2023 is in the books, and it honestly felt like the tale of two halves. The first half was dark and moody; the second half was light and hopeful.
In my 2022 year in review, I answered the following questions:
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go well this year?
- What did I learn?
- What do I want 2024 to look like?
Of all the year in reviews I have written to date, this one is the most peculiar.
Because of that, I’m deviating from how I’ve structured the last 3 years of reviews. Rather than pose questions and backfill them with answers, I’m sharing a timeline of the first 6 months, and then I’m sharing a collection of the differences I experienced in the last 6 months. I believe this will give you greater insight into arc of the year.
This review is also pretty personal. I’ve shared some highlights at the end that include milestones around business, books I’ve read, etc. — but the month by month timelines include journal reflections that are quite raw.
So, prepare for many stories (with vivid detail) that span the gamut of the human experience.
As with all my reviews, I’m candid and open about my faith, my business, my wins, my struggles and my hope for the future.
How do I see the present as though I were looking at it in hindsight?Journal entry on January 23, 2023
The clock struck 12, the new year rolled around…and yet when I woke up the next morning, nothing had really changed.
I was still grieving the loss of my dad, which had happened less than a month ago. I still felt like I was in a daze coming off the most difficult year of my life.
The reality of his death hadn’t truly set in yet, but the reality of continuing to operate his business had. It’s hard enough to run one successful, growing business; it was near impossible to run another at the same time.
On many days, I would finish work with my company, Awesome Motive, and then shift gears into handling the affairs of my dad’s business in commercial contract cleaning.
My brother and I were doing what we could to keep it afloat as we looked for a buyer. We re-stocked supplies, checked on buildings, scrubbed toilets, vacuumed carpets, mopped floors, steam-cleaned carpets, prepared invoices, ran payroll. You name it – we were doing it.
I was exhausted. Many days began at 5am (because I couldn’t sleep) and ended at 11pm, only to start the routine again the next day. I would work at a computer all day, then drive out to a building and clean toilets or vacuum floors. This had already been going on for more than 6 weeks with no end in sight.
An offer to sell dad’s business fell through in late 2022, so I wasn’t sure what 2023 would look like. I had a lead on a potential buyer, but you never know with deals. For all I knew, I was going to be operating this for a while – or at least until the end of the school year when we could wind down contracts and shut down the business.
While this was going on, we closed on a deal to acquire Thrive Themes. It was both exciting and daunting. We had never acquired a company of this size before or with the kind of operating structure it used.
I’m thrilled to say that Thrive is doing great. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to bring them into the AM family. A huge thanks to Shane and Paul for trusting us with the amazing company they built, and a huge shoutout to the entire Thrive team who has been working tirelessly to make the product suite better each and every day.
I’m pretty tired from everything going on, but Father I trust you. I need your help. Help me as I look to grow into the man you’ve called me to be.Journal entry on january 27, 2023
Unfortunately, the sickness that ran rampant in 2022 continued to plague my family into 2023. It was a revolving door, and enduring it was not getting any easier. Miles would be sick, then Jude, then me, then back to Miles, then Laura…and on and on and on.
It felt very defeating, and many times I walked around feeling defeated.
But there was work to be done!
As January progressed, the potential buyer for my dad’s business secured financing and signed the contract to enter into an agreement to purchase the business. The sense of relief for me was palpable. As of early February, the sale would close, and I would begin the process of transitioning the business over to the new owner.
At the end of January, Syed, myself and Brad (the new General Manager of Thrive Themes) met together in Florida to write down strategic plans for Thrive. After a few long and productive days, we believed we had articulated a clear vision of what Thrive could be and how we were going to get there.
Father – this can’t be happening…Journal entry excerpt on february 2, 2023
I was at the Palm Beach International airport.
I had just made it through security. Because I had arrived very early for my flight home, I checked into a lounge, got a snack and opened up my laptop.
I pulled out my phone, and I realized I had missed a call from my brother. “He must’ve called while I was going through TSA”, I thought. I called him back.
“Hey big brother”, he started.
“Hey little brother”, I replied. “How are you?”
“I’ve got some bad news”, he continued. “XYZ Church just called and cancelled their contract. It’s the 2nd largest contract in dad’s business.”
My heart sank and stomach turned.
“This can’t be happening…I am closing on the sale of this business tomorrow morning“, I thought to myself.
And the rest of the conversation felt like an entire blur. I was in shock and disbelief.
How could this happen? There was no way that the deal was going to close now with such a large contract terminating the night before the sale.
After I got off the phone with my brother, I sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity.
(I’m truly surprised it didn’t turn into a full blown panic attack)
Thoughts began to race through my brain of how I was going to have to continue operating this business – and the impossible, insurmountable task it seemed to be.
After I collected myself, I called the buyer and relayed the news. I was open and honest with him about what had happened, and I told him I was willing to adjust the sale amount based on this major piece of news.
He told me to give him a little while and that he would call back. So I waited, and waited, and waited…and at some point, I had given up hope. I had resigned that he was going to walk away from the deal, and I was going to have to wake up the next morning and start the process all over again.
Then he called back, and to my shock and surprise, he still wanted to go through on the deal. I couldn’t believe it!
I raced to adjust the contract details and update with the new sale price, and the next day, we met at the bank, signed the papers and closed on the transaction.
Well, it’s official. Dad’s business is sold. Father – bless the new owner as he embarks on this business. Grow it and may he grow because of it. It’s a bittersweet moment, but mostly sweet. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad it’s no longer going to play a part in my life. But all of this today made me think of dad, and I miss him. I really do wish he were here. I miss him taking me to and picking me up from the airport. I miss talking with him. I miss playing golf with him. But I know I carry on his legacy in my name. And I’ll do it to the best of my ability.Journal Entry on February 3, 2023
The rest of the month, I spent a lot of time helping the new owner transition all the details of the business. We got the warehouse cleaned up. We walked through how to operate machinery. We did walkthroughs of buildings and introductions to clients. We changed over payroll and accounting systems.
As the month rolled on, I could feel the burden of running his business being lifted off my shoulders.
You’ll never leave where you are until you determine where you‘d rather be.Journal Entry on February 7, 2023
After a great Valentine’s Day dinner at Webb Custom Kitchen with my beautiful wife Laura, I traveled with a group of friends to Kentucky to do a bourbon tasting. As a group, we had opted to buy part of a barrel of bourbon to share, and part of that purchase was a chance to pick your own barrel with a private bourbon tasting.
The quick trip was a ton of fun and a much needed break from the overload of work. The tasting experience was incredible, but the company I traveled with was even better.
Toward the end of February, I went on a long weekend golfing trip with some friends to Kiawah Island. My golf club was playing against another golf club in an annual friendly match, and while I had been invited to go many times before, I had never been able to attend until then.
Fortunately, the weather was incredible. I wore short-sleeved shirts the entire time. We stayed at an amazing resort, and the first day we played The Ocean Course at Kiawah (one of the top 100 public courses in the world).
Unfortunately, I lost my swing. With everything that had transpired in the last 6 months, I hadn’t played much golf. As I stepped on to the first tee and hit my drive, I knew it was going to be a long day.
And a long day it was. I played horribly. I dreaded the next shot. The round ended, and my score was the highest it had been in the last 3 years.
I got back to the hotel that night, thinking about the day, and I did what I would naturally do when I played poorly: call dad so we could talk about it.
So I pulled out my phone, found Dad in my favorites and tapped to call.
The dial tone rang once, then twice…and then it hit me.
I broke down and wept bitterly in my hotel room. The reality of dad no longer being there swept over me in full force, and I couldn’t hold back the emotion.
Everything that had been bottled up inside of me came out that evening.
It didn’t help my golf game, as I continued to play horribly for the rest of the trip, but it did help me realize just how emotionally and physically exhausted I had become.
I traveled to Orlando at the beginning of March. It was the semi-annual meetup with the other founders, partners, presidents, and general managers of the various business units and investments at Awesome Motive.
I had prepared a detailed presentation on giving “people first feedback”, and I was excited to share it.
During a portion of the meetup, we shared how things were going in our life. It was a way to connect and develop deeper bonds with one another.
We rated our personal, family and business health on a scale of 1-10, and then we went into more detail about each area and explored topics of conversation related to our reflections.
I marked 1 for every category.
In reality, I don’t believe I was actually a 1 on the scale. There were certainly moments where I didn’t live up to my own standards and expectations, but it’s not as if I wasn’t meeting any of them.
But inside, that’s how I felt.
I shared openly how I was struggling to juggle everything and still be a faithful man, husband, dad and leader.
I’m so grateful for all my partners at AM: Syed, Jared, Christoff, Ben, John, Chris, Andrew, Muneeb. They were supportive and understanding of me, and they encouraged me to take some personal time off later in the year to unplug and reset. As I look back on 2023, it’s one of the sweetest and best gifts they could have given to me. You’ll read more about it soon.
After the meetup, I went straight to Disney’s Polynesian Resort where my family was meeting me for a much needed vacation. Laura’s parents and younger brother were joining us, and we had a great week planned with lots of fun things to do.
Father – what a great day we had yesterday. You granted me favor with the people at Disney and allowed us to do so many things that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, like riding the Toy Story Mania ride twice, the new Mickey ride and even Peter Pan again.Journal Entry Excerpt on March 11, 2023
This Disney trip was one of the best family vacations we had ever taken.
The weather was wonderful. Nobody got sick. The kids were supernaturally well behaved. We had exceedingly good favor with the people who worked at Disney.
Here’s some pictures from the incredible trip!
That trip was what I and my family needed, because the next 6 weeks would be very difficult.
What changes your life is a new glimpse into a reality that was not visible or apparent before… and it impacts you for the rest of our life.Journal Entry on March 22, 2023
Throughout the middle of March, I worked to make final transitions of my dad’s business over to the new owner. When we closed on the sale in February, I had agreed to help transition until the end of May. That would ensure that he could lean on my brother and I to wrap up the school year before we were fully out of the picture.
But during that time, sickness surfaced again, this time in the form of the dreaded stomach bug.
Jude got it first. We could tell he wasn’t feeling well since he wasn’t eating. And then it hit one evening.
I hate the stomach bug. Vomit is one of my irrational phobias. So once Jude got sick, I did what any non-rational person would do and immediately began fasting.
I figure if I am to get sick, it won’t ruin a particular kind of food that I like.
Before long, Miles caught it…and the clock began ticking.
I thought I was in the clear, since at this point I was almost 7 days beyond Miles getting better, but during an early call on a Tuesday morning, it hit me. I was sick.
But unlike times when I had the stomach bug before, this one stuck around. I assumed it would last for 24 hours, but after 48 hours, I was still very sick.
And I remained very sick for 5 days straight. What I later learned was that the stomach bug had morphed into a post-infectious condition, and in order to address it, I was going to have to make lifestyle changes.
They say the body keeps the score. If I didn’t believe it before, I believed it then. All the stress and emotional turmoil of the previous 6 months did a number on me internally, and this condition was the manifestation of it.
Oh Father – my sickness is still in full force. What is going on inside my body? I am becoming very concerned. And Father, I am fighting to not be anxious or fearful, remembering your words, but I am struggling mightily. I do not understand why I am being tested like this. I feel like I am losing my family as I can’t be present with them. I don’t know where to turn. I feel so depressed and alone. Please be near and heal me. But yet not what I will, but what you will Father, because I know that will be for my good and your glory.Journal Entry on April 1, 2023
As I grappled with sickness and figuring out the road to recovery, I at least had something to look forward to in the near future: The Masters.
After many, many years of waiting, one of my friends had won the Masters ticket lottery and invited me to go with him to a practice round.
I had never been to the tournament before, and I couldn’t wait to go and experience the Masters for myself.
It was everything I had dreamed of.
The Masters is golf’s version of Disney World. Everything is perfectly manicured, there’s not a blade of grass out of place, and the miles of green landscape are stunning. It’s the happiest place on earth for men.
My friend and I followed a variety of different golfers, beginning with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas. It was a special experience to watch the GOAT of golf play a few holes at The Masters.
And of course, I spent way too much money in the store buying all the Masters gear I could handle. It was an awesome day, and I look back on it fondly.
And yet, sickness was creeping right around the corner.
Father – please heal Jude and keep this family healthy. My journal is littered with prayers and requests and supplications for health, and it looks like it will continue to be that way. I don’t know where else to turn but you. I am distraught by all of this. Internally it tears me to pieces. I am so weary of going through this. Is there some sin that needs to be brought forth? Is there something I need to do? What am I missing? I simply don’t know, but this is killing me from the inside out. I want our family to be healthy. Please Father be merciful and grant us health.Journal Entry on April 12, 2023
It wasn’t long before the trail of sickness made it back to our home, and it this point, I was distraught. How could this continue to happen?
One would get better, and then another would get sick. And, at the time, it seemed like the revolving door would never stop.
I took some time off at the end of April at the encouragement on my partners. But the day I began the time off, I did something to my lower back. A tweak, a twinge, a pull – something that in the moment wasn’t bad, but…
I was supposed to begin the time off with a trip down to the beach for a few days by myself. I took the 4 hour drive down in silence – and in pain.
How could I begin my time off this way? It was incredibly painful to drive, and when I got to the place where I was staying, I could barely make it up the stairs to the entrance.
The next morning, I couldn’t even get out of bed. I had to roll down on the floor, crawl on my hands and knees and pull myself up in the kitchen.
I remember standing there awkwardly, tears running down my face, fully perplexed at what was going on. I wanted to enjoy a peaceful time away, take walks on the beach, spend time in prayer, read books, cook and get much needed rest.
Instead, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t concentrate and I couldn’t stand up to cook.
But at this point, I had had enough. For better or worse, I was going to find a way to walk on the beach, no matter what kind of pain I felt.
I managed enough stretching to get me to a place where I could walk with a limp, and I made it out to the beach. And for the next 90 minutes, I limp-walked on the beach, hashing out my tearful complaints to God. I felt like David in Psalm 88:14: “O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?”
I’m sure I must’ve looked crazy to the people I walked by.
But it was during that 90 minute walk that something began to change.
I can’t tell you exactly what began to change. I got back to the place where I was staying and laid on the couch. My back was throbbing. I winced at the idea of getting up again.
And yet, something began to change, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
After a few days, I finished out my time at the beach by meeting with some friends to play golf. Fortunately, it didn’t hurt as much to rotate my back, and although I couldn’t swing hard, I could still swing. It was a good way to end that portion of my time off.
As I’d done in the past, I played in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am at the beginning of May. It was a lot of fun — and bittersweet. I had done this with my dad for the past few years, and it was difficult for him to not be there.
But, I was with my brother and some close friends, and we had a great time. I didn’t have my best stuff (my back was still bothering me), but I enjoyed the golf nonetheless.
The next week, I traveled down to Mexico for my annual company retreat. It was an absolute blast.
Because of Covid, I hadn’t gotten to meet a large number of the employees who were attending, so it was truly exciting to meet them in person.
One of my favorite moments was playing pickleball on the roof with some people from the WPForms team. The competition was fun and intense, and we would’ve played longer if we had not lost all of the pickleballs off the roof!
(Sorry Jared! 😅)
We ended the week with a fun outdoor dining event on the beach.
It’s special to be part of something bigger than yourself. I am truly grateful for all the people at Awesome Motive and all the ways that they bring their best to help small businesses grow and compete with the big guys. Here’s a small selection of pictures from the retreat.
What one thing could I do (that I am not doing now) that, if I did it on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in my personal life?Journal entry excerpt on May 29, 2023
At the end of May, my family and my mom went to the beach for a few days. The weather was pleasant, the home was nice and the trip overall was a lot of fun. The first part of the trip started out rough (we went through a big mosquito patch by accident and paid the price), but the trip got better with each passing day.
We rented a golf cart for the week, and it was a huge hit with the kids. We also spent time in Charleston doing some sight-seeing, visiting the aquarium and taking a carriage ride tour through the city.
But, the big breakthrough was at the end of the trip.
On the next to last day of the beach trip, I decided go out for a morning run.
The heat was tolerable, and there was a slight breeze across the island. The run began like any other run, but as it progressed, I began to feel energized.
One mile passed, and I felt good, so I kept going.
Then two miles passed, and I still felt great.
And as I crossed the three mile mark, a faint voice inside said: “This chapter of your life is over.”
I remember it clear as day – this chapter of your life is over.
And I believed it.
The last 18 months had been brutal. 2022 was the most difficult year of my life. 2023 had begun as a continuation of 2022.
But that voice, the whisper of the Holy Spirit, closed the chapter for good. It was done, and something new would begin in its place.
Maybe it would be much of the same. Maybe it would be completely different. But no matter what happened, it would be a new chapter.
No matter where you go, you take yourself with you.Journal Entry on June 9, 2023
And, by God’s grace, it has been a new chapter. I ended the month of June with an amazing trip to Maine with my family and some friends. We had so much fun together, and most importantly, we came back friends.
The latter half of the year felt entirely different. I won’t go into all the details, but I will summarize the ways in which the differences manifested themselves.
- Sure, sickness still occurred, but the frequency, intensity and duration were greatly diminished.
- My capacity to plan for and handle work increased greatly. It’s as if the extended period of trials and suffering broke through hidden internal barriers to carrying more responsibility.
- I found myself more proactive in healthy disciplines. For example, I started the habit of making up my part of the bed when I woke up each morning. It felt nice to begin the day with a win.
- I began to stand more strongly in the courage of my convictions, replacing areas of passivity with healthy assertiveness.
- My default response of retreating back in shame when I sinned was more often being replaced by a desire to truly repent and wage war against my sin. I grew sickened by the idea of toying with it. I wanted to put it to death completely.
- I found myself in prayer more often and for longer periods of time, because I realized – with a greater sense of clarity – that I am really, really weak in my own strength. It is only by the power of Christ that I am what I am today.
And my journal entries looked much different too. They resembled more of something like this:
Father – I love you. I want to be near to you. Fill me with purpose that is greater than myself, and use that to motivate me to work hard each and every day.Journal entry excerpt on September 6, 2023
But of all the things that captured my attention in the latter half of 2023, this quote rocked my world:
Graveyards are filled with indispensable men.Charles de gaulle
I reflected on how remarkably easy it is to deceive yourself into believing you are more than what you are — to believe that you are irreplaceable.
But the stark reality is that you are replaceable.
At some point, my time will come to be replaced by somebody else. Rather than fight against that reality, I’d like to prepare the way so that when I am replaced, whoever replaces me is glad I was there before them.
I find that mindset quite motivating, and that new thought pattern has forced me to think far more long-term — even eternally — in regards to what I do. It fuels in a fire in me to work hard with the one life I’ve been given.
For the first half of 2023, I could barely think 10 minutes out in front of me. In the second half of 2023, I was energized thinking 10 years ahead of me.
My desire of who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go was informing me of how I would get there, not the other way around.
May it remain that way for a very, very long time!
I do have some highlights from 2023 that I want to share. They are in no particular order, but they are all meaningful in some capacity.
- In early May, at the end of my time away to rest and recoup, I took a brief overnight trip with my life Laura to Greenville, SC. We had a great time together, and it was meaningful in a variety of different ways. But one way in particular was this: it was the first trip I had taken since starting my business (13 years ago) that I traveled without a computer. And as much of a milestone as it was to me, I believe it was more of a milestone (and blessing) to Laura.
- I ran another 5k in 2023, and I hit my goal of completing it in under 30 minutes. In fact, it was one of my best times, completing it in just under 28 minutes.
- I had my lowest putts per round ever in 2023. I changed up my putting approach to follow how Cam Smith putts, and the results were very good. Although my average score didn’t improve much (73.81), my average putts per round was 29.83. That’s a full stroke better than 2022 (30.79).
- I celebrated my 12th anniversary to my sweet wife, Laura. I love her so much, and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 years have in store for us together.
- I kicked my addiction to sweets (mostly). I didn’t quite stick to my goal of only eating one sweet at a time, but apart from all the sweets I ate around Christmas, I did a very good job of not overeating on sweets.
- Laura and I clarified one Griffin family value: Griffin’s don’t quit. If we commit to something, we finish it out. No frustrated quitting.
- I averaged working out 3x per week. Since May, with the exception of a couple of weeks, I’ve been closer to the 4x per week mark. As best as I can, I want to prioritize my health so that I am able to lead well in all the areas where I’m given responsibility.
- I went to WordCamp US for the first time since Covid. It was great connecting with new faces and reconnecting with old friends in the WordPress world.
If I were to share every update, this review would easily double in size, so I’m picking out just a few highlights to share below.
- We acquired a swath of companies in 2023: Duplicator, Thrive Themes, WP101, and Envira Gallery / Soliliquy….wait, what?? Yes, you read it correctly! The first two products I built, Envira Gallery and Soliloquy, were sold at the end of 2017. As time would have it, we were presented the opportunity to buy them back in 2023, and we did just that. It feels a little surreal to welcome them back into the AM family of products. It’s the homecoming I never expected but thrilled to have happened.
- We invested in a host of companies, including Seahawk Media and HeroThemes.
- We crossed the 25 million website mark for all Awesome Motive products. That’s a huge milestone given that we just crossed the 20 million website mark last year.
- We crossed the 300 employee mark. We’ve got so many amazing team members, and it’s a privilege to work alongside of them each day to fulfill our mission of helping small businesses grow and compete with the big guys.
- We celebrated OptinMonster’s 10 year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that OptinMonster launched in September 2013. I recounted the untold story of the 10 year journey (and how we almost didn’t make it) on the blog to commemorate this big celebration.
- We launched some really, really impressive features: WPCode launched their testing mode feature, OptinMonster introduced field mapping, SmashBalloon launched the new TikTok Feeds plugin, AIOSEO launched SEO revisions, WPCharitable launched a brand new campaign builder, and WPForms introduced a new Calculations addon. And honestly, this is just a small subset of all the incredible features our teams at AM launched this year. If you want to check them all out, head over to the AM Newsroom to discover all the updates across our family of products.
I didn’t have a specific goal for book reading this year, but I managed to read more than 10 books.
Here are a few that I read (outside of the first one, in no particular order):
- The Bible. This was my 4th time reading through the Bible chronologically in a year. I believe the Bible has the true words of life in it, and I am committed to reading through it each year until I am physically no longer capable of doing it. I want to grow deeper in my love and knowledge of Christ, and the Bible is the primary way of doing that.
- A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. I read this book during the first half of 2023, and his poignant insights on grief were a great source of comfort to me while I grieved the loss of my dad.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. I took a group of leaders at Awesome Motive through this book in 2023. It’s the 3rd time I have read it cover to cover. The book is an excellent reminder that private victories should always precede public praise — and that character should be prioritized over competence.
- Crucial Conversations by a Host of Authors. This book widened my understanding of how to engage in difficult conversations, especially when relationships are on the line. We are always telling ourselves stories, and learning to see through them to the reality of the situation is key to having productive communication.
- The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller. Laura and I did a marriage class at our church in the fall, so we read through and discussed the book together. I laughed at this quote in the book because it is so true: “My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed — and each of the five has been me.” Guilty as charged.
- How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. Big companies aren’t impervious to arrogance and foolish decisions. Pride breeds the “undisciplined pursuit of more” and leads companies down a dangerous path of denial of risk. It was helpful to read about examples of how big companies stumbled because I don’t want that to happen to AM.
- The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Where am I placing my treasure: in things that go away, or in things that will remain for eternity? I read this book more than 10 years ago, and I came back to it this year at a different age and stage of life. It resonated more deeply in me this time and made me contemplate how I am viewing my resources in light of eternity. I believe much fruit will come the application of the principles revealed in this book.
- High Output Management by Andy Grove. This book is a classic in management theory and training, and after listening to it this year, it’s easy to see why. Andy has a clear, direct style of communicating that is easy to understand and apply. The best reminder for me is that, as a manager and leader, my results are best determined by the results of the people who report to me.
I committed to writing and publishing 6 articles in 2023…and I did! In fact, I published these 18 (!) articles on my website this year:
- My 2022 Year in Review – My reflections on 2022, the most difficult year of my life by far.
- How to Build Resilience in Your Life (9 Proven Strategies) – My take on how resilience is a secret ingredient to living a life of sustained relevance that has lasting impact.
- The Better Leader Newsletter (The Will to Try Again) – Thomas Edison was resilient, and his resilience is credited to him inventing the light bulb. Where do you need to grow in resilience?
- Core Values List: 71 Values to Develop Your “Why” – You are what you repeatedly do. Core values define and guide behavior, and this is important to developing your “why” — your life’s purpose.
- 15 Employee Retention Strategies to Increase Job Satisfaction – Losing employees is costly. It is far more expensive to hire and train a new employee than to keep an existing employee. These strategies help you retain people you’ve already hired.
- 15 Meaningful Ways to Recognize Employees in the Workplace – Everyone wants to be told: “I Notice, You Matter”. I share 15 different ways you can communicate that sentiment to your employees.
- Communication Styles in the Workplace: Types and Examples – Everyone has one of five types of communication styles, and it’s important to understand them so that you can communicate more effectively.
- 14 Time Management Strategies for Highly Effective People – Accomplishing 25% more in the time you have isn’t as hard as you might think, and this article outlines some proven methods for doing just that.
- 10 Ways to Foster Effective Collaboration in the Workplace – It’s not always easy to get everyone on the same page, but when a team of talented people truly come together, amazing things can happen.
- 34 Employee Feedback Examples for Forward-Thinking Leaders – I gave a big presentation about giving feedback to my company leaders in early 2023, and this article distills portions of that presentation into actionable insights.
- How to Create an Individual Development Plan (Template with Examples) – Once you get clear on where you are going, it’s pretty easy to identify the steps you need to take to get there. An individual development plan is a helpful tool to do just that for your career aspirations.
- The Better Leader Newsletter (The Four Leadership Rhythms) – Every great leader practices 4 disciplines that set them apart from the rest of the leaders around them.
- 53 Surprising Leadership Statistics on Training, Culture, Development and More – I always find statistics and data interesting, so I compiled a large list of cited statistics on the state of leadership in the workplace.
- People Quit Bosses, Not Jobs: Why Employees Are Frustrated with Leadership – I believe that statement is true — people quit people. So if you are a leader, what can you do about it? Some of the answers might surprise you.
- The Better Leader Newsletter (Leading with Integrity) – Are you who you say you are? Your leadership success depends on it.
- The Art of Coaching vs. Managing: 5 Smart Strategies – The role of a coach is different than the role of a manager, and if you aren’t taking the position of a coach, you might be unintentionally stunting your employee’s growth.
- The Power of a Great 360 Review Template (And Why It Matters to You) – Are you getting feedback from a variety of different angles? Great feedback is a gift, and if you want to reach your potential, you need get it from all the people within your circle of influence.
- What is a Mission Statement? 6 Successful Examples + Free Template – This was a rewrite of an article in my Mission 101 series. I augmented the content to provide more clarity and context to writing a strong, inspiring mission statement.
Not surprisingly, because I published more content, the traffic to my site increased.
Unique Visitors: 77,455
Unique Visitors: 82,673
My most popular article by traffic was How to Write a Mission Statement (And Make It Compelling), and the article with the biggest improvement in traffic and rankings was Core Values List: 71 Values to Develop Your “Why”.
I truly enjoy writing. I do it frequently because, as the saying goes, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips to the fingertips.” I believe the key to better thinking is better writing, and the key to better writing is to practice it often.
Most of my writing is done privately though. Once again, I journaled nearly 300 days out of the year. I even journaled once about writing itself!
I need to keep writing. Writing is good and healthy for me. The more I write, the more clear I become, and the more confident I lead. Father – help me untangle my thoughts as I write them down, and work in me to create great, smart plans. And then, once down, help me execute with excellence.Journal Entry on october 10, 2023
I’d like to publish at least 6 articles next year. I have a feeling that might be a challenge because of some big initiatives coming in 2024, but I think it’s a challenge worth accepting.
What do I want 2024 to look like?
My word of the year for 2023 was teachable. Ooof. My goodness, I had plenty of teachable moments, and I’d like to think that I learned from a few of them.
My word of the year for 2024 is simple. I want to simplify all areas of my life and eliminate things that are frivolous and unnecessary. The goal is to expand my capacity to serve others more because I spend less time caring for stuff.
I do have a few goals for 2024:
- Go on two overnight trips with Laura. I want to spend some dedicated time away with her and prioritize the health of our marriage. With so many demands on my time, this is really important.
- Memorize one verse of Scripture per month. I am doing this along with many other men at our church, and I look forward to the fruit that comes from it.
- Spend dedicated time in prayer each day. Not just prayer around the table, or prayer as I get in my car to go somewhere, or prayer to begin my day after reading the Bible. I want to carve out time each day to meditate on Scripture and pray intentionally for specific things from my prayer jar.
- Finish clarifying our family values. I want get final clarity on our family values and write them down so we can memorize them together.
- Write a 10 year vision plan for myself and my family. I want to be clear on where I would like to go personally, and I want to be clear on where I would like our family to go too. I deeply desire to live a life that is meaningful and impactful, and I’d like to be the one charting the course, not somebody else.
There are other healthy rhythms that I want to maintain, such as reading and praying through the Bible each day, working out regularly, drinking lots of water to keep my blood pressure down, going on dates with my wife, spending special time with my kids and investing in relationships as a friend and mentor.
BONUS: My Favorite Pictures from 2023
These are some of my favorite pictures from 2023!
Thank you for reading my 2023 year in review. If you enjoyed it, comment below and share it with your friends.
And I’d love to know about your 2023. How was it? What do you want 2024 to look like?
To simplifying life in 2024,