Many of us take time at the end of each calendar year to reflect on what we've accomplished this year, what we didn't and what we hope to do differently over the course of the next 12 months. I welcome the quiet time that often accompanies the end of December to reflect.
2015 was a good year for me. Personally and professionally. I worked with some really dynamic clients whose work I admired and respected and I saw my byline in new media outlets including the Chicago Tribune, Sierra magazine, Forbes, Fortune and The Atlantic's CityLab. More importantly, I was reported on stories that I felt really needed to be told, including why we're seeing adult diseases appearing more regularly among children and why homeless youth need storage lockers.
Not all stories were so heavy. I really enjoyed pitching and writing a piece on the fine art gracing the tables at fine dining restaurants like Alinea or why Chicago's statues have suddenly found their voice.
On the client side, I enjoyed working with producers at WTTW Chicago Tonight to share the story of a talented Chinese papercutting artist whose work now appears at Chicago's Field Museum and Minnesota Public Radio to discuss how the state is faring compared to other Midwest states when it comes to clean energy, among other placements.
Suffice to say, my success is sharing the stories of others, whether it's through my clients whose work and stories need to be told or through my writing for magazines, newspapers or online media outlets.
But all of this doesn't just happen. And most of us know this. Nonetheless, most of us are not willing to put in the work that needs to be done in advance to lay the groundwork for this success to happens. This is why I love the tools I use on a daily basis to keep my focused on the end goal.
We all have our preferences and while I love technology, I found that I work best with my paper planner. I like to see things on paper. I love the visceral feeling of opening my planner at the beginning of my day, writing in it, crossing things out, highlighting what's important, tracking my progress and then shutting it at the end of the day.
Which leads me to my question: What Do You Want to Happen in 2016. Notice I didn't write want to see happen. Because we can't see it...we need to DO it. We need to make it happen and in order for something to happen, we need a plan. In order for IT to happen in 2016, you need to make it happen.
I'm working with a coach right now to help me make some of the things I've outlined for myself to happen in 2016 actually happen. She and I are going through each and every item with a fine tooth comb to see what NEEDS to get on paper as action steps so I can make happen what I want to happen in 2016.
I have lofty goals for 2016. She's made me cull back some of them, putting them on 2017's calendar. I realize she's right and while I don't want to give up on those goals, I see how in order for my 2016 goals to be successful, I can't spread myself too thin. I need room to breathe and be open to things that may come up that I didn't expect. I also want to enjoy the process.
So as we start the first work week of 2016 tomorrow, I want you to really ask yourself:
What Do You Want to Happen in 2016?
And, more importantly, what are you doing every day, week and month to make that happen?
Share your goals with me in the comments section. Let's hold ourselves accountable.
Cheers to a beautiful and passion-filled 2016!