Well, that’s a wrap! I’m awake very early on New Year’s Eve (try 4am) due to my first morning waking up in the Western Australia time zone. We’re visiting friends in the “proper Outback”. There’ll be waterfalls galore, and some activities that sound suspiciously like canyoning….
On the flight from Sydney to Darwin a couple of days ago, my trusty notebook came out. Inspired by the incredible Danielle La Porte’s post a few months ago, I thought it would a good reflection on the year that was 2015 to list out what I thought were my best decisions of the year. Some of them are tiny, some are huge, some are utterly superficial and some changed my outlook in a significant way.
I firmly believe that both happiness and success are made up a series of decisions – not momentous ones that feel like a huge leap forward, but the small steps that we take every day. And what can be just as important is deciding to let something go, or change course.
So let’s get onto it…
1. Taking The Remarkables Group team on our first ever annual retreat – three nights in the Hunter Valley were the best investment we made as a business all year. It resulted in an incredibly bonded team and our most financially successful quarter ever followed immediately after.
2. Moving office (even if it was just around the corner) – giving us the space to grow and a much more collaborative seating arrangement.
3. Going to the US in April for a fact-finding mission – meeting 15 industry experts in influencer marketing was a brilliant learning experience and fortified us with international learnings and insights to improve what we do.
4. Starting Street Smart Sessions – these fortnightly 45 minute training sessions meeting meant that we could learn as a team about specific areas that we wanted to improve on or know more about.
5. Saying yes to speaking at the first Business Chicks conference, Movers and Breakers – my talk was one of the best I’ve ever done and spending three days in Uluru with amazing women was one of the highlights of my year, plus getting to know CEO Emma Isaacs and her kickass team.
6. Writing my book – this was one of my massive goals for this year and it’s written, all 92,000 words of it! In talks with publishers for it at the moment, so I’m hoping my words will see the light of day in 2016.
7. Wrapping up a business partnership that wasn’t working out – resulting in us finding a different solution to what we wanted to do, and the ex-partner’s business is flourishing.
8. Entering The Remarkables Group in the BRW Fast Starters list – and debuting in there at no. 78! When I started the business, I would despair at the almost exclusively male lists in BRW and resolved that if I ever could, I would show that women could be on there too. Massive tick box for me personally.
9. Rebranding the business – I LOVE our new look, even after the rebrand in May. Three years into the business felt like a good time to shake up its appearance and I feel the new branding will comfortably see us through the next three years and all the big plans we have for them.
10. Managing someone out of the team – we had a team member who was a wonderful person, but whose skillset wasn’t a match for the role involved. They exited the business, had a great holiday and are now in a role much better suited to them.
11. Hiring a PA – this was another of my goals for 2015 and my assistant started with me in February, and has freed up at a conservative guess 50 hours a month for me.
12. Airbnbing our spare room – we didn’t expect our front bedroom to be as popular as it has been, and the money coming in for that is building up nicely to pay for a dream trip to Scandinavia next year for Wade and I. This will feel like a big luxury as funds will be tight next year as he has just started his own business.
13. Putting the car on Car Next Door – having moved into the city in March, my poor car was feeling very unloved. This savvy service allows people to book it while I’m not using it, resulting in completely passive income every month. Score!
14. Continuing to grow the business ballast account – this my coach Ronan’s name for a savings account. The business has gone through a rapid growth spurt this year (the team has doubled) so offsetting bigger monthly outgoings with a sturdier ballast means I can sleep at night!
15. Offsetting GST and super each month – another one that helps with the Zzzs, especially when that lovely BAS statement lands each quarter.
16. Getting good tax advice – this was something I hadn’t done until this year and it has resulted in me becoming a lot more educated about the tax system.
17. Becoming a mentor – I’ve been incredibly lucky to get a lot of advice from people more experienced than me, so this year I wanted to give back by helping other people. So rewarding. I probably over-extended myself with six mentees, so I’ll be a bit more balanced in my approach next year.
18. Flying business class from Abu Dhabi to Sydney – I finally cracked into my Virgin Velocity points and treated myself to an upgrade for what is generally the shittiest leg of that European trip… and it was heaven! Resulted in zero jetlag and being able to go the distance on the team Christmas party the day after I got back.
19. Taking the trip of a lifetime with Wade at the start of the year – Dubai, Abu Dhabi, an Irish Christmas (no snow, despite his orders), safari in Tanzania and beach time in Zanzibar. It was fucking amazing and we loved every minute of it. Lifetime memories made and treasured.
20. Having a weekend of time away with Wade every quarter – we knew this year was going to be busy so we booked three weekends together at the start of the year into our diaries. Queenstown with friends for a wedding, a cottage in the Blue Mountains and a Gold Coast mini-break gave us a chance to just “be” together.
21. Moving house – we both set a goal to move to a bigger house than our cute-as-a-button one in Woollahra. The perfect house popped up on Domain on a Saturday in March and two days later, it was ours. The bucketloads of space has resulted in a general feeling of opportunity and expansiveness in every other area of our lives.
22. Surprising Dad for his 60th – Dad turned the big six oh on the 29th November and I decided in mid-October to fly to Dublin to surprise him. Jumping out of the cupboard under the stairs was one of the highlights of my year!
23. Flying to Dublin to say goodbye to Nana – I got word that our darling Nana was very ill when I was in New York on my fact-finding mission. My sister Jenny was there as well, and we flew back together and went straight to the hospital. I got to go back that night and spend most of the night with her and she passed away at 9am the next morning. I’m so, so, so glad I went back and that I got to be with my family in the days afterwards.
24. Buying a king-size bed – I’ve wanted one for years and the new house allowed us the space to have one. Game-changer.
25. Sending birthday cards to friends and family – one of my goals this year was to make the special people in my life feel more special, so I resolved to go old-school and send birthday cards.
26. Getting into a green smoothie habit – these are pretty boring in that they’re generally the same ingredients every day, but having that shot of alkaline goodness mid-morning has felt like a good thing to do.
27. Rejoining Body Mind Life – this was the first yoga studio I ever joined but we parted ways for a few years. I signed up again in June and I’m loving the blend of yoga and pilates, the fact that it’s super close to the office and my house, and the endless class options.
28. Buying a bike – this was a very spur-of-the-moment decision, that turned out to be a great one! It’s opened up a whole new side of Sydney as I nip up side streets and I’ve been cycling to meetings too. Exercise and saving the business money in one!
29. Taking a full week retreat to Bali – I’ve only ever done a weekend retreat before, and never been to Bali. This was seven days of pure bliss, inspiration and rest. Definitely doing this again next year.
30. Buying gorgeous exercise clothes – I spent up at Dare To Wear in Seminyak and now have three beautiful and colourful mix ‘n’ match outfits for yoga or pilates. I love wearing them and I swear they make me better in my classes!
31. Discovering Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Cream – this instantly made my annoying little dehydration lines disappear and I faithfully slather it on every night now. I also discovered that it’s amazing on flights. I buddy it up with the Q10 booster when my skin needs even more TLC.
32. Giving myself permission to dress more casually – the bike prompted this new casual Lorraine, but I’m loving my new Adidas trainers with a cute little dress and denim jacket. It’s like I realised that I could wear whatever I want and that no boss was going to pull me up on my sartorial choices (only took me 3.5 years!), and it’s been liberating.
33. Buying shithot red shoes – I bought these to speak at the Business Chicks conference and I LOVE putting them on. They make me feel powerful, sexy and feminine.
34. Getting into a habit of earlier bedtimes – bedtime used to be around 11pm but now I aim to be in bed by 9.30pm and asleep by 10.00pm. This has been brilliant as it cuts out pointless pottering in the evening time and means I’m waking up naturally between 5.15am and 6.00am.
35. Discovering What I Know For Sure – my friend Anna mentioned this book by Oprah on Facebook and I bought it straightaway on my Kindle. SO much wisdom and spiritual insights. I love it and have read it about four times since.
36. Seeing Oprah speak – another Oprah decision. She was an incredible speaker and it only hit home hearing her talk how completely miraculous her achievements have been given where she came from. It was also insanely encouraging to see thousands of people showing up to see one woman simply speak for two hours (during which she took no break, not even a sip of water!).
37. Putting this post out there – I’ve had it on my annual goals to put this site out into the real world for two years now, and have written posts, tinkered with the design and generally done some champion procrastinating. I refuse to put it on my goals for 2016, so here it is – in all its imperfect glory and on the last day of 2015. I have a truckload of content in my head that is geared at sharing what I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial journey in the hope that it helps other people doing the same. Every journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step, so this is mine.
I also thought during this little reflection on what the bad decisions I made were. I came up with a few, but realised that making those decisions ultimately taught me something that I didn’t know before.
Overall, my biggest learning this year was not to delay making a decision – some of the situations that arose could have been much more quickly remedied if I had taken more immediate action. But again on looking at those instances, they were the best decisions with the facts I had to hand in that moment. And when I finally made the decision to change things, another solution presented itself.
That’s not to say I didn’t make shedloads of mistakes this year (hell no!), and they came with their own learnings as well.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve, wherever you might be – and a super start to 2016.
I’d love to hear what your best decisions of 2015 were – care to share?