Reflecting on 2019 Wins is Just as Important as Making 2020 New Year's Resolutions
(Image Source: Unsplash)
As 2019 is quickly coming to an end, many people are pondering what their new year's resolutions will be. What there weight loss goal is? How they want to eat better or exercise more? How they want to save money? What new skills they what to learn? What projects they want to complete? What they want to accomplish career wise? After Christmas, and at the beginning of 2020, social media newsfeeds will be flooded with proclamations people make and news articles on this topic.
On a personal level, I generally don't make new year's resolutions. Each day I try to be in the mindset of being better than I was the day before. But as an entrepreneur, goal setting is a common business practice. As many do on a personal level, at the end of the year I make a list of top goals I want to achieve in the new year business wise. In the process of setting my 2020 business goals, I started reflecting more on what things occurred in 2019 that I was especially proud of that made a significant impact on my business.
Here's my top four!
Accomplishment #1 - Hosting my independent LinkedIn trainings!
2018 was my first full year as an entrepreneur. Business didn't go as well as I hoped it would. The process of re-branding myself and establishing myself as a subject matter expert took time. I used the holiday season as a time to brainstorm on what I could do differently. The option that made perfect sense to me was hosting my own LinkedIn trainings. Offering such training is a core service of my business with me targeting workforce development and educational institutions. Building consistent clients takes time. Yet, I've never been one to be idle. Once I found a location to host my trainings, I started the year off with one in February and ended up having six over the course of the year. Providing the trainings to clients is a core service for my business. But having a way for the general public to access my training had dual benefits. It allowed me a way to serve my local LinkedIn connections and others who expressed interests in my workshops. For me, it was a way for to further expand my #ShineOnlineNetwork and have an income stream.
Accomplishment # 2 - Speaking on a national basis!
I was a communications major in college. This meant that I wrote and gave tons of presentations. The thought of speaking to a room full of people is terrifying to many people. For me, I get excited about opportunities to stand on a stage, or simply in a meeting, and everyone's attention is on me. I get an adrenaline rush and go into my zone. Sometimes I feel like an actress, as if I am someone else and I am just playing a role. Public speaking had always been an aspect of all of my jobs. Despite this, I never anticipated speaking to become a core service of my business. (I never anticipated becoming an entrepreneur either, but I share that story in another article.)
In mid 2018 I applied to be a speaker at an event after the nudging of someone I hold in high esteem. To my surprise, I was selected and was the opening speaker for the Disrupt Milwaukee event that November. I was excited to have my first speaking opportunity as an entrepreneur. I was on stage representing myself and my business. This was huge for me! To spend twenty-plus years always talking as a representative of someone else and advancing their brands to being on stage as Clarene Mitchell of TCM Communications was a major milestone for me.
This photo is one of my favorites from the event. It shows how I commanded the stage and I had everyone's attention.
Okay, now to the point of me becoming a national speaker in 2019. It wasn't long after the Disrupt Milwaukee event that I started to get antsy. I wanted to be on a stage again. It was almost like I was craving it like I crave my favorite dessert, I had to have the experience again! So at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, I applied for different events with the goal of speaking outside of my state. My first stop was New Orleans in March for the DisruptHR NOLA event. And then to Omaha in July for their DisruptHR event. I was the opening speaker for each of those events. My last event was in September for DisruptHR Detroit. It went from having my first local event in November to having three events across the country in 2019. Now when I apply to be an event speaker, I have references from my prior events and video clips of me speaking. Here's the video to one of my favorite 2019 stage times.
Accomplishment #3 - Writing and Self-publishing my book!
If anyone would have asked me this time last year if 2019 would include me becoming a book author, I would have given them my 'what you talking about Willis' look. Some accomplishments are goals that you strategically establish and work to complete. While others have all to do with timing and/or inspiration.
My professional background includes me being a print journalist. So becoming an author was not a major leap. Through the years, there have been times when people told me I should write a book. Doing so was never on my bucket list. This all changed when my husband and I attended a business expo in Chicago. A book writing masterclass was offered by one of the speakers. As an entrepreneur, I'm always working to take my business to the next level. I'm also always in the mindset of taking advantage of great deals. The two-day training was for a price that was too good to resist. Truthfully, even when I registered, I still was fully convinced that it was time for me to write a book. The exciting part of the training for me was that the second day fell on my second anniversary as an entrepreneur! What better way to spend my anniversary than doing something that could boost the business? I returned home from the training with my mind settled on the fact that it was indeed time for me to become an author. The training gave me the tools I need to get the process started. That is all I needed to get focused. I was so focused on this goal that I wrote and published it in less than sixty days. I'm a deadline orientated person, so I put a short timeline on myself to make sure I didn't get sidetracked on other goals. My book release celebration was the most significant event in my professional life.
Accomplishment #3 - Having evaluations for all of my trainings!
Soliciting feedback can be risky! Of course I wanted to know that people gained benefit from being in my trainings. But I also welcome constructive feedback. The positive feedback let me know I was on the right track with my offerings. The suggestions gave me insights on how I can improve my offerings. The later helped me see what other information I could add or remove, adjustments I could make with the fee and the time.
This year my mantra has been,
'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.'
With each of the accomplishments I detailed above, there were risks. Each took me out of my comfort zone. I had to challenge myself constantly to get to the finish line. I'm glad I pushed myself! Now I can look back with pride to see the fruits of my efforts. Just like new year's resolutions, they mean nothing unless you put action into making them happen. Because I set goals and held myself accountable to making them happen; I have more people who were able to take advantage of my LinkedIn trainings, I added the titles of national speaker and book author and I have a collection of evaluations that give me a wealth of information.
Don't just wish for 2020 to be great. Do what you need to do to make it great! Otherwise you stay in your comfort zone and at the end of the year with nothing that you have accomplished. You will stay stagnate and not grow. Opportunities will come and go without you taking advantage of them.
Now that I have shared my big 2019 wins, I welcome you to share your's in a comment below. Better yet, publish your own LinkedIn article with your major accomplishments.