Design Domination Podcast Episode #79: Reflect, Refocus, Recharge

Let's talk about reviewing our goals, celebrating our wins and refocusing ourselves and our businesses for the next year. Reflect, refocus, recharge.


Now is the usual time of year when we look back over the past year and assess how things went for us personally and professionally. To say the least, 2020 was a crazy year. So many people suffered losses in so many ways—personally, professionally and financially—and some did better business wise than in previous years.


So we could throw our goals from this past year out the window really. Who could blame you?

Now, if you didn’t set goals, please check out the podcast episode I did in January of this year about why it’s important to set goals. It might surprise you.

Meeting goals is awesome, but it’s not all about meeting them. Even when we don’t reach our goals, we can still learn from the process, reassess things and refocus.

Just last Friday, I met with a group of colleagues—other business owners who’ve since become friends—to review our goals for the past year. We’ve been meeting online weekly for about three or four years.

Well, we did not all meet our goals. I certainly didn’t.

For one goal, I had hoped to get twice as many more listens/downloads for the podcast than I actually got. I was also hoping to increase my social media following a lot more, so I can help more creatives.

Even though there were goals that I didn’t meet, there were others I did. They had more impact and were more important than some of the goals that I didn’t meet.

Some people in my group had hoped to increase the amount of business revenue this year and didn’t. But the fact that it didn’t decrease from COVID happening was a feat in itself.

For some of us, business actually increased, possibly because more people have been online and because clients needed to focus their communications efforts more online as a result.

What goals did you have this past year? Did you meet them? If not, that’s OK. Did you learn anything from setting those goals?

Maybe you found that some of your goals changed, and that this past year actually presented some surprising opportunities or advantages in such a chaotic time.

For instance, I don’t fly, and I was invited to speak at the CreativePro InDesign + Accessibility Summit. Because it had to be held online, I was able to say yes without wondering how I’d get there. Even if COVID hadn’t been an issue, if that event had been held across the country, I would have had to figure out how to get there, suck it up and fly (under the influence of something!), or say no—which was not an option. I mean, what an honor and extraordinary opportunity!

Maybe in the past you would have met with prospects in person, and this year you saved a ton of time by holding meetings online instead. Maybe that will be your new process going forward, and you’ll get a lot of time back as a result.

Maybe you made some great connections and even got work from that after spending more time interacting in online groups than you normally would have, rather than attending in-person networking events, which are very daunting to many people.

Maybe you were laid off from your job, and that forced you to start your own business now instead of waiting any longer. Maybe you had been thinking about that for a long time and would have just kept on with the status quo, and this lit a fire under you to go after your dream. I’ve seen in online groups how that happened to several creatives, and some of them have been making more money.


Outside of your goals, what did you accomplish personally or professionally?
A coach once told me to write down my accomplishments—small, big, whatever—every time it happened.
We tend to forget the good stuff and focus on the negative—I do that all the time—or what we perceive to be a negative, even if it isn’t necessarily a negative. Sometimes those negatives lead to positives.
But seeing our wins written down somewhere is concrete evidence for us to look back at and see how much progress we’ve made. When we see that, it helps us become more confident. Otherwise, we could just keep telling ourselves we don’t “feel” like we’ve done that much, that we haven’t done enough. But the evidence doesn’t lie.
You can look back at your wins and go, “Wow. I forgot that happened. That was really cool. I was so happy about that.” That will also make you feel more grateful.
So it’s important to acknowledge our wins, but, especially now. Celebrate what we were able to accomplish despite the challenges that this past year presented.


We can also take this time of year to focus on what’s important in life and on how we could potentially improve our businesses to withstand a time of crisis, so we can continue to support ourselves and what’s important and who’s important.

We can also refocus some of our goals. Thinking back to why I didn’t reach some of my goals this past year, it actually wasn’t because of COVID. It was because I didn’t change how much time I had been spending in those areas. I just didn’t focus on them enough. I forgot who said it, but they said:

What you focus on improves.

So I learned that I need to change my focus from about 10 or 15 different goals to just a few, so my attention isn’t all over the place.

I also learned I need help from others to reach some of my goals. I can’t do it alone. I can’t be everywhere all the time.


Setting New Goals

The act of setting goals keeps us focused and motivated. If we’re not reviewing our goals and keeping them top of mind throughout the year, how will we know what to focus on?

How will we know where we are with them? How will we know when we get there?

If you don’t do anything differently, things won’t just magically change. You might say, “Well, I had hoped to make more money this year, but I didn’t.”

Why didn’t you? Did you do anything differently? Did you reach out to clients about more work? Did you expand your network?

There’s that saying:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

But you have to act to make progress.

So think about your goals for next year and what you are going to do differently to achieve them.

  • Do you want to enhance your expertise or skill level, so you make more money, so you can spend more time with family?
  • Do you want to get more clients, so you can increase your business?
  • Do you want to attract better clients, so you have a better work relationship with your clients?
  • Do you want to take on only certain kinds of work and just focus on the work that you love?
  • Do you want to get a better job or go into another area of expertise, one that you enjoy more?
  • Do you want to get more respect from clients and stop wasting time on the bad ones?

Is there something holding you back? What is it? Money? Mindset? Are you doubting yourself? Are you scared? Maybe you need someone to hold you accountable.

If you want help, I can help you.

If you feel stuck in a mental rut… Hey, I have been there. I have been there.

There are just some roadblocks that you just can’t get through on your own, especially if you don’t know what the issues are. I’ve been there.

If you just want feedback from a design industry veteran on how to get your work to the next level so you can make more money or a higher-paying position, inquire about my one-on-one mentoring.

If you are a logo designer or graphic designer and you want help with enhancing your expertise or skill level and you want to start charging more and getting more respect, check out my Brand Identity Builder, Brand Style Guide Builder and Accessible Branding and Design course.

If you’re a web designer or developer, check out my Foundations of Website Accessibility course.

I created all of these things to help you enhance your expertise and build your confidence, because I want you to charge more and I want you to make more money at your job, and I want you to get more respect, and I want to make it easier to do all of that.

I am committed to helping you make next year a better, more successful year.

I wish you a safe, healthy and happy new year. Cheers!

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