On Dec 31, looking back, things may not seem picture perfect. And there’s a tendency to question whether there was progress. But there was, there always is.
2012 was a little bumpy, but I traveled far in the right direction. When it was tough, I still went through the motions and pushed forward.
Looking Past the Happy Face.
There’s an unspoken rule among founders to put on your happy face and sing the pretty metrics. We get good at spin. The reality is that startups take perseverance and sometimes you need to try the backup-to-the-backup plan.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a significant other who stays by your side and understands. But that doesn’t always go as planned. We get hurt; we hurt others. Once again, we put on the happy face. Relationships, too, take work, and the best we can do is to treat him or her how we’d hope to be treated, to stay open, and to stay honest.
If on Dec 31 the happy face feels tired, it’s tempting to feel like you’ve lost. But a year is a long time, and looking back there was likely real progress and growth. Needless to say, work and relationships were challenging for me in 2012, but when I look more closely… (and you should for your own year), I find so much to be proud of.
Stuff Gets Done
Skip this section if you’d like. But I do need to write this stuff out…
AwayFind hasn’t "blown up" quite how I expected, but it has in other ways. The product we have today is something I’m incredibly proud of. And looking back, my gosh did we get a lot done in 2012:
- a new marketing site
- a recommendations system
- a better upgrade process
- an Exchange connectivity system
- parity between iPhone & Android
- MailPlane support
- an Outlook plugin
- an invitation system
- multiple calendar support
- a Chrome extension
- coverage on Fast Company, TechCrunch, NBC, Lifehacker, and so many more sites…
2012 was a solid year for AwayFind, and we may have even figured out That Revenue Thing.
And in my personal-professional world, I spoke in Santiago, Poznan, and Paris, presented a Tech Talk at Google, wrote articles for Lifehacker & Ars Technica, and grew so much as a CEO.
There was one area in my personal life that didn’t work out, but I’m proud to say that I was giving throughout and never hurt her unnecessarily. I didn’t know I was capable of that, and though I wouldn’t wish the process on anyone, the best we can do is to be the person that we would hope we could be. And that’s an accomplishment. I hope next time (and there will be a next time) that I can give of myself in the same way.
Relationships may seem like a big part of the voyage, but there are so many destinations along the way, so many personal changes I’m proud of. I’ve spent so much time this year in nature, I’ve got my mile time to 5:22, my waist to 31, I’ve gotten back into basketball, picked up chess, explored cities like Krakow and Valparaiso, deepened many friendships, and opened up to many new people.
Getting Through 365 Days
Of course there will be challenges and pain in a year. Getting through them may feel nothing short of miserable, but when things get tough, that’s why you need certain things:
- A system for taking care of yourself
- The company of friends or family
- Never giving up on doing what’s right
In the next few days, I’ve got a blog post coming that details these 3 things… please subscribe via RSS or email above.
As 2013 approaches, I’m a stronger person with a clearer head. I have goals for next year that are attainable, and risks I’m ready to take…risks that just might turn into big rewards. 2012 may be behind me, but I’m proud of it, and ready for tomorrow.