What a whirlwind year it has been! My sixth year of blogging was punctuated by change, travel, healthy habit-forming, yoga, website launching, business-building and the (mostly uncomfortable) roller-coaster of personal evolution. I used to chuckle and kick myself for the original tagline when I first set-up this website (pre-blog) 8 years ago: Life After College: No One Said It Was Easy.
That sounded pretty pessimistic coming from an optimist like myself! And yet, as I wrote in The Long Pause recently (over at JennyBlake.me) and in my earliest days here, there is no manual for the real world. There is no manual that drops down from the sky right alongside your biggest fears, hopes and dreams.
The path to learning is through getting your hands dirty. Taking risks. Balling your eyes out (or maybe punching walls for the fellas). I do believe that our biggest struggles are lovingly served to us by a benevolent universe who intends to help us grow, but that does NOT mean that those lessons will be easy. Quite the contrary.
Change will often bring you to your knees.
Whether you are a freshly-minted grad or a quarterlife crisis'er or someone turning the page of another major life event, change can often knock you flat on your ass until you're willing to really look and listen to it.
Challenging though it may be, it is from THAT point that you can finally hear the call to evolve and have the guts to heed it.
So you will stand-up, and you will try to do one brave thing each day. And soon, you will have a whole new bank of wisdom under your belt that you can draw upon as you embark on the next leg of your journey.
About this post
In these round-ups, I outline my favorite posts of the year, give statistics about blog traffic, and share personal milestones and achievements. It’s the best way to get a view of the entire blog on fast-forward and the full year in review.
I hesitate every year to publish these because it seems a bit self-indulgent, but it feels like the best way to honor all the work that goes into this blog and business. I hope that you learn something new, feel inspired or catch some helpful content you might have missed!
- 2008 – Happy Birthday to Life After College: Letter from the Editor
- 2009 – Happy Two-Year Blogiversary to Life After College
- 2010 – Happy Three-Year Blogiversary to Life After College
- 2011 – Happy Four-Year Blogiversary to Life After College (and the 4 most important lessons I’ve learned in four years of blogging)
- 2012 – Happy 5 Year (!) Blogiversary to Life After College (with 25 Lessons I’ve learned in 2.5 years of solopreneurship)
Year at a Glance
With the help of an incredible team, I launched JennyBlake.me, celebrated two full years of solopreneurship in July and navigated my own uncertainty in-between. Oh! I also turned 30, which I realize might seem ancient to those of you who are in your early twenties, as I was when I decided all the "after college experts" were way too old, so I should start this site :)
It has been an equally big year for LAC too: I brought on two fantastic co-writers, Paul and Melissa, who have really knocked it of the park with their honest, heartfelt writing. I'm beyond grateful to include their wisdom here, and proud of them for their own huge leaps this year:
- Paul launched his book, 21 Secrets for Your 20s in June, then quit his job at the end of the year to pursue his speaking and writing business full-time.
- Melissa celebrated one full year of solopreneurship and released her latest venture, Launch Yourself for people who want to shift or grow their career, business or brand.
Personal 2013 Milestones
- JennyBlake.me — In June, after almost 8 years of running LAC, I launched a website under my own name that helps people build systems to thrive at the intersection of mind, body and business. I am most proud of the Business Ninja Tech Toolkit, and am having fun putting together weekly-ish Weekend Coffee Talk link round-ups.
- The Book – Last year, Target purchased 15,000 copies of my book for their graduate display across 1,700 stores. This year it lives on after being published in Japan and Korea. Have you grabbed your copy yet? It makes the perfect holiday gift for grads!
- Speaking – I was honored to deliver two major international keynotes for my Career in the Age of the App speech at Google's Training Summit in Dublin (Ireland) and the University of Calgary's Graduating This Year program. I also had the pleasure of speaking at Yale University, UCLA, and KPMG. At the end of the year, I had a blast developing and delivering my Speak Like a Pro workshop at Google SF and Parsons in NYC. Interested in bringing me to your company? Learn more here.
- Travel – In an effort to see if I could actually run my business abroad, I took the big leap of living in Ubud, Bali for the month of January and Chiang Mai, Thailand for February and part of March. I'm happy to report it was a big success! I worked from coffee shops most days, and found the pace of life incredibly rejuvenating. I focused on yoga, building a daily meditation habit, and connecting with many of the awesome expats in SE Asia (including my longtime blogging BFF Elisa).
My Favorite LAC Posts
- The Best Way to Thank a Mentor . . . (Jenny)
- You don’t have to love your job today (Jenny)
- Passion is Not Enough: What are Your Marketable Skills? (Jenny)
- Stop Ruining Your Credibility at Work and 7 Ways to Be the Youngest Person at Work (Melissa)
Landing a Gig (from Melissa):
- How to Interview with Recruiters
- Does Your Resume Say You Want to Be Friends?
- Not Getting Hired – The Fall Out and Recovery
- Dream Job Drama
- 5 Ways to Craft Your Work Persona
- Thinking of Leaving Your Job? When to Wait it Out, When to Leave (Melissa)
- Side Hustles, Solopreneurship and Starting Out (Melissa)
- Launch Yourself to the Next Level (Melissa)
- When You Lose Inspiration (Paul)
- 7 Habits of Highly Miserable Twenty-Somethings (Paul's post that went viral with a LAC record-breaking 2K+ likes!)
- Stop Trying to Balance Your Life (Paul)
- The Bliss Engine: Are you deepening or destroying your bliss? and Lessons from Zorba the Greek (Jenny's Dad, special guest feature!)
- 4 Things I Wish I Could Tell my 21-Year-Old Self (Paul)
- Watch out for Reality Checkers (Paul)
Big Goals & Building Habits:
- Is Your Dream Worth It? (Paul)
- The Secret to Overnight Success (Paul)
- Have You Hit a Habit Fork-in-the-Road? (Jenny) and Sticky Habit-Building: 5 Minutes for 5 Days (with Template)
- Failure is required. Expect nothing less. (Jenny)
- Success in Different Shades (Melissa)
- 34 Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet (Jenny)
- Bali Travel Report: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly . . . and the Beautiful (Jenny)
- SE Asia Travel Breakdown: Tidbits from Two Months in Bali and Thailand (Jenny)
- From the Bali Files — On Writing: Blogging will Beat the Perfectionist Out of You (Jenny)
My Favorite JennyBlake.me Posts
- Speak Like a Pro: Practical Tips to Propel Your Confidence & Delivery
- On Business Karma, Reciprocal Success and Dragon-Taming
- You might be completely wrong about your shortcomings
- Looking for Business Love (and Success) in All the Wrong Places
- The Two-Year (Scratching the Surface of) Mastery Itch
- Behind the Business: 9-Step Site Building & Launch Breakdown
- Digital Sweat Equity: If you build it, grow it, and commit like hell to it . . .
- Bad Mood? Get Your Body Right
- Why it is Critical to be the CEO of Your Health
- Any of the recent Weekend Coffee Talks! (Here are the last few: #10, #9, #8)
- 6 Ways to Cope with Creative Angst (and Why We’re Not Just Chasing Unicorns)
- It’s all a game.
- Are you Falling Prey to Faux Inspiration?
LAC Blog Statistics
- The total visits for 2013 was just over 221,817 uniques (428,500 page views) from 210 countries, up slightly from last year’s 203,210 uniques from 200 countries.
- Best “Jenny Blake” keywords:
- How old was Jenny Blake when she was hired by google? (21 years old), when she graduated from college? (20 years old), when was jenny blake born? (October 9, 1983)
- Chili soup jenny blake (yes! it's delicious and lasts all week!)
- Where is Jenny Blake from (born and raised in San Francisco until 7th grade, then Palo Alto for middle school and high school)
- Free download of life after college by jenny blake (hey now!)
- How much does Jenny Blake cost (ack! i'm not for sale, but here's where to learn more about coaching or speaking)
- Jenny blake aerobics (I'm more of a yoga girl, myself)
- Jenny Blake courage cry (funny how those two often do go together, isn't it?! See also: batshit crazy)
- Jenny Blake killed bug (hah!! yes, scroll down to see this insane spider from Bali — he lived, though)
- Jenny Blake Myers Briggs (I'm an ENFJ, but a closet Introvert on most facets of the Extroversion scale)
- Jenny Blake shark (hmmm, not sure what you were going for, but I'm obsessed with Shark Tank if that counts!)
So what’s next?
I have experienced an interesting pendulum this year on the personal brand front: part of the goal of launching JennyBlake.me was to create an umbrella that I could expand into beyond Life After College to some of my current interest areas at the intersection of mind, body and business.
But ironically, now that I've done that, I am also looking for The Next Big Idea (sounds like an elusive unicorn when I say it that way!) to build more thought-leadership around, which includes speaking, writing, a next book, etc.
I am really interested in agile career design, building highly effective and efficient vision-based systems (at work and in our personal lives), and navigating major career change (either within a company or for those who are self-employed). I love thinking about how to maximize our biggest talents while also moving beyond burnout — making sure that we honor ourselves and build sustainably at the same time that we reach high. I'm having fun behind-the-scenes as I explore these areas and try to get a little bit clearer on an overarching theme that I can really sink my teeth into next.
And alas, that is all part of the journey!
As the current tagline here states: what I want for myself and all of you is to Live Big -- to reach high and take big soul-stirring risks -- and to love the journey, which is sure to rock you senseless from time-to-time too.
As always, thank you so very much for being here, for reading, and making what I do possible.
Your warm notes and comments keep me going, and I am always all-ears as to how I can serve you even better moving forward.
Much love and enormous gratitude, Jenny