I may not be a daily blogger (or weekly, or monthly for that matter) but as we cycle through the final (short and mostly dark) day of 2014, I can’t help but reflect upon the previous year and look ahead to the future.
2014 started with a great deal of uncertainty, and so I decided to adopt the mantra Keep Moving Forward as an optimistic way to approach an unknown path. I don’t think I could have ever predicted the place where I’ve ended up this year: drastic changes in my personal life, relationships gained and lost, incredible new connections made, running a successful WordCamp, traveling around the country, and most shockingly (to me) completely uprooting and moving to a new state to live a completely different life.
It’s been a year that has brought joy and sadness, optimism and despair, worry and pride. Some days felt like I could take on the world, and other days it was a struggle to even get out of bed. In 2014 I felt more connected and more alone than I’ve ever felt in my life. But through it all, I always Kept Moving Forward, and that’s what has enabled me to be here today with a greater understanding of who I am and what is important to me.
It is time to take that knowledge and the lessons learned from my journey and apply them in 2015 with a new mantra: Doing With Purpose. While 2014 was about looking ahead, 2015 will be about doing so with deliberation and planning, and making decisions based specific goals for my life and career.
So what does that mean, practically?
I’ve learned this year how I define personal and professional success for myself, and that includes a specific type of community involvement, work/life balance, and financial situation. The decisions I make in 2015 will support these general goals:
Remain Involved In The WordPress Community
It seemed like much of my involvement in the WordPress community from where I began up through the middle of 2014 was building to eventually running WordCamp Chicago. Speaking, volunteering, networking, making friends and connections, and traveling meant I was able to bring people from around the country (and outside the country) together for what I felt was an incredible event. I have to say that after WCChi 2014 was over, I felt a bit lost for a while. Who was I in the community now, if not this?
I realized though that I still felt like I had a passion, something I could contribute. It’s my goal to help bridge the gap between designers and developers, helping each of them better understand the other side of the aisle (and increase my own knowledge in the process too!) I also want to help use my skills (both in design as well as event planning) to help simplify processes or bring people together. So, the projects and events I will be getting involved with will be directly supporting these passions. I’m not sure if this will mean more or less travel, but whatever I do will be more targeted and I’ll define my involvement in a way that makes the most sense for achieving my goals & passions.
Set Roots And Define My Voice In The Local Community
One of the most appealing things about moving to Minneapolis is the more approachable nature of the local design and tech communities. It is my goal this year to become involved in a direct manner by contributing to events, talks, and planning, in a way that wasn’t possible in a sprawling community like Chicago.
In particular, I’m hoping to contribute more to the local AIGA, especially being able to take the lessons I’ve learned in WordPress and help spread them to designers to make us all more collaborative and successful, in keeping with my passion that I mentioned previously. I’ve already started this and hope to have some cool announcements soon.
Develop A Process For Client & Contact Communication
While I was able to expand my business in 2014 to work with some cool people, the methods I used for communication, follow-up, etc were not very deliberate. I had ambitions of doing this in 2014 but they sort of fell by the wayside as I was dealing with all the other uncertainties. After hearing a few great WordCamp talks at the end of the year about communication and process building, I am making this a major priority for 2015.
I’ve already started by clearing out older work, organizing Evernote, and starting a basic Trello board for managing contacts and will start the work on formalizing all of it soon.
Support Myself Financially While Maintaining My Work/Life/Health Balance
The decisions made over the past year (as well as the 27 years prior to that) had some very real financial ramifications, some good and others much less so. It’s my goal in 2015 to maintain enough hours to deal with these consequences (speaking of which, anyone wanna do some projects together?) plus enough to experience life here in my new city and around the county (and have some left over for savings).
On the flip side, I don’t have an interest in de-prioritizing my health after working so hard this year to take care of myself and finding joy in being away from my desk. I intend to continue to pursue getting enough sleep, taking care of my chronic pain, staying active with workouts, and experiencing life outside the computer screen. This means that I’ve got a ceiling to my hours I’m willing to put into working, and therefore they need to be more efficient. The previous goals should all help me achieve this final one. 🙂
I understand that my journey is still very new, the course uncharted, with many twists and turns that I can’t foresee, and I may still end up in a vastly different place than I expect. But as long as I Do With Purpose I feel like I can chart this course in a way that will create lasting satisfaction and happiness in the year ahead.