What 2023 taught me

And what 2024 has in store.

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One weekend back in 2010 I had a rubbish cold, and stayed in bed for most of the weekend watching the first two series of Breaking Bad. I really enjoyed both series but probably couldn’t have told you much about it other than the broad plot and maybe a couple of standout scenes (bath tub, fridge on head, something with a turtle?)

This year has felt to me like a binged TV series. I’ve integrated stuff from it, but there were so many pivotal scenes that I’d be forgiven for forgetting a few if quizzed later.

In order, I * had my first romantic dalliance in some time (when it comes to relationships, I don’t so much have dry patches as rare verdant ones) * turned 40 * went a little bit round-the-bend * took a holiday * built a software platform * felt embraced and learned to embrace myself * dismantled the software platform * started two new podcasts (a two-hander and a daily show) and resumed another * found a new mission

Oh, and somewhere in there is a life-changing event that remains under embargo, and is the reason for a new sense of direction and purpose.

Truth is, I’ve felt like I’ve been a little out to sea for the last few years, not being able to touch my feet to the sand nor consistently keep my head above water.

But that’s a mindset, not a reality. The life changing thing hasn’t happened yet, and it still might not. But I’m operating with the mindset that it will, and that’s changed everything.

It’s that mindset shift that’s allowed me to get some clarity on what I want to do. After all, if you feel like you’re drowning, you can’t take the time to stop and scan for opportunities… you’re fighting for your survival.

I feel like lots of the people I’ve worked with have heard this story of “clarity” before, but it’s always come from the question “what am I allowed to ask for?” or “what would be a safe trajectory?”, rather than “what do I truly want?” and “am I prepared to go for it even though I’m not ready?”

Back in my going-round-the-bend period (which was brought on by too many unmet, and self-imposed expectations) I started reading 10x is Easier than 2x. The book infuriated me because it didn’t seem to understand that “it’s just not that easy!”

And that’s true, when you’re in survival mode. But one of the fundamental concepts I missed the first time – and I’m glad to say I’ve grokked now – is that you don’t have to have the competence and confidence to go for the thing you want, because if you did, you’d already have that thing.

You have to have the belief that you deserve it, and the willingness to make choices to sweep aside the things that won’t get you where you want to go. (That last bit is the trickiest, and I’m not there yet.)

Odometer ticking over from 0000 to 0001

There’s only one second’s difference between 2023 and 2024, and yet the start of the year feels momentous. Last year I put too many expectations on myself to live up to an ideal. For 2024 I want to try and remember to be happy while I’m working on my goal, not expect to find happiness once I attain it.

Finally, thanks to everyone who’s worked with me this year. For those who’ve worked with me for the first time, you’ve taken a gamble that I know what I’m doing and I can help you. I hope that’s paid off, and I look forward to seeing what we can do together in the new year.

There’s definitely going to be some change happening in 2024, and you’ll start to see a shift in this newsletter and in my work… again. 😉 But I hope I can still serve you.

Thank you for being a part of my year, and for letting me be a tiny part of yours.

Have a great break, and we’ll catch up on the 6th.

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