2015 has been a year like none other: travel, moves, new schools, additions, new experiences, failed businesses, and failed friendships. I spent a few hours and reflected on the good, the bad, and the ugly from 2015. I realized that the amount I’ve learned about myself, my family, and my business has grown exponentially from 2014. Much of that growth is a result of expanding my community*, opening my eyes and ears, and listening to my instincts. I forced myself to boil those things down to one takeaway and put that into a five-word business plan (inspired by the work of Brian Smith).
My mission is much more than a paycheck and my body of work is more than about me.
The 5-word business plan:
This year taught me a lot about my personality. I was introduced to Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” by my dear friend Susan Baier. After reading that I learned, I’m an ambivert: having both the qualities of an introvert and extrovert. I’ve begun embracing the blessing that is an ambivert tapping into the strengths of both an introvert and extrovert.
To execute that business plan, I created a “Five Things That Matter List”:
- Personal: family and friends
- Professional: Spark + Tonic and Illuminate & Educate
- Physical and Mental Health: diet and exercise
- Writing: Including reading – you’ve got to read to successfully write
- Travel: to introduce and immerse our family in new ideas and cultures
I also learned and have begun to embrace that I’m what the world refers to as a polymath or multipotentiality. Defined by Wikipedia as
a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.
You can learn more about this personality and some well-known multipotentiality figures on Emilie Wapnick’s wonderful site, Puttylike.
Through my endeavors as an entrepreneur, I’ve approached my work as a problem solver. Though I’ve solved problems and helped many people, my work has lacked a certain sense of purpose and fulfillment. I wrestled with building a team to develop a new tool, but even those ideas and thoughts left me feeling empty. I recently read Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz and in the book he comments, “tools are value-neutral.” Creating the next Facebook is great, but it’s what the users do with that tool is what matters. The long-term impact is out of my control. These tools like Apple and Facebook do not necessarily alter the structure of society, and certainly not necessarily for the better.
What’s to come in 2016 will go against popular thought and rub much of my community the wrong way. To have an impact with lasting change, it takes a willingness to be unpopular – independent thinking does, and certainly so does leadership. I have a quote that is pinned to the top of my Evernote that reads:
“No one wants to remain a prisoner in an unlived life.”
Life is meant to be lived – defined and pursued on your own terms and not spent pursuing the visions of others.
Among many other goals and projects, 2016 will hinge on:
- Embracing saying no if the request doesn’t directly impact the 5 things that matter list
- My commitment to reading 125 books in 2016
- Create space for creative thought and reflection
- Working one-on-one with Desiree Adaway to build the next great chapter in my life
How is reflecting on the results of your 2015 efforts shaping your plans for 2016? Share in the comments, please.
Like this or know someone that this might help? Please share with your friends.
P.S. Stay tuned for a post revealing a deep and personal announcement soon.
*Many thanks the following folks for lending me their ears and brains but most importantly, their friendship: Susan Baier, Peter Awad, Desiree Adaway and my Mastermind Family, Pamela Slim, Brian Shea, Amanda Lesmeister, Jeff Slobotski, Michael Brown, Ericka Hines, and that countless others. Of course, navigating this path is possible without the unwavering support of Mandi.