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Monday, December 30, 2013

Observations on a "Successful" 2013

Interestingly, this past year, I achieved everything I set out to do.  This year was the year I was going to focus on my business and become more involved in the community.  I did.  It worked out nicely. 

In fact, on paper, this was a fantastic year.

I had signed up for a consulting program to help with my business.  It wasn't quite what I was looking for, but it reinforced that I have some good systems.  I had a staff change mid year that has actually worked out to be a great thing.  I exceeded my goals, which were already a push, by 10%.  Not bad.

I head into 2014 with good work systems and a great staff.

I was extremely involved in a number of service and political organizations, another goal of mine.

Because I believe strongly in community service and having a voice.

Because I know I can get things done.

We managed to get a new principal.  We clothed and fed a few hundred people. I made some amazing connections and feel like I can have an impact on policy making directly.  I helped raise money for some organizations I believed in.  I supported women's rights.

I head into 2014 knowing that this year I made a positive impact in the world.

So why am I not completely and utterly thrilled?  Isn't that what resolutions and goals are about?

Because I'm exhausted.

Because the energy I spent this year didn't really align with my real values.

Not to say that I don't love what I do professionally and want to be the best at it-- I do.  It's just in my field "success" is measured by money.  This year reiterated that I don't actually care about that.  Well, I do, but it's not a huge motivator.  I believe in enough.  I believe in having enough money so I can live a comfortable lifestyle. My client satisfaction score was far more important to me than my year end numbers.  I don't need to achieve some random number set by some corporate employee that I see once a year.  It's why I am an independent franchise owner after all.

I am proud of the community service and the organizations I support, but honestly, even that didn't turn out to be quite the motivating factor I thought it would.  People always seemed to want more- the more I did, the more that was asked and expected. More money.  More time. 

It took away from time with my family-- missed dinners to attend meetings or fundraisers.  It was all for good reasons, but it felt wrong.  I always wanted to be helping my kids with their homework or reading with them at night-- not schmoozing or listening to speaker reiterate what I already knew and supported.

It also took time away from focusing on my health-- an area that I kinda threw the towel in on this year to focus on the other areas-plus weight loss had been this ridiculous goal that I wasn't achieving-- and I ended up sick.  A lot. The only time I can really work out is at 5 am.  Staying out late meant I couldn't wake up to get going early.  All the exercising and eating healthy I had been doing may not have made a dent in the scale, but it certainly had positively impacted my overall health. 

So in 2013 I made some money.  I made some positive change in the world.  It was a good year.

But the biggest thing I got out of 2013, was redefining my values.  My family, the quality of my work (not quantity) and my health- the things that truly matter to me.

My 2014 won't look like my 2013. My focus at my business will be to sustain what we put in place last year and maintain the momentum.  I will do some community service, but not much.  I've turned down 2 board appointments already.  Very politely and graciously.  Because I can't.  I know one pissed a few people off, but oh well.

I know everyone is busy, but it was nuts this past year.  It just felt wrong.  I was living a good life, but not mine. 

This next year will be more tuck ins.  More yoga.  More time cooking.  More time breathing.  More time reading for pleasure.   More family game nights.  More dates with my husband.  More walks at night.  More petting the dog.  More traveling.  More lunches with friends and clients.  More dinner parties.  More wine after dinner on the patio.  More writing.  Maybe even a PhD program...

It will be less Facebook as a stress reliever.  Less late nights at the office or bringing work home.  Less making exceptions for that day off I meant to take off but someone really needs something that day.  Less commitments of my time.  Less following up with people for the third or fourth time because I know I'm not the only one capable of keeping a calendar.  Less time calling friends that never call me and focusing on the ones that do. 

It really was a good year.  I am grateful.  Next year, however, is going to be even better.  I know it.  Because I'm going to be focusing on what's really important to me- better relationships with my family, friends and clients-- and better health, regardless of the scale.

As successful as 2013 looked on paper, the real change took place within.  Even more importantly, it set me up for an even better 2014- maybe not on a paper, but where it matters most.

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