As we get started, I want to share something I learned toward the end of this year from a new friend and strategic business partner of mine, Chuck Blakeman. He shared something that was told to him by his mother years ago:
“There are no excuses or even reasons—there are only priorities.”
It’s hard for me to describe to you how deeply this resonates with me, and how profoundly it has already altered my thinking. So, with that said, I’ll make no excuses for what I’ll share below, but will instead offer my thoughts on how I occasionally prioritized other things over the goals I initially set.
So with that sentiment ringing in my/your ears, let’s get on with the show!
My goals for 2016, and a reflection on each:
1) Continue my yoga practice
Ooof, it’s a bummer to start with this one. I made it to yoga twice (?) this year…? I drastically underestimated the number of other things I would prioritize when moving my family into a new city. I will say that I’m not giving up on my practice, though… more below in my goals for 2017.
2) Get my salary back to pre-merger levels
Definitely made huge strides on this over 2015, but we’re still not quite there. We’ve got a solid plan in place to make sure this happens by the end of 2017.
3) Grow Twitter followers 10x (right now I’m at ~2000)
At the time of this writing, I’m at 13,200 followers, so I didn’t make my 10x goal but I did grow a respectable 6.6x.
4) Official proposal/outline and agent for Biz Book #2
This goal was a big question mark for me for the whole first half of 2016—I was seriously considering making it happen even into Q2. Eventually, though, I decided to intentionally put it on the back burner and revisit it later, which is… well, now. I’m not going to put this into my official goals for 2017, but I will say that, as happens with crazy people like me who write, I have been waking up early some mornings with full chapters that I transcribe furiously into the Notes app on my iPhone from bed… in other words, I’m pretty sure Book #2 is coming soon.
5) Work Revolution Summit #2
We were dangerously close to seeing this happen—The Work Revolution decided to “present” a related event that I co-founded called the Rework CEO Summit, which was going to happen in November. At the last minute, we decided to postpone this event into 2017 due to scheduling conflicts with some of our attending CEOs. I am remarkably excited about this project, and fully expect it—and a couple other fun Work Revolution-related things—to happen in 2017.
6) Build a thriving local network in Denver
Despite the total unmeasurable fuzziness of this goal, I consider it to be off to a very successful start! I’ve met some really fabulous individuals over the last year, and have very publicly told almost all of them my goal is to “meet all the cool people in Denver/Boulder over the next 5 years.” I’ve gotten connected to folks at the local chapters for NSA, ATD, OD Network, CultureLabx, Small Giants, and also a number of other groups I haven’t been able to actually attend yet. In December, I also joined a business owner group called 3to5 Club. I personally believe in building meaningful relationships, and as such, a thriving local network is a goal that will just take time; there’s no real way to rush or accelerate it—I just have to be persistent and genuine, which is my continuing intention.
7) 50% unstructured time (no meetings in afternoons)
This goal was a huge area of success for me. As my work/role has shifted from “consultant” to “CEO,” my time has been needed more and more in video chats and phone calls (these are what count as “meetings” for me). While this is understandable and (mostly) welcomed, the tangible effect of this transition was that by the end of 2015 I was feeling absurdly scattered and completely unable to find time to do more of the “creative” aspects of my work—those things that require solid, uninterrupted blocks of time so I can read / think / write / design, etc. without getting pulled out of my zone of focus by a 30-minute call that got plopped in the middle of my afternoon. Blocking my afternoons as sacred was magic, and I’ll be continuing it again this year.
Also, a quick note on this if you’d like to try it: know that it’s harder than it sounds (at least it was for me). I have to be continually diligent about protecting this time from myself, first and foremost, and then also be kindly insistent that other people (on my team, vendor-partners, colleagues, clients, etc.) respect my need for this as well.
Accomplishments & fun things from 2016:
- We moved into our new house on January 1, 2016! If you’re curious, the truck with all our “stuff” in it arrived to said house on January 4, 2016. ;-)
- I moved my office back into my house, down into the basement (something that’s not really an option in LA)—and after having a separate office space down the street for the last ~3 years, this was an interesting, and mostly great, transition. The commute certainly can’t be beat!
- We potty-trained our then-two-year-old—a huge, fantastic, shining achievement for all involved (those of you who have done this know exactly what I’m talking about).
- We got acclimated to the mile-high altitude, our new neighborhood, our new courtyard, and our new neighbors. You don’t get to pick these people, so we are extremely grateful for how wonderful they all are!
- We mostly-furnished our house and completed a side-yard patio that is quite lovely—as you may recall, we had a TINY apartment in LA, and gave away or sold most of our furniture before we left, so this has (and continues to be) an interesting process.
- We hosted a number of dear friends in our new home when they visited Denver, and it was simply delightful to be able to offer them a place to crash in a space that could be mostly their own (the basement)—we found this to be a bit more appealing to guests than a couch in our living room, for some strange reason…!
- We traveled to see both of our families over the summer, which was excellent—easier travel and better weather in their respective northern-U.S. locations.
- Our three-year-old started preschool, two afternoons per week, and also ballet class—she loves them both, which makes my nerdy-artsy daddy heart very happy.
- Purchased season tickets to the DCPA musical theater 2016-2017 season. So far, we’ve seen Cabaret, An Act Of God, and Finding Neverland. Great date nights! Loving it.
- Spent two glorious days at Disneyland/California Adventure—call me a nerd or whatever you like, but after being Annual Passholders for the last ten years… wow, we miss that place.
- For the first time since we were married (13 years ago!), we did NOT travel for the end-of-year holidays, but instead hosted our families at our house. A M A Z I N G.
- I did a couple of keynotes and a guest lecture at a local university; always tremendous fun for me!
- We built and launched a brand new strengthscopeUS.com website.
- We experienced an exciting amount of other business successes—I won’t bore you with a list of those accomplishments, but want to share one notable change. Since starting our partnership, Mike and I have been running both of our companies as Co-CEOs. This approach worked well for us to get everything started, but was proving to be increasingly difficult as each business kept growing—in short, we were starting to feel spread much too thin. So, starting in 2017 we’ll be focusing our roles: Mike will be taking over as CEO of beForte (our consulting arm) and I’ll become CEO of Strengthscope U.S. (our product company). We’re both still owners of both and will continue to serve in an ongoing strategic advisory role for the other company, and we’re hopeful this will provide us with more focused energy to help each company continue their growth!
Goals For 2017:
- Re-start yoga practice—average at least 1x/week
- Get take-home pay to pre-merger level by end of year
- Continue to grow network in Denver (24 new kick-ass connections by end of year)
- Average 1 airplane/month, only traveling for things ONLY I can do
- 25k Twitter followers by end of year
- Post a new original article on a blog or other media outlet 1x/week
- Release audiobook of Igniting the Invisible Tribe
- Have Dynamizer in production and for sale publicly (this is a side project I’ve been working on for years, literally, to help kids discover and utilize their strengths!)
Death by Info v. Death by Ignorance (& Gummi Bears) by Josh Allan Dykstra on June 24th, 2010
When Ideas Have Sex (& Other Fascinations) by Josh Allan Dykstra on April 18th, 2011
The Epic Fail of California (and Why It Matters) by Josh Allan Dykstra on October 4th, 2009