My biggest mistakes and successes from 2022
January really feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
I feel like I’m a completely different person from who I was at the start of the year.
But at the same time, it feels like 2022 has flown by and I’m still working on things I was frustrated by a year ago!
If you have had a whirlwind year and want 2023 to be different, then today’s podcast episode is for you.
In this episode, you'll learn:
- How setting clear boundaries helped me help more people
- The black and white rules I set this time last year that have helped me thrive
- The project I had to make a stand for and why I’m so proud of it
- The biggest mindset issue I continue to face in my business
- Where I need to grow to help my team
- And the struggles of working with your partner
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Denise: Hey there, gorgeous. It's Denise here, and today we are talking about the lessons I've learned from 2022. Yeah, good, bad and ugly really. So I'm not always exactly sure when this podcast is coming out. This might be coming out at the end of 2022, or you might be listening to this when we're well into 2023, but I just want to do it while it's still fresh in my mind because I don't know about you, but this year has been such a strange one timewise.
If I think back to January '22, to me that feels like five years ago. It feels like I was a completely different person. It just feels so surreal. But then on the other side, this year has gone really quick. So the whole year felt like it went in like five months. So very strange year and I know I'm not alone in that in just how distorted time felt this year. A lot of rapid changes happening at the moment. We're in this time in history where things shift and change very quickly, where between eras I think. So yeah, you're not alone if you felt that situation.
So I want to go into what I feel really good about this year for me, for '22. And there might be some things that might surprise you. There might be things that you didn't know, were happening behind the scenes. But yeah, I want to start with the good and then I'll do the bad stuff. So one thing that was amazing this year that I'm just so glad that I've done is just setting more boundaries in my Money Bootcamp group. So you might know, you might be in it, but Money Bootcamp started in 2012, so 10 years. So I never intended it to be a long term program.
I thought it was going to be a six week course and then I was done, and then I was like, "Oh, I'll do it again. I'll do another six week course, and then I'll do another six week course." And I had this Facebook group as part of it. So I was like, "Oh, well you may as well just stay in there until I do the next one, and then the next one." And it just ended up being this long term group. And it's not a membership. You don't pay every month, you pay once and then you're in forever. And that worked for a while and then it didn't work for a while because I found I didn't set enough boundaries in those early days about what the group could be used for. So people were using the group in lots of different ways, to network, to promote themselves, all those things.
So I've had to learn over the last couple of years to set really strong boundaries in that group, not just for myself but for everybody else too and to really protect the energy of that group. And if you've been in there longer, sort of three years, you might have seen some of those changes. But one thing I changed this year for 2022 was, and even greater level of boundary for myself.
Now, I used to be in that group as my personal profile, my personal Facebook profile. And it meant that every time I logged into social media, I would see the threads come up. And that was fine, because I love helping people. I'm a Virgo, I'm here to serve, but I would be like, "Oh yeah, I'll answer that, I'll answer that." And it just leaked into my everyday life. And it meant that I wake up really early, my kids wake up at 5:00 in the morning, so I'd be like, "Oh, I'll just go in the group," and then it would be like, before I went to bed, "Oh, I'll just check on..." "Oh, I may as well answer that."
So you can imagine my day stretched seven days a week from 5:00 in the morning until 10:00 PM at night. And that's not healthy for anybody, not healthy at all. So I decided in '22 to only be in that group with my business profile. And it felt like... You might just go, oh Denise yeah, duh, of course you should do that. But it never occurred to me to do that. It never occurred to me. So suddenly I had a really strong separation that when I logged into Facebook, I could just see my friends and things that I was interested in from a student point of view, but not necessarily having to always then serve my clients 24/7 or on the weekend. And I completely could take weekends off of that group. So I really want to share this.
If you're in Money Bootcamp, you might be like, "Oh mommy doesn't like us," and that's not the intention at all. But I want to role model to everybody who is active on social media, who has customers that they have to take care of, is that it's okay to separate those things out, because even though your life's work and your calling and your business are all intertwined, that doesn't mean you have to be available 24/7 for people, and you're allowed to have work hours.
So now we have a post that goes up every Friday and it's like, "Oh, I'm handing over for the weekend," just to let people know. And even that change, at first it was like, "Oh hey guys, we're handing over to our weekend community managers." But I wasn't making it clear that I was off for the weekend too. I was like, "Okay, Mara's off for the weekend now and Jess is here" and I was like, "Oh, hang on, and I'm off too, so don't tag me." And it just felt like a really symbolic, extra step to go, "Oh, I'm done."
So I want you to think about for you, what boundaries would you like to set in place for the year ahead for the future of what are your work hours? What are you available for? And that might not even be time. It might be saying to people, "Hey, can you send an email instead of doing things over DM or not answering people over text or not being available in ways that stress you out that really bleed into your personal life." Giving yourself permission to just go, "No, this is how I can help you."
And I actually had to enforce that a couple of times too. I was away for the weekend and someone was kicking off and going, "Denise is never here" and I was like, "Oh my God, that is so not true." For starters, I'm here every day, but also it's the weekend. And I had to actually just say, "Hey, it's the weekend, I don't work for you. I'm not your coach. This is not the deal for Money Bootcamp that I'm available for you." And she was asking a non-Money Bootcamp question too. So I actually had to enforce it and just be like, "No."
And I think that was another thing I was really proud of in '22 is that just taking a few of those things a little bit less personally and just being like, "No", actually that's really rude for you to be like that. And oh, there was one... Oh again, if this was one of the things, it wasn't just one person, but I had a couple people go, "Hey Bootcamp call is over Thanksgiving, did you know that? Did you know Denise that it's Thanksgiving?" And I was like, "Yeah, I'm not American. I don't celebrate Thanksgiving." And that's when the call always is, and that's the boundary. And even things like that where I was just a little bit more just strong in those things and not stressing as much about pissing people off and just going, "No, this is the boundary and it is what it is. So deal with it."
Yeah, I was really proud of myself for that. So hopefully that inspires you to do a few things like that for yourself in your own business and just to be like, "I'm not available for that anymore." So yeah, that was good. Related to that too, something I did in '22 was I had some very black and white rules for myself, and one of those ones was I didn't want to travel anywhere in '22. I'm sure you understand, I'm sure a lot of you relate to, is the last couple of years I had to cancel a lot of things.
I had to cancel trips, masterminds, events that I was speaking at, speaking gigs, a lot of things. And I found it very stressful and it reminded me of when I was a kid, we used to move around a lot and there wasn't a lot of certainty in my life as a child and that can create anxiety for me. And I knew that I didn't want to have that anxiety for the year. So I set a very strong rule and it was just like, I'm not traveling overseas. And it really helped because then when people would be like, "Hey, can you come speak at my event?" I'd just be like, "No, I'm not traveling."
Sometimes when people hear that you have a rule, it sounds more official. I was like, "Sorry, I'm not traveling at all." And I can see already I have got travel booked in 23 and I can feel that little bit of anxiety again because I'm like, "Oh God, I thought it was all over." But it not necessarily is. So if you are someone like me who does need a little bit more certainty in your life, consider what rules you would like to put into place to just be like, "No, I need that certainty."
And it could be even in small things, it could be even around your pricing where you go, "No, I only work with clients who pay up front," because I want that certainty. I don't want to chase people anymore. You might decide that you don't want to do really long payment plans because you hate the uncertainty of, are people going to pay? Or you shorten them and go, "Okay, I will only do it up to when I deliver that website for them and not afterwards." Things like that where you just go, "God, that really stresses me out. How can I eliminate that?" And I was really proud of myself for just having a few of those rules.
And I think every couple of years I add a new one in, one that I used to always have. I used to get asked to speak on summits all the time and I'd be like, because I'd be like, "Who else is speaking? Do I have to check everyone's social media to make sure that they're not problematic? Is there a good gender balance? Is there a good racial balance? Is there a good diversity balance?" And it was so much work for me to do it and then I realized, I was like, I don't even think I get anything out of it.
So I set an actual rule in my company. I just said, "I don't do summits." So then my team doesn't have to come back to me and go, "This person wants a summit. They said they know you, they're... It seems really good." I was like, "No, I just don't do them." So then they don't even have to come to me for it. I was like, great. And I can see that there's a couple other things creeping in for me that I have to make new rules on and one of those things is I get asked to write blurbs for people's books all the time and it's just happening more and more. And now I'm like, "Oh, I need a rule for that." Whether it's a form to say, fill this in. What are your deadlines? What's your word count? Because people will go, "Oh, write whatever you want." And I'm like, "Oh, I know it's a lot of work for me now I have to read your book and, bloody hell."
So I can see that there's some things that I need to have some more rules around. And I just want to share that with you too is that this is incremental, setting boundaries is incremental and sometimes it comes from, it's so painful or it's taking up so much time or just want to, instead of making rules for it, you just want to make a black and white no, make it easier for your team or just so you don't have to have the bandwidth anymore.
So they were mine, it was like, I don't work on weekends, I don't use my personal profile. I'm not traveling for the year. I don't do summits. And now I'm like, "Do I want to do book blurbs?" So yeah, I'm really proud of those things for myself, for '22, I thought they were yeah, they really helped and I really felt like they elevated me to that next level of just being a CEO, like being a grown up CEO.
The other thing that I was really proud about, and I'll actually just do a whole separate episode maybe on this. I was just so creative in '22 with especially my Sacred Money Archetypes launch. I've never worked so hard on anything, I really haven't. It wasn't because I had to, it was because I chose to do things in just such a high quality way and I wanted to do things that were game changing. And I'm so proud of myself that I made a stand for that even in the face of my team not being happy, in the face of so many challenges around that, everyone getting COVID and, oh so much more work than I expected. All of these things, which I'll talk about the second half of this.
But I'm just really proud that I made a stand for something that I'm really proud of and yeah, I really am. And of course I did heaps of other projects in '22 as well. I did heaps of podcasts. I've released the new version of Chill & Prosper. I did some corporate training, I did some retreats, I did heaps of cool stuff. But that's the one stand out for me. I'm just super proud of myself for setting better boundaries and I'm super proud of myself for making a stand for just creative excellence and creativity in general. So all right, we're going to get to the bad stuff in the sec, stuff that was really hard for me in '22, and things were a bit ugly, but I'm going to take a quick break to have a little sip of water and I'll see you in just a sec.
Laurel Golden-J...: Hi there, this is Laurel Golden-James with Golden Touch Health and Wealth. I joined Denise Duffield-Thomas's Sacred Money archetypes this go around in 2022 and it was amazing. I am a BodyMind Life and Business Coach, and I mostly coach women with confidence and boundaries. This course helped me realize that I could run my business the way I wanted to and being equal parts nurture and ruler, I often have a tug of war within myself about how I can best help people.
This course has shone a light on all of those gifts that I have and some of the shadows that I have and it was so fun to go through. Denise was so engaging. The support in the Facebook group over the six weeks was amazing. And there's just so much there. There's so much there to take advantage of. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much. And if you're thinking about joining that course, I highly recommend it. I've been going over and over it and getting nuggets from it every time I do. Thanks.
Denise: Okay. Welcome back. So we were talking about all the stuff I'm really proud of, sub '22, my boundaries and creative freedom. But let's talk about the bold stuff. Actually, one other thing on that, 4 '23, I'm starting a spreadsheet and it's going to be good things, because I realize so much that we discount what we've done and we forget immediately. And I think that is my first bad thing is that I am somebody who is never satisfied, like Alexander Hamilton.
I never really feel like I've done a good enough job. I always think we can do more. I always think we could do better. I'm always slightly disappointed in myself, and I hate to say it, I'm always slightly disappointed in my team, that's really harsh to say, but I always just think, "Oh, I wish we'd fix that mistake or I wish we'd found that earlier."
And most of the time it's my fault, it's not my team's fault, it's my fault for not communicating it or for being so busy. But it's sometimes a really tricky way of being, and I am a ruler in money archetypes, and rulers are never satisfied. Rulers always want to do better and bigger and also rulers immediately forget. As soon as the project's finished, they just move on to the next one and very rarely celebrate.
And by the way, if you don't know what your money archetype is, it's crucial for you to know this because every archetype has their own helpful and harmful behaviors. Go to denisedt.com/quiz, and it will help you to understand your money archetype. But that's mine is that I just, I'm never satisfied. I just want to always do more. I want to do better and it can be a really tricky place to be sometimes.
A big thing that I do, and I did it so badly in '22, is I underestimate how much time things take, so bad. So when I was doing Sacred Money Archetypes, my launch, which I have loved, I completely underestimated how long it would take to write the scripts. So I was really having to do really long hours, doing all the scripts because there was eight different personalities that I had to write scripts for and eight different, all the lessons and things, so I always think I can do that in an hour and it would take four, or it will take 10 times the amount sometimes because I just can't figure out how long it's going to take.
Even when I'm not procrastinating, I just jump in. I always just underestimate. I underestimate how long things take to film. So each personality, instead of filming it in two hours, took four hours. So it was double. So I was filming till midnight every night. It was fun. I totally underestimate how long it takes to do handouts, to do stuff on a website, to put together a course, to edit stuff, to edit videos, to everything. Everything I underestimate how long things take.
When I was doing the new version of Chill & Prosper, I was like, "Oh, I'm just going to do a light edit and add in some case studies." I pretty much rewrote the whole thing. So I always underestimate things and that can mean lots of problems with that. One is that it's hard on me because then I have to just suck it up and do it. It's hard on my team, because then they always have to do way more work. It's hard on my contractors, because I often don't put enough space in between projects. It's hard on my family because then I'm like, "Sorry, mommy is just got to do this thing." I just have to do it. And it's hard on my health.
All of those things it can be really hard on. And I don't know really what to do about that for the next year, because I don't know. I think maybe what I would need to do, and if you've got tips let me know of going, "Okay, it takes approximately X amount of hours to do X amount of pages." Just being really sick about that. But yeah, because Mark will be like, "How much longer? And I'll be like, "I don't know." I'll just look at him wierdlessly, I'll just go, "Anything." How long is a piece of string?
So I think I could just get better at estimating it in general. But also the thing that I do need to really get better at is giving space between projects. Because often in a busy year for us, we are just rolling from one project to the next with not a lot of void time in between. Not a lot of extra space for things just to clean up stuff, not having a big project on and that's hard when you've got your own business because you always feel like you've got homework due. There's always something more you can do.
But if you're putting those things in your calendar too close together, then that can be disaster. And there were a couple of disasters in '22. For example, our lovely videographer we work with Dan, his baby was in hospital, and nobody could foresee that. Nobody can get angry about that. But everything has to shut down. So then it's like, "Oh, okay, well we have to move this and this," because we didn't have enough space. We didn't have any insurance buffer in that.
And then one of our video editors had COVID. So then that pushes stuff. And that was our fault because we put everything in way too close together. So I pushed our launch two times, because I was just like, it's just not going to happen. And also I had to be the one, because everyone else was like, "No, we'll push through and we'll do it. We'll just work longer, harder." And I was like, "Oh no, this comes down to me as the CEO to go, what [inaudible] with me? I'll write the email to everyone to say, "Look, I'm really sorry, it's going to be late. Here's what we're going to do about that. We gave them extra stuff."
But I was like, to protect everyone's energy, I have to make that decision. And it was hard because I'm used to just going, "Well, we'll just do it." But now that launches for me are a bit more complicated I need a bit more space for it. So I would really highly recommend too, is to look at your year and this is what we always do at the start of the year and we do it quarterly too. We look at all the projects we're trying to jam in, in a year. And not even just the big ones, the secret ones, because you know how sometimes you're like, "But I have this other secret project, don't tell anyone." It doesn't exist but it actually still takes up time and energy.
So we actually get one of those year at a glance calendars and we get those little post-it notes that are a little rectangle, and we have to put in all of those things. We have to put in, here's when our big launches are. Here's when school holidays are. Here's where trips are. Here's where speaking gigs are. Here's where delivery is, because that's what we used to forget to, we'd be like, "Oh, the launch is so much work." And then I'd be like, "Yeah, but guys, I have to deliver it now, that's work too." And we need all of those things in to give us some spaciousness.
And even now, I do my Money Bootcamp calls at the end of the month, I try and make sure I don't have anything else in that week, because it's a lot of energy for me to do it, and I have to book that ahead. I know when those calls are. So I put in my calendar ahead of time, otherwise I'll forget and then other things will come in. Another thing is yeah, just saying yes to little projects that take up time. I totally did a few of those. I was like yeah, okay. As I said, do those book blurbs. I'll do a book blurb for people. I said that in another episode. I was like, "Yeah, I'll do that for you. Yeah, I'll write that testimonial for you. Yeah, I'll be involved in your project. Yeah, I'll speak at your thing."
I just started saying yes to a few little things that I thought were just going to be little and they ended up just taking up time and energy and I didn't need to do it. So you're not alone if you struggle a little bit with those boundaries, that can be really tricky. Even with things like testimonials, because I worked with so many contractors in '22, they'd say, "Oh, can you write me a testimonial?" And I'd be like, "Oh yeah, it's on my list of things to do." And I actually started to say to people, "Can you draft it?" Because when you're working together, you'll say things or you'll email and say, "Oh, that looks so great. I love this thing." So I'm like, "You draft it," and then at least I don't have to start at a blank slate. And then that felt easier to do things like that. But I just said yes to so many little things and it was a little bit too much for me, to be honest.
Another thing that was a bit ugly in '22 is like Mark and I, whose my husband, we've been working together for about six years and sometimes we're really good and sometimes we have some struggles and we had some struggles in '22. We had a couple of really big struggles. And one of those reasons that I thought, I'll just tell you my side of it, is that I felt like I'm someone who can just pull stuff out of thin air. I'm incredibly creative. I can think on the fly. I can perform really well. So because I'd overextended myself and I'm like, "Yeah, I can film from 9:00 in the morning till midnight. I can film for four days in a row. I can film a million podcast in a row," all of those things.
I felt like Mark as my launch manager, marketing guy was thinking of me as a marketing asset and taking that quality for granted and realizing that it does take energy and I need spaciousness in between those. I can't perform like that every single day. I perform like that in bursts, so I don't have to. And that's part of my Chill & Prosper, chillproanphilosophy.
It's not about not working, it's about finding the easier path for yourself. And it's easy for me to do things, compartmentalize things and do them in big bursts, but I can't do that all the time. That's not my regular pace. And it's like, when you're in a job and you pull all the stops out and then your boss is like, "Great, do that every day now." And you go, "No, I can't." That's how I felt Mark and the team were taking me for granted a little bit. They were just like, "Pull another miracle out and do this" and I'd be like, "I actually can't." I cannot do that.
So that was a little bit tricky and I think working with your spouse, it is just such an ongoing conversation around expectations and standards and boundaries and finding those ways to work together that keep your sanity, and we definitely had some times in '22 where it was not fun to work together in that way. I feel bad. Mark doesn't listen to my podcast.
But I really realized how much extra space I need for creative thinking and how that is such a part of the process. That's not even downtime for me. That is part of my creative process that I need space in between projects, because I start to get into the new space of it. Even for something like podcasting, for a couple of hours before, for a couple days before, I start thinking about the words I'm going to use, the phrases, the little stories that I'm going to tell.
I open a portal into the space of the podcast, and then I talk so much in this day, I need a day off at least for a day or two where I don't have to talk as much. And I'll go home and Mark will ask me questions, and I'm like, "I'm done. I'm out of words." So I just think I just need to communicate that a little bit better to my team, to Mark, but also that I just block things out of my calendar so people just can't book in with me.
And I've been doing that for years, but I just feel like I need to take that to the next level because I want to be able to serve people for a long time. I want to be able to continue to serve people in my Money Bootcamp for example, and to show up and do creative projects like podcasts, which takes energy. I want to write a ton of books over the next couple of years. So I really need to protect that creative energy from other people.
And one last thing I think was a little tricky for me was I have really high standards, but I don't always have the time to communicate those standards to people. And also because I'd put in too many projects, my team didn't always have time to double check things. So if you saw a lot of spelling mistakes in '22, guess what, I did too and guess what, I was pissed about them too. Because I always saw them when they went live and I was like, I would say 80% of them were not mine. And I'm not throwing my team under the bus, but I'm definitely keeping myself accountable to the fact that there was times where people didn't have space to check things and that's on me. But I just want to point that out because if you're like, "God, Denise is bad at spelling," I'm like, "It's not me. It's usually someone else on my team." I know, it's bad.
Okay. So that was the good and bad and ugly for me for 2022. I would love to hear if you had any ahas or lessons around this episode. You can always share this episode by the way. Share it and share your ahas and tag me at DeniseDT because, yeah I think it's always just good to learn from other people's mistakes. I don't have a perfect business. I'm not a perfect CEO. I don't have a perfect team. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes all the time. And I want you to see that and see that it's okay. And you can just learn from it and you can make it into a podcast episode or you can make it into a chapter in your book, or you can put boundaries into place to stop it happening again. All right, so don't go away. I've got one final thought for you straight after the break. Bye.
Amy: Hi Denise, it's Amy here in Canada from Mixing Babies and Business. I have been following your work since I used to live in Australia. I now have three kids and I really related to your work, you showing up as a parent in your videos. I originally was reading your blog and your newsletters, started reading your books. I'm now a member of Money Bootcamp, and the biggest lesson that I have learned from Denise that has helped me so far has been this is a placeholder. It encourages me to show up, to take imperfect action and to really change those limiting beliefs or visibility hangups that I may have. So thanks Denise for all your work and thank you to your community too.
Denise: Okay. My final thought is around perfectionism. And you know what? So many people listening to this episode are not even allowing themselves to make mistakes because you're so worried about it and you want to be perfect. You want everything to be perfect before you hit publish on your book or your course and you're worried people are going to see those mistakes and you're going to die. And I didn't die. I made heaps of mistakes and I didn't die. But I helped a ton of people.
I helped so many people in '22, and I didn't even mention that, I'd love to do another episode just on my stats and income. But I made a lot of income. I was able to help a lot of people make a big impact. And if you are worried about making mistakes and not being perfect, then think about all the people you can help. And you're never going to be perfect. So it's safe for you to make mistakes. Just try that as a little affirmation for the next couple of days. It's safe for me to make mistakes. All right, gorgeous. Please review and share these episodes. It really helps us to help more people, and I will see you next week. So go forth and Chill & Prosper. Bye. (singing)
About the Show
Chill and Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.
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