Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Signify: Word for the Year Recap

vertical-logo-w-taglinelargeGoodness gracious! How on earth can it be December again already? Why do I feel like the years are speeding up? Anyone else? (If we were speaking in person, my voice would be getting higher right now . . . )

It’s been one crazy year! As always, things happen that you don’t expect. And even when you do expect them, they’re never quite the same as you planned. Can you relate?

2017 marked my first, full year year in business. And I knew that would be my primary focus for the year, so it just made sense that my word for the year was SIGNIFY. I just re-read my announcement post, and I can just read the hopefulness and enthusiasm in my tone. 🙂 I haven’t lost that tone, thank goodness, but it is a little more battle-worn.

The failure rate for startups is a little scary. And 80% don’t make it past five years. As a solopreneur, I can see why—it’s hard! Unless you somehow achieve success and popularity early so you can bring on more people to help you, the wear and tear of running a business by yourself daily isn’t easy. And there are so many decisions to make! There are always more things to do than more time to do them in, and you often feel like you’re pushing a rock up the hill. Actually, I call it being “admined to death” because all of the day-to-day tasks can take every bit of time you have available, and then some.

I achieved some of my goals for the year, but certainly not all of them. The big ones I didn’t meet really stung. I’m a bit of a Type A overachiever, so it’s been hard to work through that, and not let fatigue and comparing myself to others get me down. It definitely did some days. And to be honest, I’m just starting to come back from the brink of burnout.

One of the things I had to do this year was not travel as much. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you can probably guess how hard that was for me. I love to travel, and it’s really life-giving for me. And even though I travel a lot using points by being an amateur travel hacker, little costs here and there do add up. So, I took a step back. Honestly, it was a good financial decision, but hurt me a lot mentally. I wasn’t able to get away, clear my head, and be inspired by new places and people. So, I hope to resume that next year.

SIGNIFY means to represent, to make known, and to be important. So, that’s what I set out to do in 2017. And though I definitely could’ve made improvements, I did accomplish that in some ways.

I chose the name to represent the things my clients and I could do together. I mostly work with small nonprofits and social enterprises, because I love and believe in small business. But many of them can’t afford someone like me on staff full-time, so I’m able to help them with their marketing and communications projects. And through my company, I’m able to help get their message out into the world in a bigger way. I’m able to support their work, and make their mission known to more people. And so, even on a small scale, I have accomplished that goal. I’ve been able to work with old friends and new friends, and on some really cool projects. It’s been a blessing and an honor to help them succeed.

On the personal front, I made some progress too, but I also had some setbacks. After struggling with chronic illness for five an a half years, I had some really good test results in September. My adrenal fatigue moved from a Stage 8 (the worst) to a Stage 4, so that’s awesome. However, my mono has reared it’s ugly head again, making me not feel as good as I should with the healing in my adrenal glands. I’m on a new protocol, and seeing good results, so I’m hopeful that progress will continue. I just have to keep the stress at bay, which as you know, just makes everything worse, including existing health issues.

Additionally, on the personal front, when my energy is higher and I’m feeling better, I’m also able to get in more exercise. I love walking on a trail near my home, and even though I usually listen to business podcasts, it still helps me relax. I also do some good praying out there when I walk. And I’ve also just started doing five-minute yoga sessions in the morning to get my blood pumping and my brain working. There are several on YouTube that I’ve been trying. Obviously, I’d love to scale up to longer routines, but I’m starting with what I know I can do so that I don’t put it off. Plus, I’m not a morning person, so I have to keep it easy.

Speaking of praying, I was able to read Mark for Everyone by Tom Wright again this year, and I really love that whole series. I’m reading Hebrews for Everyone right now. This is a very cool series that lays out the New Testament books in very easy-to-understand language. It’s like an everyman’s commentary. (Check it out, or some of the other books I read this year.)

I’ve also been praying more using affirmations rather than only supplication this year. It’s sort of an idea I pulled from conversations and books. I’m still not really sure how to describe it succinctly yet, but it’s been an interesting process over the past couple of months, and allows me to talk to God in a new way. But I’m talking to him, and that’s the point. He’s constant, but I’m always learning new facets of His personality (thanks to books like Experiencing God), so of course, that’s the best relationship to keep pursuing.

So, that’s kinda my year in a nutshell. Some highs and some lows, just like you. But I try to always live with intention, and that helps shape everything.

I have kind of a concept for my 2018 word for the year, but haven’t pinpointed the exact word yet. But I’ll certainly let you know in the next few weeks.

What about you? How was your year? What was your word (or phrase) for the year, and how did it go?

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Clarify: 2014 in Review

180471960My word for 2014 was CLARIFY. Once I decided on this word, I put it on a Post-it and stuck it to my bathroom mirror so that I would see it every day. Some days it drove me. Some days it haunted me. And some days I just wanted to rip it off my mirror.

As I’ve been mentally preparing for this blog post over the past few weeks, I’ve been unsure what to write. I kept putting off even thinking through it for fear I would have no answers, nothing to say. Did I actually CLARIFY anything? Finally, upon reflection, I think I did.

I use verbs for my words of the year so I can think of them as motion, action. But so much of this year felt like I was stuck or going backward. Momentum felt out of my reach or something for another day. I’ve had chronic health issues for two and a half years. I can’t begin to describe what it’s taken from me: money, time, relationships, spirituality, memories, life. More than I ever could have predicted. As my health has progressed, or I guess lack thereof, I’ve just felt less like me.

But then there were those precious moments where there was a spark. A contrast to the rest of the time around it.

I watched movies like Begin Again and Wish I Was Here and they inspired me.

I had a four-hour conversation with Jason about justice.

I laughed till I cried with Heather, Matt, Rudy, Lisa, Chris, April and James over a game of Taboo.

I rejoiced as my friends Amy and Collin said, “I do.”

I reflected on life with Kristi and Patti.

I held the newest son of Daron and Margaret.

I planned events to help educate people on modern slavery.

I watched the Olympics.

I attended conferences.

I had honest conversations with Stephanie and Emily.

I had a long-overdue dinner with Michelle, Ben, Karen and Patrick.

I welcomed Katie back to the U.S.

I visited California…twice this year. (Currently my favorite state.)

I sung at the top of my lungs to the Wicked soundtrack. (Because who doesn’t?)

And so many more…

Those moments were different. They were bright spots in the day or week. They made me come alive, and feel like me again. It was if I was made for those moments. And those times helped me CLARIFY.

When I was in California the second time, I had dinner with Patti and Kristi, two women I met just months before at The Justice Conference in February. Between the three of us, we span three generations and backgrounds. And we have some great conversations as a result, CLARIFYING conversations. One of the things we talked about was each of our ages and what it meant to get older at that age. For me, turning 38 this year, I said I think I just continually grow into myself more. I feel like I’m always becoming more of myself, the me I’m supposed to be. And I guess that’s part of the wisdom “they” say comes with age. I’m so grateful for it. In some ways, I’m a very different person than I used to be. And in some ways, I’m the same. But I know I’m continually refining me, and it’s a lifelong process. There are days when it’s just plain not fun, and there are days when it’s an adventure I can’t begin to describe.

I crave more of these moments; moments that give me joy and purpose. So, for the rest of 2014 and in the future, I will strive to collect more CLARIFYING moments.

It seems simple enough. We all desire these moments, even if we don’t fully appreciate them when we’re living them. But I want to appreciate them more. I know they are limited, and I want to cherish them. It’s important to remember, though, that we must have the contrast to give them weight. So much happens in between errands and doctors’ appointments and work and responsibility. It’s up to me to take advantage of them and get more of them on my schedule, or at least be open to their possibility.

So, I’m not sure I gained a lot of concrete answers this year, but I believe I did CLARIFY a few things, and that’s a lovely gift to end 2014 with.

“We move forward. That’‍s the only direction God gave us.” – Gabe, Wish I Was Here


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2013: The Halfway Point

simplify

Ok, so it’s technically it’s a little past the halfway point of 2013, but I should get credit for the update anyway.

For those of you following along at home, you’ll remember that my word for the year was SIMPLIFY. Just in case you’ve recently started reading, you can read all about it right here. The gist of having a word for the year is that you use a theme to look forward at the year, thinking about what you want it to be. This is the reverse of looking back at the year to see what happened. It’s a more proactive approach. My decision to use the word SIMPLIFY was to have a cleansing effect on me in several different ways. I want to live more simply. I have more than I need. I have more things and thoughts to occupy my time than I feel like I should, from items in my home to emails in my inbox to preoccupations and more.

A few of the items I originally listed include getting rid of things in my home, removing myself from email lists, working on my budget and paying down debt.

Some of the things I’ve done so far this year are:

  • Reinforcing the concepts through books, articles and conversations.
  • Donating and selling things in my house.
  • Getting off some email lists.
  • Paying down some debt.
  • Taking a look or two or three at my budget.
  • Not committing to events or people I didn’t feel would be best for me at this time.
  • Using eMeals.com to prepare meals.
  • Following a chronological Bible reading list.
  • Focusing on only a couple of volunteer activities.

Honestly, these are still all ongoing. I can still make improvements during 2013, and intend to. It may seem like a pretty good list, but some items are further along than others. None are probably as far along as I’d like them to be, but they are in a much better place than they were seven months ago and that’s important to remember.

I definitely need to listen to my theme song and read by theme verse more throughout the year. They’ll help keep me motivated. But I am proud to say I have done a little hell-gate prevailing, though again, there’s still much more to be done. And that’s the really fun stuff. 😉

So, there you go. I’m checking in, and keeping accountable right here. And I’ll definitely let you know how this year shaped up in a few more months. Fingers crossed, I’ll be able to report more progress. Scratch that: I WILL be able to report more progress!

If you’re doing something similar, please let me know how your 2013 is going. I’d love to hear!