2010 was the year of… Evolution. There wasn’t a single area that I feel can be pinpointed as having the biggest breakthrough. Therefore, 2010 was also The Year of Diversity.
Looking back at the year is always fun for me. I get to see what worked well, where I learned the most, and how my plans matched up to reality. First I’ll share some of the lessons I learned in business and in life, and then I’ll discuss accomplishments.
- Systems give you power. This was a hard pill for me to swallow. Luckily I have a great support network around me and my friend and strategic partner Charlie nudged me into overcoming my limiting perspective around this. For the longest time, I’ve viewed systems (established processes in business) as something stifling and cold. I knew this was a limiting belief, and it was keeping me from having other people help out and carry some of the load so I could focus on my strengths. So I began thinking… How do I want to view systems instead? The way I framed them before wasn’t something I decided anyway, it was just a perspective I unconsciously picked up. Now I view systems as resources that make me more efficient, increase cooperation, and help me take better care of my people. Why I didn’t do this sooner, I wish I knew.
- First love, then money. In 2010 I really wanted to take my business financially to a more stable place. In 2009 I achieved my goal of becoming self employed, but my income was more sporadic than I would have liked. So this past year, my goal was to build more predictable income streams. And while pursuing this I occasionally got too caught up in the numbers and sales, and I could feel it taking a toll on my inspiration. Money started to carry more weight than love, and it felt off. I learned that while seeking financial stability is a worthwhile goal, it must always come from a conscious starting point of love and answering the reason why.
- I don’t have a killer instinct. In 2010, I competed in my first amateur MMA (mixed martial arts) fight. I learned that there’s a big difference between training and fighting. You can train incredibly hard — with brutal daily sparring — and it will still never prepare you for what it’s like to be in a real fight. Fighting requires killer instinct, something I’m not born with and something I’m not sure I want to develop. I haven’t decided if I’ll fight again, but it was an incredible growth experience.
- Relationships matter. Perhaps the biggest area of growth I’ve experienced this year is with my wife and within our relationship. This year we made the decision to join forces on the Illuminated Mind business and it’s been an awesome experience. I’m incredibly grateful to spend another year on this earth with Ev’Yan.
- Social media is can be a creation killer. It’s easy to get fooled into thinking you’re “building relationships” by “participating in the conversation” when you’re really just obsessively checking things on Twitter or Facebook. 2010 was the year I experienced firsthand the wrath of the “techno ADD loop” on my productivity. 2011 well be the year of consciously using social media, and not letting it overrun my creation time.
- In person connections rock! In 2010 I went to my first “big” blogger meetup: Blogworld. It was really awesome meeting in person and sealing bonds with people that I’ve been interacting and working with online for several years. I had so much fun and I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. One of my goals in 2011 is to go to at least three big conferences, I’ve already purchased my ticket to WDS, so that will be one of them.
I learned much more in 2010, but looking back those are the lessons that really stood out.
A lot was also accomplished this past year as well. Here are some of the highlights:
- Launched The Dojo. This was the first partner-based product I launched and I’m glad that I did it with Charlie. I learned a lot about what it takes to co-create something and collaborate to communicate a shared message.
- Brought over 150 people into Paid to Exist. We launched PTE twice in 2010, both times were a great success. This year, we definitely won’t be doing two inductions; I’m not sure we’ll even do one. I have other projects I want to focus on, and while Paid to Exist is a lot of fun, it also takes a lot of work.
- Started using metrics in my business. Just like for a long time I resisted systems, I also resisted metrics. I tracked our finances and business growth in my head. Needless to say, that’s not the best way to go about things. In the last quarter of 2010, I started actually tracking revenue and a few other things and we saw record growth financially. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The lesson: what you track tends to grow.
- Created “The Armory.” Something I haven’t talked about yet… so this is as good a time as any. You may have noticed the sidebar changed from a signup form to an image that sends you to another page called Armory. This is where I’ll be releasing product-quality free guides to equip people with the tools they’ll need to live on their own terms. The first two are The Limit Erasing Technique and Seven Keys to Discovering Your Passion. I wanted to offer a more valuable and compelling reason to sign up to my email list, and this is my way of “upping the ante.” Expect more to be released here soon.
- Physical breakthroughs. As I said before, in 2010 I had my first MMA fight. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about what it takes to train for a fight (like fireman’s carrying people up a near vertical 2 mile trail). I also began barefoot running, joined my first gymnastics class, and started teaching Jeet Kune Do twice a week. Overall, I’m really happy with my fitness development, but think I probably focused on it a bit too much in 2010.
- Established a real headquarters. My first year of self employment I worked out of our living room on my laptop. While this wasn’t bad per se, I craved a physical home for Illuminated Mind. And in June of last year we moved in to a bigger place with space for an office. This year (in three weeks!) we’ll be moving to Portland, Oregon and the basecamp of Illuminated Mind will grow once again. Ev’Yan and I are really excited about this!
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way things went in 2010. I experienced a lot of growth as a person, and learned a lot about how to build a business effectively and more sustainably. Since I get paid to be me, I see these two areas as parallel growth. I couldn’t grow as a person without growing my business at the same time, and vice versa. I couldn’t separate them if I wanted to. I like that.
This year I’ll be taking what I learned and setting my sights on even bolder visions and adventures, personally and with Illuminated Mind. One of those projects is a product I’ll be releasing within the next couple of months on crafting and spreading a powerful message, something I’ve been passionate about helping people with one-on-one for the past two years.
In the next update I’ll be talking about some of my goals and plans for 2011, and I hope you’ll join me in taking on a bolder vision.
Now, over to you…
What did you learn in 2010? What went well and what are you
photo courtesy of bslmmrs
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