Note: Not sure the best way to start posting my Perspective Podcast blog / shownote episodes here whether I start from episode 1 or just begin posting the latest. I figured maybe the best way to begin is by posting my 2017 recap which I think can provide some value to you.
Looking Back On Shit and Sunshine
Wanna know one thing that terrifies me? It's looking back a year later and realizing I made no significant growth in my life.
For me, the best way I know how to measure this is by setting goals, reflection and by documenting or journaling it—whatever you want to call it.
2017 was a massive mind fuck yet it provided some of the best highlights of my young creative career. I like to call this shit and sunshine.
One month I'd feel depressed and worthless. The next month I'd feel loved and fulfilled.
There were plenty of times I felt lost and hopeless only to turn around the next week and feel driven and hopeful.
2018 is going to be a massive year, I can feel it but it'll have its challenging times...especially when I turn the big dirty 30.
Something I want to encourage you to is to take the shit in stride so you can appreciate the sunny days when things go right. Take a moment to reflect, celebrate and even document if it helps you see the growth.
Ensuing are 12 lessons I learned in 2017. I know for a fact some of these will benefit you too.
1. Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
I grew up terrified of sharing my work. However, getting uncomfortable and sharing my work through Instagram at the age of 25 changed my life. From there it challenged me in blogging, speaking, teaching and podcasting.
In 2017 especially, I started intentionally seeking or taking on opportunities that not only challenged me but scared the shit out of me.
If something you want to do scares you, I believe it's your intuition pulling you towards the person you're supposed to become.
2. Building Relationships & Pouring Into Other
They say it's not about what you know, but who you know. This is a hard fact. Yet many people approach this in a skeezy car salesman fashion.
Don't, I repeat don't see people as connections and stepping stones. Pour your full self into a relationship. Find ways you can provide value to them without expecting anything in return.
Be a good listener, encourage others, share others work or provide insight / advice whenever you can.
You have no idea what that relationship or interaction can lead to. You could make a lifelong friend, a customer, a brand ambassador or even get hired by them someday down the road.
3. The Power of Staying in Front of People
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. You can't whine and complain that people don't notice what you're doing when you're showing up only when it's convenient.
You have to stay in front of people especially on platforms where the attention is at.
Focus on kicking out content, building influence and finding your voice a minimum of once a week.
The catch is to enjoy what you create, pour your most authentic self into it and discover how you can deliver value.
4. Writing Down Measurable Goals With Deadlines
Your goal isn't shit until you write it down. Amplify that goal by attaching a deadline to it.
Writing your goal down adds a new level of accountability and adding a deadline creates urgency.
Make your goal measurable by having milestones along the way so you can track your progress (i.e. 5 speaking gigs by mid-December = 1.25 per quarter).
5. Self-Awareness - Do Less But Better
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is crucial.
I'm extremely good at prioritizing and scheduling my day. Essentially I thrive on chaos—or so I think.
My top weakness is having Superman Syndrome. I feel like I can do everything which results in above average results, unnecessary stress and neglecting people who matter most.
I'm aware of this more than ever now, but acting on it in 2018 is the next step. I'm a constant WIP and Doing Less But Better while focusing on the essentials is my main objective.
6. Investing in Yourself
When you invest in yourself it'll either be with money or time. Money isn't always available but you can always create more time to invest in yourself and your future.
When money is available, you know I'm all about seeking out conferences, workshops or events whether locally or out of city or state.
Money will also help you pay for online courses, books, new equipment, etc.
When money isn't abundant, you'll need to invest your time. For example, listening to free resources like podcasts, watching tutorials on YouTube or reading articles or blogs on the interwebs.
Investing time into daily practice is really the key to benefiting the most out of your money or other time investments.
7. Stop Complaining & Start Evolving
This is a big one I'm guilty of in 2017. I've been bitching about the Instagram algorithm all year. My "following" actually decreased pretty significantly even though I was consistent, increased quality and value.
Instead of nutting up, adapting and evolving with the platform, I complained publicly, especially on social media.
Over the last month, I've done my research, changed my strategy and started growing again. However, it took investing time and being open to change.
The only thing certain in life is that things will always change, will you be the person complaining or evolving?
8. The Value of Collaboration
In my first year of lettering on Instagram, I sought out other artists to collaborate with that had similar audience sizes to mine.
It taught me how to be proactive and work with someone on the other side of the globe. Mostly, it showed me the value of tapping into each other's audiences.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to team up with Deneen Pottery in Minnesota. They had a massive coffee mug enthusiast community which I was oblivious to. We had back-to-back mug releases of 200 then 400, all which sold out in 30 minutes and 20 minutes.
Not only have they acquired business and followers from my audience, but I've been able to tap into this coffee community and build some amazing relationships.
They've not only become friends, but many of them have supported my cat and pizza-related products as well.
Keep in mind that collaborations should always share a mutual benefit.
What value is each party providing the other?
Remember that when you reach out to someone for future collabs.
9. Reach Out & Reconnect
This one ties into self-awareness as I noticed my circle of local friends was getting smaller and smaller in 2017.
When you become laser focused and obsessed with your dream, you tend to forget and neglect those around you. This is something I'm guilty of with my family and my closest friends as I mentioned in Episode 48.
If someone comes to mind you haven't talked to in awhile, reach out and reconnect with them. Ask them to coffee or jump on a FaceTime call.
Don't get so wrapped up in your internet life that you lose sight of your real life.
10. Not Taking Myself Too Seriously
I've been trying to find my voice for a few years now. Early on, I mimicked the voice of people who had a heavy influence on me.
I'm a complete goofball but that rarely shines through in my writing and speaking. Yet it's all too easy to show in my artwork hence why I draw so much pizza—it's fun and allows me to not take myself too seriously.
Finding what makes you unique and embracing your weird quirks will help you rise above the noise.
Try to not take yourself too seriously all the time and let your freak flag fly.
11. Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
It's okay to not pigeonhole yourself into one specific set style to work in. Having a perfectly hyper-curated Instagram feed isn't necessary but if it works for you that's great.
I'm consistently inconsistent and over time I realize that's okay and is a style in itself.
Don't be afraid to color outside the lines and switch things up.
12. Don't Be a Dick
This should go without saying but you're gonna get a lot farther in life by being a kind person.
I know dick heads can excel, but that doesn't have to be you.
Choose to be empathetic, encouraging, respectful and appreciative. I feel these are the true ingredients for accomplishing great things while enjoying your life and the people in it.
Thanks for reading. I hope you get the chance to listen to the audio and I'm always open to comments and feedback.
Keep showing up, keep putting in the work and keep creating. You got this!