I've been waiting to do this for everyone else...
Here it is... my first post as a professional. God, this was hard to get to. Since June 2017, I've been putting pressure on myself to write (Thanks AIGA Leadership Conference). But seriously, it's important. I was putting pressure on myself to do it for others! Not myself. At this point, I realize how important it is to write as a release, as therapy, as documentation... It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has be be there.
The start of a new year is a good way to begin. I am very much a "milestone person", so when big things happen around me it helps me see where I am and how I can improve. I've written down several achievements from 2017 and goals for 2018: Personal and Business. With that below are my top 3 for each.
THINGS IM PROUD OF FROM 2017
1. Finding *more* focus in my business
Not just recognizing that I wanted to focus on branding creatively, but also that I needed to balance the creative work with the dirty work. Like data entry, which is just as satisfying in its own way. This meant saying no when a project or client wasn't fitting for me or when I needed to slow down. I was also able to clean up my social media and website this year! Woot!
2. Celebrating my wins
I set a gross profit goal for 2017 that I exceeded before the end of the year. I didn't necessarily "party" over this, but I did think about it intentionally in a celebratory way and talked about it with those that are close to me. I also made a point to throw my business's workspace an anniversary party, because, why not? I was incredibly modest about my wins throughout the year, and around September I came to the realization that there's a huge difference between unsolicited bragging and being proud of your accomplishments.
3. Becoming a female leader and design leader in my community
Thanks to serving on the board as Director of Events and Programming for AIGA Chattanooga and being on the membership committee for CWLI, I found the footing to say I am a leader; through entrepreneurship, graphic design, and as a female - a young one at that. These organizations have brought me opportunities to meet other leaders (designers/non-designers, male/female) locally as well as throughout the country! With this new found confidence, I can stand up for the subjects I am passionate about with platforms to guide me.
1. Nurturing existing relationships
As busy as last year was, I am honestly impressed that I maintained the relationships with my family, close friends, and boyfriend the best that I could. I might have even made some new friends! I think the thing I am most proud of is that I allowed myself to fall in love, with my boyfriend and my new cat.
2. Improving my physical and mental health
I am pretty aware of what makes me feel happy and healthy but in 2017 I tried a few new things to be a *better me.* I didn't just run a 5k, but I also ran an 8k on Thanksgiving... What? Who am I? I tried Whole 30 and it gave me tons of energy AND I went to a few therapy sessions, which allowed me to be a better communicator.
3. Getting my own apartment
This could be under Personal Pride #2, but it was a really big milestone for me. I'm someone who needs to disconnect from the world in my home space. I've heard that as a cancer if my home isn't just right, then nothing feels right. That may or may not be true, but in my case it's real. My stress levels have gone down dramatically since obtaining a place that I can be free as can be.
GOALS FOR 2018
1. Be more intentional about sales
I am not the best at following up with former clients, and I am sure as hell not good at following up with people after meeting them at a networking event. It's not that I don't want to... I just forget. Another goal in the sales department is finding a passive source of income. As a graphic designer I have this amazing skill called "making things," and Whoa! It doesn't always have to be for a client project.
2. Find a communication platform as an outlet
This is it right here! I'm also interested in exploring podcasting because I am REALLY good at talking to other people about the things that take over our lives - whether it's an issue, a passion, or something funny.
3. Get out of "the zone"
I have a fabulous office space in walking distance of a park. I went for a walk during the work day four times last year, and I'm pretty sure I was angry all four times. In 2018, I want to schedule 30 minute walks into my work day in order to remove myself from my desk. Since I got an office I also have a bad habit of never working elsewhere unless I am out of town. I'd like be in one of those co-working spaces they call a coffee (or tea) shop at least once a week in order to be with my fellow community lovers.
1. Find a spiritual practice that works for me
I grew up Catholic and I'm not saying it's wrong, but I am not sure it resonates with me as much as a spiritual practice should. Needless to say I've been in denial and lost for a few years. This year, I want to be more open minded and committed to finding the right practice for me. My overarching goal for 2018 is Positivity, and I feel finding more consistency and clarity in this department may help me achieve that. Who knows, I might come back to being a full blown Catholic a year from now.
2. Wake up 1 hour earlier than usual
Listen here: I wake up at 8:30 AM comfortably almost everyday, and believe me, I could sleep MORE. BUT I WANT TO WAKE UP AT 7:30! I've been trying to do this for two years. I'm making it a main goal for 2018 because I don't think I am trying hard enough. Imagine what I could do if I just woke up one hour earlier!? Bike to work, morning gratitude, take a shower, dress nicer, read, workout, make breakfast... you get it.
3. Set more personal goals
Through this entire exercise I had WAY more business 2017 pride and 2018 goals. Last year's mantra was discipline, and I may have taken that a little too seriously. Not only did it stress me out when I DID have time away from work, but I only applied it to my business practices. This year, I need to take time for me, sans Blades Creative or I'm going to be insane and really bitchy by 2019.
For both business and personal I made the observation that I found a better sense of my value in 2017. Personally, I recognized that my feelings mattered just as much as anyone else's (we will get into that another day). In business, I recognized that my skills are incredibly special. People literally pay to use MY BRAIN. How crazy is that!? (another thing we will get into later this year).
THINGS I WANT TO CONTINUE (Not quite a top 3)
- Focusing on my health: physically and mentally
- Making a difference in my community: AIGA (graphic design) and CWLI (female leadership) specifically
- Finding structure in my day to day life
- Working in ATL once a month
- Intentional networking
- Being more laid back about specific things