It is time once again to glance backward, gather data and information, and reflect on the past year.
To me, this is not merely an excuse to report-out facts and brag about accomplishments, rather it is an opportunity to share both the ups and downs in order to build rapport with you. Because it's always a mixed bag, right?
Yet too often it is assumed that we should only communicate about our successes, that we'd never want to reveal our carefully-concealed shortcomings. But portraying this illusion of perfection just creates distance between us. Sharing our "failures," on the other hand, allows us to not only pass along hard-earned lessons, but also ensures that our audience sees us as a fellow human being, someone who they can share with in turn.
Keeping this in mind, I'd like to give you a peek at what happened "behind the curtain" for me last year. While I worked hard and am delighted by what came of my efforts, I also fell on my face over and over and, like all human beings do, experienced plenty of doubt, frustration, and disappointment.
First, here is the data...
- partnered with 26 collaborators
- completed 16 graphic recording projects
- completed 7 design and data storytelling projects
- conducted 11 workshops and trainings
- published 25 blogs, including 10 guest blogs and 5 sketchnotes (posted 10 on LinkedIn and 12 on Medium)
- posted 112 images on Instagram
- sent 12 letters to email list
- hosted 6 Denver Data Communicators events
- applied to 4 fellowships/residencies
- featured in 2 radio programs (KGNU and CPR) and on 2 online blogs (Society for Technical Communication and Confluence Denver)
- website visits grew 15%, blog views grew 70% (top blog: 10 visuals that describe all you need to know about collective impact)
- social media connections grew: 33% on LinkedIn, 50% on Medium, and 100% on Instagram
- email list grew 45%
- Denver Data Communicators interest grew 250%
Even better, here are the stories (briefly summarized)...
- 150 job applications, 20 interviews, 0 offers
- Most challenging clients and projects ever
- Plans to attend most-anticipated conference dashed
- Letting go of another network I tried to start
- Multiple losses of close friends and family
- Most mortifying moment of my life
- Celebrated 5 years of self-employment
- Most fulfilling clients and projects ever (for example this, this, this and this)
- Attended 16 conferences
- Launching Denver Data Communicators
- Birth of my first nephew
- Most gratifying moment of my life
I hope this annual rapport demonstrates my ardent belief that by sharing all our experiences, especially our failures, we reveal that we are truly committed to our ideas and gifts through regular, patient, wholehearted practice.
My failures continued to remind me that these are the principles that I believe are worth consistently practicing committing myself to:
- Sharing stories, however imperfectly, is the key to transformation, both individual and collective
- Likewise, deep listening is critical for meaningful action
- Learning is everything - and it's ongoing
- Uncertainty is best recognized as opportunity
- Trust is the truest measure of success
- Leading the way demands we not merely speak it nor show it but be it, to the best of our ability
Join me in making 2018 the very best it can be!
Someone once wisely advised me to consider the past akin to a rearview mirror, as something you glance at every so often to see where you've come from, while keeping your focus on the road moving forward.
As 2017 dawns, I am excited to announce a new way that I plan to put my principles into even deeper practice:
I've launched a Patreon page! Patreon is like Kickstarter but instead of being for one-time projects, it is for on-going creative work. Subscribers pay a monthly amount for the content that is shared with them.
- I'm going to be able to produce even more inspiring content, about even more relevant topics
- You will be able to play more of a role in my creative adventures
- Most importantly: I will be better able to listen to, learn from, and offer more value to you
Don't worry, I believe in my work being as accessible as possible, so I will continue to write a free blog every month (and send it to your inbox if you wish).
If you want access to more insightful articles, useful worksheets, fun sketchnotes, and eye-opening data stories, you can become a subscriber for as little as $2 a month. In addition to more content, subscribers recieve rewards like access to live sketchnoting, discussions, and personalized content. Plus if our subscriber community reaches our goal, I will release extra special content! Check out my Patreon page here and feel free to share it with others.
I'm so ready to dive even deeper this year so I can give you even more incredible tools for transformation. I look forward to continuing to share the journey with you!
Check out these related articles:
- My 2016 annual report
- "Hiding" in your communications: When it's helpful
- The power - and responsibility - of expertise
- What happens when we connect with "the other"
- Ways creatives bring hope and possibility to the world - and what it takes