Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thom Singer's 2014 Year-In-Review

How did it get to be December 16th?  Whaaat????  Only two weeks left in the year?  No Way!!??!!

I am a big believer in goal setting, but this year I did not get started right out of the blocks.  I usually spend a sizable chunk of time between Christmas and New Years figuring out my plan for the following 12 months. The targets and areas of focus that I identify help keep me motivated during he ups and downs of the following months. 

My father's passing in December 2014 left me feeling alone, empty, and distracted.  The calendar showed April before I figured out my business groove for the year.  

Overall I had an amazing year.  My sales held steady from 2014 (my best year ever), and I was able to be a little calmer as a solopreneur, in regards to finances, after five years of working for myself. Yet I am not sure how we reached December so quickly.

The clients I worked in 2014 with were amazing.  I had the chance to serve as a keynote speaker or Master of Ceremonies at some great conferences, and the companies who brought me in for training were both engaged and fun to work with on each project.  One of my favorite parts of this year was increasing the amount of coaching I did with individuals (mostly presentation skills coaching and business development coaching).  It is rewarding to see people make changes that has a positive impact on their life.

The launch of the "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast was a major surprise.  I did not plan on hosting a podcast, but while at the National Speakers Association annual conference I was pushed to interview 50 people over the following year.  The concept was this effort would expose me to new ideas and people.  Instead of interviews for this blog I made a knee-jerk decision to try a podcast. The amazing part is how in such a short amount of time it has become the BEST networking tool I have ever seen in my career.  In just a few months I have already found new speaking business, and been exposed to other opportunities that never could have happened without the podcast.  

Still, I made some mistakes and failed to win some accounts that could have been win /win situations.  Even when one studies relationships as part of their business, it is still easy not gel with everyone you encounter.  My industry is heavily about perception, and it is difficult to change a first impression. I am learning to listen better, and to say "yes" more often to ideas that take me out of my comfort zone. 

This year I looked for ways to begin letting go of my own unjustified opinions of people. The more I have found that others can be wrong about me, it has become clear I am probably wrong about those I judge too quickly.  A huge life lesson to realize this personal shortcoming.  It came about with the repair of an old friendship from college that was lost over misunderstandings.  A simple "I'm sorry for my part" lead to the beginnings of a new friendship that I hope continues to rekindle.  

I was also reminded the power of "Forever Friends" when my family shared two different trips with close friends from my youth (from kindergarten, high school and college).  There comes a time when these relationships transcend friendship and become family.  I am grateful to have many of these people in my life, and I am working harder to never take them for granted.  

My wife and kids were, as always, the highlight of the year. I enjoy seeing the kids mature into teenagers, as it is fun to hang out with them and do things like eat in nicer restaurants, see higher levels of movies, and talk with them about the realities of society, business, politics, and life.  I appreciate that they are reaching the ages where we can have more meaningful conversations. Hanging out with them is fun.  For my birthday the four of us went to a nice steak house for a long dinner.  On my wife's birthday we ate at a French bistro. Again for Christmas Eve we will visit a nice place and make it more than a meal, but create a shared experience.  It is great to be able to bring the kids along and enjoy each other's company. I look forward to more opportunities to see them grow into young adults (Yikes, the oldest leaves for college this year).

2015 brings with it new challenges, and the familiar "re-set" of my sales goals.  My little solopreneur effort has been a lot of fun, but I no longer feel alone, as I have a tribe of other speaker, consultants, writers and podcasters who have become my sounding boards.  It is going to be a fun ride.

I never could have done this without the people in my life who have always believed in me (especially my wife, who clearly does believe).  I have some regrets, but they are few (is that a song?).  I am excited about the new plan for the coming year, and will certainly be fighting the good fight each day.

Have A Great Day

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