2015 is not clear enough yet for me to give you much of a preview, but I can tell you a few things about it.
I will need to let go of 2014 in order to let a bright 2015 come.
2014 was 'good' and had lots of good moments, it went as well as I might have hoped and more-or-less according to plan. But I also slipped in and out of the one affliction that is a very real risk - mediocrity.
I have focused on establishing my work as a business, and validating that I can do so sustainably. On this front I can tick off a successful year. I made as much as I had hoped (and needed), still have cash in the bank, and did a bunch of good work.
On the other hand, I didn't do excellent work. And I didn't do enough work - whether paid or otherwise.
I realised late in the year that I have little motivation for building a successful business. I want to get by doing great work. Well, I want to do great work - and I need to get by.
So when I look back at all the trial, error and tribulation of struggling through the establishment of a business, so so much of my time feels really hollow. Do I want to spend my time reviewing value propositions, sales pitches and marketing strategies, week on week, month on month, year on year? And then going out and doing them? Hell no.
Aspects of the business I really like. I love meeting new people, discussing their work, helping them to understand where they are at (and if there is anything I can offer to help them along), and getting a feel for what's happening in the world. But doing this, from the base I have now, requires so much more effort that I really have so little patience with.
Realistically, even though all this dross might not be a big part of my model of business generally, it is part and parcel with it means to set up a solo consultancy from where I am now. I am doing interesting and different work, from a unique background and perspective, which is hard to describe and even to understand and pin down myself. I DON'T have a lot of the assets that many new consultants can draw on - years of experience in consulting (learnt from working under others), and solid professional networks based in work contact which, if not deep, at least has the strength of familiarity from year's of contact and reputation. I am not published. I have no PhD.
What this means is that I question - just because I can build my life around a consultancy business, does that mean that I should?
What I think this means for 2015
- I am still in consulting for sure, but I need to orient my life around what is meaningful to me (doing good work), and not the business — but without returning to 2012-13 where I sacrificed my financial needs in the interest of chasing ideas
- I need to let go of my ego-oriented ideas for work (my ideas, my business, my projects), where they do not serve me taking up opportunities in collaboration and service - opportunities which might not originate from within myself, but which nevertheless are effective avenues to do what is important to me
- When I am going to lead something myself, I need to think big... while also being smarter about how to involve others in collaborative relationships (where needed). I have hobbled all big ideas this year, in deference to the priority of my business. And in the past, my grand ideas have been too personal and individual to live up to their potential.
This is all just thinking on the fly, so don't hold me to it. But I'm sure there's something there.
See you in the new year!