December was starting to seem like, well... kind of a welcome distraction. A couple of weeks ago, fully satisfied with the year that was, we attached pretty much all of our attention to 2013. Heck, even our "best of" 2012 post was published. We blame – at least partially – our work. If you, too, work independently, you know what we're talking about. Business usually slows to a trickle at this time of the year. I know, it's like a cruel joke. Just when you really need money to keep up with the holiday hoopla, you're having your worst month of the year. New freelancers / consultants tend to view December as an ulcer-inducing-budget-wrecker but then – with time and experience (and *gasp* a client base) – grow to look at the end of the year as the ultimate chance to take a breath.
So there we were, thinking we had it all figured out. 2012 was all but over, and we were heading for the mountains to lock ourselves in a remote cabin and to get off the grid during this golden smidgen of time when the gettin' is good.
And then, the day before leaving, all kinds of new business started rolling in. In mid-December. What?
Because a lot of our business is from existing clients and referrals, we don't play. Every contact is a precious opportunity. We stayed up late and got up early before leaving. We even stopped for a work session at the last, small – and I mean last and small – town with web access.
We were stressed out. Mainly because – and here's the kicker – the remote, luxury-less cabin we were heading to had no electricity and could only be accessed by skiing. We had to ski in before dark in order to, you know, see the cabin.
In the car on the way to the trailhead, we were silent. Things felt frantic, and we were consumed by our situation. We were worried about being unreachable.
I wish you could have seen the perspective-fueled realization that hit both of us when, after eight miles of uphill skiing, we saw the cabin and were taking in the gorgeous setting. All of our worries began to float away. We just needed to get out of our own heads.
We made a lot of big decisions and came to many life-lesson-like conclusions in the quiet, distraction-less environment of that cabin. Some highlights:
1) Things can wait. We left all of our clients with clear communication. As always, that's all they need and expect.
2) It's not done until it's done. 2012 – as an example – is still in progress. Consider the amazing, unexpected things that might happen at any time.
3) Perspective is key. Coming down from the mountain, we had to navigate two treacherous snowstorms and witnessed many horrible accidents. We also learned of the horrors in Newtown, Connecticut. Our work problems were, in comparison, small.
We only have this moment. Let's live it fully without clinging to the past, worrying about the future or getting too caught up in our own stories.
That's our wish for you (and us!) in the year ahead.