2017: Reflections on a year of constant change and challenge

Putting aside all the things we can say about 2017 based on what's in the news, this has been a year of a lot. There are things that happened six months ago I haven't fully processed yet though I think that ship might have sailed. I stumbled on this list of reflective questions in Forbes and I like that I can shape my story of 2017 through my answers to some of the questions.

What am I most proud of?

Rising to unexpected challenges. I had a string of events that seemed neverending for a while. When a colleague mentioned I was dealing with an onion that had many layers, I had to accept that I needed to meet each new problem with a solution rather than panic (or hyperventilation).

What do I wish I did differently?

There's only one decision I regret this year. I said yes instead of no when I had to make a decision. But once I've committed, I see it through. It's a lesson learned: Go with your gut.

What or who did I learn the most from?

I have no idea. I've got a long list of people I've learned from this year, which is a pretty spectacular thing to be able to say. I don't even know where to begin to narrow it down to one. 

What did I resist the most and why?

Spending time on creative writing. I value my time with family and friends so I put that first. Circumstances are such that I don't get as much as I'd like, so I consciously chose to spend my free time with people instead of projects.

What new skills did I acquire?

I know far more about SEO now than I knew four months ago. I did some extensive research on a few dozen questions I had and it was interesting and informative. And now I know the joy of geeking out over all the analytics and the wealth of ideas for content. I want to write all the things!

What limiting belief did I let go?

I'm not sure if I let it go so much as I'm making an effort to tamp it down. Like many women, I tend to undervalue and underestimate myself and my abilities. Having worked with a few great mentors in recent years, I've come a long way in shaking that habit. I approach new challenges with a lot more confidence today than I did six years ago when I first started my business.

Who or what am I most inspired and energized by?

With all the negative media attention on events south of the border, it's been so lovely every time I hear a story about people helping people and making a difference. It's encouraging that there are still so many stories. Hope isn't lost.

What went better/harder than I expected?

I've had a lot of activities that seemed like they were going to be straightforward that ended up being bigger and more complex than they looked on the surface. So, while they may be harder to deal with, the outcome will be better than originally planned for as well. 

How did I surprise myself?

I tend to be pretty laid back, but I've had some moments of near hyperventilating panic set in at surprising times. I didn't get easily overwhelmed, but the buildup took me by surprise. But I'm also learning to deal with bigger issues more effectively.

What am I most grateful for?

Continuing to find new possibilities that enrich my life.

What negative patterns seem to be repeating?

I'm getting better at saying no, but I'm not quite good enough yet.

What did I start and not complete?

Disclaimer: I feel exactly zero guilt about this admission I'm about to make.

At about 10:00pm on November 1, I decided to register for NaNoWriMo. I've wanted to do it for years and I impulsively jumped in. I was killing it for 9 days. Then the month that I knew would be excessively hectic kicked in. I tried to regain my lost time and find my stride again, but I was struggling so much with the story I was writing it stopped being worth the mental effort. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. I also want to figure out how to salvage the characters. I like them and I think I can find the true story when I have more time to work on digging it out.

What was something I failed at and what did I learn?

I'm going to say NaNoWriMo for this one, too. I loved the challenge and the discipline required. Next time, I need to plan ahead so I have some clue of what I want to write before I start. That should help me fit it in better, even during a busy month like November. Or I could choose another month and do KaNoWriMo (Karen's Novel Writing Month).

What no longer worries me, that used to?

I've (mostly) stopped questioning whether I can do certain things. Instead, I try to remind myself that what I don't know I will figure out. And I surround myself with people who like to help. There's no reason for me not to succeed.