46: 2019 - My Year in Review

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It’s the time of year to set goals and resolutions. You’ll hear many talking about the birth of a new decade, placing even more pressure to “start it off right.” Instead I’m taking the time to look back at what 2019 taught me and how I’m carrying those lessons into the new year.

On this episode, I open up about:

  • Starting the year on the verge of burnout,

  • The wake up call I had that forced me to make big, scary decisions,

  • Reclaiming my identity and setting boundaries around how I wanted to work and live,

  • The role my word of the year played, and

  • How my newly defined values are shaping the plans I have for the year ahead.

A FOUNDATION SETTING YEAR

It feels surreal to be doing a year in review after years of listening to others share their annual journeys. After recording this episode, what I realized is that you don’t have to be an influencer or even business owner for this practice to be meaningful. I think everyone should look back on their year if only to see how far they’ve come.

I entered 2019 tired. If you’re new here or don’t know much about my story, here’s a rundown of what I’ve done in the last five years:

  • Had two kids

  • Moved 3 times

  • Changed jobs multiple times

  • Launched Pattern of Purpose

 

It felt like a cycle of doing one thing and moving on to the next. That’s why I chose JOY and ADVENTURE as my words of the year.

I wanted to focus on the things that felt like and meaningful, rather than feeling trapped in a cycle of hard.

In business, I was laying the foundation all over again. I had pivoted the focus of my offerings and my audience. That meant all but starting at “year one” again.

Someone recently told me, “You’re killing it,” which made me laugh because it so does not feel like I’ve been killing it. 2019 felt like putting one foot in front of the other believing it would eventually pay off.

Then I read this quote from Marie Forleo and it all clicked:

Real change is often invisible when it’s happening.”

BURNOUT FORCES DECISIONS

One year ago I had purchased a Squarespace template and was attempting to redesign my site. I knew I needed a full rebrand, but wasn’t clear enough at the time to give solid direction.

I had just heard “no” from two prospective clients I was sure were the perfect fit and I was crazy busy at my day job.

I felt burnout creeping in.

I remember one day driving to work thinking, “If I get into a car accident, there is no one who can meet the deadlines.”

I had set the goal to leave my job before, but making it a reality meant leaving a lot of excuses and security behind.

In April, I was sick and the kids were sick. This was one I just couldn’t shake. I had five active clients and zero margins in my life.

On one such night I was in bed and my husband walked into the room. I broke down sobbing, looked at him and said, “Am I going to have to end up in the hospital for anyone to pay attention to how exhausted I am?”

It didn’t take more to realize I needed to make changes in my life.

BECOMING A CEO

There were six defining decisions I made in 2019 that set the trajectory for where I am now.

  1. Paid off my student loans and quit my job

  2. Started OrangeTheory Fitness

  3. Tested new concepts in business

  4. Took time off

  5. Cut down on my alcohol intake

  6. Started this podcast

 

You might think that transitioning to full-time entrepreneurship would be the ease I needed, it proved to be more difficult than expected. There wasn’t a need to hustle anymore. My head wasn’t on a swivel—I set the deadlines. Money also played a different role. It wasn’t just there to invest back in my business. It needed to pay the bills..all of the bills.

I took the summer and fall to make sure the backend of business was in order. I worked on systems, core messaging, my brand identity, a new website, email marketing, and legal—including trademarks and new contracts.

After having two identities for so long, having a single identity allowed me to finally come into my own—at 34 years old—from the decisions I was making to boundaries I set to the clothes I wear.

With all of this work ON my business, I left 2019 ready to work more IN my business, with my clients. 

That means being comfortable with the fact that I’m being paid for my knowledge and skills, which doesn’t always look like a tangible product I’m handing over.

It also means stepping into the role of a leader. I’m not sure what made me feel like I was best in a support role, but I think it had something to do with conflating support and supportive. They aren’t the same thing. I’ve realized I can be supportive while still running an aspirational brand that doesn’t need to bend to appeal to everyone.

WORD OF THE YEAR

I’m leading through 2020 with the word VISIBILITY.

While mystique is a good thing for business, mystery is not. In order to serve people, I need to let them know how to hire me. That means inviting my ideal clients to speak with me and hire me.

It also means continuing to pitch myself even when I hear ‘no.’

I’m supporting myself in other ways to start the year as well. Each January my husband and I do the Whole30. It’s the perfect way to reevaluate our nutritional health and be more mindful about what we’re consuming. In years past, Whole30 has increased my energy and helped me stay more focused and productive.

I also joined my first mastermind. It was my goal to find a group of women who were all smarter than me and I’m pretty sure I accomplished that goal.

Lastly, I’m all booked up on travel this year. Travel is my love language. So far on the books I’m headed to:

  • Atlanta

  • Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, Grand Canyon

  • Tulum

  • Indianapolis

  • Charleston, Isle of Palm

  • Corolla, Outer Banks

  • Aspen

  • Oregon

  • Daytona Beach

GETTING CLEAR ON MY ‘WHY’

“In order for art to imitate life, you have to have a life.”

- Whitney Cummings

 

If I could take one lesson away from 2019 it would be that I was able to get clear on why I’m striving. That made me realize I already have so much of what I want out of life.

We struggled for years with young babies, trying to establish ourselves professionally, building a business, and major house issues. While it still feels like I’m waiting for the other foot to drop, there’s finally space to live and spend our money in ways that feel aligned with our values.

Speaking of values, I re-evaluated my top values.

  • Sleep

  • Inspiring work with creative people

  • Being outdoors

  • Good food

  • Adventures with kids, without rigid expectations

  • Travel

  • Kid-free time

 

Making that list showed me that I need to continue prioritizing my time as much as I prioritize money. It’s important that I’m clear on these values so that when new opportunities come my way—as I know they will—I’ll have guideposts for decision making.

One last exercise I did in 2019 is the BE, FEEL, DO prompt by Denise Duffield Thomas. I highly recommend you take an hour to make this list yourself.

When thinking about 2020, what do you want to be? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do?

Writing these things out will help you get clear on your priorities and inform the steps most important to you.

I expect 2020 to be transformational in ways we can’t even anticipate.

2019 allowed me to reconnect with who I am. It wasn’t easy but I’m filled with gratitude for every client who trusted me with their vision; family and friends who have supported me; a husband who cooked, did dishes; and folded laundry; and the kindness of strangers.

Thank YOU for being here. Here’s to a big year!

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