New Year’s Resolutions and January First are a natural pairing.. With the dawn of a new year comes the pressure (from well-meaning sources) for one to figure out exactly what they are hoping to gain from the next year...which can be a lot to ask for when the past year is still very much top of mind!
For me, 2018 was a whirlwind 365 days. K8 Ventures, which started in 2016 as a small group of passionate people with a dream, has blossomed into a network of cross functional experts from all around the country who have rallied around the idea that a scrappy company can create serious value through impactful, creative and disruptive companies.
While the business aspect of this success has been undeniably incredible, K8’s growth has also been tied to my own personal development.
As investors have, pun intended, become more invested in the work that K8 is doing, we’ve started to grow something that’s broader than a business. K8 has shown me how, when there is trust and vulnerability in professional interactions, performance is enhanced. There is a sense of accountability to each other within the K8 community that pushes everyone to their peak performance. This has produced some truly inspiring work, but it has also challenged me to reconceive what my role at K8 is.
As the person behind the original conception of K8, I’ve felt a sense of ownership over the company and what it does. However, as our incredible team has grown, I’ve been learning to replace my “I’s” with “we’s” because the truth is, K8 belongs to more people than just me now. While sharing something so dear to your creative and professional identity is challenging, and even scary, it is a sign of growth and bigger things to come that I have learned to embrace with an open and excited mind.
Sharing K8’s successes and developments with the people who have made them possible has not erased the stress that comes with being an entrepreneur. 2018 has taught me, however, that as the protagonist in my business (and life) story, every triumph or obstacle I’ve faced has been a part of the same journey. While certain parts are more fun than others, even, neigh especially, the long hours, impossible seeming deadlines and rejections, add up to create an experience that is meaningful.
While all these lessons have been extremely valuable, it’s a tall order to synthesize such transformative learnings into year-long goals without any distance from 2018’s frenetic pace.
So I took the holidays to REST. While the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day can be seen as the black hole where all productivity is lost, I used it as the foundation for renewed energy. Spending time with friends and family, just being silly and letting off steam has done wonders for providing me clarity. From this new, recharged perspective, I see what I’ve achieved, both professionally and personally, in 2018 as metaphorically reaching a basecamp.
With this in mind, I am approaching 2019 with a revamped understanding of who I am and a refined vision of who I want to be. I realistically know that 2019 will bring its own unique set of challenges, but I am facing them with renewed and singularly focused energy.
Specifically, I want K8’s momentum from 2018 to propel us into the new year. We are working towards big goals: exiting portfolio companies, creating and executing on an ambitious company creation roadmap, and completing a round of substantial fundraising. While these goals will certainly keep me and the rest of the K8 team busy, our achievements over the last year prove that they are within our reach.
On a more personal level, I will be working towards being kinder to myself. The K8 community as well as my family and friends have been awesome support systems over the past year, but their love and care is lost if I don’t channel that same energy from myself, to myself. 2019 is going to be a time for me to work on this. I’ve signed up for the Chicago Triathlon, an event that I love, but haven’t given myself the time for over the past few years. While I’m not 100% committed to competing, through training, I am hoping to align my mind and body, increasing performance in all aspects of my life. I will also be taking the time to finish the second novel in my Raystar of Terra series and starting on Book 3, giving myself time to imagine, play and create in new and elevated ways. Along with spending more, meaningful, time with friends and family, I am going to hold a more legitimized space for these activities that are unrelated to my business, but are still central to my identity. This will take a conscious effort, but it is one that will make me more focused and fulfilled.
This period of reflection has been the “trail mix and water break” that I’ve needed. 2018 was a good climb, but in 2019 I’m looking to reach new heights. The apex might still be in the distance, but I am looking forward to an epic journey.