This is my second year of intentional planning – last year around this time, I meditated on three words to live by, in the spirit of Chris Brogan’s personal planning regime.
While it may be more obvious to some of my friends than others, 2011 didn’t turn out as planned.
I intended to center the year’s work around the ideas of Platforms, Themes, and Seekers. Central to all of these was discovery; finding out what matters to me, how I can best work with it, and move forward. Unfortunately, finding out what matters also means deciding what things don’t matter, and why.
It’s been a turbulent year, for a lot of people.
While normally I’d let a statement like that stand – it bears saying that no one expected the year to be as it was. As a result of family changes, I quietly let my blog stagnate for the summer, electing to focus on more important things. When I tried to return in the fall, I was greeted by two suicides (Trey Pennington and Bruce Serven) which sharply affected both my view of “Winning at Social Media” and changed how I perceive a number of supposed leaders in the field. Both of these things told me quite clearly that higher volume often means lower clarity.
My aim for 2011 was building a bigger megaphone. For now, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’ve lost people. Important people. Not because of my work here – not because of any of you, be assured of that. However, it’s put into perspective exactly what I have been missing this year; attachment.
Less than a week before Trey Pennington took his life, I was diagnosed with depression. The message doesn’t get much sharper than that; begin fixing a problem, and immediately get shown what not fixing said problem can result in. Part of my absence from the online world has been because of a mid-year resolution to figure out the list of things that were causing my lack of engagement in my own life, and sequentially pick them all off. This is where the three words came in handy.
Bad themes mean having a good platform is important when seeking out problems.
Amazing how, even when we’re not expecting it, having a tool at our disposal makes the work easier. I was expecting to be highly productive, and well organized by way of my three words for this year. However, having the core ideas to fall back on in adversity made finding lessons a less daunting task.
I expect the same, or more, of my three words for 2012:
Relentless, Effective, Foundations
If 2011 was about uncovering areas for improvement, 2012 should follow as making those improvements. Once you’ve found the lessons, climbing atop them becomes a much more interesting challenge. So;
- Foundations – Where it all begins. Reshaping any structure means looking at what the existing foundation can hold, and making changes where possible and appropriate. Without a solid foundation, Up simply isn’t possible.
- Relentless – Lots of great work, sadly, ends after foundation building. Once you reach ground level, it’s easy to say – “There. My work is done. Let others build upon this.” There’s a place for this kind of thought; sadly, foundations are most often invisible (unless they begin to crack), so having the persistence to keep going – behaving as though you are unassailable and relentless in your pursuit of an ideal end result – makes vertical progress possible.
- Effective – Once you’ve built yourself up, you don’t want to worry about how far you’ve come. Just as having a strong foundation, and making sure you continue the work is the beginning of progress, ensuring the work you do is effective is important to prevent sliding back into the morass of “starting over once again.” Personal effectiveness is difficult, but intensely rewarding.
There we have it. My goal this year is to make all my obstacles look bad.