What ONE THING will you regret not doing this year? My story as told through my diary*

*Yes, I still address my journal as "Dear Diary." Stop laughing!!! I've been writing almost daily since I was ten years old and the name stuck. Before we jump in, I want to extend my deep gratitude to Jade Craven for including me on ProBlogger's list of 20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012 -- I'm beyond honored, and in great company if you're looking for awesome new blogs to follow.  I've been burrowed away in my apartment these last few days consuming coffee at a pace as close to an IV drip as I can get it, writing, course-creating, working on a super-fun project with Mint (stay tuned!) and wracking my brain for what to say to all of you that isn't horribly, obnoxiously cliché as we ring in the new year.

Resolutions Schmezoloutions

I don't make resolutions, I make mind maps of what I'd like to do or be in every major area of life and business, and I've made one every year for the last four years. Last year I shared my Passions Mind Map from 2008, along with instructions for creating your own. But I'm not here to preach about whether you should make resolutions or set goals, or even tell you how to keep them or not.

Instead, I just want one thing for all of you this year: to dig deep, find your courage, and pursue with gusto that thing in your heart that you know you must do. That one thing that, upon reflection 12 months from now, you would surely regret not attempting. I don't care if you're "successful" or not. I just want you to TRY. And to come alive in the process.

Show not tell: in which I crack open my journal for all to see

My English teachers always said to show not tell when writing. Somehow I don't think they meant I should bare my innermost thoughts for all to see, but I'm doing it anyway. Last year, the one thing I would have regretted most was not giving myself a chance at running my own business full-time.

This month marks my six-month anniversary of solopreneurship, and I'm breaking even and paying bills with far more ease than I had envisioned. It all happened as a result of someone asking me, "How would you feel if a year from now nothing has changed?" (see the video of me telling this story in my 20SB Keynote)

Rather than just sit on top of a mountain of "yay, I did it!" and tell you about how I got here, I'd like to show you.

With a few caveats:

  • Jenny's TripIt Stats for 2011Most of my most thoughtful entries happen during flights -- you'll notice that's where many of these came from. As you can see from my TripIt stats, I had lots of opportunities for deep reflection this year!
  • As I mentioned above, I still start every entry with "Dear Diary." Dear Journal just doesn't have the same ring to it.
  • I never write with the intention to share, and if anyone ever read my journals without my consent I might not speak to them again. Sharing these entries is new for me! Shared without edits, even though there are several places I would have liked to omit a few things :)

Journal Entry 1: May 15, 2011 - Suspended between two worlds

In this entry I'm scared about the future, but having experienced the joy of being on my own, I start to entertain the possibility that I won't be as massive a failure as my inner critic would like me to believe.

JB Journal entry from May 15, 2011

Journal Entry 2: June 1, 2011 - When it all finally clicks

This is the day I actually committed to moving forward with my great leap. I knew the conversation with Google would be incredibly hard (I haven't been that nervous in a long-time) but that it was time for my to fly (my theme for 2011). I loved working at Google and cherish my time there, but this is when I realized that I was ready to give myself a chance, and that I would greatly regret not taking that risk.

JB's Journal Entry from June 1, 2011

Journal Entry 5: June 15, 2011 - Pardon my french!

Two weeks later, I made the call. I was sad to leave my co-workers and hated disappointing my manager, director and teammates by not returning, but I couldn't help but squeal with glee at FINALLY making a decision and betting on myself.

JB Journal from June 15, 2011

Haha -- that's what pure JB handwritten all-caps excitement looks like :D

Journal Entry 4: November 30, 2011 - Mantras Moving Forward

Most of these mantras came to me as a result of challenges and emotional pain I was experiencing. They are an attempt at documenting how I want to be and what I want to focus on moving forward instead of fears, doubts and self-criticism.

JB Mantra's for 2011/2012

A Toast: to 2012 with no regrets

I hope that in some way these snapshots have been helpful or interesting (if not just plain voyeuristic!). I hope they help you see that behind every courageous leap lie many fears and insecurities, but that they CAN be overcome.

Whether you write resolutions or not, ask yourself these two questions (and if you're feeling gutsy, answer in the comments):

What is the ONE THING that you know in your gut you want to do this year? How would you feel if one year from now if nothing had changed? 


Make Sh*t Happen Enrollment + Free Crash Course

If you are looking for extra support as you go after your own "no regrets" year, stick around: the doors re-open for Make Sh*t Happen on January 11 at 3pm ET.  I'm so excited I can barely stand it! Wondering if the course is right for you? Check out what the inaugural group had to say.

I'm also super excited to host a free Make Sh*t Happen Crash Course webinar on January 11 at 1:30pm PT as a fun way to kick-off the new year and provide a CliffsNotes version of what we cover in case you can’t afford the full course at the moment.

I'll share my 8-step process for going after a massive goal: everything from big-picture visioning to building a strong support network, surviving the dip, and celebrating. At the very end I will answer any questions potential course enrollees may have. Register here, and please note that the webinar will not be recorded.

Cheers -- to dreaming, doing and big-goal-swagger in 2012!