We’re somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. The baby is (thankfully) sleeping in one arm so I can write to you with the other.
My husband — on a short repose from the mountains of travel logistics — is watching some kind of movie I wouldn’t like.
Strangely, I feel at peace.
I think it’s already 2021 on this plane? Still a bit unclear about this whole International Date Line business.
I write this annual post for two reasons.
The first is because every year you write these beautiful emails back telling me you which insights and resources are resonating, and how it’s all intersecting with your own journey…
…the second is so I can have an annual record of my life and work.
Sometimes we are so IN our journey that we cannot SEE it. Looking back at these lists over the years gives me perspective — sometimes pride, sometimes embarrassment, and hopefully, what I’m working on most these days — compassion for all the former me’s.
If you are doing any kind of reflection: may you go gently and compassionately with your unique and wonderful self.
Sometimes I’m smart…and I use these insights as the foundation for next year’s decisions and plans…
…and sometimes I have to learn the same thing over and over again…
I almost skipped it this year. I’ve been having all these existential thoughts recently like…
What are we even doing? And what actually matters?
And I’m simultaneously more hopeful than ever. (Two things are always true).
But I’ve learned this year that a little dash of consistency can ground our nervous systems during chaotic chapters.
The 13 most essential discoveries of 2020:
1. The future is both/and.
2. How can we make this more fun? How can we make this equitable? How can we make this more easeful? (3 good questions).
3. When our enoughness is a given and not what’s at stake, we can actually do what we’re here to do.
(hint: not-enoughness belongs to the culture that made us, not us)
4. Dismantling oppression is not something we do alongside our work. It. is. the. Work.
5. Surrender, contraction, the unglamorous middle, the afterbirth = elements of the creative process we need to talk more about.
6. Essentialism/simplicity is a gift to other people’s nervous systems and an advanced exercise in letting go of the need to prove.
7. No one sees (or cares about) the creative choices you didn’t make.
8. Confusion and angst are compasses.
9. It is in our creative processes (not just the products) that we create a blueprint for the world we want to live in.
10. Imperfect is the new perfect.
11. I can do anything (thank you childbirth).
12. Sometimes (most times?) the best leadership is just listening.
13. We are here to unfold each other (maybe there is nothing else).
Best thing: the arrival of my son, Mateo
Best Investments: Training with the brilliant Jen Boulden and Amanda Steinberg at Higher U, Hiring the most magical Doula in all the land. Learning about feminist business practices.
People who inspired me: Stacey Abrams. Kamala Harris. Liz Warren. Michelle Obama. Essential workers of all kinds. Young people getting out the vote. Janelle Monae. My clients. Collective members and the beautiful ways they showed up for each other this year.
Biggest mistakes: Pretending like virtual events need less support than in-person events, launching programs in flashes of inspiration without thinking through systems and delivery, putting off hiring because I felt too overwhelmed, spending too much energy on small decisions.
Habits I am working on: Interrupting less, making the distinction between actual guilt and other people’s disappointment, deeper listening.
Most unhelpful repeated thought: I’m a failure.
Most helpful repeated thought: I can do this.
What I’m unwilling to repeat: Working consistent seven-day weeks. Trying to do it all without asking for help.
(this one is a direct repeat from last year…so…taking my own advice re: self-compassion as we learn our lessons 🙂
small/big things that made a difference
– Daily walks & dancing
– Novels, including: The Vanishing Half (Brit Bennett) Such a Fun Age (Kiley Reid) An American Marriage (Tayari Jones)
– Lighting a daily candle and saying prayers for as many people as possible
– Alvin Ailey performing Revelations in quarantine
– Baths and hot showers and swimming pools
– Getting a bird feeder and watching the birds
– Having an herb garden (even if I killed most of them it still counts)
– More upacking of the relationship between visibility and trauma (thank you Nicole Lewis-Keeber)
– Daily 15 minute meeting with M & M
– @drbeckyathome (wow – so healing)
– Developing Creator Studio as one of our Collective monthly offerings
– The custom journal app so I can plan my days (in the way that I want) with only one hand 🙂
– Implementing the Profit First system in my business (truly revolutionary)
– Tanya Williams’s thought leadership
– Group texts!
– Poetry and words of Maggie Smith, John O’Donohue, Mary Oliver, and Arundhati Roy
– The leadership of Rev. Jacqui Lewis
– Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me on Amazon Prime
– Deliberate social media breaks (could have used more but forgiving myself for having imperfect boundaries with screens)
– Being in a mom’s group
– Being in a women entrepreneurship community
– Leaving a community that wasn’t aligned with my values
– Better understanding burnout and the stress cycle via the Nagaski sisters
– Water with lemon + coffee with butter in the morning
– Writing in the notes app on my phone (less daunting than a google doc, can be done anywhere)
The posts you liked and shared the most (thank you!)
What I’m proudest of:
- Doing daily democracy (with an infant)
- Producing my first ever virtual retreat featuring the talents of amazing womxn + raising money for #blm and organizations fighting voter suppression
- Giving a TEDx when I was so sick from early pregnancy I could barely stand
- The growth of the members of the first-ever Collective Incubator cohort
- Taking the antiracism small business pledge and beginning to implement it
- Giving the most number of scholarships in the history of The Collective
- Building new relationships with inspiring colleagues (and getting over my unworthiness stories about deserving those relationships)
- Creating a new website
- Staying strong in our marriage through four moves, one pandemic, one child, two very different work situations, and too many open cabinet doors to count
- Showing up when I didn’t have all the answers.
Does anything here resonate? What did you discover this year?
Thank you for being on the other side of this post. Thank you for all of your messages, feedback, and windows into your unfolding.
You are why I write.
We have made it through this rough year and you have done your part to make it kinder and more human, despite it all.
The world needs more people like you.
Happy new year, wherever you are.
Keep going ♥️