Overall, the year was well spent and fairly productive. Not as great as I wanted it to, but life is often like that. I’m grateful for the great things that happened and that I made happen.
So what did I learn?
Being fearless is harder than I thought it would be, but I’m getting there.
One of my things to do last year was a to be fearless. And I found that being fearless is hard. Really hard.
But I tried.
I reached out to new people and got a few new clients and opportunities.
I reached out to organisations and got a couple speaking gigs.
I grabbed opportunities when it came my way and made new friends and acquaintances.
Am I fearless? No. But I’m less afraid. And that is a step in the right direction for me.
Being good enough is not as bad as I thought it would be
Another thing that I planned to do last year was to be good enough. And I did it.
I wrote blog posts and published them after self-editing without worrying whether there were grammatical or spelling errors, which they frequently had.
Nor did I worry whether the style of writing was good, which I still don’t know.
I still wrote anyway.
Even when calling on prospects, I didn’t let the fact that people may not know my work get in the way. It was scary, but I didn’t let it stop me.
I’m still not where I want to be, but I keep going. I will embrace my imperfections.
Good intentions are never enough.
For 2015, I had planned to schedule more time off and spend more time with my family. That didn’t work out as well as I wanted to.
In fact, I think I spent less time with my family and took less time off.
While my intentions were well, it takes real effort to turn them into reality. Like dreams too I suppose. Maybe intentions are indeed dreams.
I did take time off over the Christmas season and spent it with family and friends. It was one of the best Christmas’s that we’ve had in a long time.
Good habits are harder to form and far easier to break than bad ones.
I started fine.
Got up early. Wrote. Read. In the evenings, I wrote in my journal and planned my day. I did this for months.
Then things got busy.
Soon I was getting up late. Hardly wrote.
I stopped planning my day as most times it was shot to shit. Coming to the end of the year, I missed journal entries.
Luckily I still made time to read, although I would often skip days.
The thinking that if you perform something for more than 21 days it becomes a habit is bunk. It never became a habit since it was so easily broken.
So far for this month, I’ve started back fine with all those tasks. So perhaps there is some habit left in me.
Now if only I could focus.
Having a Kindle does help you read more.
I used to read Amazon Kindle books on my Samsung Tablet, but I found it used to hurt my eyes at night. So I decided to get a Kindle Paperwhite.
I was afraid that it would be one of my wasted purchases, but I found the act of reading on the Kindle slightly enjoyable. In the end, I read a lot more books because of it last year.
I still prefer paper books. But the Kindle Paperwhite makes it easy to read in the dark.
If you like reading, then I recommend you get one.
No matter how bad things get, you find people willing to help you out, and you eventually get over it.
We had one vehicle. My wife and I shared it. Because of that, if I went to a client I would have to leave early to ensure I reach back in time to pick the kids up. This was a huge limitation for me. So I decided to purchase another vehicle.
Because of the amount of savings I had, I had to look at used vehicles. I set a budget and got to looking at vehicles.
Took me months of research and viewing vehicles before I ended up purchasing a 10-year-old Suzuki Vitara. The price was good, and it looked and felt good enough.
Within a couple of weeks, it started overheating. One day, while going to a site visit, the overheating was terrible. I ended up by a mechanic who verified that the head gasket had blown.
So now after I spent all that money and time, I now had to find more money and time to spend to fix the vehicle.
I was devastated.
How could I be so stupid? How am I going to afford this now? All that research and what do I get?
What made it worst for me was that I had made a rule to not purchase a vehicle owned by a woman. And this was previously owned by a woman. Two in fact.
But I had great support from my mechanic and the car parts representative.
My mechanic helped me understand the problems, waived fees, even was patient with me when I argued with him (which I did a lot).
The car part representative got me a discount on genuine parts and gave me part numbers to get after market ones. That was a big help because I was able to save tons of money from that, almost half had I purchased only genuine spare parts.
After two months the vehicle was back in order. If not for those two, and my wife for helping me with my ups and downs, I may not have been able to make it through that time.
In the end, I am happy with the vehicle. It’s old, but everyone likes to drive it.
I have these grand ideas.
New ideas for business. New ideas to help me in my business. Ideas that will help me save time. Ideas that will help me be better.
I buy books. I buy training. I buy kits to try out my ideas.
The books remain unread. The training undone. The kits gathering dust.
I even bought a small laptop that I had every good intention of using, but never did get around to it. In my mind, it would be small enough for me to carry around so that I could type up ideas that came to me, or do research in the library. Instead, it’s there staring at me sadly, lonely and neglected.
How many other things did I spend money on to use but never got around to using them? That has to stop.
It’s part of my resistance as Steven Pressfield refers to it in “The War of Art”.
All these purchases are part of trying to say I’m not good enough yet, do something else.
While some of the books, training and kits would be definitely useful, I was just not ready for them as yet. I could have delayed the purchase until I was ready. Something better may have even availed itself when I became ready.
I know that I am good enough. And I will get better in time.
I still don’t like being subcontracted.
I tried subcontracting my services again.
Yes, it’s profitable. Yes, it helped me survive this year.
But in the end, not interacting with the end-customer, and feeling like I’m not truly giving them what they need, doesn’t give me the satisfaction that I want.
The client that was sub-contracting me often has far different drivers to completing a project than I do. Also, not being able to do a project my way is difficult for me.
I may still pursue a few of those types of work this year, but the aim is to get my own opportunities to interact directly with the end-customers.
Unless I find a company who has many of the same ideals as I do and I don’t mind working with to achieve the same goals.
And now you?
What did you learn?