The following is part one in a series I’ll be writing for the next few Wednesdays, based on prompts from Katy Tofoya’s (Success for Solopreneurs) workbook, Looking Back, Looking Forward.
Katy is a teacher and a coach who finds joy in helping women claim their passion and expertise. She guides solopreneurs to make their lives and their businesses juicier, more fulfilling and more successful.
Since December is a quieter month for me, I’m taking time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close, and prepare myself for the year ahead. The past year has presented me with many challenges, but not all challenges are a bad thing. It’s how you look at them that counts.
So per Katy’s workbook, I’ll tackle a few questions per week, in hopes of discovering something about myself that will help make 2013 a great year.
What did I accomplish this year that surprised me?
My biggest accomplishment was examining and changing my financial life, including starting this blog back in May. I knew my spending on my limited budget (actually I didn’t even have one) was a problem, but it wasn’t until I hit my financial rock bottom that I really woke up with what I call a financial hangover, and wanted to turn things around.
I wish I could undo what I had spent in the past, mostly as my time as a freelancer, but obviously I can’t. But I have made enormous strides this year in controlling spending, valuing what I do have, living more frugally, and most importantly, keeping a budget. And while I still struggle to stay in budget, each month I get better and better.
Who was there to support me throughout the year?
My biggest support has probably been my friend D. He has seen me at my worst, and I pretty much tell him everything (probably more than he wants to hear) about my life. And when I sat depressed one night thinking about my income and how much I hated working at The Container Store, he offered the opportunity to let me help him around his house so that he could focus on his own business, giving me pretty much my only (although small) guaranteed income this year.
My parents were also very supportive, and this was the first year that I took them up on their offer to help me financially on a couple of occasions, like fixing the air conditioning in my car. But more importantly was their ability to listen. Well mostly…my dad still needs a little work.
And of course there is the PF community. Like I said yesterday, I’m eternally grateful to all of you.
What did I learn about myself this year?
I also learned to deal with my ego and what I used to feel was the definition of success. There were so many external factors that I thought contributed to me being successful, like a good job, excelling in volleyball, being in a relationship, etc. But when you don’t necessarily have those things, all you are left with is you at your core, and if you can’t be happy with that then you’ve got some shit to deal with. And a lot of people define themselves with those external factors.
And lastly I learned that I’m amazingly creative and hardworking when it comes to earning money and saving when I need to. I feel like I have gained so many new skills as a result of doing this blog, doing TaskRabbit assignments, and being a personal assistant, on top of my regular job!
What did I stop, eliminate or let go of this year?
I let go of expectations. Detaching myself from the outcome…and being more present where things are today. Obviously I’m setting goals, but I don’t try to assume I will be happy when this happens or that happens. I need to be that way now, or else I risk never being satisfied.
What one word best describes the year I just experienced?
So what one word would you use to describe your past year?