We’re currently undertaking at our company our 2015 review.
We look back at our 2015 workbooks and see what goals came true and what didn’t.
We work through the questions of the 2016 Biz Goals workbook and see what worked and what didn’t, so we can be more effective next year.
This kind of review process is worth GOLD. It’s the kind of reviewing + planning that accelerates business growth exponentially.
Just one of the things we look at is the marketing that worked over the last year. I get my team to review our traffic + see what our most popular blog posts were for the year, I’m fascinated by what was popular and what resonated with you all.
This year the content that was most popular were:
vulnerable sharings about my mistakes
controversies + strong opinions
illustrated conference notes
posts by Grant (the COO I hired this year) and
Let’s go more into deets, yeah?
STORIES OF MY OWN MISTAKES + CHALLENGES
These posts were vulnerable for me to write – I shared about when I made mistakes with managing my team, what I was struggling with and what I was finding hard in business.
I was fascinated that it resonated so much, but realised that it makes sense in lots of ways.
Business can be hard work. It can be difficult learning about where you need to grow and change.
Not all of it IS easy. And we ache to hear the real stories behind the scenes.
I think for those reasons, that’s why my tales of fuck-ups were so popular this year.
My Most Popular Fuck-Up + Challenges Posts This Year:
I’ve always steered away from writing about the harder stuff.
I didn’t want to upset anyone. I didn’t want to ruffle feathers.
I wanted to be all peace love + harmony baby.
But the thing is – I have opinions. Ohhhhhhhh do I have them.
What intense Scorpio doesn’t?
This year I had the balls to speak up about things.
And farrrrrrrk did people respond!
(Now – just to be clear – I would never write something just for the joy of being controversial. That’s not my style. That’s kind of like train-wreck blogging. I only wrote when I was sincerely passionate about something.)
The Aspie Goddess(this one, I had no idea would cause any kind of controversy. Some peeps were ginormously pissed that I don’t have an official diagnosis about this – which as I explained in the original article – I have no practical need for. I also got some weeeeird fucking Facebook comments that I was making it up for fame, marketing + scam purposes. Which totally made me have my WTF face! Still, I’m proud and happy that I shared this post.)
MY ILLUSTRATED CONFERENCE NOTES
I started attending conferences this year for the first time after living like a hermit in the mountains of remote Australia for years.
And each time I would take along my journal and felt tip pens and draw my notes… not for any purpose but for me. I am a visual thinker, so I need to process auditory information into visual.
At the first conference I was at, I started snapping photos of my pages as I went along + sending them to Grantacular so we could discuss. As an afterthought, I shared them on Instagram. They ended up being loved + appreciated by + helpful to other peeps as well which was a unintended but wonderful side effect.
And so they became a tradition!
Here’s all my illustrated conference notes from this year:
Growth Summit (this was the bigdaddy of the conferences… I got to see my darling Jim Collins speak as well as Verne Harnish + Liz Wiseman! #businessboner)
Grantacular started guest writing for the blog this year and I’ve loved every minute of it.
They’ve also been incredibly popular with our tribe which surprised him and made me say “well no derrrrr” because it’s what I knew intuitively would happen.
He writes from the heart. He writes through analogies and stories. He offers another perspective of life and business creativity which deepens and widens what I teach about.
I’m a rabid fan, as are many of you!
I can tell you I have zero jealous feelings about his popularity. It’s a joy to witness it. I’ve been blogging for 11 years now. Having Grant blogging + as someone to bounce ideas off + write things with has been a huge joy + inspiration for me this year. It’s been playful + I’ve learned the gift of creative collaboration. I adore what he writes, and am honoured to share the stage with him. It’s a good thing for our audience, a good thing for me + a good thing for him.
“I kept my eyes open and tried to see The point of what went on in front of me I kept what moved me, forgot about the rest…”
2015, baby, YOU moved me.
It was just non-stop change, growth, failure, improvement, and success. I can barely write this – I’m still out of breath!
Time itself is a powerful force. But it’s like those moving sidewalks in the airport. When you’re walking fast on one of those, you are going places. That’s how 2015 has been for me.
This isn’t just a post about books – it’s about concerts, books, people, and songs. My sail is up for all-the-wind and so my best-of list has a little variety.
Since I opened with some Jackson Browne lines, let me just say, seeing him and his band play live at Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado in August has to take the cake for amazing experiences this year. In typical Colorado fashion, a brisk, cold rain was blowing for a couple of hours before things got started, but the stage was covered and when they pulled the tarps off the gear and hit the first notes, there was no rain, no damp, not even any air…just beautiful sounds filling a mountainside.
(This was really a high-school graduation present for my daughter, but you know, she couldn’t go alone!!)
What I love about Jackson Browne’s music, beyond the great songwriting and arranging, is his heart for people and our planet. The title track to his latest record, “Standing in the Breach” is an ode to the human spirit and the call many feel to gather strength in difficult times by working together to repair our world.
The song was written for a fundraiser for a group that had built a school in Haiti that had been damaged by an earthquake. They were raising money to return and repair it. Here’s a bit of the lyrics from the 2nd verse:
“The unpaid debts of history The open wounds of time The laws of human nature always tugging from behind I want to think that the earth can heal And that people might still learn How to meet this world’s true challenges And that the course we’re on could turn
And though the earth may tremble and the oceans pitch and rise We will all assemble and we will lift our eyes To the tasks that we know lie before us And the power our prayers beseech And cast our souls into the heavens, standing in the breach”
Oh Jackson, YOU moved me!!
Here’s a live clip from the same tour – a few nights before we saw him, and an amazing song, Which Side:
…be careful what you read on your birthday. Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up moved me in the wrong direction at first, creating an existential crisis that took a few days to rise from. This is not a book to read too early in the business journey, and probably not alone. On your birthday.
Scaling Up maps the landscape of the last 15 years of business book publishing. He neatly organizes what goes where, gives it context, and then proceeds on to the next topic. You could presumably read this volume first and have a reading list with a couple dozen super impactful titles to dig into, but you probably wouldn’t make it.
All of that said, in due time, Verne’s book is a lifesaver. Leonie and I are walking through this book and implementing it a little more each quarter. The perspective and clarity it has given may have saved our business relationship, as well as helping us to set LDI up for continued growth and profitability into the future.
Very good, but seriously, don’t start here. If you do, and you call me, I’ll tell you to take two Jim Collins and call me in the morning.
Speaking of relationships, I read “Boundaries” this year. This book is golden. It does have a strong Christian bent, both in ideas and vocabulary, but I received so many recommendations for it from non-Christian sources, that it appears to have a nearly singular role in the world – explaining to people where they start and others’ stop. This is good stuff.
For some of us, boundaries are the sorts of things that would have gotten us into a lot of trouble at points in our lives, so we jettisoned them. If you struggle to take care of yourself, to prioritize your own emotional and physical health, or you find that you’re frequently unable to meet your own expectations, you *might* need this book. Okay, you probably do, I mean, I don’t want to violate your own sovereignty in making decisions, but if you’re even mildly thinking ‘that might be me’, order it now!
Jim Collins – everything.he.wrote…but no, seriously, yes, everything he has written. 2015 was like one long reading and re-reading Jim Collins binge. If you’ve not read Good to Great, How The Mighty Fall or Built To Last and you are trying to build an honest-to-goodness company, these are great volumes. However, that’s a lot to lay on a person and since you may not be as wonkish as I am, just consider this – buy this one little article from the Harvard Business Review – it may be the best thing ever written on articulating company vision!!
Rob Bell – Rob is a writer and speaker that moves me to the core. Re-listening toWhat We Talk About When We Talk About God was energizing and exciting. Listening to episodes of his new podcast, the RobCast, frequently left me on the edge of my seat. But none of those could compare to the three hours of watching Rob on a stage in Denver, writing on a triangle-shaped whiteboard on his “Everything is Spiritual” tour this summer.
Blurring the lines that often separate faith and science, and downplaying the differences in human approaches to Spirit (“when I talk to my atheist friends and they tell me about the God they don’t believe in, I have two thoughts – one, I don’t believe in that God either, and two, their saying so is an act of emotional honesty that I deeply appreciate…”), Rob blended humor and heart to create a show that boiled down to the longest sermon you’ve ever paid to watch, and love. And the venue served beer.
Not your traditional church, but Rob isn’t a traditional pastor. Sitting in his rented one-evening church, surrounded by 500 or so similar souls, listening to him articulate his vision for what it means to be human and how we communicate and interact with Spirit, I have a different vision for how everything works, now.
It reminds me of Peter Mayer’s great song, Holy Now.
And, as a preview of 2016 – I’m fortunate to be booked at one of Rob’s 2-day Intensive events for business folk…wow…that will be cool!! I love that my job means that this is essential training and that the boss is insistent on me going! #neverleaving
Which reminds me of another thing she bossed me into doing…
One of my favorite episodes was Rob talking to his friend, Liz Gilbert. Not long after that I started reading Big Magic (after Leonie told me again and again to get it then just gave up on telling and sent me the book instead). Wow. Wow. Wow. Big. Magic. Ideas come for us. Fear rides with us. Make enough room for creativity and fear to ride together, but fear never gets to drive.
I didn’t know who Glennon Doyle Melton was until Leonie forced me to listen to Carry On Warrior (anyone sensing a pattern here? I get excitable emails from her often saying “READ THIS! THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR YOU!” It’s hard to argue when she’s been right every time.) It was hard going at first, but a few chapters in, I started to get a sense of what a beautiful heart Glennon has. I love following her on social media – it’s a spark that keeps my pilot light burning even on the difficult days.
I could not have imagined at the start of the year where I’d be by the end. I was focused on my own business, working hard to learn, grow, and scale. There were thoughts and flashes at times. I’d think of the seven months I took off from running my own company to run a non-profit and the joy I found in a diverse universe of the problems presented to me – people, systems, legal, technology. Watching Leonie work through some challenges with the 2014 workbook launch, I enjoyed her style and approach to problems. She seemed willing to learn and grow, do what was required, communicate, even when it was difficult.
I had worked with a lot of people in the internet space, using some of the same tools and ideas, with audiences or developing markets similar to Leonie’s but the difference I felt strongly was that she was the real thing. Other clients didn’t rise to the occasion, perhaps couldn’t, but Leonie was a real business woman with a real business and was made of structure that could handle big waves and get stronger. I was intruigued.
First it was just a casual coaching relationship – a mastermind of sorts. Meet for an hour or two a week and trade listening and advice with each other. My business began to bloom. Leonie’s was doing fine, but in our conversations it became clear her business was missing something. A role. A skillset. A person. One that happened to look an awful look like me and mine.
It was late at night for me the first time she proposed it. We both laughed and backed away quickly. Within a month or so, it was done. I was fully onboard, fulltime, and was quickly transitioning my team and projects to other businesses.
In the end, the timing was perfect and our mutual roads have been good.
For me, Leonie, and the team, this has been a great year. We’ve completed huge projects – a complete overhaul of the Academy, new shopping carts, new books, new webinars, new courses, blogs, and events.
So much of what is in my heart has a home here. I’m pretty astounded.
I’m grateful for a beautiful, healthy, and loving family, a great team and a wonderful tribe that I get to work with and for each day, and work that calls for more of me, and gives more back than I’ve ever dreamed possible.
If you are reading this, you’re part of that magic, so thank you.
Saint Anne, as some refer to Anne Lamotte, says there are three great prayers – Help. Thanks. Wow.
Here at the nearly-over end of 2015, but before 2016 and all it has in store, I’m pausing for a moment. For a word.
I hope you are having a merry Christmas filled with love and kindness and laughter
but I also want to say:
It’s okay if you’re not. Truly, it’s okay.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be good. Whatever it needs to be, it is.
I think for a long time I hunted and yearned and grieved over Christmasses being imperfect. How in some way, how good one single day was would be the measurement of my life.
But it’s not. It’s truly not.
The measurement of my life is the ordinary days. The little moments adding up with each other to culminate in a life well loved.
I want to say it’s okay if things aren’t perfect. If you don’t have everyone together. If you don’t have a big, happy, functional extended family (or any kind of family at all). If everyone isn’t happy. If the kids are whiny or you are whiny or there are no kids and instead of noise there is silence.
It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.
You’re not broken, you are whole.
Christmas wasn’t meant to be anything but what it is:
Whatever appears for you. Whatever your day is composed of right now.
Sometimes it can be so hard to actually just genuinely relax and have fun and enjoy when there’s so much external pressure for Christmas to be HAPPY! FULL OF FAMILY! PERFECTLY COMPOSED! NO PROBLEMS EVER!
And the pressure builds up until we inevitably feel overwhelmed, crabby and heartsick at why our life doesn’t look like the way we think others’ lives are.
(Extra resources: I like what Sarah Wilson wrote about Christmasses: that without fail, she cries at each one just from the build up of energy. Ask Moxie is always wise about basically everything, but especially kids, and I think this post about not having high expectations is stellar.)
If nothing more, Christmas serves as a time for us to pause in the stillness before another year begins. To look back and see what just happened. The blessings and the shit and the hard stuff and the miracles, all tied together in a bundle of a year. Who you were a year ago. Who you are now. You might be feeling a little more war-torn but I can bet a hundred bucks you are wiser, deeper and lovelier than you could ever know.
That’s all my darlings.
Wherever you are:
in the midst of the BEST DAY EVER or the Shittiest Crapfest of the Century or something I like to call a Festival of Awkward, or something in between:
I want you to know you’re okay. You’re whole. Everything is going to be okay. It’s okay for things to be how they are today.
Your whole life is waiting for you. All the ordinary days to come.