[Intro Music] This is Office Talk with Annette Stepanian.
Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Office Talk. First up, I want to thank you so much as always for listening. I know some of you guys have shared with me that you listen to me during your commute to and from work. And I just really appreciate you having me along for the ride. I so wish I could be sitting there next to you, and having these conversations in real life. However, I guess, hey, this is the next best thing. So thank you so much for having me there with you.
Now if you’re listening to this episode, when it first aired, we are about four weeks before the end of 2018. Which I don’t know, I feel like I say this every month, but like where the heck did the year go?
And so when we’re standing so close to the beginning of a new year, you can’t help but reflect on – Hey, what is the last year brought me? What am I going to do differently in the next year.
And so I felt like I wanted to kind of do a review of 2018 before I decided what was going to be on my plate for 2019. And I’m hoping that listening to me reflect on this, what I’m going to call less than perfect year helps you do the same.
So I’m going to be really upfront with you. And it’s kind of a really tough thing to share publicly, but I didn’t make my goals this year. Like some of them, I didn’t even touch. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way, but man, it really sucks to be standing at the end of the year thinking what the heck did I do this year? What have I accomplished? What has been the progress that I’ve made and kind of feel like you’re coming up short?
I started getting a little down on myself thinking like: “Did I just waste the last 11 months?” Because I didn’t feel like I had something tangible to show for it. It was like it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a bad year, I didn’t regress. But I didn’t feel like I grew or I improved in a way that was measurable and tangible.
And so I’ve been thinking a lot about – why do I feel like why didn’t I hit my goals this year? Like what changed? Because that’s usually not how I do things. Then I took a look at all of my goals over the past two-three years. So if you haven’t heard, I’ve shared it in the podcast before, my husband and I sit down every year and we write down our goals for ourselves both as individuals as families and like financially, we kind of divide all of these things up. And then we kind of start the new year with those goals in mind.
So then I was like, let me do some investigating. And so I went back and I took a look at the last three years. And I was like: “Oh, it looks like I just copy and paste some of these goals over and over year over year.” So clearly, I’m not hitting these goals, not just this year, but you know, the past few years. So like what is going on here?
So when I started digging in some more, I realized that this year, a lot of changes have happened that have been so subtle, that have been so quiet, that it’s something that you can’t measure by checking something off your list. And what I mean by that is I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and that my mindset about how I want to change the way in which I think about things. And those things don’t always translate right away into something tangible and concrete.
So let me give you an example before this recording, I wanted to work with somebody, hire them for a project that I’m doing, and it just didn’t work out. And I was truly, truly disappointed. So my first reaction was like: “Oh my gosh, this isn’t fair. I really want to work with this person, I want it to work out.” In the past, I would have let that drag on for like days or weeks and it would have really, really gotten me down.
But what happened was, yeah, I felt those feelings. I was disappointed that it didn’t work out. But I didn’t blame anybody. I acknowledge that that was my choice that “hey, the circumstances weren’t right for us to work together.” And then most importantly, I took action. And I came up with a plan B and a plan C. And that was an all in a matter of an hour. Some of these shifts that might be happening for you, may be so what seems trivial or be so subtle, that you don’t even notice it happening. And that’s huge for me and I think as an entrepreneur, or just as a human being. Like life is all about solving puzzles, and I was gonna say solving problems but I don’t like the idea that everything is a problem. I would prefer to think of things as a game and I prefer to think of them as puzzles or riddles that need to be solved that kind of stuff all came to be because I spent a lot of time working on my mindset about how I want to think about things and how I want to see myself in the world and in my life.
Okay, so here are some of the lessons that I’ve learned after going through this reflection of my goals for this year and kind of all that stuff.
So the first thing is that I’m setting too many goals for myself. When I took a look back at all of you know, the thing that my husband and I write up every year. It’s just like, it’s too much. It’s all over the place. It’s, it’s like this constant multitasking, split energy and focus. And I’ve learned over the years that that doesn’t work for me anymore, I need kind of one or two things that I can focus on and give my full attention to and just see that through completion until I can move on to the next thing. If you haven’t heard, I think I’ve done an episode about this or maybe it was an Instagram story about how I do three day sprints versus two week sprints. Because two week sprints, I just end up, dilly dallying, I just end up wasting a lot of time and indecision. And it’s just, it just doesn’t work. For me, I’m much more efficient if I can artificially constrain the time in which I need to do something, and focus on one thing at a time.
So taking this concept, I my husband doesn’t know this yet. But I’m not doing goals this year. What I’m going to do is I’m going to pick one personal goal, and one professional goal. And I’m going to focus on that until it’s completed. And that’s it. And once it’s completed, then I’m going to take on the next one.
It’s kind of like when you’re trying to clean your house. If you have, if you let’s say you live in a big house that has like four bedrooms and three bathrooms. I mean, if you try and clean the whole house at once, it’s gonna feel very overwhelming, it’s gonna feel very daunting. Versus if you try and tackle it room by room. It’s not that hard to clean one room or to clean one bathroom, you know. And so you clean it, then you move on to the next. But let’s say you start cleaning the bathroom, and then you jump into the kitchen and then you jump into the bedroom, you kind of have started everything kind of halfway but haven’t seen anything through to completion. So you kind of end up feeling tired, and kind of bad about yourself because nothing has gotten done.
The next thing that I’ve learned or more like I’ve remembered is that there were two times in my life, that when I took the pressure off of what I wanted the end result to look like I actually got better results than I ever expected without a lot of effort. So let me tell you this, let me tell you these stories. I don’t think I’ve shared these on the podcast before. So the first example, the first time in my life was when I went to law school. Now my first year of law school was really, really difficult. If you don’t know law school can be very competitive, you’re all grade on a curve, which means that you’re, you’re graded relative to the other people in your class. Now I was used to that because I went to I studied at USC, I was in the business school, where they graded the same way. So my grade was again relative to how other people did in the class. But the thing was, I was used to being at the top of my class at USC. But when you’re put in a room full of other really ambitious high achievers, it’s really difficult to maintain that. And so my first year, I didn’t do so great. I was not happy with the grades that I got. And I decided going into my second year of law school that I was not going to be concerned about the grade. That just was irrelevant to me. What I really wanted was to be an excellent lawyer. So I started focusing on the learning. And on the development of the skill sets I needed to be a good lawyer instead of the grade. And guess what happened? I ended up knocking my socks off when it came to the grades. I ended up graduating the top 10% of my class. And in my final year, I was at the top 3% of my class.
But the thing was it kind of didn’t matter. Because my goal was different. My goal no longer was to get the top grade, I swear to God, it really wasn’t it was about the material and immersing myself in that. So I got the results that I ultimately wanted, but I looked at it through a different lens.
Now, I said there were two times in my life when this happened. And I returned to these all the time to kind of help put things into perspective for me. And the second one was back when I was dating. So back when I was living in San Francisco and I was working at the law firm, I really,really wanted to be in a relationship. And I was dating and it just was not working out and I was getting really, really down on myself like what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just meet somebody? You know, I have all these things to offer… you know what I’m talking about, right? So then I decided, you know what? I’m gonna stop focusing on finding a partner for myself. I just want to have fun with the process because I really I loved dating, because I loved meeting new people. So I thought, you know what, I’m just going to have fun. Then what happened? Once I was in that state of mind, I ended up meeting my husband. And my husband knows this, that at the time, when I met my husband, I was like, not even looking to be in a relationship, I really, that was not my goal at the time. And, and because the universe just you know, loves to play tricks on you of course, the minute I let go of wanting to meet somebody I met the perfect mate for me. These two experiences have always been a great reminder for me that the result is not the motivator, at least for me, that when I focus on the process, when I focus on the journey, as cheesy as that sounds, I end up not only getting those results, but they’re way better than I could have ever imagined.
So I’m going to try something different this year, I’m not going to focus on the result, I’m going to focus on the content, on the process, on the journey. M motivation is somewhere in there. That’s where I get my energy from. And maybe the same is true for you. Maybe the result of hitting six figures doesn’t motivate you, for whatever reason. Maybe there’s something else that is a motivator for you. And so I would encourage you to dig into that a little bit to see what is that for you. It’s maybe about you want to have more connection with your clients and your customers and your peers.
Speaking of connection, that was a huge lesson I learned this year. That I have completely isolated myself this year. I did very little traveling for business this year. And I really started to feel it in the last few months. I thrive on being around people. And I feel the difference in energy that I had in 2017 hen I did a lot of traveling, I went to a lot of conferences, I spoke at a lot of events. Versus 2018, where I kind of just took a break from all of that. So moving forward in the new year, I’m really really craving a lot of that in person connection, whether it be through conferences and events, or just meetings or whatnot. I need more of that in my life.
So kind of a side note, if you have any recommendations for any great conferences and events that you’ve been to, please send me a message over on Instagram and let me know, because I would love to check it out. And hopefully see you at one of those events in the coming year.
Another lesson that I learned was that sometimes a girl just needs a break. I can’t let any reflection of 2018 go by without acknowledging that around the summertime, I took about a month off. I was doing some work kind of in the background with clients and whatnot. But I wasn’t posting on social media. I wasn’t sending out emails, I wasn’t publishing new podcast episodes. And it was great. I’m not gonna lie. It was a little nerve racking. I’ve done an episode about it a few episodes ago about kind of what that whole process was and what the results were. But it was great in the sense that I felt like I needed to re-shift my priorities and refocus on what was a priority for me, which was my health and my well-being. And what I’ve learned is from that experience is when you take that time away, when you give yourself the space, you come back seeing things more clearly. And you see where the gaps are. And you see what needs to be kind of edited down and tweaked. So I’m really excited about 2019 because I’ve been taking those lessons, I’m going to be applying them to my business moving forward, and really designing and architecting a business that helps me maintain that priority of putting myself first and taking care of myself at a personal and individual level so that I can then show up as the best of me when I work with clients and customers and other partners.
Okay, you guys. So that’s the honest truth. It hasn’t been the best year on paper, but I know inside I’ve made those shifts that are going to help me as I move forward in my life. So I would love to hear what have you learned this year that you can take with you into 2019? I’d love to talk about how I can support you and your business. So be sure to head on over to my Instagram @annettestepanian and talk to me. I would love to connect with more of you guys one on one. So hit me up and let’s chat. This is going to be my last new episode of 2018. So with that said I want to wish you a very very joyous and healthy holiday season. And I wish you continued success and joy as we enter the New Year. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you later.