SunSet PlaneAs we are about to officially rip the last page off of the 2012 calendar and declare the year “complete,” many of us are starting to get that annual, panicky feeling as we slink around the corner of the new year. You can’t really explain it other than you’re feverishly trying to recover from the “Christmas hangover” – the credit card bills will be coming soon, the out-of-town family is heading back home and the house is feeling empty, and you may be looking at a blank calendar without revenue generating activities. And in the midst of it all the glimmer of the new year is on the horizon… where things are going to be (have to be) better…right?

We get it. However, this is our third year of taking a very different approach to the year-end wrap up and New Year’s resolutions. It has made a tremendous difference and we’d like to share it with you.

We like to end the year with a declaration of the Top 3 things we learned over the past 12 months. These will launch us into 2013 with intentional determination and discipline that is filled with passion, purpose and permission to grow. Here’s hoping they will do the same for you.

The Top 3 Things We Learned in 2012

1. Less is more. In October we shut down and spent an entire day working on our business plan for 2013. Usually we would come out with our “Top 10,” but we quickly realized we would have been completely depleted by the end of month ONE, and not necessarily any richer or wiser, if we planned to operate that way. We gave ourselves permission to be completely honest with ourselves and committed to creating “4 Power Projects” – not 10. We did an analysis of what work would suck the life out of us and what would allow us to work within our passion keys, and very quickly we were focused on and committed to what we were declaring for the business. It wasn’t a “man oh man, it’s gonna be hard work, but we can buckle down and muscle through,” it was much more “WOW, that feels really light and exciting. And we’re still able to keep a work-life balance, make a difference and make the money we need.” We made a conscious commitment to focus on staring these routine fears straight in the face. For Molly it was public speaking and sharing with the world what she was up to. For Laney it was sharing her voice and creating a new work-life balance that will be necessary with a new baby on the way.  All while enabling us to focus on the projects that allowed us to feel not merely needed but appreciated and celebrated, which will challenge us and keep us engaged and inspired.

2. We quit the school of Shoulda– In the past we’d receive a critical email and become paralyzed with doubt about ourselves and the value we provide. In 2010, we stopped beating ourselves up. We shoulda said this, instead of this. Maybe that was too harsh, so and so will think we were talking about them. In 2011, we stopped trying to retain clients who were not a good fit for us and focused on those who were. In 2012, we found our voice and spoke the unedited truth about the challenges we see businesses facing every day. Sometimes people were thankful for our message, sometimes they were offended. But we know what our soulful client looks (and acts) like and we will not accept anything but that – it is a disservice to them and to ourselves. And… it feels GREAT because it allows us to lock arms with like-minded people and support them every step of the way. And in 2013 we will cross the proverbial threshold with resolute confidence that we know when we feel the “Shoulda” bug, it’s just fear speaking. And we will strive to apply our high-level skill to shrug off other disappointments or judgments and choose our voice, the one that we know will make a difference in this world.

3. Permission to grow— This was a big one for us, both as a business and personally. One big lesson for us was to nurture our willingness to be a stand for ourselves. We are so used to being a constant stand for others, helping unleash the courage to share your true voice and gifts in order to grow.  For us, it was our willingness to share our stories more, to put a voice to the words. This allowed us to truly connect with our audience and their darkest fears around business, team, life, and gave us the strength to shine a light on those fears and name them. Giving ourselves permission to receive the gift of people’s lives and businesses, something they really don’t even trust themselves with, and fulfill our promise to give it back to them in better shape than they could ever imagine. That is the true essence of permission to grow.

If you’re feeling like you need a launching pad to move into 2013 with anticipation, we recommend a book that we continue to read every year. “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” by John C. Maxwell. The theme of the book is: “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” Most of our stress, worry, indecision and hesitation come from the fear of failure. But Maxwell has learned to make failure his friend, and he does a life-altering job of sharing that in his book. Don’t let fear of failure be a self-fulfilling prophecy any longer and rob you of what’s possible for you in 2013.

Champions for your continued success,

Molly and Laney

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