Lessons Learned 2019


This past year was hard for me at times, but in other moments, it was quite rewarding. I grew a lot personally and professionally, and after the sadness (which you’ll read) came clarity and determination!

Here are the lessons I learned in 2019.

1. Grief has no boundaries or timelines

You’ve probably heard the phrases, “Grief has no boundaries” or “Grief has no timelines” but until you experience it first-hand, it’s hard to fathom how raw it can be. In a nutshell, I lost two loved ones in March 2019, six days apart: first my Gram and then my Mom. This occurred after losing two others, my husband’s grandmother, and my Dad, the year before. All in all, I lost four of the most influential people in my life within 15 months. Raw.

2. Work/life imbalance is real and must be avoided in the future.

When I lost my Gram and Mom, I was buried in work. I’d over-extended myself, and when their deaths happened, I had no cushion built into my timeline. And to be completely honest, I didn’t have the most sympathetic clients, either. Two of them said, “Sorry for your loss, but when will I get my stuff?”

It made me think about how unbalanced my work/life had become.

But before I could focus on avoiding imbalance in the future, I had to get out of the mess I’d created. I did what any professional would do. I took one day off to make arrangements for my mom, and then I pushed my emotions aside to get my workload (and balance) back on track. I knew it would take three weeks of diligence, but then I could stop.

Once I got through the backlog of work on my desk, I postponed any new work and gave myself three weeks to decompress, reflect and figure things out. I was determined to never again be in that spot of complete work/life imbalance!

3. To figure it out, write it down.

Whether it is a goal or a complicated project, things always become clearer when you write them down/sketch them out. Don’t try to problem solve in your head only. Write it down.

4. Goals don’t need a specific date on the calendar. Reset when needed.

When you find yourself off-track (for whatever reason), don’t wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar to reset. Begin now.

5. Know where you are driving the damn bus.

I once had a boss who used the phrase, “Know where you are driving the bus” to describe long-term goals. It stuck. Sometimes we get so focused on the day-to-day that we neglect the big picture. While you need to be flexible with your goals, you also need to know where you are going and take action regularly to meet your goals.

6. Know your WHY.

Goals are just words on paper unless they are connected to a deeper meaning. So, with every goal you set, attach your why to it.

Don’t just say that you want to increase revenue by x%. Follow it with why – one that is personally important to you. Will the additional revenue help pay for your children’s college education? Will the additional revenue give you the freedom to retire sooner or give you time to work on a new initiative?

Attaching a WHY to your goals will help you push through when it becomes hard, too.

7. Categorize your work and do more of what you love.

We all have clients (or projects) that we enjoy working with more than others. Create a plan to be able to work more with those people and find ways to minimize working with KTLO (Keep the Lights On) clients (aka those clients who are chumps when a tragedy strikes).

When I reset my goals, I realized how much I enjoy working with remodeling clients. This is why I restarted the Done-For-You Newsletter Program. I get to work one-on-one with these folks on a regular basis, which makes my work life much more enjoyable.

I hope that as I shared what I learned in 2019, it motivates you to take steps to make 2020 your best year yet. My inspiration for the post came from Kerry Mulcrone’s (Kerry & Co.) Lessons Learned blog post. Thanks, Kerry!


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1 thought on “Lessons Learned 2019”

  1. I love this Tess!
    And kudos to you for not firing a couple of those clients. There really is something about making sure your business fits your life first.
    Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂

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