2016 Year End Round Up.
Every year around this time, I like to look back at the year before me and reflect on the highs, the lows, the triumphs, and the struggles, so that I can make adjustments based on what I’ve learned and what I would like the next year or more to look like. Those points of reflection can take on many forms. Looking back at my journals, reviewing my planner, photographs are a great way to remember what has transpired through the year-both personally and professionally. Simply asking yourself questions about what you want or where do you want to go, and how do you want to feel can be very revealing.
I thought perhaps this year, I’d do some of my self-reflection on my blog in a form of a question and answer interview of myself! haha
1. If you could give yourself some advice in January of 2016 based on what you learned through December of 2016, what would that advice be?
I had some health challenges in 2016 so had I known what I’d be facing, I’d had started taking my medicine more regularly…uh hum..just taking my medicine, walking. Be sure to get more rest and know that if you aren’t healthy, none of this is going to work (personally or professionally). Another way to phrase it is, I wish I had started a road to better health long before January 2016.
2. What were some of your highlights of 2016?
Gosh, one of the biggest highlights was seeing my book go through all the stages of ‘birth’ to a real physical entity. I think when someone told me they saw it on Amazon for a pre-sale and it was a #1 new release already, I cried! Another highlight was being asked to come back to Cincinnati to film four more DVD’s for F &W media in September. It’s honor to be able to film 1 set of DVDs, but I had the good fortune to be asked back again so imagine how thrilled I was. Extra bonus—I was also treated to hair and makeup each day!! I felt like a movie star! Lol They asked me to show up with no makeup on and that was SCARY! Haha I don’t go anywhere without my face on, I know it sounds vain but I’m just not a get up and go girl! Anyway, having opportunities such as this, has just really been a huge thrill and quite the honor!
3. Is there anything you wish you did more of during the year? What do you wish you would have done less of?
I wish I had taken more time off. Even after my health scare, I found myself easing back into my workaholic ways, going 2, 3, 4 weeks without a day off. I didn’t become a hero because of it, I just became exhausted again. I need to do a better job at setting boundaries, protecting my personal time, and knowing when to say no or I can’t do it right now. What do I wish I had done less of? Well, beside work too much---and when I say that, I don’t want to sound ungrateful because being busy is something that we instill upon ourselves. I should have taken a hard look early on at what was distracting me, making me less focused on what I should have been doing versus what I was doing and eliminated those things from my life or at least set limitations so I could get my work done faster. I read a line in Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better Than Before” recently that rang true for me which said, “Keeping up is a lot easier than catching up”.
So yes, working a lot is not really something to be proud of necessarily. Working efficiently so you have a better sense of balance is something I’d rather brag on in the future.
4. What was the best thing you bought during the year that improved your life?
Oh…I bought a lot of stuff in 2016! I’d say something that improved my life was a new pair of sneakers, workout clothes and a good pair of headphones. Those things made me want to get out and get moving. Something I want and need to do more of in 2017. (Do you see a pattern here?)
5. What are you most proud of?
I already mentioned my book so I’ll say something different for this question. I’m most proud of being able to turn a bad time around into something big for not only me, but really big for my students. When I was so sick, I started creating a body of work that saved my sanity and then as time moved on and I was feeling better, I kept improving on the process and really created not only a new body of work, but a very intense workshop that has engaged hundreds of students around the world. The work they have done in my Zen Painting class has totally blown me away! I’m very proud of the work I’ve done and the production of that class, and even more proud because it was born from a dark place but turned into something so positive for many individuals, including myself.
6. Where do you envision yourself going in 2017?
I hope in 2017 I keep moving forward. I have a lot of aspirations for the new year, but mostly, I want to be ‘Better Than Before’….to borrow the phrase from Gretchen Rubin’s book because it sums up how I feel perfectly (professionally and personally).
7. Did you learn anything about yourself this year that has changed you in some way?
Yes, many things. One big one is that I’m capable of doing more than I ever thought I could. It’s amazing the fortitude we all have, even when we think that this is it…I have nothing left…but if you dig real deep and you keep your eyes on the prize, you can more than accomplish what you set out to do, you can excel in so many ways. I think I re-learned to believe in myself and have more confidence.
8. What surprised you about your career in 2016?
Hmm…good question. I don’t know if it really was a surprise but the mantra I use a lot is , “Every No, Leads to a Yes.” That thought has made me brave in what I do because I know with anything I do, it’s a 50/50 chance that it will work out and that for every time it doesn’t work out, I can try again and eventually it will work out. The only failure is not having tried. Many of the things I have been able to accomplish not just this year, but in all of my years as an artist, have resulted from just giving something a shot and knowing that a, ‘No’ now, isn’t a No, forever. Keep at it and you will be successful. You just have to have ‘Grit’!
9. What did you waste time or money on in 2016?
I have addiction to many things like good coffee that I could probably make at my home, expensive makeup, and well… a host of other things that I probably could do without or do more inexpensively—but maybe career wise, I wasted a lot of money on shipping expenses that I could have done better with had I had the right supplies on hand so I didn’t have to pay for someone to pack and ship my items for me. Having all my shipping and postage supplies in one place would have made my life a lot easier too, so I bit the bullet about a week ago and bought a lot of stuff from ULINE which was not cheap by the way, but it will be less costly in the long run. I am also making it a priority to organize my shipping areas so that I don’t have to run from room to room to gather what I need to pack up a box. I think that caused me so much stress, it really didn’t need to. I say a prayer of gratitude every time I go to the post office because it’s a happy thing…I sold something! Yay!! But getting those boxes ready, stresses me out and takes a lot of time! It’s my own fault and that’s going to change in the New Year! The other thing I just need to do is to factor better in for shipping and packaging expenses into my costs (which I don’t really do now), but when you are operating at a fairly low margin, every dollar counts….so don’t waste it! I learned the hard way this last month—I charged 20 for shipping for a painting—the box cost me 15 dollars with packing supplies and the actual shipping charges, get this…$88.00! Ouch! I had three other incidents like that in the same week and boy oh boy did I learn my lesson the hard way!
10. Do you have a word, phrase or some other mantra that you want as a guide in the New Year?
I mentioned the book that I’m reading earlier, and that title is going to be one of my mantras, “Better Than Before”. “Work Smarter, Not Harder”, is another. “Pursue Happiness”, and finally (for now), “Make a Difference”. I also like to narrow it down to one word so I’m going to continue on my word from 2016 which was to “Prosper”. I think although it does insinuate monetary prosperity, I want more than that…of course I want to get prospering, but I want my work, my personal development, and I want my personal life ALL to prosper. I guess I want it all, and why not?!
11. In just a sentence or two, sum up how 2016 was for you?
2016 was a year that I fully realized that I can do anything I set my mind to. I saw dreams become reality, I saw mountains move when I thought there was no possible way I could overcome obstacles. It was a year that I felt magic happen and I’m grateful for it all: the good, the bad, the wonderful….there was a reason for it all.
12. How do you want to feel in 2017?
I want to feel peaceful and confidant, at ease and sure of myself, and I want to feel love in ways I have not felt it before. Truly, my life is very full right now but it’s missing one big thing. I hope that it doesn’t stay that way for long, but even if it does, I know that I’ll be okay because I’m very, very, happy right now. I think because I’m happy with myself, more so than I have ever been, and life is moving along in the direction I hoped it would, I’m ready to fill that empty space in a way that I wasn’t ready to before.
Here’s to many more magical moments and memories in 2017 for you and I.
Happy New Year Everyone!! Be your best self today and every day!