As I started to wind down this year, I thought: I should share a list of books and podcasts from this year I loved that inspired and helped me grow my business.
I've always wanted to create a listicle like this because I tend to seek out a lot of professional development in the form of books, podcasts, courses, etc. I thought this would be a good way to close out the year and share helpful resources with you.
Well, 2017 was...different. (Raise your hand if you can relate to that.)
As I looked over my Audible, Kindle, and iTunes apps (and my book shelves - I am not solely digital!) to gather recommendations I realized: wow, there's a few things here I could share...but nothing I felt could make an impactful list with.
And most definitely nothing I felt was inspirational. Plus, I realized that I had read and paid attention to a fraction of what I have in years past.
This was a pretty meta example of how I felt about my business and this year.
That damn election
A lot of this was because of the election.
Like most of us, I became consumed with politics and political action this year. I went to the Women's March in DC and joined other protests, I kept up on all of the insane news, CNN became background noise to my days as I worked, I wondered if I'd have health care, I called my senators and representatives, I got anxious about what my taxes will look like, on and on.
This all took a lot of energy (I know you experienced this too).
I lost my spark in a big way this year. And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this.
I’ve heard it from so many friends and peers that this year really made them question what their contribution is in both personal and professional ways.
But to be totally honest, I can’t blame this on the 2016 election and what came after it. No, the election and 2017 just made it front and center, and very crystal clear for me.
This change started to creep up way before the election. I just chose to ignore it until I couldn’t anymore.
Trying to make something work that doesn’t
During all of 2016 and into 2017 I started to treat my business like a cookie cutter, online marketing business.
I started comparing myself to others in my industry, and I started to shape and conduct my business in a way that I thought I was supposed to. (Yeah, I'm not immune to compare and despair online, either.)
Because of this, I really lost sight of who I wanted to be in my business.
I started and stopped things so many times in 2017 I can’t even count. But I just kept grinding away trying to make shit work that clearly wasn’t working for me. (I can think of only one thing I did in 2017 that truly thrilled me. Oooph, not good.)
Perhaps you’ve heard of the saying: you have to hit rock bottom to actually make real changes in one’s life. Well, I *had* hit rock bottom most likely in January of this year and then just decided I needed to drag along the bottom for a while.
That’s just how I learn. I’m stubborn, and sometimes need to make things harder than they need to be, because apparently I think I can fix everything. Can you relate to this?
When you’re just going through the motions, things suffer and kind of come out sideways. I was all over the place in my own marketing and in what I was offering as a business. I was still showing up for my clients, but it was hard.
I’m old enough to be careful of acting on every whim (been there done that!), so I just assumed it was the election. This was life! I had turned 45 this summer, and maybe that’s just how things work?
I would persevere. I just needed to continue (nonetheless) until I shook off what was going on.
But it never happened, and I sunk deeper into stress and anxiety.
The universe is self-correcting
And then (thank god) a wonderful job fell into my lap that gave me the space to recognize that things were less than stellar in my business. I just wasn’t into how things were anymore, and it showed, and I could finally admit it.
So with extra income from my P/T job this fall and one long term client, I basically only concentrated on one program I offered. I was also able to just stop THINKING about my business.
Phewww. (That's also why you saw less of me here and in your inbox.)
Allowing myself to take a few steps back and just percolate on what really lit me up, I was able to realize that I had gotten so far away from what I truly loved about existing online.
My deep passion lie in creating community around topics that help empower, support, and inspire you to build your career, business, or side project online.
It's a constant thread within my career, and I had somehow lost sight of it. I was no longer doing any of that anymore. At least not in a consistent way.
So that's the plan for 2018 to get back to what really lights me up. I have plans in the works for a new podcast, more live workshops, more free resources, and more things I'm still working out.
But at the end of the day they all lead back to helping you continue to establish whatever it is you want to build online.
I'm still sorting a lot out, but for the first time in a long time I can say I am excited and I can't wait!
And you? How did 2017 shape you?
I know from writing online for over 12 years that if I'm feeling something in my business, or if I spot something happening...that more often than not you are too.
Is that true? Did 2017 change you in ways you didn’t expect?
Did 2017 make you think twice about how you conduct your business? What changed for you? I’d love it if you (felt comfortable enough) to share it with me below.
I know for certain I can’t be the only one who was changed fundamentally because of 2017. Tell me what that looks like for you.