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2023: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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Yep, it’s one of those ‘year in review’ updates. I’ve never done one before, certainly not for public consumption. Mainly because I’m not sure anyone is interested, but also because I’m typically shattered at this time of year and can’t quite muster the energy.

I’m still not sure about anyone being interested, and I can say with certainty that I’m feeling pretty tired this December. Nevertheless, I’ve got a lazy afternoon sat on the sofa, Lexi is asleep besides me, and the weather is grim outside. So, why not give it a go?

The Good

2023 has been a good year, a great year in fact, in many ways.

Business has grown substantially and sustainably, following a few years of grit and graft. It’s a rewarding experience, and as self-indulgent as it might sound, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. For all those people that advised me it takes 3-5 years for a new business to become established, I now believe you! For those in the early years, keep going.

In support of that I’ve formed many new business relationships too. Clients, colleagues, coaches, and confidantes – the connection has all made the world of difference. And my clients are just bloody brilliant and inspire me every day.

The lessons and learnings this year have felt significant, both personal and professional, and with that comes growth. I’m embracing it for all it has to offer.

I turned 50 at the start of the year, and with it came a newfound confidence boost. An unexpected benefit of half a century on this earth. The sense of living life and work in a way I want to, not the way I think others expect me to. A liberation we all deserve at any point in life.

I know many people dread the big 5-0, but I see it as a privilege. Not everyone has the chance to see that birthday, and I’m hugely grateful.

Following a few years of knee troubles and health niggles, I’ve turned a corner and been able to return in earnest to my love of hiking. Over 1200 miles of morning walks and a happy dog alongside me. You see, fitness and mobility can improve at 50 too!

That mobility has also meant I’ve been able to holiday more too (there was a time I couldn’t make it through an airport, the knee pain so challenging). So, there have been breaks in the UK and a couple of trips to a retreat in Portugal which have all done me the world of good. I’m just back from a rainy trip to the Lake District – a great way to wind-down to the festive season.

I’ve also invested in a couple of professional residentials too, with other talented coaches, learning so much about alternative methods and perspectives. It certainly hasn’t felt like ‘work’.

I made the big decision this month to hire an Operations Manager into the business. It felt a big step. A commitment to a different business model and onward growth. But as soon as I made the decision, I knew it was right. January can’t come quickly enough to have a talented woman working alongside me.

And lastly, I’ll simply say that I feel content, experience joy every day and look forward to the future.

I think you’ll agree that’s plenty of the good stuff.

 

The Bad

Of course, there have been challenges, even though the balance has been substantially weighted towards the positive. There are always lessons within.

The substantial business growth has also brought with it long working hours. Too many hours. And I’ve felt the impact – peaks of stress and the toll that can have on sleep and health.

When business was shifting and growing, I wasn’t entirely sure of whether it was sustainable growth or a temporary blip, and also whether I wanted that size of business long-term. And so my decision to outsource and/or hire was delayed.

I wouldn’t change that process and timescale. Prior action would have been too hasty, but it did have an impact on me personally. Ultimately, that impact has been short-lived, managed, and there’s someone new joining the business in 2024.

The Ugly

Honestly I’ve been lucky. Not too much of the ugly stuff in 2023 and I hope that streak continues.

There’s been a smidge of online trolling, quickly nipped in the bud. I know others aren’t as fortunate with the speed with which mine was sorted. I guess it goes with the territory of putting yourself out there online every day – a sad truth.

And I guess some of my most challenging moments have been inside my own head, when the self-doubt and inner critic has kicked in. But that’s why I have coaches myself, a supervisor, and invest in looking after myself. It serves me well.

 

A Great Big Thank-You

I’ve been supported by so many this year. My own coaches have been a phenomenal encouragement, opening my eyes and mind to the potential in front of me. My coaching community never cease to amaze me with their generous sharing and all-round selflessness. Friends and family have been by my by side throughout, and have put up with a bit of ‘tetchiness’ as pressure mounted. Clients have inspired me every single day and remind me why I choose this new path – they truly are amazing. And let’s not forget those wonderful freelancers and small businesses that have supported me through their own brilliance.

Thank you all.

Here’s to 2024!