Growth, Learning and a Celebration of Community: Reflections on an Incredible Year

Well, this is it–my closing blog post of 2023! It’s hard to believe that there are only a couple of short weeks left in December and in the year, isn’t it?

I made “gratitude” the theme of my November blog posts, but really, gratitude is something I hold throughout the year, and I’m continuing to feel that grateful spirit as I look back on some of my proudest accomplishments–and biggest challenges–of 2023.  In fact, over two weeks later, I’m still coasting on the overwhelming rush of excitement, relief, and gratitude that I experienced when I learned about my student loan forgiveness.  Honestly, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve re-read that letter from MOHELA in the days since I received it. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real still, and I have to keep reminding myself it is!

But as much as that life-changing news was a major highlight of my year, when I took a pause to think back on 2023, I realized it was one of only many highlights, many events and moments that took me out of my comfort zone, pushed me to think differently, taught me new things, and encouraged and energized me to continue pursuing my goals, the first highlight being: I launched this blog!  As I was strategizing how to grow my business, share knowledge, and reach my existing audience along with new audiences, starting a blog had been a goal of mine, and in early 2023 I committed to making it happen. I launched Flourishing Fiercely with a goal of posting at least once a week. As it turned out, that didn’t always happen–I missed a few weeks here and there–but that’s OK too! It’s great to set ambitious goals, but also important to give ourselves grace and honor those times when we may need to take a pause.

And what better way to tackle one of my goals than by…writing about goals!  Readers who’ve been with me since the beginning earlier this year may remember that I kicked off by talking about how to get started with goal-setting, keeping up motivation, finding ways to keep yourself accountable, and sticking with the new habits that you might make in service of your goals.  Of course, as a trained coach, you know I also couldn’t help incorporating lots of content throughout those posts about how important SMART goals are! Actually, my blog goal gave me a perfect example of a SMART goal: Launch a blog on my Mission ENSPIRE website in Spring 2023 (Specific and Timebound) and commit to posting weekly (Measurable, and mostly Attainable other than my few missed weeks) as a way of sharing my knowledge and deepening engagement with Mission ENSPIRE clients, prospective clients, and other interested readers (Relevant).

I’d also set a goal for myself of using 2023 as a year to level up my business, connect more intentionally to the entrepreneur community, promote my business and its services, and help inspire others on their own entrepreneurial journeys. I joined my first accelerator for my business (the Launch and Profit Accelerator) and one of the tasks I created was my “I help statement” to guide Mission ENSPIRE’s direction and work: “I help professional women prioritize themselves so they can lead impactful lives without sacrificing their own personal growth.” I launched one of Mission ENSPIRE’s first products: the Momentum Mastermind Set, a personal planning journal, business goal journal, and e-book bundle designed to help you track your notes, appointments, ideas, goals, successes, challenges and more — while teaching you how to make every moment count.

I’ll admit, the “connect and inspire” part of taking my business to the next level came the most naturally to me; the “promote” part perhaps a bit less so.  Throughout my career, I’ve always served in roles that involved building community, creating partnerships, bringing people and organizations together. As I discovered coaching and facilitation, that helped me put myself out there more, but still largely in roles where I’m listening, asking probing questions, helping my audience draw out insights. In those practices, my clients and my training or discussion participants are at the center (intentionally so), not me.  

But 2023 was the year that I realized that part of growing my business meant talking more about myself and my services–and that that’s not a bad thing, especially if I can also be an example to other aspiring entrepreneurs the way that so many have been to me on my path over the past few years.  One of my most exciting accomplishments was becoming a best-selling author, when I contributed a chapter to a book called The Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit for Success (Volume 1). (As I wrote in one of my May blog posts on bucket lists, I definitely got bit by the writing bug through that experience, and authoring an entire book someday is another one of my bucket list items.)

Thanks to some of the connections I made by participating in the book, as well as folks I’ve met throughout my business journey, I was fortunate to be profiled in forums including Canvas Rebel and She ROCKS It magazine. I attended the Dreamer’s Women’s Networking & Celebration event at the beginning of the year, which was the first event where I represented Mission ENSPIRE as a vendor. In November, I participated in my first speaking engagement as a business owner, giving a talk titled “Entrepreneurial Leadership: Scoring Success with a Legendary Mindset” at the Success Junkie Summit hosted by Serita Love. I’m accustomed to public speaking somewhat, since I do so much training and facilitation in my work, but something about giving a “real” speech as founder and CEO of my own company felt different–definitely a growth moment for me! I was nervous but had so much fun once I got started, and even decided to keep the momentum going by applying to be a speaker at a retreat in New Orleans next March. (I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!)

Having said all that, I strongly believe that my learning comes not just from things I accomplished but from things I didn’t accomplish as well. For example, one of my goals and plans was to be a guest on a podcast at least monthly.  Though I did have the privilege to be a guest on the Embrace Your Power podcast with Host and Career Success Coach Denise Taylor, that monthly goal didn’t happen. I researched interesting and relevant podcasts and worked on some applications to appear, but never ended up submitting them. More to the point, I didn’t set aside dedicated time to work on this goal, and that can make all the difference.

Still, I’m proud of what I accomplished, while also working full-time in my nonprofit job. Reflecting on what kept me motivated and on track throughout 2023, one factor in being able to accomplish so much was the time I spent in early December 2022 planning for 2023 at Candace Junee’s Go-Getter Retreat where we prepared our mind, spirit and business to prosper in 2023. Since I know the value of having intentional time for reflection and planning, I’m excited to share about my “Chart Your Course” Workshop that I’m hosting next month.  If you’re feeling uninspired, unmotivated, or in a rut–or even if you’re feeling good as 2023 winds down and looking to keep that momentum going for another year–this goal-setting workshop is for you. We’ll celebrate your wins and growth from 2023 with thoughtful reflection exercises and clarify your big audacious goals for the coming year so that you can “Fiercely Soar in 2024”.  Go HERE for session dates, times, and further details.

Thank you all so much, again, for being part of this blog journey–and our collective learning and growth journey–with me in 2023. I’m excited to stay connected and also find new ways to engage in 2024, and I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and New Year!

4 thoughts on “Growth, Learning and a Celebration of Community: Reflections on an Incredible Year

  1. What a year! You inspire me to set audacious goals and then work to achieve them! Thanks for all that you do.

    1. Thanks Laura. I’m glad that I can be an example for others. It’s not always easy but I try to see the lesson in everything that I do. Appreciate your readership!!!

  2. Jen, thank you for being transparent. I appreciate the balance of ambition and reality. My favorite quote is, “As it turned out, that didn’t always happen – I missed a few weeks here and there – but that’s OK too! It’s great to set ambitious goals, but also important to give ourselves grace and honor those times when we may need to take a pause.” I have added your blog to my reading regimen.

    1. Thanks Sandylane, I appreciate you letting me know the impact of the blog for you. It’s helpful to know that people find value in what I’m sharing.

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