32 Reflections of Gratitude That Serve My New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on /by Natalie Sisson/ in Entrepreneurs / 40 comments

It crept up on me, 2011 did. I was having such a whirlwind time in 2010 that it arrived before I knew it.

On 31 December I spent approximately 30 minutes writing up my 1 page business plan. Just 30 minutes because I’m so crystal clear in my head about what I want this year to be about.

This is quite new for me. I generally know where I’m heading and how I’d like to get there but it doesn’t always work out and things called `life’ gets in the way – often for the better.

Sometimes I love those detours, other times I wonder why I wasted that time going off track when I could have been making more impact, stretching myself further and discovering more. Don’t we all?

Then, on reflection, I realized that 2010 was one of the most amazing years for me. It started off as the crappiest year and finished off with a cosmic explosion.

Who would have thought that all the challenges and failures, wins and losses, adventures and mishaps would have made last year so rich. More than anything 2011 was all about the people who came into my life and what they allowed me to learn about myself and about the power of true connections.

Before you launch off into your grandiose plans for 2011, take time to reflect back on every single thing you did in 2010 and why that mattered, how it shaped you and what you learned.

Make sure you bring that into this very moment and remember it for all time. Don’t fall back into bad habits, don’t give up when you’re so close and do ensure you build on the foundation you laid to make 2011 your best yet.

Reflections on a year just passed

A shot I took on my way to Alcatraz

In no particular order here are my reflections on why 2010 was ultimately groundbreaking for me:

1. I met someone special and shared a magical 2 weeks at the start of 2010 and somehow repeated that again at the end of it

2. I made the hardest decision of my life to walk away from the business I co-founded and accept that I had failed

3. I started my own business and took a huge leap of faith by going full time with this blog in late April

4. I redesigned my blog in January and made my first big investment in my business, I did it again in December and am always in awe of the entire process of rebranding

5. I got down to $12 in my bank account not long after this and purposefully pushed through period to prove I could free myself financially

6. I gained my first social media consulting clients not long after that and found my love for coaching on marketing strategy and community building

7. I wrote and completed my first ever eBook – I think it almost killed me 😉 but you all seemed to have really liked it! (PS if you’d like a copy see the rather obvious box on the right

8. I played at the World Club Ultimate Frisbee Champs in Prague with Zephyr and experienced the highs and lows of team competitions

9. I travelled for 6 weeks in Europe to 5 different countries and stayed with great friends and complete strangers and somehow only paid for 3 nights accommodation in total

View from the tower over Split, Croatia

10.  I wrote an email to Seth Godin and he replied and commented on my blog and that is still a big highlight

11.  I met my new friend, the ever amazing Chris Guillebeau which sparked off meeting many more hugely talented, generous and impressive people – both online and off

12.  I interviewed 26 women entrepreneurs on their journey and wrote 182 blog posts!

13.  I got approached by Forbes to be a contributor and still don’t know how but I thank them for this incredible opportunity

14.  I was fortunate enough to enjoy working with the Visa Business Network, Entrepreneurial Women, Young Entrepreneur and Under30CEO

15.  Jonathan Fields posted my guest post and blew me away. Marko did too and others have kindly followed as well my first ever radio interviews

16.  I travelled to 8 countries, discovered new cultures, ate strange things, drove on the wrong side of the road, and grew a deeper love for world travel

17.  I left Vancouver where I lived for 2 years, spent 8 weeks living in the US and moved to Buenos Aires in Argentina

18.  I launched my first ever program – Business Success, followed by my first ever product – the Social Media Bootcamp and now my major accomplishment – The Passport to Business Freedom

19.  I made money – I lost and never got paid money (the latter doesn’t usually happen to me)

20.  I built an incredible Social Media platform from which to build my brand and more importantly a community of women (and men) that never cease to amaze me

My 2010 year in statuses via Twitter

21.  I ran four sellout Social Media Bootcamps and then left the city when things were ramping up….

22.  I got my first ever speaking gig and everyone actually stayed and listened

23.  I self taught myself more things than I ever thought possible and then taught others how to do the same

24.  I realized that when you think you’re failing others think you’re succeeding and helping them succeed too and that it makes it all worthwhile

25.  I found out that blogging is the most rewarding and enriching experience of my life and also one of the most demanding and challenging

26.  I hired two interns who both helped me to do more and learn more and recognize my limits

27.  One of those is the lovely Adelina Wong who I am so thankful to have in my life and continues to impress me

28.  I hired my first ever contractor Lesley Chang and I’m not sure how I found such a rare gem and WP wizard

29.  I attended several fantastic conferences that opened my eyes even further to the fact that we should all live our boldest most adventurous life – right now

30.  I learned I’m a workaholic and will be reclaiming my balance back in 2011 so that I can practice what I preach

31.  I claimed my stake in the 3 things I love most – online tools + technology, social media and outsourcing and intend to take that even further this year

32.  I dressed up in a bikini top and ski bunny ears on my birthday while skiing backwards down the slopes of Whistler thanks to dares from my friends.

On that last note I think I’ll stop reminiscing, smiling and laughing, I’ll close my Facebook photo albums that show me, in no uncertain terms how incredibly blessed I am to live this life, to have such a wonderful family and a wealth of international friends.

I’ll focus on how I can give back even more in 2011 and continue on this Suitcase Entrepreneur adventure.

I would love for you to share your biggest reflection on 2010 and how that’s going to impact your 2011 below.

Thanks to Sarah Prout and her Aim 2011 program for prompting this post, one of 3 programs I’m invested in as well as my own to really start this year off on a high.

  • onhighheelsprez

    Wow, Natalie. I love your transparency, and your determination to keep moving forward. This post was like a timeline of 2010 with a lot of heart and positive note. Thanks again for inspiring me!

    • NatalieSisson

      @onhighheelsprez oh how lovely of you to say. It’s people like you who keeps me moving forward with so much gusto! My community is empowering and filled with so many talented people.

  • vivasarah

    Awesome post! Loved reading this.

    • NatalieSisson

      @vivasarah so glad you did Sarah. Have you written something similar yourself for 2011? It’s really powerful to do

  • BraQueen

    Love it! Always get back up 🙂

    Renee x

    • NatalieSisson

      @BraQueen Indeed Renee. Bounce right back up and even higher!

  • DianaStirling

    What a great way to appreciate your past year and look foward to your next year – I love this! And I’m going to get started on my list! Impressed as always…

    • NatalieSisson

      @DianaStirling My chief of support staff – aka you, make this all possible. Hope you’re super well – looking forward to finding out how much you love New Zealand superstar traveller

  • wow.. what a year you had … congratulations on it all even the lows … your an inspiration to us all . I must admit I am one of those ones that put your email into the will do later pile I promise i will do it today and post later on my findings of my year in review and my year to come.

    • NatalieSisson

      @CoraliePlozza YAY Coralie, thanks for being honest enough to say you did just that but focused enough to take action and get it done. Please do post on what you will set out to do in 2011 and leave the URL link here

  • What an amazing year 2010 was for you. The downs make the ups so much more rewarding. I love your “Social Media Workout” concept, very creative. Your traveling adventures have inspired me to push my won suitcase entrepreneurial dream up higher on my dream list. All the best to you in 2011!

    • NatalieSisson

      @BTMVA Terri you’re too lovely – shucks! You should definitely dust off that suitcase and come visit me in Buenos Aires. I said the same to my friends thinking really that people wouldn’t come and I’ve had a string of visitors since just before Xmas – it’s great!

      Glad you like the Social Media Workout – thought it right up the alley of exercising your knowledge, continuing to flex your muscles and that it’s about coaching not selling

  • Shelby

    Congratulations on a year full of accomplishments and thanks for inspiring me in my journey (just started my business in October). I share your http address & “The Entrepreneur’s Social Media Workout” with all my clients and I will be keeping a list to remind me of my successes and failures in 2011.

    • NatalieSisson

      @Shelby Oh wow thanks so much Shelby, that means the world to me. It’s all about sharing and building a fabulous community. Looking forward to hearing more about your business progress. Any questions just shoot them over to me

  • clementyeung

    Awesome work Natalie, this is what you were made for. Looking forward to a completely stellar 2011.

    • NatalieSisson

      @clementyeung so am I Clement – especially our upcoming webinar on what makes for stupendous standout websites – well I might have played creative licence with the title…;)

  • reneebecket

    here’s my bit of truth Natalie…
    my husband left me and our two babies, and it’s made me realize how strength has always been with me, and that I must be careful who I support and share my positive energy with… that is why I am thankful for a community of intelligent, positive people, who are making life happen, instead of shying away from its challenges that in reality help each of us find our way, and show our true unique selves, if we’re strong enough.
    I’ve also gone on a media fast, among other positive steps, and it makes one be able to think more clearly, and listen to the inner compass more accurately, and intently.
    I just stumbled upon your fantastic womanzworld site, in my research for branding and online marketing for my still emerging business. I want to thank you for having the courage to take on the world by being a strong woman. Rings true to me.
    All the best for this year and always.

    • NatalieSisson

      @reneebecket Renee I take my hat off to you for sharing your story so candidly here and I’m honoured that you did so. It seems like you really have come through some major moments with strength, grace and clarity.

      I think your media fast is a great one, I started on that last year and while I can still consume too much I do believe it’s about filtering it out to quality not quantity. So glad you stumbled across my site. Please do stick around and I’d love to know more about your new business too.


    • reneebecket

      @NatalieSisson It’s my pleasure. I share my story because it might help others see how difficulty and challenge in life is a part of it, not something to be avoided at all cost. These moments help us discover our strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes it is so difficult to push through and fly high. In my opinion, though, there is no other choice, the alternative is a mediocre life, not worth living at all. We are each meant for greatness.
      I’d like to know more about my new business too. I have to admit, I’m still working out what I can do to integrate being a success coach, my knowledge of home business and marketing, as well as establishing a professional writing business. It’s not that I’m confused, I just haven’t created a clear BRAND yet. I have a feeling my subconscious is working on creating something great 😀

  • LindaTenney

    Absolutely loved this blog entry, Natalie. Your “32” in 2010 is spot-on to what I plan for 2011. Thanks for being such an inspiration. ~ Linda

    • NatalieSisson

      @LindaTenney oh Linda you’re too sweet., So excited about the reaction to this post. It means a lot because in sharing our own personal journies of success and failures we can all learn and improve and be bigger and braver. Looking forward to seeing your year unfold as you want it too

  • mfsadler

    This was so inspirational Natalie – what a fantastic life you are leading. I was made redundant twice in 2 years and started out in my own business at the beginning of 2010 – your rapid success has inspired me to push harder in 2011 to acheive my goals. My biggest wake up in 2010 was to start valuing my contributions after the knocks of the redundancies and to start believing again in myself. Thanks for sharing this lovely post, and making me think about hat I want 2011 to bring x

    • NatalieSisson

      @mfsadler Maria so wonderful to have you here – loving the international audience too. I think one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, especially women entrepreneurs, is how to value yourself. Pricing your knowledge and skills is a difficult thing to do if you don’t know what you truly offer and what that means to people – how much they’d pay to have you solve their problems. You should totally believe in yourself. I put out a tweet today saying the only person stopping you and getting in your way is YOU! Go for it

  • TalesFromABarStool

    So inspiring! Women everywhere could get motivated just learning from you and reading about your accomplishments. Congratulations 🙂

    • NatalieSisson

      @TalesFromABarStool I’m blown away by the support here, thanks so much everyone. I look forward to meeting you around the world when the opportunity presents itself and sharing more tales together

  • love a year well spent! 2011 prove to be a fearless year with my new motto (thanks to operationbeautiful.com) Take a Risk, Take a Chance, Make a Change. I am going to do that every week for 2011 and blog where it takes me! Cant wait to see what happens!

    • NatalieSisson

      @Michelle41 Love that motto Michelle. You make sure you do blog about it – it’s a fantastic way to hold yourself accountable to creating greatness

    • @NatalieSisson Thanks Natailie- love the fear that making such an out of the box (I am not a great blogger… yet!) long term (eek… a year… that is 52 times to take a risk, take a chance and make change!! Whoo hoo- bring it on!

  • Dude! I am in awe! Truly. You are inspiring and I might just get lost in your site for about 8 hours! 🙂

  • Ncurrie

    Thoroughly inspirational Natalie. Thrilled to be connected and engaged in your programs.

    Here is to a tremendous 2011!

    • NatalieSisson

      @Ncurrie I’m so excited for your double support Natalie – it’s amazing. Fantastic to have you as a fully fledged entrepreneur kicking social media butt and stamping your passport!

  • AnnaSpaceHopper

    Hi Natalie,
    It was great meeting you this year! After traveling a ton over the past few years, it finally occurred to me that the best place to be is where you are that given moment. Look forward to following you on your adventures.

    • NatalieSisson

      @AnnaSpaceHopper yes indeed Anna, you have to be present in the present and enjoy every moment. Glad to have you along for the ride and to share your adventures too

  • reneebecket

    Hi Natalie,

    My thinking is that if we each follow your lead and share our own reflections, it will be an exponentially rewarding experience for all of us in the WomanzWorld community.

    So growing into year 11′ and out of year 10′, here are my 9 very humble reflections:
    1. Took care of my babies, who are my inspiration in life.
    2. Celebrated my daughter’s 3rd birthday with a fun party, lots of friends at a nice restaurant.
    3. Moved into our own apartment that has a view of the whole city of Montreal and beyond, giving me the feeling that what’s on the horizon is something wonderful.
    4. Reconnected with my sister and niece. My daughter loves her cousin, and they’re happy playing together.
    5. Helped my elderly father feel useful and wanted in life. He loves his grandchildren.
    6. Celebrated my son’s 1st birthday, and we’re happy he’s in good form. Blessed be.
    7. Had a nice Christmas and New Year. Thankful for our cozy place and small family.
    8. Getting back to my passion of writing and I will be launching my writing business in 2011.
    9. Am in the process of branding my business: Success Coach and Infopreneur for Work-at-Home Moms.

    Thanks for inspiring me to get started now, Natalie… Got my PASSPORT !

    • NatalieSisson

      @reneebecket Wohoo Renee. So glad you took this initiative and wrote this here. Thanks so much for sharing. What wonderful acts you undertook in 2010 – so family orientated. You must be blessed and those that have you in their lives are too.

  • A.M.A.Z.I.N.G Stuff Natalie, you lived, learned and grew from all this.
    My biggest reflection in 2010…easy, I became a Dad in April. As much as you prepare yourself for this, nothing compares to holding your daughter in your arms for the first time.

    Everyone had told me how tough it would be (sleepless nights, feeds, etc..), I never thought for a minute ‘God this is hard’. I still don’t know how I made it through the first week I was so sleep deprived but I would redo it anytime.

    How did fatherhood impact my expat business?
    – Having a little one taught me to be efficient with my time, the end of nap-time became the deadline
    – i learned to look beyond the day-to-day stuff and make sure I was building for her future
    – What really matters took a different meaning ( sounds cliche but so true)

    Hope she grows up kicking ass like you Nat. All the best for 2011.

  • Hi Natalie I can’t believe everything you’ve accomplished – let alone all in one year! You inspire me (and make me tired just reading about it all!) Congratulations!

    I did follow your recommendation and created my own one-page goal for 2011 and I wasn’t quite as fast as 30 minutes, but I was surprised how quick it was! I now have it printed and close at hand so I can be reminded of my goals this year.

    Thanks for your insight and encouragement!


  • EricaOrtiz

    Wow!! you are amazing!!! Congrats on your achievements. Thanks for posting your gratitude list. I felt like I didn’t accomplish any thing “big” last year (because I have not opened my business as yet….still researching) but then I realised that yes I have stuff to be grateful for.
    I visited 7 new countries in 2010 and did a successful laser eye surgery in England which has open up a whole new vision to the world. I also learned to trade the forex market and continued updating my education (completing a Bachelor’s Degree). So I do free “free”. Thanks for your continued inspiration.

  • EricaOrtiz

    Wow!! you are amazing…Congrats on your achievements. Thanks for posting your gratitude list. I felt like I didn’t achieve anything “big” in 2010 (because I haven’t open my business as yet, still researching) but I realise that yes I did achieved a lot in 2010 and I am grateful.

    I traveled to 7 new countries in 2010 and had a successful laser eye surgery in England which has opened up a whole new vision to the world. Also I learned for the first time to trade the forex market and I am completing a Bachelor’s Degree. I have my goals set for 2011 and I believe 2011 will be a great year!!!
    Thanks for your continued inspiration.


  • NatalieSisson

    John big congrats. I can only imagine how life changing have children is and what a huge impact your son wil contiue to have on your life. Maureen you’re going to great new heights in 2011. I can just sense it. You’ve been gathering the momentum in your actionsand the vision in your mind for all of last year. This year you’ll take action! Erica those are some very worthwhile feats to be grateful for and proud of. I think sometimes just being healthy and happy is an incredible achievement – we’re lucky to be alive and loved.

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