Admittedly, I nerd out on all things planning.
Bullet points! Goals and objectives! Vision boards! Color coding! Notebooks! Deadlines! Yeah!
I’m really good at it, and I love organizing day dreams and visions into something tangible that can easily be brought to life.
During the last week of 2016, I found out I was pregnant. And while I showed up in my business every day, facilitated my clients’ strategic planning processes, and even hired a business coach to help me tackle some of my big goals for 2017, I never ended up with a plan for the year.
For the first time in my business I didn’t have a clue of what I was going to be focusing on three or six months out from any moment in time. Every time I thought about what would happen after I gave birth, it was like staring into an abyss that no amount of google searching “Maternity leave for Entrepreneurs" and asking friends could fill. And when you really get down to it, no one else’s experience can really prepare you for what yours will be like—especially when it comes to the first months of keeping a tiny human alive.
All I knew was that sometime in the fall my life was going to change dramatically. I had to do everything I could to prepare —double my income, create my own maternity leave fund, have a healthy pregnancy, make sure it was clear that I was still running my business and for hire, and move into a new place— within the next seven to eight months.
So how did I make it to December without losing my mind?
I got laser focused on becoming the most aligned and authentic I’ve ever been in my life and business. And with the help of my business coach keeping me accountable and challenging me where I needed it most, I knocked goals off lists of strategic plans past and birthed a new everything before my son came into the world.
It was not easy.
I had to engage in a bunch of really difficult conversations. I slashed through relationships that weren’t working for me, and stood up for myself. I strongly said “no" to potential clients that weren’t a good fit, even when I had no clue where my next check might come from. I engaged with my finances and bookkeeping in a very serious and disciplined way instead of avoiding them. I raised my prices, and got rid of packages and services that didn’t light me up. I also worked hard to not chase after shiny things or new ideas and stay the course doing the valuable yet boring and repetitive work I needed to be doing.
I dug deep into my fears, baggage from childhood and past lives, and confronted my perfectionism and issues with being publicly visible. I dug deep into my faith, and the doubts I had about whether or not I could really pull my vision off. I worked out, meditated, yoga’ed my ass off and--aside from several Popeye’s biscuits that the baby specifically requested--ate as clean as possible to stay sane and whole through it all.
It was painful. It was incredible. It was exhausting. It was beautiful.
I doubled my income.
I served more clients.
I finally executed and created my first online course.
I taught more classes and workshops.
And I brought my baby into the world in an affirming and aligned way.
I became so disciplined in self care and doing what was necessary to keep a clear head, I was much more chill with all of the unknown and new things I knew I would need to adapt to during this exciting time in my life.
Some things fell through the cracks, and no matter how well things are going, having a baby is really scary and anxiety inducing. However, my energy completely shifted, and I manifested many of the things I imagined when I used to picture myself running my business and preparing to start a family.
In 2017, I did “the work” like never before.
When I sat down to reflect on this year, I was slightly embarrassed to admit that even though my business involves helping people create a vision, brand, and plan, I didn’t even have one for myself. But I realize all of the work and planning I did in the years prior, especially the one from 2016, ended up being enough.
The work in my Soulful Strategic Planning process of truly understanding my mission and vision, creating goals, tasks, objectives and projects that align with who I am, and working them into an actionable plan, completely set me up for flexibility during a year that felt hard to pin down. I may not have had a neat and tidy document, but all of that work made it easy for me to keep charging ahead in a focused manner. It made a year without a plan that much smoother.
Did you have a plan for 2017? If so, how do you think you did this year?
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