Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


Leave a comment

2019 In Review

Kristi Porter's 2019 in ReviewIs anyone else still finding it hard to believe that we’re halfway through February of 2020? A new year, a new decade. Here we are.

Yet, I’m still writing 2019 on everything. Still settling in. Anyone else?

And, I don’t know about you, but I’m still reflecting on last year. It’s super easy to plunge head-long into moving forward, but to properly steward what’s ahead, I need a good grasp on what is behind. I need learn its lessons, so I can avoid the same mistakes.

Well, who am I kidding? There’s probably some of that in my future anyway, as hard-headed as I am, but I’m gonna try.

Here are some of last year’s highlights and lessons:

HEALTH

If you’re new around here, I’ve had chronic health issues since April 2012. Most of them stem from severe adrenal fatigue, but that same year I also got mono and had my gallbladder removed. Dealing with all of these things within a few months of each other devastated my immune system, and I’ve been trying to rebuild it ever since. Additionally, since I’ve had health problems for so long, it’s caused other issues now and again, such as with my thyroid.

So, yep, I get to deal with the general peskiness of getting older along with this kind of junk. Not fun.

Anyway, I try and treat everything naturally. It’s more time-consuming and certainly expensive, but for things like adrenal fatigue, there is no pill. And, when using medication, you’re also primarily treating symptoms anyway, not root issues.

But that’s how I got here. It’s involved a lot of natural treatments, and a whole lot of supplements.

One thing that went well for my health last year was my supplements. We’re always fiddling with them and trying new ones. And I feel like we hit a good (but expensive) mix last year. I certainly still have a lot of ups and downs, but overall, I noticed an improvement—and that’s very good news. I’ll take any improvements I can get.

Also, I started using the Noom app last year. Due to my health issues, it’s harder for me to lose weight, so it’s been a real struggle, both internally and externally. And, of course, I have very little energy on a lot of days, which means exercise is almost nonexistent. But after I got my supplements in good order, I felt like it was time to try again.

I’ve given Noom a try and lost about 12 pounds in the last four months. It’s a slow process, but I have to admit, it’s good to see some movement on the scale and in my clothes. I’m going to keep at it. (My link saves you 20% if you want to try it.)

All in all, it’s progress for my health, and that’s a very good thing.

PERSONAL

Honestly, this is the part of my life that gets the least attention. For better or worse, that’s how it is for me, at least for now.

Since I’m self-employed and work from home, my job takes up a lot of my time and energy, and most days, there’s not a lot left over. I have incredible friends, but I don’t get to see them all that often. Weekends are usually about rest because of working long hours and needing to recover for the sake of my health before the next work week starts.

To some people, that may sound sad. To others, highly relatable. To me, it is what it is.

Anytime I get together with friends, they tend to reiterate a lot of what I’m saying, even though many of them have spouses and kids. People, in general, seem disconnected. It’s become a little cliche to say that we even though we live in a highly-connected world, many people feel disconnected—but I still find it to be mostly true from the conversations I have.

I’m grateful for every time I get to see family and friends, but those are small moments throughout the year.

TRAVEL

Travel is a part of both my personal and work life, so I’m sandwiching it in-between. Travel is one of my absolute favorite things, but I didn’t get to do much of it last year.

2018 was a BIG travel year for me (England/Ireland/Scotland and cross-country by Amtrak, to name a few), so I needed to reign it in last year. Plus, pretty much all of my travel points were gone, ha!

So, last year, I took quick trips to Blue Ridge, Birmingham, and Chattanooga for my quarterly work retreats, and of course, I went to Texas for the holidays as usual, but that’s about it.

I’m not quite sure what 2020 has in store for travel just yet, but I certainly hope I can squeeze in a few more trips this year.

WORK

As someone who is self-employed, this is where I focus a lot of my time. I often work long hours, and it’s certainly not filled with long lunches, trips to the beach, and doing whatever I want—no matter what many people advertise. Again, maybe one day. 🙂

I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs, and my journey seems to be fairly typical. Last year marked three years in business for me, and it’s been quite a ride! According to myself and friends in similar situations, the first two-ish years is all about holding on for dear life and saying yes to everything possible.

The third-ish year is about getting your business model solidified, learning what you like to work on, making sure you have good systems and process in place to keep you moving forward. That’s certainly true for me.

In 2019, I took three online classes for my business. I’m a bit of a compulsive course-buyer, so this was me showing some restraint. 😉

The first class, The Blueprint Model, was about becoming a better business owner. I freely admit that I’m someone who turned a marketable skill (writing) into a business, not someone who had a good head for business and tried to figure out what I should do. The Blueprint Model really helped me with the financial side, which is what I really needed, but also just helped me understand the business-side of my business better. That meant I became a more confident business owner.

The second class was called Partnership Accelerator, and only lasted a month. But it was an extremely packed month! Because my word for 2019 was Synergy, I wanted to work on my understand of partnerships and really use those to my business advantage. The class was really good, but different than I thought it would be. So, it required a change in expectations. Overall, though, I learned a lot and was able to apply that knowledge going forward. And I’m still learning a lot from that company.

The third class was totally unplanned, to be honest, but ended up being awesome. One of the things I decided that I wanted to work on in the latter half of the year was Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s because it is a total grind to constantly go out and find new clients. I wanted more clients to come to me, and SEO is a good way to do that.

I heard Meg Casebolt on a podcast, and she was the first person who actually made SEO easy to understand for me. So, I took her free SEOctober challenge, and low and behold, ended up getting a new client via Google that same month! As you can imagine, I was hooked. I poured myself into the challenge, and ending up winning a spot into her Attract & Activate course. I’ve learned a ton over the past couple of months from her, and am excited to now implement this strategy into my business.

Outside of those classes, yes, I did actually manage to get work done. In fact, it was my most profitable year yet! Only, by about $1,100, but I’ll take it, ha!

These three classes, sustaining relationships, and lots of networking were the key to my success last year. And I think they laid a really solid foundation for 2020. I’m still reaping their benefits for sure, and hope to improve on them. (More on this soon!)

Last year was a pivotable year for my company, Signify, and I hope that I can keep up the momentum going. I’m certainly trying hard.

CONCLUSION

So, that’s some insight into last year. As always, it was busy and went quickly. But I’m grateful for the lessons learned, new experiences, and certainly, the improvements along the way.

How was 2019 for you?


5 Comments

My Word for 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-465545201

RENEW. Sorry, I just couldn’t hold it in! I’ve been bursting to tell you that my word for the year is RENEW!

It came to me almost instantly about a month ago. In the car that morning, I thought it was time to start thinking forward to 2016, and it just popped in my head. And I knew immediately that it was right. (Strangely enough, it was also written on the mug of a co-worker I sat behind in staff meeting just an hour later!)

In coming to the end of last year, I was exhausted . . . mentally. After dealing with chronic illness for three and a half years, I know what physical exhaustion is. But mental exhaustion was settling in fast, and I was kind of panicking. Thinking of this word, though, gave me hope. Shortly after, I met with my mentor, Holly. A mentor is someone everyone needs in their life, and Holly has blessed me immensely. She comforted me, encouraged me, supported me, and then empowered me with some Bible passages she’d just read earlier that same day. It was no chance that we met that morning.

Isaiah 43: 16-21 MSG

Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to praise me.

This is one of the scriptures she read to me that morning, and now it is also my verse for the year. I think it paints a beautiful picture, and one that will bring me comfort this year.

And I’m a little surprised, considering where I was just a few weeks ago, but I’m actually excited this year is starting. There’s just something special and enticing about “new.” And now I feel better prepared as well.

Coming very soon, I’ll tell you all about the personal retreat I took this weekend to RENEW and recharge. It was the first of its kind for me, and I would not have been ready for 2016 without it. It definitely helped get me on the right track. Maybe it can help you too.

For now, though, I’m just going to enjoy my (RE)NEW YEAR.

Do you have a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear it.

And you can read about last year’s word here.

____________________________________

So, what is all this word for the year business? So glad you asked! I love telling people about it. Basically, a few friends and I started this tradition a number of years ago. It’s a way to look at the year intentionally and proactively in the beginning, rather than only coming to the end of a year and reflecting. We think the latter is more of a reactive stance, and should be more helpful. So, we wanted to set a tone for our year that would help us get where we wanted to go.

This tradition was reinforced again for me a few days ago when I started my Five Minute Journal. It was recommended on a podcast I listened to and sounded really interesting, so I ordered it and started on January 1.

But here’s a snippet from their introduction:

There’s a small part of your brain called the reticular activation system (RAS) that turns on and off your perception of ideas and thoughts, and determines the lenses through which you look at the world. When you take an action like buying a new car, you’ve taken a major step in redefining your possessions and your RAS changes to accommodate your new acquisition. And everywhere you go, your RAS will gently remind you of this change by pointing out others who have the same car as you.

When you write ‘What would make today great?’ (one of the daily questions asked), you’re taking a step to influence your RAS to point out and engage in activities that would make your day better. You’re building new pathways in your brain that allow you to ‘see’ what you can do to improve your well being every day. You’re creating a new program in your mind that naturally leans to improve your happiness. Doing this consistently gives you consistently better days. It’s that simple.

Voila! And you thought I just made this stuff up. 😉

And I discovered as I prepared for 2015 that there are a lot more people who utilize a word for the year. If you’re interested, here are two other great resources to help get you started:

One Word That Will Change Your Life

My One Word

Wishing you a wonderful 2016!

 

(Note: Amazon links are affiliate links.)


Leave a comment

2015 In Photos

Here’s a VERY quick look back at my 2015! There were so many things I didn’t get photos of, or have room for. So regardless of your inclusion here or not, thank you for making last year memorable!

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 8.12.40 PM


Leave a comment

Frame: 2015 in Review

Gosh, here we are. The end of the year. Are they speeding up or is it just me? It was a little over a year ago when I picked my word for 2015: FRAME. And wow, what a year it’s been!

There were two uses for this word when I chose it, both as a noun and a verb. I wanted to use FRAME as a way to get a better picture of what I want my life to look like, and also to help me put margin around things that I wanted to focus on. So how did it hold up?

As with all things in life, most of it is lived in normalcy of the day-to-day, and then there are these other distinct moments that helped to shape it as a whole. I can definitely say that FRAME helped me put it into perspective. And having my verse on the bathroom mirror, Matthew 6:33, where I see it each day, was a good reminder to set my priorities rather than having someone else set them for me.

One of the things I love to do is travel. And I was absolutely able to do more of that this year. I went to Nashville (twice), Chicago, INDIA, Minneapolis, Seattle, Irvine, Indianapolis, New York City and Washington DC! And I’ll finish up this year in Texas. Even though some of those were work trips, I managed to squeeze in some fun and friends. But being able to travel more this year was one of the absolute highlights.

As you can imagine, India was another one, which combined my love of travel with my love of social justice. I went with two friends to visit this beautiful and heartbreaking country where one of my friends has a program that helps girls complete their college education. It was the experience of a lifetime. I am forever grateful to those who donated to this trip so that I could go.

I was also able to do some more freelance writing and consulting, which makes me very happy. Some of the writing was based on my experiences of working as an event marketing director, and a lot of the consulting was in the arena of marketing and communications, but to further assist in social justice causes.

I love to learn, so additionally, I’ve had the privilege to participate in three book launches. One of those was unofficial, because it was a friend’s book, and two were as part of an official launch team. And along the lines of learning, I was able to attend a number of conferences again this year. I love attending conferences! I already have a few booked for next year that I’m looking forward to as well.

And I was very excited to cut down on my debt this year, despite some of the things above. My plan is to be debt-free next year, and I am counting down to that time! It will be a game changer for me.

I also made more progress with my health, which I am so grateful for. It’s been three and a half years of chronic issues. I never could have imagined it would be this kind of journey, but it has become part of a new way of living—at least for now. It’s a very slow process, but I have great help from my naturopaths and the support of my general practitioner, and I look forward chipping away at it again moving forward. I can’t wait to be healthy again!

Of course, not everything went as hoped or planned. I accept that will always be the way it is, but yes, it still stinks. There are many things to work on, and learn, and plan, and do. So, as a head’s up, I can tell you that next year’s words won’t be “nirvana” or “perfection.” But hey, where’s the fun in that?

So, these are the highlights. FRAME made for a good year. I’m sure I missed a number of things as I look back over 350+ days. There were other great causes, celebrations, conversations and connections, as well as seemingly ordinary hours that stacked up to create the last 12 months. There are things I’d trade, do-over and totally do-again. But, in the end, I tried not to waste any of this precious time. And that is the best I can ask of myself.

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”Margaret J. Wheatley


Leave a comment

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