2014 Year in Review

This past week I turned my focus to 2015. Yes, I know 10 days remain in 2014. I’m using those final days to position me towards a successful 2015. Given so, I thought today marked an ideal time to look back on the past 355 days.

Up until last month I viewed 2014 with a negative cogitation. Early heartbreak weighed heavily on me. In January my incredibly supportive aunt received a grim leukemia diagnosis, beginning a 10-month emotional rollercoaster ending with her passing away in October.

Then on February 1st I lost a good friend to suicide, something which caught me completely by surprise. The aforementioned grief understandably halted my typical production rate with putting out content, whether to my blog, vlog, or to freelance clients. As time passed though, I found my production rate staying stifled.

In my November video “Happy Thanksgiving from Author Zachary Fenell” I refer to dealing with “entrepreneur burnout,” admittedly self-diagnosed following deep reflection on my effort put forth into my freelance business.

2014 marked my fifth year since graduating Notre Dame College with my BA, alas also my fifth year freelancing. There exists a glaring gap between where I am after five years freelancing (still living with my parents and bringing in a weak income) and where I believe I should stand (fiscally independent with a viable business).

Certainly mistakes made during my first few years freelancing helped lead me to my current situation. Lacking self-discipline and ineffective time management sure played a role too. Put bluntly, I’m failing as a freelancer. That reality overwhelmed me, causing my burnout.

Thankfully I’m an optimist at heart! Last month I forced myself to counter each negative from 2014 with a positive from the year. Over the last six months I established and maintained a regular exercise regimen, leaving me feeling my best physically since I stopped receiving weekly physical therapy (a nine-year period).

Finally taking my goal to walk a half marathon seriously aided my ambition to maintain my exercising routines. Actually I planned to walk my first 5k (a short-term goal within my long-term half marathon goal) in September 2014. Unfortunately minimal registration led to the race getting cancelled. A delay in receiving my refund and my tight budget prevented me from registering for another race before winter arrived. Now I’m eyeing spring 2015 for my first 5k.

Plus despite my lackluster freelancing efforts I enjoyed professional wins throughout 2014. Handicap This Productions (HTP) promoted me from Guest Blog Coordinator to Online Relationship Manager. With Think Inclusive I received a pay increase. Podcasters inquired me about coming onto their shows. For instance, The Inclusive Class and Sarah Sweeney’s Differently Abled. Obviously for all my business mishaps, I too did some things right.

Most importantly yet, I continue to better understand the person I am. Emotional investment in people proves more important to me than my financial bottom line. Financial standing bothers me merely because society necessities so.

Mannozzi Ceremony Reading

I honor Mike’s father’s memory at his wedding with a reading Photo: Howard Reese

Flying out to Arizona and making final in-person memories with my aunt means more to me than a viable business. Witnessing my good buddy James (described in my memoir Off Balanced as the “real life Zack Morris”) get married to his “Kelly Kapowski” provided me value. Same with serving as best man for my best friend Mike Mannozzi back on October 10th when he wedded the wonderful Jemema. Their happiness brings me happiness.

Surely, to progress in society I need to learn to balance what I find important with honing greater business skills. Earlier I stated “I’m failing at freelancing,” but I’m no failure! In fact thanks to my 2014 I’m stronger, more likely to succeed. In 2014 I reached a new low. Considering my difficulties with time management and self-discipline I could justifiably quit on my pursuit to make a living freelancing. Internally say “I don’t have the right attributes to be successful at this.”

Instead I feel determined, and determination trumps all. Enough determination makes any task possible. 2014 I persevered through, surviving, growing tougher. That can only bode well for my 2015.

What about you? Leave a comment sharing how you fared in 2014. Happy Holidays!