Monday, January 12, 2015

Two for 2015

A. F. Litt: Eastern Oregon &emdash; No Trespassing

No Trespassing
Sherars Bridge Hwy. Oregon. April 12, 2013Sherars Bridge Hwy. Oregon. April 12, 2013
A. F. Litt 2013

Twelve days into the new year, and I haven’t posted any navel gazing babble about my hopes and goals for 2015.  Recently, I read two items that seem to sum up a lot of my thoughts heading into the new year.

The first is that this will be a year of saying “No.”  Last year was my year of "yes," and for the last couple months I've been saying that, in 2015, I will be saying no to almost everything, avoiding the messes that resulted by the end of 2014 due to overcommitting to various projects early in the year and some overly enthusiastic business planning later in the year... Everything here has been on my heart heading into the new year, so much so that this was almost spooky to read when I first saw this a week or so ago.

Except for the millennial stuff... Too old, gray and bald! After semi-surviving Web 1.0, my generation knows that not everyone gets a trophy.

2015: The Year of No | Zech Bard | LinkedIn: "Too much Yes leads to mess. No leads to more focus. No, as my friend Jon pointed out earlier this week, closes doors so you can get things done. Getting things done and focus are not exciting though. People that say yes are exciting. People that say “no” are party poopers. Introverts. Safe people. Boring people."

In this next article, while all four of the suggestions are though provoking, the paragraph below is the one that speaks the most to me:

4 Career Decisions Every Creative Should Make — Music Bed Community: "One big temptation for creatives is to mold themselves (distort themselves) to fit demand. If people are paying for wedding videos, you start making wedding videos. If they need straight-to-camera talking heads, you do straight-to-camera talking heads. But the problem with that approach is that the less work you do that you really love doing, the less work that you love to do will come your way. Sure, a certain amount of an “I’ll take anything” attitude is needed in a creative career. But putting time into deciding your “thing” — the thing you’re going to focus on, pour yourself into, perfect more than anything else — is one of the most important decisions you can make as a creative. Even if it means turning down work sometimes."

So how do these concepts evolve into my 2015 plan?  It is too early to tell, but I do know that 2014 was a year of trying on a lot of different hats to see what fit.  Too many.  And some precious hats were dangling a little precariously by the end of the year…  Also, the work load in trying to accomplish too much was overwhelming and unsustainable.  I worked harder last year than in any year in recent memory and while there is quite a bit to show for the effort, at the end, still wrapping up a couple open projects from ‘14, it is hard to say that the efforts matched well with the results.

So this year is really about keeping things a lot simpler.  Saying yes less often.  Making sure that when I do say yes that it is for projects that are close to the heart and core of where I want my “business” to be rooted.  And it means figuring out, a bit clearer, what I really want that business to look like a year from now while understanding that this could be a tough year on the homefront, and not losing sight of what is most important in the process.

All I really know right now is that this is a “make it or break it” 12 months for all the work I’ve put into the Recreating the Historic Columbia River Highway project.  So that needs to be my primary focus while also continuing to develop my filmmaking and photography skills.  Revenue is a factor, of course, but long term profitability will come more from taking the time to properly develop my skills rather than getting too far out in front of them. 

I need to have faith in the process.  Taking things one step at a time and making sure that I continue to deliver results that exceed client expectations every time.  A few well chosen, well placed steps count for a lot more than many erratic, ill timed ones.

And there’s still that darn novel waiting to be finished, though that may coming along later in the year, or even in 2016. 

Overall, I am looking forward to a great year.  A slower year.  A calmer year.  A year of growth and a fulfilling year.  While I do not know what success in 2015 will look like, I have every confidence that 2015 will, ultimately, be a successful year by these definitions. 

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