Whew. 2021 was a blur, wasn’t it? For many people (me included) the whole concept of “time” has become completely different than pre-pandemic times. I’m not sure how to describe it, really. But, 2021 went VERY fast for me.
It could have something to do with the fact that I had a lot going in 2021. For starters, and most importantly, my kids went back to school in-person in the fall. This was a huge step, as our kids did not do all that well schooling at home the last 1.5 years. So, getting back in the routine of GOING to school every day was a very big deal for them. And, they’ve done pretty darn good so far. So, I’m not glossing over that because that was a whole new level of stress and management that simply wasn’t there last year.
But professionally, I also had a lot going on. And, as I reflected back on exactly what I did in 2021 it actually surprised me a little. And, maybe I learned a few lessons along the way about over-extending yourself!
1 – I taught a new digital and social media marketing class at University of Minnesota.
After teaching at the University of St. Thomas for the last 2 years, I taught a similar digital and social media marketing class at the U this fall. And, to make it a bit tougher, I tried a new cirriculum (based on Betsy Anderson’s cirrciulum, who left the U over the summer to teach at her alma mater, Bethel University). I couldn’t have completed the class without Betsy’s help and her plan, but it was a big learning curve for me and a lot of work.
2 – I started work with four new clients!
I helped long-time friend Emily Negrin at Inari with social media strategy and content. I assisted Ecolab with Instagram content. I started helping Cerence, a small company based out of Boston, with social media and LinkedIn help. And, I performed a couple social media audits for my friend Kiersten Schroeder at Clutch (a small agency in Minneapolis).
3 – I attempted my first webinar over Zoom.
The topic: Writing for social and digital. I would say it went pretty well, as I got more than 100 signups. And learning more about the process of promoting and running a webinar was invaluable. I’m taking those learnings and starting a quarterly webinar series in 2022–look for more info on the first webinar this week, if you’re interested (topic: Social media trends for 2022).
4 – I started a new social media mastermind group.
I’ve run a senior-level communications mastermind group for 4-5 years now–and it’s fantastic. But, as I’ve been meeting more people in the social space here in Minneapolis the last few years, this felt like a need, too. We just started in Nov., so the group is just getting to know each other. But I’m excited to see where this group goes in 2022.
5 – I re-launched my own site and rebranded.
I’m cheating here a bit as the rebranding part came earlier in the year. But the whole process of rebranding and launching a new site was daunting. But, with the help of people like Casey Fuerst and Patrick North, I did it. And I’m pretty happy with the results so far.
6 – I was a guest on two new podcasts.
I chatted with long-time friend, Garrio Harrison (from my Fairview days) on the Business Conversation podcast about LinkedIn and executives’ presence on the channel. I also spoke with Fahren co-founder, Jim Cuene, on his podcast (which has yet to be released).
7 – I helped a client launch a new web site.
Granted, it wasn’t a big site, but it did involve planning, re-architecting the site a bit, content development and other changes. Revamping and relaunching a site isn’t easy–even for a smaller site. So, this was a big chunk of work.
8 – I helped a (potential) new client with a year-end brainstorm and audit session.
It was a unique ask–this particular client was exiting a relationship with an agency they’d worked with for a few years and now looking to hit the reset button. I helped them look ahead at how they could see PR, social and digital mixing together a bit differently. Fun challenge! And I’m hoping it results in some ongoing work in 2022.
9 – I met a number of new people–even as the pandemic his another wave.
Folks like Jen Longeacker, Emily Allen, Jake D, Erin Kennedy, Mindee Kastelic, Deborah Carver, Shawnessy and Jill Woxland. I didn’t have coffee with as many people as I normally would have in a “normal” year, but all these people were wonderful to meet. And I’m looking forward to meeting more great people in 2022.
10 – We signed on with Jason Falls new podcast network.
Curious to see where this leads Kevin and I with our Hanson & Hunt Podcast. Especially as new names are added to the Marketing Podcast Network. For now, we’re excited to be a part of it and watch it grow!
Now, onto 2022! I don’t think I’ve ever shared my goals publicly–so this is a first for me. But, I’m trying something new as a way to keep myself a little more accountable. Not sure if it’ll work, but worth a shot, I thought.
As I thought about my goals this year, I tried to compartmentalize them into four groups: Professional, Health, Personal and Family. Another key backdrop: My wife and I’s plan, for years, has been to scale back our work lives once our kids are “out of the house” (i.e., out of high school). Now, that’s only 3 years away! So, that’s definitely coloring my goals for 2022 and beyond.
Here goes–my 7 goals for 2022:
1 – Gain 2-3 new clients in 2022. I also have financial goals in this category, but don’t really want to share those here. But, I do hope to gain 2-3 new clients in the year ahead. Looking back this seems a bit conservative. Over the last 3 years, I’ve averaged 4 new clients a year. But with so much uncertainty in the air right now, this feels right.
2 – Hit the gym a minimum of 4 days a week. I’m actually hoping to hit 5 days a week, but 4 felt about right for a goal here. I joined Life Time back in late Oct. and so far, I’ve been averaging 4-5 visits per week. I started by taking on a basic workout regiment in the Life Time app, but hope to take some classes on a regular basis heading into January. And, I’d like to start swimming again, too.
3 – Drink 64 oz. of water a day–limit alcohol to only 2 days a week. The water piece will be easy for me–I really only drink coffee and water in any given day. But the booze piece will be a challenge for me. When I drink, I don’t drink a ton (never more than 2-3 drinks at any one time), but I probably have a drink 4-5 days a week (more during the pandemic). This is a big one for me.
4 – Decrease screen time by 25%. This will be another big one for me–and a challenge. But, it hit me during my workouts at Life Time. So many people are bringing their phones into the hot tub. The hot tub! This is supposed to be a place to relax and get away and there people are, staring at their phones. That hit me. I need to put the phone down more. I’ve been averaging about 2:45 per day in screen time. Now, some of that is during the workday. But, I feel like I can chip away at that. Decreasing screen time by 25% means taking roughly 40 minutes off my daily total. I should be able to do that–specifically between the hours of 6-8 am and 5-11 pm.
5 – Commit to working on my friendships–old and new. One thing I’ve really missed the last 2 years is seeing friends. I’ve definitely got out during the pandemic to see folks, but not nearly as much as I would like. And I’m sure many feel the same. I’m planning to really amp up my outreach in the New Year, looking for ways to connect with friends. That could be a drink (only 2 a week though!). It could be a round of golf. Could be skiing. I’m also hoping to actively seek out new friends in the New Year. Be open to meeting new people! Feels weird to put a count of this, but I want to open myself up to meeting new folks and new friends–especially as I slowly ease into a new phase of life (no kids in the house, scaling back work).
6 – Actively practice gratitude. Here’s how I plan to do this (outside of trying to generally be more grateful for all I have in my life). #1–Start a gratitude journal and write in it before I go to bed each night. Could be one sentence. Could be a whole page. But, this is where the PRACTICE comes in. #2–Write one post each week publicly thanking someone who has helped me in some way in my life (considering posting this to LinkedIn + my weekly e-newsletter).
7 – Spend at least one day a week with extended family. The focus here isn’t so much on my nuclear family (I see my kids every day–and many days they don’t want to see me!), but rather on the extended family. My folks. My mother-in-law. My nieces and nephews. Since our kids are now teenagers and more independent, they’re just not around as much. This frees me (and my wife) up to spending more time with those other important people in our lives. I’ve fallen down in this area in the past and it’s time to get back to it in 2022.