Reflecting on 2015
(I can’t do everything.)
A couple weeks ago my wife called me out on being an asshole.
I was angry at first. How dare she! Right?
When I started to listen though, when I took her words and processed them, I begin to realize what she meant. I’d felt off balance for awhile. I knew that for sure. She’d finally vocalized what I’d been feeling. Still, I didn’t want to confront it.
So I kept being an asshole.
Then she called me out on it again.
At first it was, “You’re neglecting me, your pets, your friends and family… for what? For work?”
Let me tell you, that got me hot. I don’t consider writing my third novel merely work. Making progress on getting published is not just work. The dedication I have to my clients is so much more than work.
I pushed back at first. But then I began to listen again.
“What are you passionate about? Where are your priorities!?”
She was right.
I’ve been meandering. My own website spells it out:
I ask my readers to forgive my meandering. I tell them plain out… there is no focus, but just go with it.
That’s not acceptable.
When I finally listened… truly LISTENED… I understood.
She wasn’t asking me for much. She was saying, “When you are with me, be fully with me. When you are with your passions, be fully passionate. You are doing too much. Simplify.”
Acheiving My Goals By Having No Goals
Earlier this year, I worked out a deal with my fantastic yoga instructor, Meichelle Norwood. My wife and I would exchange private lessons from her for a website from me and some photos from my wife, Emily.
Meichelle asked us what our goals were working with her. I’m pretty far along in my yoga and meditation practices so I told her I wanted to gain more focus. To simplify. She said, “You have too many goals. We’ll try to not have any goals. That will get you where you need to be.”
That’s a strange thing. Especially for someone who’s trying to rebrand his freelance business, publish a novel, work on a non-fiction book, help other authors market their books, and be the best he possibly can be at his full time job. Drop your goals to get you where you want to be. Makes… No… Sense…
But I’m always up for a challenge, so okay, let’s dial it back and let the goals go for a bit.
Finding Freedom In The Fact That I Can’t Do Everything
I have to tell you, it’s been freeing. I took her advice — not only in my yoga practice — but also in my business endeavors and life in general.
And I listened to Emily. What am I passionate about? What are my priorities? And what’s worth my time and effort?
2016 is a new year and I am ready for it, with many changes to come. Here are my new year’s resolutions:
- I will raise my prices for my freelance clients so I can spend more time and energy on the businesses that truly care about my services. I certainly won’t be unreasonable, but I will ask for what I think my time is worth and dedicate more time to those who agree.
- I will dial back my author marketing and instead focusing on building resources that will help authors market their books without my hand-holding. The problem for me is that authors don’t have a lot of money and I don’t have a lot of time. If I build something like a course based on my advice to authors I’ve worked with, and if I make it easy-to-follow and affordable, it’s a win-win for everyone.
- I will finally publish my novel, The Crossing. There’s been a lot of talk, a lot of research, and quite frankly, a lot of procrastination. This year I will finally put my baby out into the world. This will be my primary focus. And to prove it to myself, I’ve already hired an editor! Money going into this project means I will actually do something about it.
Those are my business goals. When Emily called me out on being what I was being — an asshole — what she was really talking about was balance. So I will also manage my time better.
I will put in place goals and have a plan to meet them. But I will also avoid being erradic in the time I spend on my various business endeavors. And I will not make goals out of every whim. My goals will be to focus on what is already on my plate and make these things realities. My focus will be to find balance in my business and personal goals.
Part of simplicity is knowing your limits. Part of balance is upholding expectations.
Emily, my friends, my family, and my clients have certain expectations of me because of promises I’ve made. My goal for 2016 as a husband for example is to communicate my work schedule better. It’s to better show my wife that I love and care about her. I do a pretty good job already, but business (read: busy-ness) gets in the way sometimes. In 2016 that will not be an issue.
The biggest problem I had this past year year was that I tried to achieve every lofty goal I set for myself. Learning that I can’t do everything has been freeing.
In 2016 I will finally focus. Thanks to Emily, I’ve been able to see clearly and in the new year will have a greater sense of purpose, a better sense of focus, and a better defined sense of simplicity in work, life, and love.
Michael Doane is an author, strategist, and #eventprof who’s passionate about education, technology, and alternative publishing. In his spare time he reads, hikes, and writes novels. Email him, or find him on Twitter.
What about you?
What have you learned in 2015 and how will it shape 2016 for you? Leave a comment below and share your new years resolutions with the world.