As I look back on the last decade, I’m reminded that a person can pack a whole lot into one ten-year span. But there are things better left in the teens.
Here are the eight things I’m leaving in the teens and what I’m making room for in the twenties:
I’m leaving #hustleculture behind, and instead embracing a balanced work day
The last decade was filled with “inspo” posts where someone took a picture of their desk at 11pm on a Friday, asking, “What’s a weekend?” and got plenty of engagement.
In the 20s, I’m going to take the opposite route. Instead of simply not posting those posts, I’m going to structure my days and weeks for maximum impact. I’m a junkie for productivity, but instead of embracing productivity just so I can fit more work into my days, I’m going to see how much I can get done by working smarter. By fitting my work into four or five hours instead of eight or nine. I’ve started experimenting with this, and going to yoga during the day (which really is the best).
This will take an energy audit, and outsourcing the tasks that don’t fit into a condensed day. Or the tasks that take me a lot longer than they would take someone else.
But the tradeoff — more time with my family, a more well-rounded version of me, the space to add more fun to my life — is worth it.
I’m leaving behind the idea that I have to hide behind a generic-sounding company name and I’m embracing building my business around my name
After leaving Stacking Benjamins, a brand built around personalities that weren’t mine, I thought it would be best to have a “could go any direction” brand name. I could hide behind a logo and some stock images of clean workspaces and use the word “we” when I meant both my left hand and my right hand.
But I’m coming around to the conclusion that hiding behind a generic-sounding name is just fear. Fear that something I’m putting my name and face behind might fail.
So what if it does?
The longer I spend developing my own business, working on my own terms, and doing things my way, the more I realize that whatever I do, I should put my name and my face behind it (which is terrifying, but essential).
One funny thing about this is that I’m handing more hours to my operations person than I ever was when I hid behind Dabble Media. It’s almost as if I never needed to hide behind a big name to begin with. Almost.
I’m leaving behind imposter syndrome and I’m embracing my expertise instead
I’m really interested in doing more research into imposter syndrome because it’s one of those things that a lot of people, at every level, feels.
And it’s not useful.
The above tweet makes a lot of sense to me, especially as I learn more about imposter syndrome. The people who feel it the most (women, people of color, LGBTQ) are the people who society has traditionally shut out, so they’re hearing correctly when they hear, “who said you could be here?” but they’re attributing it to the wrong person or set of circumstances.
What if that little voice in your head is society trying to keep you in your place?
I don’t think 2020 is the year I solve imposter syndrome for myself or anyone else (although my class graduation quote in high school was “shoot for the moon // even if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars” thank you deep recesses of my brain for that one), but I am going to lean into the things I know and start teaching them.
And I’m going to help you figure out what it is you know, too.
I’ll be going live every Monday and Wednesday at 8:45AM Mountain Standard Time, discussing all the various ways you can level up and make the kind of money you should be making on your expertise. I don’t necessarily mean what you studied in college, because that would mean my expertise is in politics and that couldn’t be farther from the truth, so it’s not just about your studies.
It’s figuring out what you know so well that it’s not impressive to you and learning how to make more money by leaning into your expertise and creating lucrative projects around the things you already know how to do.
I’m leaving behind attempting to “be cool” (not that it worked anyway) and replacing my nerdy, dorky, weird self because that is the beauty of the internet
A year ago, I wouldn’t have wanted these pictures anywhere out in the public. Me looking silly, making a face, or somehow looking unpolished?
No thank you.
One of the beautiful things about the internet is just how much work a person can get done without having to dress for work, or even put on a pair of shoes.
But for me, it led to hiding.
Listen, I’m not cool. I don’t use cool lingo, I’m not anyone’s traditional view of cool, and right now, at the end of the decade, I’m leaning into the fact that I don’t want to have a seat at the cool kids’ table. I’d rather sit with my friends, who are all a bunch of dorks anyway, than try to put on some veneer of what I think is cool.
Here are some things that are “cool” that I want to leave behind:
- Snubbing other people
- Having petty competitions to see where I come out
- Acting like a know-it-all
- Making fun of someone who asks an earnest question instead of helping them
- Making fun of any earnest expressions whatsoever
- Jordache jeans, a smoky eye, and smoking in the boys’ room
I’m leaving behind major life changes and I’m excited to see what can grow when I am planted in one place for a whil
I’m done moving across the country, done having babies, done shifting everything.
Over the last decade, I’ve moved homes eight times and changed time zones (and growing zones!) once. I lost my mom, married my husband, had a baby, had another baby, and went from a two-earner no-kid household to a one-entrepreneur one full-time dad household in a short timespan.
I’ve gone from working for a family business to working for a small corporation to working for myself. I’ve gone from single to dating to married. I’ve gone from two parents to one.
And I created life. Two amazing humans exist that didn’t exist in my realm a couple of years ago.
I do not want to understate how completely mind boggling it is that in less than a decade, I could change all of the everythings so completely that there’s no way 2010 Kathleen would believe that 2020 Kathleen is married and living her entrepreneurial dream and living in the deep suburbs of Phoenix.
But here we are. And here we’ll be for the next decade and beyond. Maybe not in this house. (Did you notice the disdain enclosed in the “deep suburbs” reference above?) But here, in the Phoenix area, unless something unforeseen changes.
And I’m open to that.
But all those major life changes require a great deal of energy, both mental and physical. And I’m really excited to find out what happens when that energy gets to focus on the things I already have: my relationship with my husband, my relationship with my kids, and my marketing consulting business.
I’m not saying there won’t be major changes down the line. I am confident, however, that there won’t be any more husbands or kids or cross-country moves.
I’m leaving behind grudges and assumptions (no more making decisions for other people!) and embracing the freshness of a clean slate
I don’t like this fact about myself, but I hold grudges. If you hurt my feelings, I will stay mad at you for a long time.
But holding a grudge doesn’t help me. So I’ve been working (mostly through my morning pages because some of the grudges I hold closest aren’t ones that can be helped by the airing of grievances) to let go of a lot of the grudges I keep.
It makes me lighter and gives more space to the possibility of forming new connections.
So I’m trying to see 2020 as a fresh coat of snow. One that covers the tracks, even the deep trenches, with a light fluffy powder.
Now, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be naive. I sincerely believe that when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them, and forget hoping that they’ll change.
That’s still true. But there’s a huge difference between unfollowing or muting someone and spending mental space going over (and over and over) how I’ve been wronged.
So I’m open to the possibilities. And I’m going to ask before assuming I know what someone hasn’t explicitly said. Not going to talk myself out of a sale or out of an invite to coffee by thinking, “she wouldn’t want to anyway.”
I’m leaving behind my desire to stay on top of the 24-hour news cycle and instead seeking out and highlighting stories and glimmers of positivity where I find them
Scroll past the bad, retweet the good.
I don’t feel like my life is improved by the quantity of news I have available to me.
I have a subscription to the New York Times, and there was a time where I’d read six articles before getting out of bed.
I don’t do that anymore.
In fact, I’ve swung so far the other direction that I get a lot of my news from John Oliver. Often several weeks late.
And you know what?
The world keeps turning.
As we head into a presidential election year, I have to remember to keep my mind focused on the things that help my family, and rage about whatever’s happening in politics is not something that helps me be a better marketer, a better mom, or a better wife.
I’ll vote, but I won’t do much more.
Except remembering to scroll past the things that fire up my anger centers and retweeting random good things I find in my own personal echo chamber that is Twitter.
I’m leaving behind my desire to control the whole story and instead embracing the story that unfolds when I set the stage
One of the ways I get in the way of my happiness is by creating a full mental picture of exactly how something is going to go, then getting upset if reality doesn’t match the diorama in my mind (and you can bet your britches reality and perfection aren’t compatible).
But some of my favorite things have happened when I simply set the stage and allowing whatever magic is meant to happen to actually happen.
This is an attitude I want to carry with me in big conversations and small ones. In get togethers and conferences. With my kids and with prospective clients.
What happens if I simply set the stage (make sure the temperature is not too warm or too cool, set out the right kind of snacks, plenty of coffee or wine depending on the time of day and the people in the room) and then ask great questions?
What kinds of sparks could fly?
It gives me chills just thinking about it.
I asked my friends on Twitter (follow me, boo!) what they were leaving behind, and I got a couple of great responses.
Here are a couple examples:
Josh is leaving self hatred behind, and replacing it with treating himself as well as he treats his friends.
Josh Overmyer is one of the best humans on the planet. He is generous to a fault. He supports his friends. He makes a ton of friends. He’s a cheerleader. Someone who buys entrance to Amanda’s investing course for her readers who can’t afford the tuition themselves.
But which of us is perfect? Sounds like he leaves all his support out on the field, so to speak. None of us are our flaws, none of us are our successes. We’re all a bunch of flawed humans, doing our best, and I’m proud of Josh for attempting to leave his self hatred in the past.
Caelan is leaving behind working too hard and replacing it with…
Caelan Huntress is one of my best internet friends, and someone who really knows how to hustle. So I’m excited to see how he’s able to slow down while also increasing his income, because that’s what I’m all about.
Also, some food for thought: if there’s someone out there doing exactly what you’re doing, do you stay away from them? Compare yourself against them? Try not to follow them too closely in case they come after you for some kind of “we do the same thing” infringement?
Because that used to be my gut reaction.
And it’s completely normal in the dog-eat-cat capitalist world that has been normalized in our society.
But that’s absolutely the wrong reaction. Let me ask you this: can your business, no matter the size, serve everyone who needs what you offer?
Of course not.
And there is so much work, so much money, so much available online that one person, one company, one marketing consultant, can’t serve everyone.
I mention this because Caelan is also a marketing consultant. We have nearly 100% overlap in our skills and offerings. So we shouldn’t collaborate, right?
But magic happens when we do. Our calls are filled with sparks of ideas that are only possible through our different approaches to the same problems.
And I wouldn’t get to consider him a friend if I’d let the fact that we both do similar things get in the way of developing a deep and lasting respect for each other.
So befriend your competition. You could luck out.
What about you? What are you leaving behind? What are you making room for?