How was your first month of the year? Several clients and friends expressed that January was kinda on the rough and raw side... not in a good way.
And they, and maybe you, are not alone. I have plenty to say on this topic... having just lived it firsthand.
The first being, "One month is not a whole quarter, and one month of 12 is just that... no more no less."
I'll share a few highlights, a bit about what worked, what didn't, and how January launched first quarter with what seems to be turning out to be a comedy of errors.
Truly, when it comes to living life, sometimes you just can't make this stuff up.
(NOTE: this post may share affiliate codes, meaning, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for reading!)
There is a fairly happy ending... just so you know... only because I have somehow managed to retain a sense of humor. Keep that in mind as you review the highlights, k? They don't make up a "scintillating drama" and while they weren't life threatening, I simply pose that these were a few things that impacted me in our first month of 2019.
No New Year's Cheer
Pretty much a lackluster emotional start to the year and in a phase of mid-burnout. The year rang in and I was little-impressed, and much less excited, about a fresh new year. I wanted to be excited and pumped... just not the case this year.
I had my plan all ready and a steep little hill to charge up in January (I've been planning since early 4th quarter) and had no oooomph to get me up that dang hill and crossing off my tasks.
Sick, Sick, Sick
There was a 2-week round of sick that happened in our house this January. Fortunately, or not, my partner and I took turns at coughing and being miserable. As the entrepreneur in the house, I was incredibly envious of her being able to call in sick and still get paid.
I ended up feeling behind, when what was really happening was... I wasn't excited about the New Year and I was ill.
Missed my deadlines... ugh
The deadlines I told myself I would hit... well, I missed them. These weren't client deadlines... they were my deadlines. The promises I made to myself. Like, I missed about 70% of them.
Man, that feels awful and disappointing.
And I tried.
Really tried! And this is the funny part... the last week of the month I sat down and made at least 5 videos... all awful!
Can't-make-this-stuff-up awful. And randomly awful.
That's a mark of efficiency, right? LOL.
Lost, found, and the usual suspects
Plus, there was all the usual ins, outs, and what else's that happen each month. Because each and every month, something interesting or unexpected does happen. It just does. Clients decided to move on. New clients came aboard. Our dog Rosie was insistent that I turn up the heater at any given moment.
"Higher. No. Higher, Mama," she'd imply as she bore holes in me from her rug right next to the heater vent. Hey, I can take a hint. What else do I have to do around here, really?
(Yes, that was sarcasm.)
Add it all up and it felt kinda "meh."
I offer this only as evidence that some months just go that way. Even though I was hoping for more vitality and excitement... it just didn't come for me in January. Some January's are like this. That's how this one went.
My life is still full and moving forward. It just wasn't the way I had planned, envisioned, hoped, or dreamed it would be. The miracle? I did get well again and I did retain my sense of humor.
Somehow, and this is a big one... I was able to count about a dozen tiny wins for the month. Fanfare? No. Solid baby steps? Absolutely.
And, y'know what? I'll take it! I'll absolutely take the tiny progress, the bits of growth in my life. Those are real for me. Those are the conductors and conveyors I have activated to carry me and my life forward.
What else came from January?
New insights, for sure. I didn't see them while I was smack in the middle of those 31 days, but looking back through what I accomplished in my planner? There were several firsts... I'm learning and doing more in indie publishing than I ever have in my life.
And! I blogged more for a few different sites than I ever have before. It's a new space for me.
I keep forgetting that I've never been here before. Yet, I frequently think I "should know" the next step, the path forward... like, because I don't (and I really don't!) I think of myself as less-than or not enough... sometimes I even think I'm dumb. And that's just not true or helpful.
The fact is, I'm new. I've never been here before!
Could it be that you've never been where you are before now?
May I suggest the few small things that helped me not only feel better, but give some real perspective... based on evidence?
Okay, here's what helped, that didn't take a lot of time, and you can do it too!
Let's just keep going!
Okay, so January flopped hard for me. It's only a third of a quarter, it's just 1 month of 12. I still have my sense of humour, and I still have work to do. There are resources available: friends, colleagues, clients, and more all around... that's what we have.
Today. Just pick up and keep going... give yourself an easy win... finish something tiny. Take 3 minutes, no more!, and work on your meditation practic... or novel... or stare out the window if you've been a blur these last weeks. Then, just move on.
Thanks for reading! Thinking of you!
Planning can happen aaany time of the year. So, even though it happens to be January, I'm going to be talking about content planning and marketing throughout the year.
Yes, I've been talking about it for years now... but I'll be talking about it here too.
Let's talk about Word of the Year for a sec, as the word -or phrase- you choose will inform your focus, goals, and even content message for as long as you intend to use it.
Now, I've already talked a bit about what my word of the year isn't... and will likely never be, so let's get on to the phrase that will inform the approach for this year:
You may have a single word that zooms in and clarifies precisely what you're going for this year. That is absolutely super!
Where are you in your process?
It could also be that the just-right word or phrase hasn't really landed for you yet. Also, perfectly acceptable. I've been thinking about this Word of the Year thing for weeks now... and am giving myself a rolling 12 months to continue to work toward refining and zooming in on my focus and goals.
Sometimes it just takes me a little more time than the light-speed that others seem to be travelling at all around me. Even though I'm working at my own pace, I am still making lots of progress, while being true to myself and respectful of a process that actually works for me.
Word of the Year? It won't be either of these... EVER.
Maybe I'm tired. Heck, maybe I'm cranky... maybe you are too.
Regardless of my mood and fatigue level, I can guar-an-tee that these are the two words that won't ever be (or describe) my own Word of the Year. 2019 & beyond...
These, my friends, are the Nopes:
Nah, nah, nah. I'm over you, Epic.
I'm taking a pass on you, Massive.
Simply weary of the hype
I'm way, way over those. They feel like pump-up words, not only because they're overused shortcuts in marketing, but because they are also non-specific.
Both are looking to inject a sense of hugeness...and excitement too, I think. Maybe even transformation...
But the words are still... vague, general... once the attention-grabbing "huge excitement" has worn off (elapsed time .5 seconds... for me, anyway)... what comes next?
Something else that is, demands, or promises, something else that is "massive" or "epic".
These are the current promises in marketing terms... and I'm just not buying them (or using them).
This is something I was reeeally sensitive to when I wrote my first nonfiction book, Always Anxious. I believe I used each of those words one time, both in quotes, as above.
Have you noticed the use of these terms in your own feeds and day-to-day work?
Over and over. And over again.
I'm so done.
Did I mention I was D-O-N-E? LOL ;)
Instead of "launching" into this new set of 12 months, I think I'm opting in to the word "merge".
Something more specific and something I can develop more easily and with less stress. Less hype. More sustainable, non-dramatic action. How does that approach sound to you?
You ready for the approach I'm adopting for this year? It might be helpful & of use to you too.
It's all here... 1 click away :) See you there.
Hey! Do you have a word or phrase for the year?
I'd love to know what you've got cooking for this year.
Please share in the comments below, won't you?
I'm still developing my plans and ideas for the next set of 12 months... but I'd like to share the above "unlocking" question: What CAN I do?
The magic is in the emphasis... did you spot it? ;)
I'd be delighted to send you a vinyl sticker of your own! I had a bunch made up to share with friends and clients... hey, that could be you?
I'll be sharing more about how this question, the Batched Task Sheet, and other assorted goodies work in this space, so stay tuned. But for now, why not click, fill out the form, and let me send you the goods... erm, goodies :)
Fair warning: killing your excuses might just piss you off.
Ah, quotes. These pithy, to-the-point little phrases can do two things: in my head, they flood me with inspiration, in my gut, they can also piss me off.
Now it might be obvious about the inspiration in my head. But let’s get to the juicy second point.
They don't piss me off in a bad way. Rather, they point out the truth to me in a way that I cannot deny the truth or needed action. An action I’ve been saying I want to take, but I'm not prioritizing it, I'm not executing or implementing.
An action that, for whatever reason, I am stalling on taking.
So there's a bit of an internal tantrum that happens when I see a quote that activates me to move. And I think, for me, there's a confrontational element and there's also a bit of pain in experiencing an excuse that is dying.
As in, “Dangit! I can’t use that one anymore! I can’t unsee, unknown or deny it.”
With a really good quote, like this one, there is no arguing with its wisdom. It gives a direct hit to “my shields.”
And so the excuse or excuses, that I've been using to block my own progress takes a hit and begins to die.
And the pain, mentioned above, will frequently show up as irritation. There’s a truth that's really inside this quippy little phrase that tears off my excuse bandage and opens.
So let's get an example, instead of this being just a fluffy little chat.
I'm not going to tell you that you have to do anything right now I am going to talk about how I have been working beautifully to build other businesses blogs and website updates for 4 years now and have struggled with building my own.
I've started and then pooped out. It’s been a genuine struggle for me to get into my own groove about building my own business with the knowledge and skills I have in the “webisphere”.
Harnessing my knowledge and skills, and taking the time (!), to produce work on my own behalf is the ultimate task for me. Two of the three companies that I ghost blog for have reached page 1 Google search results due to the work I've been doing, which is amazing for them. It’s brilliant! It’s what I’ve wanted for them...and what they hired me for too.
I want to do that for myself as well.
So, it’s time I take this quote from Ms. Earhart to my heart.
30 minutes in… here’s what I’ve found:
The helpful and hopeful words
The worst part is the anticipation and dealing with yourself for the first 5 minutes inside of this task that you've been tonight.
The sooner you can get into action and stomach an initial few minutes of discomfort, confusion or whatever the feelings are, you're on your way. The dread feelings of irritation,fear or anxiety. The catastrophizing and dooming thoughts are no longer your main focus. They quiet down after a few minutes.
You're in the task and doing what you said you wanted to do. So there's not only an alignment with your integrity, there's also some effectiveness in getting some small, halting, messy steps taken.
After the first 50-100 words of this blog post, I was no longer struggling. I was writing and editing. I was “in it”.
Ready to plant some seeds?
There comes a point where you just have to get into action.
If you want the yield, the crop, the harvest, you have to plant the seeds.
This is not only true of blogging for me, it's also true of writing a book so far as well.
For whatever task or thing you’ve been stalling on yourself. Isn’t it?
When I’m all talk and no substantiating action, I get really frustrated with myself. That was the point I was at when I started this post earlier today.
That's exactly what this exercise is today. A bit of time and effort toward fulfillment, satisfaction and integrity. Doing what I’ve said I’ve wanted to do for years.
These words, for me, are more than a blog post. It may appear as just a blog post to you.
But no, it’s more. This has also been an exercise. A struggle. A dread. A “don’t make me”.
It was a struggle for me to even open the doc and get going.
The first 5 minutes? Awful.
But then the momentum and interest kicked in.
In fact, I'll tell you right now, I've already won the day by showing up, getting the words down, and sharing just a little bit about what I do, how I do it, why I do it in hopes that it may help you.
How will you win your day? Today!
What can you no longer deny? What have you been talking about? What is it you’ve been saying you want to do? Are you willing to take a scary exciting small step toward satisfaction and fulfillment today?
It’s okay if you’re not ready or willing. Having the awareness is plenty.
It’s also okay if you are ready and willing.
Wishing you well and wondering what you’re up to.
Beginning again, right in the middle.
When you know it's time to take yourself on...when the time, effort, willingness and circumstances align and place a solid boot in your back to take the next, scary step.
Yeah. We're there.
It's unknown, exciting, frustrating and there's a sense of abundance all around it that feels safe and somehow familiar too.
Some of it may seem or feel familiar, if you've followed my content development or copywriting work before. That will show up. But it may be in a more personal voice than you'd find on my business site. We'll see how it unfolds.
What's new and coming will be along the lines of :