In keeping with tradition, I wanted to kick off 2021 with a post about annual intentions. Each year, I focus on a phrase or word that will guide decisions in both my personal and professional life. I love using this space to share that intention with you, and also to provide an overview of what worked and what didn’t in the previous year!
Want to read past posts? Check out my intention post from 2019 and 2020 here. My word of the year for 2020 was “Impact.” Of course, when I set that intention for the year it was at the beginning of the 2020-rollercoaster. Little did I know that we would face a global pandemic, or that I would welcome Charlotte and Piper (our twin daughters!) into the world three months before their due date. 2020 was a year that, while challenging, made an impact on the lives of many – myself included. So, pull up a chair. Grab some coffee or some ice cream (after last year we all deserve copious amounts of both with zero judgment), and let’s talk about last year, this year, and what the path forward out of 2020 looks like.
Year In Review
2020 can’t possibly be summed up in a single blog post, so I’ll go over the highlights (and low points) of the year here – and how they tied into my intention word, Impact.
2020 was full of many positive things, even if it felt like the year as a whole was a perpetual storm of unexpected events. In my business, I was proud of the impact my team was able to make during the many ups and downs of the year. Donelle and Lauren, along with our new team of writers, handled 2020 with a sense of grace and focus that I find enviable. We successfully:
- Grew our team of writers to serve more clients.
- Organized our processes to make it possible for me to take maternity leave.
- Stayed on top of the many financial changes and stimulus packages and created templated content for our clients to use and communicate with their audience quickly and efficiently.
- Lauren had her first speaking engagement with FPA Chicago!
- Launched a new consulting business for advisors and small business owners.
- Met for a team retreat in Q1 (this was before coronavirus hit and it feels like a lifetime ago!).
Even though it felt like 2020 went incredibly quickly (while also dragging by), we accomplished so much, and I’m proud of the risks we were able to take to continue making a positive impact in a turbulent time.
If you ever want to know what, exactly, you’ve been the bottleneck for in your business – I recommend taking maternity leave. In all seriousness, I was shocked by the processes my team took over, and how much more efficient they were able to make them when I wasn’t in the day to day operation. So, while this is just another way of me giving them major credit where credit is due, it’s also a note to myself as a business owner.
Too often, I find myself stopping up the flow of work, or making things harder than they have to be just because it’s How I’ve Always Done Them. 2020, if nothing else, was a giant reality and ego check for me. I’ve built a team that cares deeply about our clients, is passionate about the work they do, and talented to boot. Sometimes, in order for growth to happen, I need to let them run with their areas of expertise and get out of the way.
This new mindset, however, has also had a positive impact on my own work. I’ve been able to serve more people in a consulting capacity, and create more educational material that helps other business owners and financial advisors market themselves, grow their businesses, and tell their story successfully.
If 2020 was a year of professional impact, my personal life was no different. My husband, Andrew, and I tackled almost every big change a couple can go through – and all during a pandemic! We found out we were pregnant with twins in February and were completely shocked. Twins don’t run in our family, but after undergoing fertility treatment in 2019 we knew multiples were a possibility. After a 3-year battle with infertility, we were both overjoyed and overwhelmed. Twins are a lot of responsibility, but we were ready to take on the challenge together.
We had started the process of building a new home with a local building company in November of 2019, and the timeline for completing and moving into the home matched up perfectly with our due date. We were set to move in around July, and the girls were due in September. What we didn’t realize that, even though I had checked all the boxes (surgery, weekly hormone injections, medication) to prevent preterm labor, the girls had other plans. They were born three months early on June 28, 2020 – weighing just under 2 pounds each after 6 days of active labor (and trying to buy as much time for them as we could).
Charlotte Louise and Piper June spent 86 days in the NICU before coming home, and I’m not being dramatic when I say that it was the longest 86 days of my life. But, they came home happy and healthy and have been keeping us on our toes ever since. I feel incredibly fortunate that, although the coronavirus pandemic has taken so much from so many, our personal small silver lining was that we were able to spend so much time with the girls in 2020. With Andrew and I both working from home, and my schedule remaining flexible as a business owner, we’ve been able to truly pour into them and soak up these early baby days. Speaking of, please enjoy these cute baby pictures:
My 2021 Intention
Although 2020 was impactful in about 1,000 ways I could never have imagined, I’m still grateful for the lessons learned and the positive changes that came out of an all-around impossible year. This year, my focus is a little different –
As a new mom and a leader of a team, I’m finding that being fully present in each moment allows me to be at my best no matter what I’m doing. The same is true for my team. When we’re present with our families, we’re able to refill our cups and live a life we’re each proud of. When I’m present with work, I’m able to accomplish more focused, impactful tasks and give my clients my best.
What Presence Means For You (And Perfectly Planned Content!)
As we focus our energy on presence this year as a team and as individuals, you can expect some exciting new things to happen with our business! We are actively working to create more educational opportunities (think: free webinars, ebooks, and more!) for our audience, and are getting ready to roll out exciting new service offerings that are tailored to your content creation needs and allow you to accomplish your marketing goals efficiently and effectively. I’ll also be opening up new spots for consulting clients in 2021 – including an exciting new VIP Day intensive offering for business owners who want to work through their full marketing and growth plan in a day together.
2021, take it easy on all of us! I think the world has earned a year of nothing but personal and professional wins, and probably lots more coffee and ice cream, too.