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A New Chapter

This year has been a rapid-fire learning experience. My first time being the big boss. My first time trying to grow a business that's partly my own. And my first time really having to wrap my head around all sorts of complex things - mostly finance-related - that don't necessarily come naturally.

It's been a huge success in many ways. We've grown eight-fold over last year. We've done so many exciting projects for large, global businesses. And we've spent a lot of time defining our next steps. Most important of all, we've decided to focus the business more narrowly, just on graphic recording. It was our flagship product and is the most scalable of everything we offer. I'm so excited about this. It's the right move!

One great learning for me though is that I'm not the best CEO there ever was. I'm an entrepreneur and a great business strategist (if I do say so myself). I'm good at managing people and I get stuff done. But I just don't excel at the patience it takes to guide a company-wide team steadily, over many months, with setbacks and frustrations, schedule conflicts and disagreements. I want to put my head down and WORK and a Chief Executive has to be a diplomat, delegate, and be an ever-present captain of a big old complicated ship. Sometimes I just need to unplug and give in to the flow state. Sometimes I need to do that for a couple of days. A week even. It's hard for me to be balanced if I don't have that heads down time to myself - if I don't just get to be free to do the creative work I love.

I'm so happy to have learned all of this. And to pass the big boss title back to my partner, Tim. I'll be President now, which gives me a little more flexibility to rogue out from time to time. But I can still help inform all the business development decisions, and I still get to help the company grow.

Being President means I can work more flexibly. And it means, as we focus on graphic recording (which I don't deliver) I'll be bringing my strategy and writing clients to my own consultancy. It's been so many years since I really devoted myself to a solo endeavor: just me delivering the work I love to do directly to the clients I love to work with. What would have felt terrifying a few years ago feels so right today. Funny how that can happen.

A while back, a friend of mine was leaving a managerial role to return to the work itself. She said: "For you it'd be like if you never wrote creatively again and just oversaw other people doing it." At the time, deep under piles and piles of writing work, I didn't really feel the conflict. Being a manager sounded pretty good! But today, after a year of administrating, I know exactly what she meant.

Here's to doing what we do best! For a new year that's more fulfilling and successful than any before it. Happy holidays, y'all!