Out of nowhere I caught a glimpse of a calendar showing a little more than a week left in 2010. It can’t be, the year is almost over? I didn’t put a book out in 2010, I was going to write that book about search engine optimization techniques. No time now, and to make matters worse the whole search industry is changing, since people more and more are spending time on Facebook, and finding their information at predetermined websites, instead of just Googling everything. No book in 2010. Well at least I still have that Tea shop that I opened for that girl I no longer date. No, that seems to be gone too. What really happened in 2010?
For starters I got pretty good at observing people. I met more than a few people in the past year that apparently were heavily involved in social networking, and marketing, and even SEO. Believe it or not, they’d come to my coworking space, or Tea shop, flip open their laptops, and get to work. These were the people I’d been waiting years to meet around this small southern town, so luck would have it when we did meet I never could muster up anything useful to say about my own business. It was as if 2010 was the year I retired from my own company, which is pretty tough to do when you’re the only employee. As hard as they try, my three dogs just can’t seem to type up those work emails with their paws.
Much of my businesses were closed down in painfully slow operational efforts that were like living a nightmare in real life. Even though I love you, and love working with you, you are fired because our company isn’t profitable like it used to be. Try saying that five times fast to your favorite employee.
Along with my businesses went some old friends, a girlfriend, and her dog, all of whom were apparently not on my side. With so much negativity in the air, it’s with unbelievable humility I write that so many wonderfully great things occurred in 2010.
As quick as I could email my landlord to let her know we weren’t renewing our lease on that 2,000 sq ft office space, my sanity returned. Within weeks my energy levels went way up, and all the sudden, no matter how bad things were for my many businesses, personally I felt great. It was like honesty’s sweet fulfillment coming to fruition right before my very eyes, sometimes when life is the hardest, the greatest feelings of joy can arise. A wise man once told me that God puts struggle in our lives so that we must depend on Him, and not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for my own. The Wall Street Journal told me some years ago that according to psychological studies happiness is most derived from resilience. Science and God on the same page, I told you 2010 was some year.
In 2010 I cared more about people than I did profit. I wanted to talk more than I did sell. I was alive in 2010. I got to see my old girlfriend that hadn’t been around in years for a few weeks, I got to visit my old college campus for the first time in 7 years, I got to look in the mirror and not wonder if this was the day my company would get sued for a million dollars. I got to take in the air in 2010. I made a lot of friends in 2010, and had a lot of fun talking to those friends, spending time, even, as scary as it sounds, dancing with them.
What happened to my business was life, what happened to my soul was gratitude. What happens in 2011 nobody knows, but for sure I am ready to face the challenges with an extraordinary appreciation for people, for God, for the very ability I have to wake up, walk out my door, call my mom or dad, and tell them that I love them. It’s not all roses from here on out, it’s still going to be a long challenging road to recovery, to building the next Google or Groupon, or heck even the next Puppy-Finder.com. It’s going to be hard. But it’s going to be worth it if I can take the lessons from 2010, and use them to make 2011 better.
May you take some of this positive energy and put it into your soul. May you have the confidence to not give a you-know-what about what other people think, and make this year the year you do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. We are so lucky to be here, and I just wish so much pain wasn’t my reminder of this fact, so here’s to 2011 being the year that changes everything for the better.