Today’s post is the season 2 version of an post that I did at the end of last year in 2020 when I shared my year in review.
Just to give you some context about these end-of-year posts, at the end of 2019, I had decided that I wanted a way to collect some standard information all throughout the year in a systematic way so that I would be able to have a end-of-year review process. The method that I came up with and started using at the end of 2019 and have used ever since was my monthly interview.
I explained the whole process of how I do an interview with myself each month in last year’s End of Year post.
I have been loving this interview practice over the past 2 years because I get to see if there are any patterns or continuity or huge changes from month to month. It is a very enjoyable exercise that I look forward to every month.
Your Monthly Notebook
Midway through 2021, after I had launched the journal shop, I also created a notebook with the monthly interview questions. So if you want to join me in this monthly and yearly review process you can get the notebook and you can have an interview with yourself every month starting in 2022.
But, you do not need a special notebook in order to follow this process. You are welcome to use the questions that I have been using and enjoying for the past two years and you certainly can choose your own questions too.
How I Interview Myself
For myself, I keep these questions on a Google doc and every few months I print out the copies of the questions on a half sheet so that they fit inside of my journal. I print, cut and pre-tape them with double-sided tape so I have a stack of them ready to go when I need them.
Then on the day of the month when it’s time for my interview I get one of these pre-printed pre-cut and pre-taped pages that’s all ready to go and I thoughtfully answer each of the questions.
Then I tape the page into my journal so that it is in chronological order with the rest of my writing and so it’s ready for me to re-read after I do the next month’s interview. But, more importantly, I have them all stuck where I can find them, in context, when I do this end of year review.
What Happened in the Past Year
For today, I want to share with you a few of realizations, surprises, lessons learned, and all of the interesting things that I saw as I reviewed my entire inventory of monthly interviews from this past year.
I did this year’s review a little differently than I did last year’s review.
Last year, I got out some blank paper and as I looked at each of the answers to each of the questions I made quick notes about what stood out to me so that I had basically an entire year full of the chronological answers to each of the questions.
This year I used one of my favorite tools that I told you about in the tech tips episode from a few months ago and I dictated all of my answers and let technology transcribe it for me.
That was amazing because then I got to hear those answers in my own voice as I was compiling them all question by question. And the most fun part about it was reading through all of the compiled answers all typed up for me. I really got to see my patterns, progression, what stayed the same and what has changed.
So if you have already caught my excitement and my wholehearted recommendation for this practice, I hope you will consider this for yourself next year. It is such a lovely self-reflection and self-awareness exercise.
It reminded me of things I had forgotten. It gave me a quick reference list of the TV shows, podcasts, books and other types of media that I have consumed this year that I am sure I would have forgotten about otherwise. I have all of this information in one place so now I can share the highlights with you today.
I want to tell you about some patterns that I noticed as I reviewed the entire year. I will tell you some surprises.
I’ll tell you who my top three new teachers were in 2021, my top 3 novels, my top 3 TV shows and my top 3 songs.
Then I want to share some realizations and lessons learned that I was reminded of because of this process. And finally we will end with what I think might be coming up for me in 2022.
Frequently in 2021, I noticed a pattern of me agreeing to something that I did not really want to do. But I thought I should do it or it would be a good idea or it would be the “right” thing to do. So then I would have this obligation that I wasn’t interested in or connected to, and then I would feel resistance to that obligation.
So that’s a good thing to notice. If I don’t want to do something I should just decide not to do it. I should just say no instead of suffering with the resistance to it.
That leads me to the second pattern that I noticed was that I suffered so much more than necessary in 2021.
Suffering More than Twice
This comes back to an expression that I learned from one of my favorite teachers, Jenny Blake. The expression is “Don’t Suffer Twice.” The idea of that expression means instead of worrying about something that may or could happen in the future, just wait until it actually does happen and then suffer for it. But don’t worry about it and create suffering for yourself in advance.
Well, I did not follow my own advice. Throughout 2021, I found myself frequently obsessing and worrying and cringing over something that hadn’t even happened yet. I was sure I knew how it would play out and how I wouldn’t like it or how something wouldn’t work. So then I was suffering before the actual occurrence. And of course, I created my own reality and then I suffered as it actually happened.
Open to Experimentation
The third pattern is actually a complete 180 from the last thing the last two patterns that I mentioned, so this is good.
As I reviewed all the different months, I saw the pattern of how frequently I was open to experimentation. I got ideas for things and I just tried them and ran with them and experienced them. Some of them weren’t that great. Some of them were flops. But I just love how open I was. When I got an idea or a brainstorm, when I thought something might work, I said to myself “Let me try it!” Then I got to experience it.
Summer Affective Disorder
The fourth pattern that I noticed that I really want to start to keep an eye on now that I’ve seen this in the previous two years is a possible weather-mood connection. I really noticed how my mood and motivation and so many things dipped or dropped or slowed down in the later summer months.
I attribute this to a summertime version of seasonal affective disorder. Here in Arizona, it seems like it’s too hot to go outside and do anything. So this pattern is a good thing for me to be aware of. I can plan for it and mitigate for it in future years.
That Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder might lead into the next pattern that I noticed which is this year just like the previous year, I started to feel a lot of resistance in August. I think it could be attributed to the dip in my mood and motivation that came from being indoors for so long in the summertime. I know it came from my own thoughts; thinking that there was nothing that I could do because it was too hot. I didn’t want to go anywhere because it was too hot. So this is just a good thing for me to be on the lookout for in 2022.
The next pattern is seeing how I could get myself into a situation where I find myself agreeing to something or compromising on something that I don’t really want to do. If I know it really is a no for me, I now realize, I should not compromise. I just want to say no.
Where’s the Balance?
I’m continuing this pattern into 2022. And I’m very curious how I will find a solution to this conundrum. I noticed that I frequently talked about how I was looking for balance, I was trying to find balance. I was curious about what my natural rhythm would be or could be or should be. So I have an experiment now that I’m trying as I go into 2022. And maybe at the end of next year, I will tell you how I successfully cracked the code of finding my balance.
Surprises from 2021
Surrender Study Group
One of my most amazing and beautiful surprises that I am so grateful for and has opened to so many other opportunities for me is forming the Surrender Study Group.
Early in 2021, I read the book, It’s Not Your Money by Tosha Silver. I loved it so much. I wanted to talk about it with other people.
The pleasant surprise is the very lovely community the came together in March and April for the weekly discussions. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would be creating and hosting a really interesting and unique study group, I would have thought “no way.” I had never even heard of that author or that book. “How would I even find the people to join?” But it all came together as one of my favorites surprises of 2021. You can hear more of the behind-scenes of that experience in the Bright Ideas and Brainstorm episode.
Journal and Notebook Shop
I fully attribute this next surprise to the work that I did in that study group and from reading that book. The biggest surprise of 2021 for me, is that I launched a journal and notebook shop. I did not see that coming. It was not on my horizon, I had no personal interest or experience in designing books and thinking of workbooks or journals. It was nowhere in my peripheral vision at all.
And luckily, I got the idea and the motivation for creating notebooks and journals in March, and I decided to experiment with it. This is one of the fun experiments I mentioned a while ago. I got a downpour of creativity and excitement and motivation. I loved every minute of it. I just couldn’t stop thinking and talking about journal and notebook ideas. So now, here we are about 9 months later and I have close to 200 notebooks available in the shop. I have another stream of income. I have a completely fulfilling creativity outlet that I didn’t have before. It’s just been so wonderful.
Another surprise for me in 2021, which I would not wish on my worst enemy, but it happened to me and I made it through is that my Facebook account got hacked. I lost about 10 years of connections, photos, memories, groups and everything that I had been doing on Facebook.
I use Facebook for my business. I love using it as a way to connect with people and a way to meet people, to deepen connections and further friendships. So it was really difficult when I lost my access. And it’s continuing to be a not so pleasant surprise, because I had a lot of different things linked to my Facebook account. My Instagram and my Facebook business page and a number of groups and some memberships that I’m in. Part of why I’m sharing this is a cautionary tale.Maybe take a little assessment of how much you do is connected through your Facebook identity.
Once I got hacked, even after many, many attempts, and much pleading and getting lots of advice from other people and trying lots of different routes, I was unsuccessful at reinstating my original account.
It really made me question “do I even want to participate in a program that is so uncaring about the end user?” I decided that I do, for now.
Creating a New Account
I did end up creating a new Facebook account. So, if we are not currently connected on Facebook. Please reach out to me, I would love to connect with you, especially if we were in the past and we lost our connection.
Losing Facebook was an interesting surprise, not that one that I would hope for or wish for. But I am happy to share my experience. It really gave me a chance to pause. I waited. As I was searching for all my options to reinstate my account, I waited about a month before I went ahead and created a new one. And it was interesting to watch myself throughout that month without access. It gave me a lot of opportunity for experimentation as well, because I still wanted to connect with people. I still wanted to have access to other groups. So, there were some happy byproducts of that and unpleasant surprise.
Journaling and Friendship
The final surprise to make it into today’s episode is that I started the Journaling and Friendship Meetup and Facebook groups.
I was curious if anyone wanted to privately journal together publicly. I wondered if anyone was interested in getting daily journal prompts from me.
I’ve been having so much fun with these groups. The meetup group is on the meetup platform. The purpose of that group is to give us a way to come together in person, once a month to journal privately together. We spent a little bit of time on our own in the same room, journaling. Then we get some time to chat and get to know each other. We’ve had some really interesting discussions. Even though we’re just a few months into this relationship, I can see some bonds forming and some connections being made.
The Journaling and Friendship Facebook group is another way for people to find out about the in person meetings And the other benefit of the Facebook group is that I post a journal prompt every morning.
I love that different people are seeing each prompt daily. Maybe they don’t write about it. Maybe they just think about it. Some people just answer the prompt in the group – that’s a form of journaling right? They are technically thinking about and writing down their answer to the prompt.
Creating these 2 groups has been a fun surprise and not something that I would have predicted. I’m just really curious to see how these two Journaling and Friendship groups continue to expand and evolve, and how the members of the groups connect with each other while they deepen their journaling practices.
I’ve had many more than just three teachers in 2021. But I decided for brevity and for shining the brightest spotlight possible, I would just choose the top three that have been important to me this year.
The number one teacher for me in 2021 has taught me the biggest surprise and lesson learned which is all the work that I’ve done with surrender. So of course, my number one teacher in 2021, has been Michael Singer, the author of The Surrender Experiment. Hearing that book basically just blew my mind right open in the beginning of the year.
I listened to the book, and then turned around and re-listened immediately. I got so much curiosity and interest in this topic of surrender. I just had to learn more and find more teachers. I’m so grateful for the book showing up in my life when it did. It was exactly what I needed in that moment. It was exactly what I needed to lead me to find my next favorite teacher
She wrote the book, among others. It’s Not Your Money. Prior to having heard about surrender, and prior to having entered this quest that I entered, at the beginning of the year, to learn more, and find out more and understand more, I would have probably been turned off by the title of her book. I don’t have what I consider money blocks. Money is not a huge topic in my life. I feel pretty confident and abundant and set for life when it comes to money. So a book talking about money is just not that interesting to me. I was pleasantly surprised that the book is not actually about money. It’s about abundance. And it’s about being a conduit. I just loved it.
Tosha Silver has been such an important and wonderful teacher for me this year.
That was a book that I used as the content for the surrender study group in March in April. And then that surrender study group blossomed into the idea for a surrender camp that I facilitated in the summer. I have learned so much information, advice, and realizations from these two teachers helping me learn about surrender in 2021.
Dr. Tara Swart
On the other end of the spectrum, my third favorite teacher to tell you about is a neuroscientist called Dr. Tara Swart. I heard her being interviewed on a podcast and I immediately wanted to find other podcast interviews so I could learn more from her.
She has a book called The Source, which I immediately listened to and halfway through listening to it, I realized I needed the paper copy too so that I could highlight and make notes and mark things up.
I really recommend listening to her being interviewed. She has a few TED Talks. She’s very prolific on so many topics. I really appreciate what I’ve learned from Dr. Tara Swart, so far, and I look forward to learning much more from her as I continue my own studies.
Let’s talk about some more entertainment type content that I have appreciated in 2021.
I spent a lot of time reading. But not all of the books that I read made it into my monthly interviews. I didn’t mention them all. I was pleasantly reminded when I saw the books that did make it into my monthly recaps.
Two of them happened to be by the same author. That’s just a coincidence.
Daisy Jones & The Six
I read Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid with my eyes on my kindle, but I have heard from other people that it is an amazing book to listen to because the book is told in an interview format, and the apparently the audio book has different actors for each character. So you really get that experience of hearing the different voices. It was a very interesting story told in a very unique way. It captured my attention. I really liked it. I made me want to go find other books in the same genre and by the same author.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Which brings us to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo also by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book tells a fictional story of an actress, who I like to think of as based on an Elizabeth Taylor character. I found it just very captivating. It was one of those books that I just got lost in and I didn’t want it to end.
Take Me Apart
The third book that made it to the top of my list is a little bit more out of character for me. It was described as a visceral thriller. It had a murder mystery. It was psychological.
It’s called Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar. It was a little bit on the darker side but I really loved it. I recommended it to people directly after reading it. I forgot that I had read it until I was compiling my monthly interviews and saw it again. And I remembered “Oh, that was a really good book.”
Last years’s top song for me was Blinding Lights by the artist The Weeknd.
This year, my top song was also by him. It’s called Save Your Tears. I had a few Zumba workouts to it. I loved it whenever it came on the radio. It’s a duet with Ariana Grande. I love everything about the song.
My second favorite song is actually not a specific song. It’s a collection of songs by the artist Olivia Rodrigo. Anything that Olivia Rodrigo shared in 2021, I was there for it. I appreciated it. I loved it. I wanted to hear it. I hoped it came on if I happened to be listening to the radio.
My third favorite song is a kind of a “love to hate it” song. It was funny when I was talking about it with my friends they did not understand my attraction to it. We just had so much criticism for it. But still, I’m claiming it as a top song for me. It’s called Without You and it’s by The Kid Leroy. I don’t care for the single version of the solo version. I actually prefer the duet with Miley Cyrus.
I watched a lot of TV in 2021 and had a lot of fun with it. I could do a whole episode on all the TV shows that I loved and the reboots reintroducing us to our favorite characters from previous shows and series. That that was an interesting trend that I really appreciated.
The TV shows that I binged and recommended and rewatched in some cases and cannot wait for upcoming episodes or seasons are 2 comedies and a kind of a crime show.
The Other Two
The first one is a show on HBO called The Other Two. It’s the story of the brother and sister of a child star. So, they are basically the other two. They are not the child star. The show is funny and smart and shares things in a very real way that I really appreciated. Plus the humor, I really love the humor.
The second show to tell you about is more of a crime show. The name is so deceptive. This show is called Animal Kingdom. It sounds like a nature show when you hear the title. But it is not. But there are no animals in the show.
It is a TNT drama about a family of surfers who live in Oceanside, California. They live on the criminal side. So you get to see all of the drama and all the capers that they do and all the family interactions that they have. I love Oceanside, so getting to see some of the scenery and little glimpses of Oceanside was so fun while also being pulled in by the family and crime drama. I told my husband he had to watch the show. We both got hooked on it and we both binged it. Then luckily a new season was coming out, so that became a weekly ritual to watch the new episode together each week as it came out.
What We Do In the Shadows
The third show that I love so much is so out of character for me. It is not my style at all. It is a show about vampires. This is a television show based on a movie. I have not yet seen the movie (which I have not watched, so I don’t know how similar it is). The show is called What We Do In The Shadows. It’s a story of vampire roommates who live in present day Staten Island. I don’t love it because it’s about vampires. I just love the humor, the writing, the characters. It’s hilarious. So if you’re interested in something that’s just kind of light and funny and silly, you might be interested in this vampire roommate comedy on FX.
We’ve talked about books, we’ve talked about songs, we’ve talked about TV shows, let’s get into my realizations and lessons learned in 2021.
Realizations and Lessons Learned
This year, I decided not to list out 15 lessons learned for you with no context. I realized some of my lessons learned may be lessons I am learning or realizations. They’re not quite a standard concept that can be summed up in a statement.
You might notice some themes that I have already referenced a little.
Why My Mind Closes
The first lesson learned (or maybe a realization, we could call it) is how my mind closes to possible options when I am angry and afraid.
I just want to remember this and be aware when I am angry or afraid or worried about something. My mind just closes up to options and possibilities. One of my favorite things to say is “there are so many options.” But when I’m afraid or angry, I don’t tend to remember how many options there really are.
Permission to be Wrong
The second lesson learned, which has been very valuable, and I also love repeating is: I give myself permission to have been wrong in the past. Ooh, this one is so liberating. It is so freeing. It is opening myself up instead of closing myself down.
No Need to Be or Do
The third lesson learned is that I am learning to live my life without needing to be or do anything.
This really goes along with everything that I learned as I was studying surrender and learning about abundance. One of the practices I learned from Tosha Silver was to read the Full Abundance Change Me Poem every day. It really changed me. That might be something that I want to get back into the habit of doing every morning in my journaling practice. I really am learning to live my life without needing to be or do anything. It is total, beautiful surrender.
Beware of Longer Commitments
The fourth lesson is that I want to be aware of longer term ideas, or prolonged commitments. One of the patterns I recognized is I frequently tend to lose interest, halfway through something that’s a little longer. Sometimes something sounds really good upfront thinking it will be a year or for six months. And, at the three month mark, or the 1/2 way mark, I might not be as interested as I was when I first started. I just want to be aware of it.
One of the things I’m going to experiment with in 2022, is doing things in shorter spurts. Maybe I will just commit to half the time that my initial brain suggests to me. I can always extend something or continue something.
No Compromise When Its a No
The fifth lesson is one I mentioned earlier in this episode. It is that I really should not compromise, to a yes when it is a no.
If I don’t want to do something I really should do myself and the other party the favor of not agreeing to do it. I want to remember that I have the option to be honest and authentic and still kind about what I do, and don’t want to spend my time on. Saying no doesn’t have to be unkind. Saying no can just be honest and authentic.
My Brain Loves to Solve
The sixth lesson learned is something I am loving playing with right now. This lesson has kind of come to me here in the most recent months of 2021.
I intend to use it to its fullest advantage as I go into 2022.
The lesson is that my brain will go to work solving whatever task I give it.
If I think of some random, hypothetical problem, like “how would astronauts behave in a space station?” my brain will go to work to solve that even though it has nothing to do with me and my life. I’ll never find myself in that situation. But my brain will still go to work to solve whatever I present it with. I love that power and that capacity. So now I want to harness that, and put my brain to work solving the problems that I really care about and want to solve. It’s been really fun watching this happen for me in the last few weeks. I cannot wait to see what solutions my brain will come up with as soon as I give it the specific tasks that I care about and that I want it to solve.
A realization that keeps on showing up as a pattern for me is that I struggle with the “right” amount of productivity. I want to try to find balance between my productivity and my free time. I am trying to learn to pause before responding and to allow just even a little bit of blank space.
What is Coming Up in 2022
I’m looking forward to and am considering so much in 2022. I am about to take a break from these weekly podcast episodes before Season 3.
If you didn’t hear in the 100th episode, today will be the last episode of Season 2 and this style of weekly episodes.
In the meantime, I am very excited to announce that I recently obtained my partner certification with the software company called Keap (formerly Infusionsoft). I’m looking forward to moving my business email and calendaring system and landing pages and so much of the technology that I use in my business, I’m moving it all over to the Keap Platform.
Because I am now a Certified Partner, I’m able to help other people use the software as well. That’s something that I’m really focusing on. In my coaching practice, I’m continuing, of course, to be focused on resistance, and even more specifically I’m focusing on technology resistance.
So I’m curious to see how this grows and blooms. I have a feeling that I will be able to use my new status as a certified partner with Keap in tech resistance coaching situations.
So far, this month in December, my gift to my fellow business owners and all of my colleagues has been to offer a tech workshop each Wednesday of December. We’ve already had three and we have two more left this month.
Next Wednesday’s workshop will be about setting up an email opt in or a freebie that you can automatically email out to people who are interested in your product or service.
Mine is My Five Favorite Tech Tricks to help you in your business.
2021 Wrap Up
How was your 2021? What lessons did you learn? What were your surprises?
Where did you see resistance show up for you in 2021?
Want to join me in one of my groups, workshops or meet ups? Check out what’s coming up here.