This year was about "Divine Alignment" - and there was a lot of re-alignment happening.
Every year for half a decade now, I've intentionally chosen a "theme" and a "theme song" to set the tone for my year - both personally and professionally. As a personality-based brand, it's important to choose something that reflects both pieces of the puzzle. So much of what I do overlaps, connects, and is even interwoven throughout my life and work. It makes sense, then, to craft something that has meaning in both arenas.
Here's a summary look at my 5 Key Areas for 2014:
For me, faith is where my core beliefs and values intersect. The values in focus this year were freedom, space, contribution, creation, and joy. That meant doing more of what I love and reaching more of my right people. Trips to Atlanta, Minnesota, New York, Vegas, and Arizona had me re-connecting with bunches of people that mean the world to me - and connecting with a few new friends as well. Talk about JOY! And I've got a car again, so there's some more space and freedom opening up for me. I did a LOT of connecting this year, including more work with Des (and the incomparable Damn Whippersnappers) - and TWO online shows.
I was also pleased to be able to work with my friend and coach Teresa Romain in her year-long program. The folks in that group are always so inspiring, and I'm lucky to now count many of them as friends. My Faith cup runneth over this year, to be sure.
"It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever." - It's My Life
My oldest not only managed to turn 18 this year, but fell in love and moved out. As a mom, there's still a bunch of emotional baggage I carry about that, but as a coach, I recognize that I can't live his life for him, and he's a much happier, better adjusted, more responsible guy now. So in that respect, Mom's happy. He's actually working to get his GED so that he'll graduate ahead of the other kids in his class. Go figure! After years of struggle, it's so nice to see him happy, healthy-ish, and living a life he's proud of.
The rest of the family is drawing closer. Hubby and I are staring down the barrel of our 10th anniversary this year, and we've managed to carve out a bit more time for one another. Our current pastime is "Netflix at Night" - where we carve out an hour or two to cuddle on the couch and watch a series from beginning to end. This year we checked off "Burn Notice" and we're swapping through "Psych", "Criminal Minds", and "Royal Pains" as we speak. We're both a little bummed that "Psych" is kaput. That's some funny stuff for any child of the 80's.
As I say in my book, "sometimes friends are as family". My extended family this year includes two amazing groups of women: my mastermind, and a spiritual group that evolved from Amy Oscar's Soul Caller retreat last year. They've always been an encouraging, uplifting, and often enlightening bunch of ladies. My Mastermind had their first get-away weekend, a book-signing event in Traverse City for Jill, and a jaunt around the lake in Ortonville on Pam's family boat. Our retreat group had a reunion gathering this year that was simply amazing.
It's always a blessing to watch these ladies soar to new heights, and I expect that 2015 will be even bigger for them.
I'm making slow, yet steady progress on the 100 pound weight loss goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I'm about 75% dairy-free now and closer to 95% gluten-free. The challenge comes when I am not home, and don't have a back-up plan - like when I'm mid-flight and ravenous, or when someone brings brownies home the night before grocery day when the cupboard is getting bare. It's forced me to be more proactive about my meals, which is rarely a bad thing. I'm at my lowest weight all year as I roll into the holidays (pray for me).
I've still got a few pounds to go before I hit 20 for the year, and I'm being compassionate with myself. I'm not giving myself carte blanche, though. I'm still doing what I can to be mindful. See all those cookies? The Aunts in my family have an annual tradition: Cookie Day. We made 11 different varieties of cookies. I had a few, but I shipped most of them to my son or my sister in California. Hee hee.
On the mental/emotional side of the Fitness coin, I did a lot of self-education this year. Aside from the work I did with Teresa, I jumped into several online courses, books, and training programs. I also got designated as a Certified Profit First Professional Business Coach (ooh! Fancy!). After being one of the editors for Mike Michalowicz's book by the same name, I recognized that implementing the Profit First approach meant that my business would be guaranteed a profit at the end of the year (it worked!). I was also able to work with a few clients in this approach, one of whom went from losing $10-12,000 each month to turning a $2-5,000 profit during our time together. Sha-zam! If you're interested in getting your own profit analysis, let me know. It's the first time in my life where I've said "I LOVE RUNNING THE NUMBERS!"
As I mentioned, my business turned a profit this year. Not only that, but I took quarterly profit sharing distributions - a first for my business. In the past, I didn't really feel my profitability - it was more on paper than anything else. This year, it felt empowering to cut myself a profit check at the end of each quarter. I'm really looking forward to next week's check - which should be the biggest of the year.
The shift was almost entirely due to the Profit First approach. It meant scaling back on a few things I didn't want to admit were not serving me. It forced me to be ruthlessly honest with myself about what was working in my business, and what wasn't. Gone were the "big" clients were playing "Moneyball" with my Great Work. I hired a kick-ass VA, updated the website, and got clear on my target market (not necessarily in that order).
I created content - lots of it. There are nearly 100 tunes in the 300 Songs project - many with videos now. My YouTube channel had over 50,000 new views this year, and now sports almost 250 subscribers, which is on pace with my goal for the year. Woo hoo! I also launched my new Dreamblazing program - a strategic planning system for personality-based business owners to meld their personal and professional goals.
"Tomorrow's getting harder make no mistake. Luck ain't even lucky. Got to make your own breaks." - It's My Life
I spoke at a National Conference in Arizona (and had a ball!), taught a workshop in Minnesota, and got to perform in a variety of ways - including work for one of Detroit's biggest rap superstars (no, I did not rap, btw).
But the coolest thing that happened was seeing The Secret Watch hit multiple Amazon best-seller lists in the UK and here in the states. An experiment as part of my annual give-back campaign, it was a thrill to see my name "in lights" next to Tony Robbins and other business luminaries. What was even cooler was seeing all the 5-star reviews. Heartwarming at this time of year.
I got me a car, yo! I traveled a bit during the first half of the year, but I was still relying on others to get around. By the end of the year, I got my own set of wheels, and I am mobile, baby! When I made the commitment to pay cash for my ride, and NOT have a car payment, I thought it would only take a few months. It took YEARS, but here we are, and it was SO worth the wait.
On Father's Day, me and the fam took a trip to Cleveland so I could audition for The Voice. I learned a LOT about myself on that trip. I was in the audition room with a backup singer who was taking a break from a tour with a big name artist. He forgot his words and tripped over his introduction. I nailed my audition. Neither one of us got a call back, which just goes to show you that it's not about talent as much as it is about casting. So much for "blind" auditions.
"I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd. You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud." - It's My Life
Since this was a value in focus this year, there was a lot of getting myself aligned around the sense of freedom. I did a LOT more of what I enjoy, met some pretty amazing people, and had one of the best years of my life. And I turn 40 in a few days, so that's saying something!
I've put in a lot of effort over the last few years, tried on a lot of hats, and sorted through a lot of stuff that didn't end up working for me.
The time for all that is over. I've finally merged my love of music and performing with my love of business strategy in a way that works for me. It's taken years of doubt, trial, tears, and effort. This is the year of The Singing Business Coach, yo! Watch me work! 🙂
Creating your own niche isn't easy. There are definitely easier roads. I could just perform, or I could just coach, but neither would be fulfilling. It's like asking me to choose if I'm white or black: I'm bi-racial. I'm both. Deal with it.
So I've got to focus in, and stick to it, no matter what. I'm going in, guns blazing, determined to see what can happen for me in 2015.
Bon Jovi may have released it in 2000, but the lyrics really connected with me this year. I was especially struck by the Frank Sinatra reference: "Like Frankie said, 'I did it my way'." The idea of doing things my way has always come with a lot of baggage, and I'm ready for that to be different now.
I've had to "force" a lot of things to happen over the years. And doing things "my way" often meant doing things the hard way. Pushing to meet a goal or a deadline. Putting my financial or personal health at risk in order to achieve something.
Now I understand DUMB goals, and how my way doesn't have to be "push, push, PUSH" all the time. I lived it this year. I like it. And I'm ready for more.
"This is for the ones who stood their ground... who never backed down." - It's My Life
It took Bart Howard well over 20 years.
Bart was a piano player in the Blue Angel cabaret, working on his own music, in the hopes of one day working with his idol, Cole Porter.
Most musicians know the name Cole Porter. Very few know the name Bart Howard. But this one song is his legacy.
Bart wrote dozens of tunes, but none were as popular as "Fly Me To The Moon".
Bart was asked by a publisher for something simple, and in 20 minutes he cranked out this cabaret waltz. The publisher asked him to change the lyrics, but Bart refused - a move that could have jeopardized his opportunity to have this song produced. But Bart held his ground on his song. Since then, "Fly Me To The Moon" has been covered, re-arranged, and even had the time signature changed when Quincy Jones arranged a version for Frank Sinatra.
Originally titled "In Other Words," Peggy Lee recorded and later performed the song on national television. As it grew in popularity, Peggy convinced Bart to change the name to it's well known opening line.
For Bart, it was this song. The success of "Fly Me To The Moon" was such that he continued to live off the residuals of that one song for the rest of his life. It's considered a "Towering Song" in the history of contemporary popular music. In 2004, 50 years from when he wrote that tune, Bart died.
This week's song is a request from @PattyKogutek on Twitter. Thanks, Patty! It was a joy to learn this story and be able to share it with everyone.
Just one step. Just one song. Just one moment. That's all it takes to make history. What will you do?
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