they push me to overcome my natural fear and resistance to do important work, because I know they need what I have more than I am afraid of sharing what I have?
What do I want to create?
What are the tangible things I want to add to my body of work this year?
- Written things — books, blog posts, ebooks, code
- Programmatic things — classes, programs, workshops, software
- World changing things — movements, organizations, awareness, insight, permission
- Artistic things — art, pictures, music, poetry
What if this were my last year on earth?
I hope not. But it might be!
How might this list be adjusted if it were?
Answer the big questions first.
Then we can dig in and get very pragmatic about how to break down your goals into feasible steps.
Let’s do this year justice, shall we?
On this last day of 2012, as we prepare for a rocking 2013, I am tremendously proud to celebrate and share the people I have been lucky enough to work with this year.
Clients came from individual coaching and programs and classes like Power Boost Marketing. While I served over 400 people, given the nature of my work, many of my corporate employee clients wisely choose to NOT publicize their affiliation with “The Escape from Cubicle Nation Lady.” To those of you in this category, I am so proud of the work you are doing, and celebrate your accomplishments with a quiet fist pump in the air. Working the side hustle is not for the faint of heart, and you do it with so much grit and grace.
In September, I celebrated the last of our six Lift Off retreats with Charlie Gilkey and Angela Wheeler. I will miss our wonderful chemistry and collaboration, but am excited for the big, new things that each of us is working on. New partnerships were born with Betsy Rapoport (who will lead a writing retreat with me in Sedona in February), Citrix (who is partnering on a whole series of webinars and e-content), Microsoft, Freshbooks, Infusionsoft and Palo Alto Software (who all sponsored Power Boost Live). Thank you for being such ethical, smart, talented and supportive partners. I am very blessed to work with you, and look forward to more collaboration in 2013.
I also want to think my outstanding web and marketing team from Out:think: Tim Grahl, Joseph Hinton and Lauren Baker. When you have talented partners who not only take pride in their work, but also take pride in yours, that is where great things happen. Tim is the force behind great authors like Daniel Pink (who has a new book dropping today!), and will be a critical part of my new book launch this Fall.
I hired my first full-time employee, Sheila Sanders, which was the best personal and business decision I ever made. Having a smart, kind and organized person to share ideas with in the office next to me has made my work more meaningful and rich. She also doesn’t let me get away with messing around so much, and forces me to get stuff done.
I also hired Janette Gleason to help me build out my marketing automation and customer nurturing in Infusionsoft. She started out as a client, and I was so impressed with her, that I put her on retainer.
I want to acknowledge my High Council of Jedi Knights members Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Martha Beck and Nancy Duarte, who perhaps without knowing it, gave me courage to persist with my projects when faced with some serious challenges.
My agent Joelle Delbourgo was kind and patient with my book proposal writing process, and helped me close a deal for a brand new book with my favorite book publisher Penguin Portfolio. We will be working hard together this year to bring this book out in the world. I may even land in your city as part of the book tour in the Fall.
Many people evaluate their business results only by the amount of revenue they personally generated.
While that is a useful metric, I also evaluate mine by the value contributed to the world by the people I work with. By these standards, I am a very rich woman.
And so like we did in 2009, 2010 and 2011 please raise your fists in the air and celebrate these amazing people who rolled up their sleeves, faced their fears and shipped something meaningful in 2012.
A for Awesome
In his first year of business post-cubicle, Abe Cajudo excited audiences with breakout sessions at Power Boost Live and The World Domination Summit and continues his work using video and crowdfunding campaigns to create change.
Ali Davies launched her first online programme called “Get on Track. Stay on Track.“ A programme designed to help people stay on track to achieve their most important goals in life and business. She will be launching her first online store of new products and programmes in January 2013.
Alison Lueders celebrates Great Green Editing’s first full year in business. She is excited about her growing client list and new service offerings of business writing and research; but most of all, she appreciates the chance to take her clients’ wonderful ideas and make them sparkle – in print or online. 2013 – here we come!
Amy Ramsey left Corporate America to launch her work to create a workshop that helps young adults answer the question “Who am I?” and learn how to make better choices about their future. Amy created a one-on-one coaching program and a workshop designed for young adults who are in high school, college and into their first job. This program helps them gain self-awareness and learn how to use this information to navigate life with less stress and more confidence.
Andre Blackman part of the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media Advisory Board, has been featured in the first publication from the Center: Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care with a chapter dedicated to social networking.
Andrea Hanson completed a free ebook called “It’s Sabotage! The top 3 ways we derail our own weight loss and how to fix it.“ A free guide on how to stop sabotaging your diet.
April Holle of Made Better Studio wrote and launched her first book, SEO Made Better: Optimizing to Be Found, Liked and Trusted by Visitors on Search Engines, a seed planted during Feb 2012 Lift Off Retreat!
Audrey Reynolds kicked off a project to create a location independent lifestyle! Audrey finally recognized her travel desires go beyond planning for an epic trip – she wants the flexibility and funds to live, work and play anywhere in the world. So she kicked off a project to make every aspect of her life location independent. She’s documenting the process at belocationindependent.com and invites you to follow along!
B for Bodacious
Bassam Tarazi launched the online course called: Ready. Set. Finish. – The Course Your Excuses Don’t Want You To Take. A 4-week, 4-module course helping us all squash the excuses that keep us from doing the things we want.
Brenda Horton launched her goal planning software productivity tool, Actionplanr in 4th quarter of 2012! After many years as a business and technology consulting company, Hware LLC., launched its first software product, Actionplanr (productivity tool) and transitioned our business model from service-based to product-based. Actionplanr is a goal planning tool for entrepreneurs and individuals who want to be more intentional, effective, and productive in how they live and work. From goal planning to project management, to turning ideas into a reality, to a simple check list, Actionplanr is powerful and easy to use. I took Pamela’s online workshop on presentations and used it to prepare for Actionplanr’s launch party and a women’s empowerment conference. Thank you Pamela!
C for Committed
Caroline Ceniza-Levine co-produced “The Battle Below,” an action/ gaming short film and web series. While Caroline is best known for her career-related writing and speaking, she’s also an independent film producer and co-launched FBC Films this fall to focus on multicultural casting in the sci fi and horror genres.
Cate Brubaker created a community for travelers, ex-pats, and students who want to re-launch themselves after being abroad (instead of just re-adjusting to being home). I’m offering an e-book, a free virtual event, a reading group, and coaching. Her new website launches Jan. 5, 2013.
Cheryl Dolan – International expansion of Platinum Presence® Program and Master Your Message®. Cheryl Dolan took her Platinum Presence® Program on the road from its home at MIT Sloan and Harvard, delivering 12 public and corporate workshops (national and international). Additionally she launched her Master Your Message® individual intensive Coaching Program. All while enjoying the best year ever at work!
D for Delicious
Dallon Christensen launched an on-demand course for the Certified Management Accountant examination. The CMA exam is the world’s leading designation for financial professionals working in business, industry, government, and not-for-profits. This course allows students around the world to access training material on their schedule and remove the barrier of traditional live instruction. I am available for office hours based on schedules around the world.
Daryl Gerke presented “Consulting for Geeks” at DesignCon 2012. Aimed at mid-career professionals (engineers, accountants, lawyers, managers, etc.)interested in starting their own part-time/full-time consulting practices. Expanded plans in 2013.
Debbie Orwat launched her first online course Getting Started in Wedding and Event Planning to help men and women get started in a career in the weddings and events industry. Escape from Cubicle Nation Readers can take the course for only $45 using the special code “cubicle”.
Debbie Reber developed writing classes and writing coaching/mentoring/consulting focus. She fleshed out her coaching offerings with a new focus on supporting writers and would-be authors, including two new classes, The Book in You and Write Your Irresistible Book Proposal!
Deborah Hanchey left the world of classroom education and launched Automatic Methods, an Infusionsoft marketing consultancy that teaches local service professionals to create automated marketing systems that add the value of increased profits and free time – what a combination!
Deena Baikowitz and her partners at Fireball Network (aka “the deans of networking”), are hot into their 4th year of business, creating power networkers around the world. They work with an international client base, teaching professionals how to build strategic relationships at every level and land new business.
Dirk Haun wrote his first ebook, Presenting for Geeks, based on a presentation course of the same name, which in turn used the principles he learned from the Power Teaching course. Presenting for Geeks should be available from both the Amazon Kindle Store and Apple iBookstore by the time you read this.
E for Excellent
Eleanor Mayrhofer - e.m.papers scaled their website and online store into another language (German) and market. After several false starts including two separate online stores and URLs and a grueling ecommerce platform upgrade that had to be trashed after 3 months of work, she finally got one consolidated e.m.papers website and store launched. The site is in English and German, and complete with stationery template downloads in both North American and International sizes!
Elizabeth Crouch increased her local and national speaking .. she’s now a paid speaker and advocate for women’s health. In partnership with an educational organization, she increased her local speaking and moved to a bigger stage nationally, speaking on college campuses, radio presentations and interviews.
Elizabeth Eastwood finally composted her cubicle and published her book Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline.
Ericka “Diva” Hines trained her 1000th person. Built a service around what she learned called ” Leading from the Front of the Room“ This is a one on one coaching program. She works with you closely to refine or build your next workshop.
Erika Lyremark has coached over 450 entrepreneurs, and in 2013 she is celebrating the launch of her upcoming book: Think Like a Stripper: Business Lessons to Up Your Confidence, Attract More Clients & Rule Your Market.
F for Fantastic
Farnoosh Brock launched her Smart Exit Blueprint for the corporate slave course, and offered it twice to struggling corporate employees who feel trapped and need to create a smart exit strategy out of the golden chains and create freedom in their work and career.
Florence Moyer launched The Power of Gratitude. A four-week telecourse to help you amp up your authentic thankfulness, chock full of simple, accessible, and super-effective tools, ancient and modern, that will help you create a sustainable gratitude practice that’s uniquely yours.
G for Go Get Em!
After quitting her day job in 2011, Gail Kenny combined her intuitive reading practice with mind-body coaching. She taught mind-body clarity and intuitive development classes as well as coaching individual clients. Gail helps people heal old dysfunctional habits of thinking and feeling to create relief from underlying tension and heal pain from the inside out.
J for Joyful
Jackie Dolan hatched the prototype for a biweekly blog on improving your sports performance called MATCH POINT MANIA to debut in 2013. Match Point Mania will be a biweekly blog post of 26 different ways to get your mental game going, in tennis or other sports also.
Jami Scholl has become the PermaCoach, integrating Permaculture ethics with training from Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention and as a Wellness Coach from Wellcoaches. Jami’s eco-holistic approach to lifestyle coaching for individuals or groups can be found at élanterra: The Art of Resilience & Wellbeing.
Janette Gleason left her full-time job as a stay-at-home mom, became an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant, founded Gleason Consulting Group, and helped small business owners automate their processes and implement systems to nurture their prospects and clients. Visit Janette’s website for additional information!
Janine Gilmour launched a new FREE 30 day eCourse – Five Easy Pieces: Building Energy, Engagement and Alignment for the Outcomes That Matter to Your Business! Want to learn how to harness the ROI of using your Strengths to accomplish the outcomes that matter the most to you? Ready to pair this wisdom with proven techniques to build commitment to goals, foster motivation and overcome barriers to success? Then sign up for this 30 day program and see how you can substantially increase your results!
Jennifer Bailey realized a long-time goal of becoming a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs® assessment, which she’s thrilled to be using with her clients to spark “Aha!” moments that improve their personal and professional lives.
Jennifer Lyle launched 3 live virtual master clinics (webinars) for basketball coaches. We believe our first webinar was the first-ever live virtual master clinic for basketball coaches. It led to 2 more in quick succession. A major factor in our success was that Coach Burson drew basketball plays during his presentation – the live drawing process was broadcast to the audience so that it felt more like an in-person situation with coaches discussing and drawing plays with each other.
Jennifer McClanahan-Flint created and launched the 12-month Leverage to Lead Working Moms Mastermind Program to harness the power of the collective experience. It’s designed to help professional working mothers create a business network and a community that understands the unique challenges of working moms. This program gives women a higher view of their success and holds them accountable for their engagement in their careers and their families.
Jess Ryan launched her new site jessryan.com excited to help stressed-out parents with emotional & organizational overload!
John Corcoran launched BizProfitAcademy.com, an 8-week video training program for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to increase their revenues today so that their business income goes up and their company’s value increases. It was the first online training program collaboration between John and Kevin and the first e-product for John’s blog, SmartBusinessRevolution.com.
Joshua Waldman wrote the country’s first social media training curriculum for the unemployed. This DoL funded program is the first fully comprehensive program for people receiving unemployment benefits. I designed this curriculum with the limited resources available at publicly funded programs in mind. So half of it is presented on Ruzuku, the other half is delivered live in two in-person workshops. Portland is the test city. It rolls out in January and will be freely available to any other unemployment services organization funded by DoL around the country.
Julie Ann Turner ignited thought leaders to profit from sharing their genius through her DiscoverYourSignatureGenius.com Session, & helped visionaries worldwide package, offer & profit from their greatness through 5 Conscious Shifts for Visionaries.
K for Killer
Kelly Pratt In 2012,she published her Creative Rhythm Planner – the paper planner for creative entrepreneurs! This planner was born out of finding what works for her, as a right-brain wacky creative entrepreneur – and finding out that it cam be useful to others! A bit of alchemy!
Kimberly Graham introduced her first live teleclass, Divorce Options. Divorce Options is a free monthly information-packed class that helps people who have decided to divorce do so in as peaceful and forward-thinking a way as possible.
Kris Plachy launched Be Courageous Retreats in California, Phoenix and Hawaii! Be Courageous is a unique, special event for participants to rekindle and reconnect to what’s most important in their lives. It’s that all too important, but often forgotten time, we need to think, dream, create and plan what’s next!
Kristin Stevens offers Holistic Marketing Coaching for Spiritual Entrepreneurs. I help sensitive and spiritually-oriented solo practitioners do the deep inner work to overcome their fear and self-doubt so they can stay grounded and centered while marketing their amazing services from a place of love and abundance (rather than fear and lack).
Kyle Durand launch of GoSignIn. Taking everything he learned improving and growing OurDeal.com, Kyle built and launched GoSignIn, which marries a fast, easy, and fun contract expertise with innovative event management features.
L for Lovely
Laura Wolfe introduced The Gift of Self-Awareness via well-developed and established assessments for bosses who wonder what to give their hipos, managers, leaders and employees for special occasions or employee recognition.
Leslie Forman launched a free course: How to Create Your International Career. She is in the early stages of writing a book about how to find opportunities, build a network, and maintain your sanity while living far from home, based on her experiences as a 20-something California native living in Chile by way of four years in China.
Lisa Alessi was excited to offer Enneagram Discovery, a coaching package and powerful introduction to understanding why you do what so you can develop greater self-awareness, appreciate your strengths more fully, and elucidate blindspots that might be holding you back.
M for Magnificent
Asking “how do you send love into the world?” Mahala Mazerov called on collective heart and wisdom to create her free guidebook, Natural Radiance: Voices of the Heart. She’s delighted to have Pam, Rosie, and Josh Slim as contributors.
Maia Duerr offered her first e-course to rave reviews — “Fall in Love with Your Work,” a 30-day adventure in creating right livelihood. Through her Five Directions Consulting business, Maia also exercised her marketing magic to help organizations like Upaya Zen Center dramatically increase program registrations and donations.
Maia Williams presents Build Your BiZ— In a Weekend! and BiZ Camp for Creatives (and other Reluctant Marketers) Art + Acumen met and fell in love at BusinessBuildingStudio.com and in the summer of 2012, two “Concept to Cash Flow” programs were born: 1) Build Your BiZ— In a Weekend! 2) BiZ Camp for Creatives (and other Reluctant Marketers). Maia Williams is confident Art + Acumen will renew their vows to promote peace and prosperity in the new economy.
Margaret Webb launched her tele-class titled, “Parenting the Child You Didn’t Expect When You Were Expecting.” A 6-part tele-class designed to help parents find balance, peace and joy in parenting a child who is on their own developmental timeline. This is NOT a support group. This class provides practical tools and strategies to truly help parents.
Maria Gajewski Have you ever noticed that nonprofit podcasts are often dull, dry, and not terribly useful? Story by Numbers is all about quick, useful and most of all FUN ways that you can tell your organization’s stories using quality data. We want you to be able to talk to funders, supporters, clients and maybe even your friends and family about what you do all day while keeping them entertained.
Megan Everett was thrilled to launch Tools-N-Pros.com – a collaborative network of talented independent contractors providing technical, bookkeeping, and administrative support to small businesses; with professional project and team management to coordinate it all for their clients.
Mimi Plevin-Foust co-created and relaunched the Passion, Purpose & Profits workshop, helping folks who want to make more money and have more fun align their greatest passions and purpose with joyful ways to create more income.
Mindy Holahan launched her solopreneur venture, More Time To Write. More Time To Write offers virtual assisting for authors, bloggers, and podcasters. She protects your writing time by handling pesky administrative tasks.
N for Never-ending Celebration
Nancy Brook, RN, MS launched Glass Slipper Consulting. Glass Slipper Consulting offers mentoring, advocacy and inspiration for women facing cancer. They also offer training and certification programs for Nurses and Coaches. She was a keynote speaker at a National Nursing Conference in 2012.
Natalie Currie is excited to announce the upcoming rebranding of her personal and professional development company that will focus on helping social entrepreneurs, social enterprises and sustainability professionals flourish. Earlier this year, Natalie was appointed as a part-time faculty member at the University of Toronto, in their Continuing Education Department, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
Natasha Vorompiova launched an e-course on mastering delegations skills. What is your biggest business bottleneck, anyway? Well, quite possibly, it’s … YOU. Here’s the thing: I’m sure you can identify at least 3 areas of your life (time, sanity, income, etc.) that would instantly get better if you didn’t have to do everything in your business yourself. Am I right? If so, it’s time to learn how to tame that tiger.
Neely Raffellini launched a creative resume service targeting bloggers and other creative professionals. Splash Resumes is a creative resume service featuring graphically designed resumes that are perfect for bloggers and other creative professionals. They showcase your creativity and innovation as well as your skills, pushing your resume to the top of the pile!
P for Positively Fabulous
Pam Hirsch broke free of “corporate bonds” and launched her own business, Pamela Hirsch Consulting LLC, specializing in all things WordPress. She is thrilled to be guiding other entrepreneurs through the tech wilderness!
Pauline Agnew ”Draw and paint what you Love” my inaugral art Ecourse attracted women from three continents and delivered what it promised. A showcase video of the work my students produced on my Ecourse – Draw and Paint what you Love. Proud of it and them! Thank you Internet.
R for Righteous
Rachel Rodgers. Esq. established a new focus on women entrepreneurs in her law practice. She also launched the on demand version of her popular workshop for women lawyers, Open Your Virtual Law Office in Six Weeks.
Rachel Gogos launched a new business! iDentityShoppe is ideal for first-timers who need a website: easy to use + low price point (under $1k) + great graphics + work with a fun team = an incredible website for you.
Rebecca Murphy This year, with the help of Pam’s awesome Power Teaching course, I designed and launched my first coaching e-course, Storyteller: an e-course in living your REAL story. Packed with tools, exercises, and powerful doses of inspiration from some kindred spirits, the course reveals how the stories we tell about our lives directly influence how we feel & how we live. It’s open for registration now and starts in January and I couldn’t be more proud or excited!
Rick Mulready launched his Facebook marketing business and finally left his comfy corporate job behind.
Rosie Taylor Celebrated my first anniversary as an entrepreneur My lizard brain almost got me a few times after escaping the Cubicle Nation in 2011 so it’s a major milestone. Not only did we celebrate our first anniversary, but I have launched several online classes and began speaking about small business marketing all over South Florida. This is my favorite part of the business and look forward to doing more to help business owners in 2013!
Attorney Ruth Carter released her first ebook The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed.
Ruth Davis leaped the big one. She is living full-time in her RV at the beach with her dog, working virtually with entrepreneurs who use Macs and writing about the heart-sparking adventures that keep her opening to what she wants to create next.
S for Super Star
Sally Anne Giedrys launched brand new group coaching programs and strategy sessions to help busy professionals and entrepreneurs launch their own reinventions and find their perfect blend of life and work, their way.
Sara Vainer After months of construction and finalizing our exciting partnership with the new startup accelerator, Amplify.LA, NextSpace @ Amplify opened its doors in September marking NextSpace’s 6th (and 1st partnered) location. It has been a fantastic 3 months and so exciting to watch the community grow and members connecting. Looking forward to an incredible 2013!
Sarah Dunigan launched campaign to build a fashion workshop for 150 women artisans in Rwanda. We heard well behaved women rarely change the world so we’re creating a workshop for talented and sassy women artisans to make beautiful jewelry while changing their world, our world, the world.
Sarah Kathleen Peck Sarah swam naked from Alcatraz to San Francisco to raise $32,398 for Charity Water, and launched the “Start Something Project” to work with high-impact individuals to get projects up and running.
Seh Hui “Felix” Leong Switched to a company more aligned to my goals, being part of expanding several tribes of change makers (Webcamp KL, Educamp KL, OpenCoffeeClub KL etc.) and gave the most talks in my whole life. The full listing of talks that I have delivered in the past – most of which have the audio attached.
Shana Montesol Johnson helped expats and international development professionals in 7 countries, across 3 continents, get clear, get unstuck, and take action through the *What’s Next?* group coaching program, which she led 5 times in 2012. She is excited to help more people figure out “What’s next?” in their careers and lives by offering the program again in 2013. Earlier this year, Shana’s blog, Development Crossroads, was named Best New Blog in the Aid Bloggers’ Best Awards (ABBAs)
Sheppard Lake took a leap of faith, completed the Martha Beck Life Coach Training Program and was the first in her class to obtain certification. .
Sonia Quiñones relaunched her website. Putting her writing know-how to good use, Sonia helped solopreneurs and organizations communicate their value. From developing new online content to translating important documents into Spanish, she worked behind the scenes to make sure her clients’ good deeds were joyfully shared with the world.
Sonja Stetzler launched Effective Connecting. Effective Connecting is a coaching service helping solopreneurs and small business owners develop and use speaking and presentation skills to grow their business.
T for Toasting You
Thomas Strich presented and displayed a public art proposal to make a whimsical rocket launch site for the City of Albuquerque, and then featured this proposal on his new website.
V for Vivacious
Valerie Mullins - Re-discovering my mission. I have added public relations/publicity to my new work offerings. Website to be redesigned in the coming month.
Valerie Steiger launched “Plan a SENSEsational Event”. Plan a SENSEsational Event is an audio and visual product designed to help you get laser-focused on your ideal audience, give them what they really want, and deliver a LIVE program that builds on delivering, long-lasting connection to your people. It will provide encouragement, confidence and inspiration to take the Stage. (OR, if you choose to hire an event planner to handle all the details, you will know exactly what to expect!)
Y for Yowza
Yolanda A. Facio Taking it to the Next Level! This year I Joined forces with Stacy Stone to create a double-whammy for small business owners. We’ve created not only the best place to get product and service launch advice but to grow your business into a sustainable and thriving one. Be happy, love your business and sell more stuff!
Thank you so much to all of my clients, blog readers, Twitter and Facebook buddies, family, friends and neighbors who made this year a rich, meaningful, interesting, productive and lesson-filled year. While I celebrate the highlights, projects shipped, clients served and awards earned, I also celebrate the messy parts: missed opportunities, flops and miscalculations. You can’t have one without the other on the road of entrepreneurship.
I am so blessed to do work I love with people I care for and admire deeply. Thank you everyone for your trust, partnership and support.
May your 2013 be filled with joy, meaning, abundance, health and laughter.
What has this year been like for you?
Most people have had a whole series of accomplishments. Everything from finishing a blog post to getting the kids fed, clothed, out the door and on time for school three days in a row to winning an award or making a bunch of money on a product launch.
Then, there have been the not so great moments.
Like missing deadlines or not meeting your income targets, or fighting with your spouse or eating that piece of pie and bowl of potato chips at midnight, even when you had just told yourself that morning that you were going to cut out sugar and salt from your diet.
These not so great moments are the ones that I am fascinated with. Because I think they hold the secret to a lot of our happiness and success in the new year.
Diagnosing Fear and Shame
I often tell people who interview me about my book that I have become an unintended expert on fear, since it is the main topic of conversation with many clients who are working on starting a business. The way to work with the fear is to diagnose it, digging for a truth that is buried in a feeling of panic or dread.
I think our failures and shameful moments hold the same hidden wisdom.
We are taught to avoid talking about failures, or admit feeling shame, because we will be perceived as weak.
It is kind of funny, isn’t it? We feel shame about feeling shame. Which is probably the quickest way to amplify and expand the feeling.
Shame is the feeling most exiled to the Island of Misfit Emotions. Click to Tweet
Thank goodness Brené Brown has devoted her time to creating a body of work around shame and vulnerability. As I have been reading her new book Daring Greatly, I alternate between shaking my fist in the air and wiping tears from my eyes (she also did a great interview on the Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields).
I don’t think I realized what a big role shame (or the avoidance thereof), has played in my life. It has been quite an awakening.
Yet I am convinced that buried in the stuck, the yuck, the frustrations and the shadows of my life are hidden jewels.
I am convinced because I have lived it. I have walked through some scary and dangerous times in my life (drugs in my teens and a horrible relationship in my 20s) that have made me a more kind and compassionate person and parent. In fact, I would describe my path out of these dark times as nothing short of spiritual epiphanies.
My latest stucky, sucky habit has been some weeks of severe writer’s block. Not coincidentally, it has coincided with a break from training mixed martial arts, after my beloved teacher was unfairly fired from his gym.
Rather than beat myself up about my sucky habit, I am seeking to understand it. And the best way to understand it is to acknowledge the shameful thoughts, then remember positive experiences with the thing I am trying to avoid.
Shame and Remembrance
Shameful thoughts alternate on different days, but some can be (I have nothing to say) (I am too far behind) (It won’t be good enough) (I have not spent thousands of hours researching, therefore my ideas have no merit).
Then I remember (I love to write) (Writing makes me feel free) (What is “behind,” anyway? Time is just a silly construct) (I always, without exception, feel better after having written rather than after having not written) (Even sucky writing may be just the think one person needs to read, which will cause them to take an action that will change the outcome of their life).
Who knows, maybe my shame about moments when I can’t write will be the key to becoming a better writer, much like numbing my emotions with drugs taught me to not to be afraid to hear people express deep emotion, and living in fear in a relationship led me to never accept dominance as a part of love.
And so rather than sweeping the shame and failures from 2012 under the rug, with the hope that they will magically evaporate in 2013, let’s bring them out in the light and examine them with a gentle eye.
Take a sucky habit – any sucky habit
What has plagued you this year?
Name it. Listen to it. Remember the positive things that happened when you were in positive relationship to it.
Example: I drink too much because …
Shame: (I am afraid to feel) and then … (if I feel I will have to admit I am angry) and then … (if I admit I am angry my wife may not accept me) and then … (if my wife does not accept me then she may leave me) and then … (I will be alone).
Remembrance: (I want to feel) and then … (when I feel I can release my anger) and then … ( when I release my anger I will be able to have an open and honest conversation with my wife) and then … (when I have an open and honest conversation with my wife, we can choose the path that leads both of us to truth and happiness, whether we end up together or apart).
Shame flourishes in dark corners.
Bring it out, and feel the grace of acceptance move through your life.
We can do this, and we will.
Some years are marked by tremendous challenge and heartbreak.
This year, some people very close to me experienced unthinkable losses.
My friend Suzanne lost her 22 year old daughter to a heart attack, only to lose her daughter’s best friend to the same cause a few months later.
My friend Laurie was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, and has been bravely undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatment.
My Mom has been on a journey of mourning for my Bonus Dad Larry, who passed away in February.
Many friends have struggled with finances, with loss, divorce and addiction.
And just this past Friday, my friend Sophfronia had the unimaginable happen at her son’s school, Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Her son survived. Her godson did not.
Witnessing all these things happening is absolutely overwhelming.
How can any of us go on with so much heartbreak around us?
Will things ever be normal again?
The road to healing from heartbreak
For those who have gone through tremendous loss, their lives will never be the same. But that does not mean that they will never see beauty, feel love and create meaningful things in their life. They will create a new normal that can still include joy, at the same time that they integrate loss and sadness into the fabric of their life story.
These four things have helped me to overcome challenges and heartbreak.
- Fall apart
As soon as I heard about what happened in Connecticut last Friday, I was sickened and shaking. I felt the same thing when I heard of the death of my friend Suzanne’s daughter Teal. When terrible things happen, feel them. Cry. Hug someone. Grieve. It is perfectly natural to not want to get right back to business when terrible things happen. Express the emotion.
- Honor what you have
As a parent last Friday, it felt so conflicting to hug and squeeze my own kids while I knew that there were parents on the other side of the country who were in agony because they would not see their kids again.Author Brené Brown, quoting from her amazing new book Daring Greatly, said this in a recent blog post:
“When I asked people who had survived tragedy how we can cultivate and show more compassion for people who are suffering, the answer was always the same: Don’t shrink away from the joy of your child because I’ve lost mine. Don’t take what you have for granted–celebrate it. Don’t apologize for your healthy parents or your great relationship. Be grateful and share your gratitude with others.
One quote that I heard over and over was simply: “When you honor what you have, you’re honoring what I’ve lost.”
- Never forget, but choose to create a new future .
While in the midst of a huge, painful challenge, it is impossible to imagine a new future. You want to slug anyone who suggests that “everything happens for a reason.” The meaning to be made from any negative experience belongs to the person affected. It may never make sense, to you or to them.Yet over and over again, I have seen people rise from huge heartbreak and build a new life. My client Sarah has been working on an amazing fair trade project with Rwandan artisans, called Songa Designs. If you know anything about Rwandan history in the 1990s, you know that it is filled with unimaginable terror and genocide. Yet tremendous beauty exists in the art and economy being built by Rwandan people today. In the words of Abe Cajudo, who produced Songa Designs current Indiegogo campaign:”So much growth and beauty in that country that needs to be shared and celebrated, not hidden behind what Google and History has branded it. Let’s change the world’s perception of Rwanda FOR GOOD!”
We can learn from those who have witnessed the worst of humanity and still choose to build the best for humanity.
- Be held, and hold others.
My husband’s older brother was killed when he was 18. When I have talked about it with his Mom, mixed with tears and pain, she always tells stories about the people who were so strong for her and held her closely when she was overcome with grief. And I have seen her be strong for others who have experienced their own losses. We never know when we will be the one who does not have the strength to go on, and needs to surrender to the arms of our loved ones and community members. There is no shame in surrendering, and there is great valor in holding others in times of unbearable grief.
I sincerely hope that challenge or tragedy has not visited you or your family this year. But if it has, know that you are not alone. We see you, we feel you, and when and only when you are ready, we will help you create a new normal worth living.
Big hugs and many blessings from my family to yours this holiday season.
Today’s guest post is from my friend Jennifer Boykin, the “Midlife Midwife — Delivering Hot Flashes of MidLife Mojo.” Her site Life After Tampons is a mix of heartfelt, humorous inspiration for those of us women in, or on our way, to midlife.
This post, however, is for all of us.
I once was blind, but now I see … with help of course
You know how you can wreck your car if you aren’t aware of what’s going on in your blind spots? Well, I’ve found that the same is true about your business and your life.
If you don’t have a plan to “see” what’s going on in your own blind spots, it’s only a question of time. One day, you won’t see what’s coming, and you will crash.
I recently came to accept one of my own personal blind spots. I can’t accurately evaluate how I’m doing in my business and my life.
For as long as I can remember, this one particular question has hounded me:
How am I doing?
Since my personal evaluation meter is missing, I don’t know.
I’ve tried jury-rigging systems to give me this information. One of the least successful evaluation metrics I’ve tried is comparing myself to you.
Here’s why that fails every time:
All I can see about you is the version of you that you present to the world. That’s not an accusation, by the way. We all do this in some ways.
But, even though we all do it, I forget that. So, when I compare myself to you, I’m comparing what I intimately know about myself, to what I can only superficially see about you.
I’m comparing my insides to your outsides.
And I come up short . . .
. . . Or, I come up better.
Whichever way the false comparison falls, it can’t be accurate. It can’t be “right sized.”
So comparing yourself to anyone else is futile.
But now we have a problem. Because, as an early-stage entrepreneur, if you can’t see how you’re doing, you’re likely to make all kinds of mistakes.
A friend of mine recently wrote that this early stage of the creative process is typified as the innovator thrashes about, trying to land on her own unique message, offering, brand, business model — whatever. He suggests this uncomfortable stage is not only normal, but also necessary to the creative process.
Thrashing may be normal, but it is exacerbated by the self-doubt that is generated when you don’t become aware of and plan around your own personal blind spots. When you doubt yourself, the depth and spin of your thrash is intensified. And it hurts.
But, just as with your car, you can put mirrors in place to help you see what is currently blind to you.
As I mentioned, one of my blind spots is that I can’t correctly evaluate my own results. I’m either too hard on myself, or too soft on myself. I have no internal mechanism that allows me to see if, when it comes to my new business, I’m lazy or crazy.
So, I’ve put mirrors in place to help me “see” what’s going on in my blind spot.
Here are some of the mirrors I’ve put in place:
1. I have a mentor. My mentor is farther along on the journey of creating an online business that, as he says, allows him to “live well and give well.” My mentor not only gives me sound business advice, he also answers this vital question – “Is this normal?” Usually the answer is, “Um, yes, Jennifer, it is. And here’s what you do about it.”
2. I have a team of peers. Early on in my project, I found a team of peers to help me “see” how I’m doing. Each week, we write and send to the other member of our team, our progress report for the previous seven days. As I read their reports, I’m able to gain perspective and clarity about my own situation. Everybody has ideas that flower and a few that flop. Your peers help normalize your circumstances for you, and also provide the support and/or kick you occasionally need.
3. I have a strong self-care program. When you’re creating a new business, it can be difficult to pull yourself away from the keyboard. But, I’ve found I must. When I’m healthy – in mind, body, and spirit – I have a better perspective on my life, my business, and my bigger dream. When I work myself half to death, everything looks like a problem to be overcome. Soon enough, you’re overwhelmed, you can’t see the truth about anything at all, much less what is going on in your blind spots. You crash. Plan on it.
If you’re a person, there are things about yourself that you just can’t see. You might not need to see all of them, but some of them can trip you up. And some leave you so blind, you can crash and burn.
Your Big Dream is too important to risk that.
Denial may be part of the human condition, but you don’t have to suffer needlessly from the hazards it can lay in your path. If you just put a few simple mirrors in place, you’re more likely to see the crash before it happens. And put measures in place to protect yourself and your beautiful dream.
I was talking with a client the other day who was entering the job market after spending an extended period of time doing a mix of freelance work and raising children.
He was concerned about holes in his experience, and the impact they would have on securing a good job.
He felt scared, uncomfortable and insecure.
Another client had gone through a really tough period in her life which had caused her to drop some balls at work. Coworkers weren’t happy, and she was concerned about how it would impact her opportunities moving forward.
She felt awkward, ashamed and stuck.
In both these cases, there are two very important stories to tell.
The story you tell yourself
Going after new goals is challenging. The job market is competitive. It isn’t easy to create art, or get customers or write a book. It is hard to bounce back from failure or adversity. Before you start to worry about what someone else thinks about you, you have to make sure that you are thinking great things about yourself.
Consider the difference between these two stories:
“I have been out of the job market for five years and have not kept up on all the latest trends in technology. I am scared that prospective employers might see me as lacking. I must do whatever it takes to prove that I am worthy. I am desperate for a job. I will take any opportunity that comes my way, and heave a sigh of relief, because it will mean that they accept me, despite my flaws.”
How are you feeling after reading something like this? Kind of yucky and in need of a hug or a shower, right?
Consider this alternative:
“I am proud of the wide variety of experiences that I have had in my life. I can think of many times when I was put into new and challenging situations, and learned quickly. Being out of the job market for awhile has given me a new and refreshing perspective that makes me extremely focused and excited for new opportunities. I have enjoyed working for myself, but now I am ready to be back in a team environment where I have support and resources to get my work done. I want to work in a place that appreciates my experience. I will do a great job, and they will be lucky to have me.”
When crafting your personal story, consider:
- What skills and strengths am I really proud of?
- What are the threads and themes of my life experience?
- What big gifts have I received from challenges I have faced?
- What is my hero’s journey?
- What is the soundtrack of my life? Is it one of the most depressing country songs of all time, or a cheesy favorite from the 25 most inspirational songs of all time?
The story you tell others
Once you get a clear and empowering story to tell yourself, you need to work on the story that will resonate and influence others. In addition to the questions you have answered for your own story above, add these:
- What challenges are these (potential employers) (prospective clients) (resistant team members) facing?
- How can I prepare to give the best interview of my life?
- How might my background and experience help them to overcome their challenges?
- How can I clearly and powerfully respond to legitimate concerns about holes, gaps or weaknesses in my background or skills?
- How does my total life experience give me a unique competitive advantage over fellow job applicants or business owners?
- How can I deliver tremendous, measurable value to the people I want to work with?
“You will have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
-Zig Zigler, may he rest in peace
Every day, I see people with similar backgrounds and equivalent skills accomplish radically different results.
One big reason for this is the story they tell themselves and others on a daily basis.
The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of your stories.
Craft them well.
Starting a business can be a huge challenge, with a million things to learn, and the uncertainty of landing your first customers.
Once you pass that gauntlet and develop a thriving business, another snag appears — lack of focus, overwhelm and even burnout from trying to do everything yourself.
In this interview, longtime business system expert Tina Forsyth explains what you need to put in place to ensure that you are able to scale and grow your business without losing your mind. We discuss:
- How to create your “yes” list
- The THRIVE hiring system, to ensure you get the right people in the right jobs
- Key systems every business needs in order to scale effectively
Listen to our 30 minute interview here:
Download the mp3 of the interview at this link:
Learn more from Tina in her new book, The Entrepreneur’s Trap: http://www.etbook.com
I get lots of questions about marketing.
“What new techniques should I be using to grow my business? I have been (blogging) (Tweeting) (attending a networking group), and I don’t seem to be getting many results.”
“How long have you been doing it?” I ask.
“For two whole months!” the person says.
We often think that new tools, techniques or formulas will be the answer to our marketing woes.
When in reality, it is the consistent application of good tools or techniques that get long-term results.
As I mentioned in my 20X Rule post, developing relationships that turn into sales takes much longer than you think.
I have been working with a group of entrepreneurs all year in my Power Boost Marketing program. We explore a new way to reach customers each month. The people who get the best results are those who consistently apply the lessons from each module, and integrate them into their ongoing marketing activities. Marketing strength and competence builds as you layer one skill on top of another, such as cultivating new connections on Twitter, which leads to speaking engagements which you ace, which you follow up with a strong and effective consistent content from your newsletter, which leads to future sales.
Too many new entrepreneurs are on information binges, taking every class, program and workshop about building a business, but never actually putting any to into practice. This is frustrating and expensive.
How to ensure your marketing is focused:
- Make sure you know the profile of your ideal clients, who they are connected to, and where they hang out.
My Ideal Clients Avatar, Ecosystem and Watering Hole post from last year will help you define this.
- Make a list of your top 50 prospects, and work the list on a daily basis.
When I spoke at the San Francisco and Phoenix Spark & Hustle conferences, CEO and Good Morning America host Tory Johnson said that she always has a list of her top 50 prospects for sponsorships. She shares her list with her team, and it is constantly updated. When you know who you need to connect with and exactly what you are pitching, it makes your marketing very efficient.
- Analyze your past offers and note which are the most profitable.
You can spend a huge amount of effort and energy developing and promoting something like a $97 ebook, when in fact a different offer may take much less time to market and be more profitable. In order to get this information, you need to be sure to review your books and your calender on a monthly basis, and apply the learning to your plan for the next month, and quarter.
- Know which offer you are promoting at the moment.
If you are promoting three different things at the same time, both you and your market can get confused. Make sure that each week, you know exactly what you are promoting, and whom you are promoting it to. This way you ensure that you do a thorough job of reaching ideal prospects, instead of weakening and scattering your efforts with multiple offers across multiple marketing channels.
- Plan on business growth taking more time than you think.
Nothing stresses out new business owners like needing to make instant revenue without a track record or experience. Plan to have inconsistent results in the early stages of business, and sock away money for months when your sales do not match your expectations. Some people are motivated by “burning the ships” and having no option but to make sales, but in my experience as a coach, that situation can skyrocket the stress for some entrepreneurs with a lower tolerance for risk.
Remember that business is just a huge experiment. Have fun with learning, analyze your efforts, put in the time and sweat, and you will see success.
I do love this Thanksgiving season, when we take a collective breath, and reflect on all the goodness and richness around us.
Including copious amounts of pie.
My daughter has been singing this song all week, and I thought it was an appropriate summation of the things I am thankful for too.
To view directly on YouTube, go here.
Thanks to the sun, the clouds in the sky, the land and the animals.
Thanks for the people everywhere.
Thanks to my family.
Thanks to my muse, and the privilege of working with my clients to create great things.
And thanks to you, who engage with my work, and bring me great insight and satisfaction.
Much love and Happy Thanksgiving!
-Pam, Josh, Rosie and Darryl
I love planning.
It could be a Virgo thing, since the smell of flip chart paper and new pens is almost as sweet as fresh leaves on a fall day.
With November at our feet, it is a great time to start to plant some seeds for your 2013 career and business plans.
I recorded a video to help you do this exercise.
If you cannot bear to watch me enjoy American Idol winner David Cook, skip ahead to 0:52. I won’t be offended.
To do this exercise, I suggest getting nice and comfortable, and grabbing a paper and pen. Answer these questions:
- I am at my very best when …
What conditions bring out your very best work? What kind of work are you doing when you are kicking major bootie? What people bring out your best work? Without overthinking it too much, brainstorm the factors that bring out your best work.
From this list, circle one thing that you will AMPLIFY in 2013.
- These things drove me crazy in 2012 …
Have you been spinning around with the same annoying patterns in your head? Do you have any people in your life that make you nuts? Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?
Brainstorm the things that have really made you batty this year.
From this list, circle one thing that you will ELIMINATE in 2013*
*If this thing is a person, I am not suggesting homicide. Maybe something less dramatic like unfriending on Facebook.
- I really want to make/do this in 2013 …
Is there an experience you are dying to have next year? Do you want to run your first marathon, write your first book, have your first baby or make your first product? Brainstorm the things or experiences that you would love to accomplish next year.
From this list, circle one thing that you will CREATE in 2013*
*If “making a baby” is on your list, the homework is really fun.
- Even during tough times this year, I appreciated …
Even the most optimistic life coaches have really crappy days. Life can be hard sometimes. If you had a whopper of a year, what are some things that you appreciated as the proverbial doo doo was hitting the fan? Brainstorm the big and small things that kept you grounded in 2012.
From this list, circle one thing that you want to APPRECIATE in 2013*
*Since one of the things I have appreciated in 2012 is a plant, I am going to make sure to send waves of gratitude. I think plants have feelings, but you be the judge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_perception_%28paranormal%29
With these four key elements you want to bring forward into 2013, now you can start to work on the nuts and bolts of planning your career or business. Stay tuned for more video updates on the topic, although I can’t promise a musical intro to each one. Unless you request them, at which time I will be happy to comply.
Feel free to share your four answers below!