Well, if this isn’t a belated post, then I don’t know what is. 😂
I only wrote a two posts in 2016. Guys. Two. Posts. That’s a lot of radio silence for me. Writing is not only cathartic for me, but it’s a way to enjoy open dialogue with those on the interwebz about stuff that’s interesting. In thinking about why I haven’t written, I started reflecting on 2016 and what I learned in my year of (mostly) blog silence.
You can never predict where you’ll be a year from now. Nope. Not at all. I don’t think this needs further explanation.
I need to just hit the damn PUBLISH button. This post has been sitting as draft for 2 days. Last year I drafted a ton of content but I never hit publish. See next point on this list. Last year I learned that if you wait for perfection, you’re missing the point. So this year, I want to be true to myself and get better at letting things out in to the world. Also. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD IS THIS POST LONG.
It’s possible to not trust your own writing. And it sucks. In the past year, I’ve had so many different experiences and thoughts with the world moving a mile a minute, that I actually started to doubt that I may have anything useful to say. Which is never a position anyone who enjoys writing should be in. So this year, I’m going to share my thoughts without over analyzing the shit out of everything.
I actually enjoy writing more than I thought I did. See, in 2013, I purposely ended up taking a mini hiatus from writing because I was so burned out from working at BlueGlass and being expected to write about the industry constantly, while also producing strategy roadmaps, lengthy audit documents, etc. It was all writing, and talking, and writing, and talking, and UGH. For a period of time I didn’t want to write about anything digital marketing or SEO related because it just felt like word vomit. I wasn’t compelled to do it anymore. I wasn’t passionate about the writing aspect, though I was extremely passionate about projects and clients. There’s so much crap floating around out there in the space, that I figured unless I really wanted to buckle down and contribute something worth while, it’s not worth doing something half assed that I would hate later. And so I took a break, and instead spoke at Pubcon and a few other places rather than write. It felt good, but truth be told, I reaaaaaally missed writing in general. For those of you who enjoyed reading my industry content, I’ll be back with that soon. Maybe here, maybe on some other publications.
But writing consistently flexes the muscles. When I went through writing burnout on the industry side, I found that I was able to write consistently for film week to week, by dedicating time to it. I spent a year meeting weekly for a few hours to hone in on creative development skills and now have a few scripts that I’m finishing up. Before that, I was stuck, and when I started, it was scary, but constantly working at it made it like second nature… offline. Luckily I have writing partners who are helping with the process too. Now to just bring that back online 😂
I have the power to change anything I want to. And so do you. This was a *big* realization of 2016. I don’t know where the mindset shift came in — maybe it was spending time talking to amazing people for PermissionLESS and realizing we’re all on this crazy rock together making choices for change every day, or maybe it’s the fact that my bestie is a badass and the epitome of living this sentiment to the fullest — but suddenly it became crystal clear to me that every individual has power over their time and the ability to change what they want. The brain is INCREDIBLE. The trade-off is that you can’t please everyone, and when you start standing in your own power, you’ll likely lose some along the way where your energy just doesn’t jive together anymore. But guess what! That’s okay. Life goes on.
But… you also can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Myself included. Wut? Isn’t this completely contradictory to what I just said? Yeah, it is. I even argued with myself about this thought when it popped in my head, until I figured out exactly how it makes sense. You can’t “teach” an old dog new tricks. What’s fundamentally true of all humans is that the person needs to be willing to adjust their mindset and adopt the change themselves. I fought with myself over a lot of things until I realized that I simply have to make the decision to commit and make the change. This is how PermissionLESS was born in late 2015 — it wasn’t just me that was struggling with the whole “asking myself for permission” thing — it was almost everyone (especially entrepreneurs and creatives) who struggled with this too.
Having a tribe who puts up with your crazy is imperative to life. I can’t even begin to share my gratefulness for friends (and also friends that happen to be business partners) who embrace and love me, for me, and the joy I get from conversations about business, life, crazy ideas, making things work with our chosen paths, and everything else that comes along with our friendships. I enjoy life-ing with them, and I’m forever grateful.One thing I truly admire from my group is that they’re all so thoughtful, caring and hilarious — where did these people come from!?
With that said, I’m fairly sure I’ll die young. 😂 I laugh and say this lightly because it’s something I’ve said for a long time. Mainly because I constantly feel like I’m running out of time. But in 2016 I really honed in on my “WHY” and I’ve been actively building in 2017 to grow in those capacities for our business(es) <– more on that another time — and personal development. As soon as I started focusing on my WHY it helped me discern where I wanted to spend my time. And while I may still operate like I’m crazy, maybe I should stop saying I’ll die young?!
As much as I fight it, I’m a ‘teacher’: But not in the traditional sense. I found over 2016, a lot of my time (outside of consulting — since that’s naturally teaching/guiding/training/advising, etc) was spent helping people move things forward as it pertains to the digital marketing side of things for business, passion projects, or just because they wanted to better understand it. As much as I fought this (I’m noticing a pattern here… I fight myself a lot? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?) I’ve finally given in to the fact that I get an incredible amount of joy from helping others learn and being a sounding board for questions. Q&A panels when I’m speaking at conferences are my favorite. Random consulting calls where I get to answer questions are my favorite. Helping friends or businesses better understand digital marketing can be thrilling. Helping my fellow creatives in the film industry with digital strategy makes me geek out. SO FINE, UNIVERSE. You’ve got me. 2o16 made me finally admit this to myself, and is actually guiding some future projects of mine.
Do not be afraid to step away from things. This is total vague-blogging (is that a word? If not it should be) but no matter what you step away from, friendships that are true will continue on. I’m an avid believer in that, and friendships I’ve managed to carry into 2017 after the end of a mini-era are a testament to that.
People are not inherently good or bad. They’re grey. Well, let’s not bring up anything politics or election related because I’ll go off on a tangent. What I *will* say however, is that while I went through an angry phase where I was like “wtf are these idiots thinking” regarding who they voted for, I came to the conclusion that a lot of people who ended up voting how we hoped they wouldn’t, were simply “grey.” They had their own personal reasons or persuasions as to the outcome. And that’s fine. Are they bad people? No. Maybe. Maybe not. Though some are highly questionable. Are they good people who made bad decisions? Maybe. Ultimately, the decision was theirs. And while I certainly cast thoughts their way, I’m not in their shoes. Education, people. We need more education.
I figured out my best communication methods. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know a ton of my backstory and what I’ve done / where I’ve worked over the past however many years. When I was at BlueGlass, I was at the mercy of how everyone else wanted to communicate, and most of the time it involved pointless calls, and was incredibly inefficient. But when lots of money and people are involved you can’t *really* change things. Fast forward to early 2014 when I left working for others to work for myself, and I found that I was still operating that way, but getting mad at myself (?!?!?!) even though I had the power to change it and literally create how I wanted to use my time. I was stuck feeling like I had to do the same thing as before. Let me make a point here: The phone is the bane of my existence. Not because I don’t like human connection — in fact, I very much love conversation over coffee/drinks — but because most calls stem from thinking it’s the normal way everyone tends to operate.
When you’re honest with yourself, and what you don’t like, others tend to reveal that they don’t actually like doing it the way they’ve been, either.
I went through a rogue phase where I just started saying no to all phone calls (with a “please can you just send me the info?” as a reply) for product sales just for the hell of it, and found many of the salesman would breathe a sigh of relief and be happy to send me over materials/pricing without the call. If you ask, you shall receive. I’m really straight forward with how I wish to communicate now (if it’s a call, fast and efficient is a must) and more often than not, the other person prefers it as well.
So. If you made it this far, thanks for getting through my brain dump. Now that this is out of the way, everything coming up should be much shorter. I’m hoping to refocus again on writing about digital, entrepreneurship, business, emerging film/media/technology overlap (including my obsession with VR) so… stay tuned?!
What are some things you learned over the course of 2016? Have they stuck with you now that it’s March of 2017?