The great thing about year end is that you can take stock of what happened in the previous 12 months, and look at ways to avoid mistakes and build on successes.
This is true for pretty much anything you do – your personal life, your job, your business, your blog, your dreams. Anything. I know I’ve had a lot to look back on in 2010 – some good, some bad. Some of the good has (fortuitously) turned to great, while the bad has been… interesting.
Because I see this blog as a place for us all to share, learn, support and help grow each other, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned, and where I want to go. Some of it might be beneficial; some, not so much. Heck, you might not even care for any of it, and that’s all good too – I’m just grateful for you being here.
So… here we go.
Lessons from 2010
There were a ton of things that happened in 2010 – launching For Bloggers By Bloggers with an awesome team of authors was hugely satisfying, for example – and each one saw me learn something. Three in particular, though, stood out.
- We Are Not Invincible. In March this year, I discovered (not through choice) that we are not invincible. I was struck down with an illness that saw me undergoing treatment for three months, and left me listless, tired and weak. This came at a time when I was (mistakenly, as it turned out) flying high professionally. That period showed me what was important, and I’ve never put business before family and health since, nor will I again. I know it’s not easy, but ask yourself if you really need to file that last report or spend that extra ten minutes at work.
- Bitterness Isn’t Your Fault. Recently, I’ve found out that a certain “lady” I used to respect has been seriously bad-mouthing me and telling complete lies to anyone that will listen. Now, I could come out on the offensive and, with the connections I’m fortunate to have, destroy her flimsy reputation in a heartbeat. But what’s the point? As long as the people that matter know the truth, and the bitter people continue to swim in their own crap, why waste energy on them?
- Friendship Can Build a Business. I’ve never been a huge fan of going into business with friends – too much can be put at stake. But sometimes, it just works – and so it’s been with Troy Claus, and Bonsai Interactive Marketing. Every day is a bona-fide joy to go into our office, because it doesn’t feel like going to work – it feels like building business blocks for clients with a great friend. Use this for yourself if you can – you don’t have to be in your own business, you can build a solid friendship with those at your workplace. And you never know what the future holds.
Finding Focus in 2011
Of course, learning from what’s gone before is just part of any equation, especially a year-end one. Just as important as learning is building on the knowledge you’ve taken from the past 12 months, and focusing that into the next 12.
So what can you/we aim for in 2011?
- Buy Your Weakness. Over on my Facebook Page, Phil McDonnell asked about focus and client offerings. It’s a question most (if not all) businesspeople ask, and something we face at Bonsai. Our answer – concentrate on your strengths and buy your weaknesses by outsourcing or hiring. That’s not saying Phil’s weak anywhere, but say he wants to concentrate on web development, but then social applications and more come into the mix. Get others to work on that part, and concentrate on what you do best. I have strengths, as does Troy, but we know we also have weaknesses, and that’s where we use trusted resources to complete a project. Do the same – don’t be afraid to combine to be truly focused.
- Grow Balls. I’ve spoken before about growing bigger balls, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be in the way I described it in the original post. While the points in there are still valid, growing balls can simply mean taking baby steps to your goals and dreams. Start a journal and see if you like writing; if you do, start a blog and share your ideas with the world. Or start saving just a little bit extra, and read just a little bit more, and network just a little bit more. And when you’re ready, think about that business of yours you always wanted to start. Some of the biggest businesses today started as a hobby – why not yours?
- Recognize Redundancy. The biggest stumbling block to focus of any kind is redundancy. Redundant work practices; redundant mindsets; redundant answers; redundant heroes. Stop. Breathe. Look around. What’s in your life – personally and professionally – that you can get rid of? Is there a potential roadblock for where you need to be in 3, 6 or 12 months from now? If so, and you recognize it, nuke it now. Make it redundant before it does the same to you first.
These are just some of the things that have been on my mind as I wrap up 2010 and look forward to the next 12 months. Some you might recognize (in a different form) from your own experiences; some you might be working on yourself. Maybe none of them.
The point is, we can all learn from each other – none of us have all the answers, yet together we can find them. Some of mine might help you (hopefully they do). But some of yours will probably help me too. And that’s all that really matters.
How about you – what have you learned, and where are you taking it?
And if I don’t see you beforehand, have a wonderful New Year with you and yours, and let’s make 2011 the year it all makes sense.
image: National Media Museum
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