The State of The Union

By now, the slew of New Year’s Resolutions posts have come and gone. All of the fitness fakers have left the gym. Everyone’s optimism about a “fresh start” has fully dissipated (just kidding…?).

Despite the fact that I’m 25 days too late for a New Year’s article, I took inspiration from a few bloggers I follow – Caroline Kelso, Jason Zook, and Paul Jarvis – and one president to write the State of the Union for my small corner of the Internet. Essentially, I’d like to take this week to reflect on the last 12 months, share the lessons I’ve learned, and provide a sneak peek into what’s ahead in 2016.

WHAT WENT WELL IN 2015

I WROTE CONSISTENTLY

Ever since this blog was a just a little .tumblr, I’ve written an article each and every week, no matter what else was happening in my personal life. It’s forced me to continually come up with new ideas and make time to write, but I believe that one goal – to post weekly – was the catalyst for many other successes in 2015.

I PUBLISHED A BOOK

A lot of people say they want to write a book (myself included), but in 2015, I actually did it. Last September I released Improv ABC, which has received a ton of positive feedback – Jimmy Carrane even named it one of his top 5 improv books of 2015.

I GOT A NEW JOB

At the start of the year, I promised myself I would leave my job by January 2016. I didn’t know what was next – another full time gig, freelance work, or just I’m Making All This Up – but the work wasn’t challenging and the environment was bringing me down. In December, I finally made it happen, and since starting my new full-time job three weeks ago, I can already see an improvement in my mood and creativity.

WHAT DIDN’T GO WELL IN 2016

I BIT OFF MORE THAN I COULD CHEW

Among other things, Warren Buffett is known for the 5/25 rule, which states that you should write down your top 25 life goals and then cross out the bottom 20. You’ll never excel at 25 different things, but you can be great at five with the proper dedication and focus.

In 2015, I tried to learn design despite knowing dozens of talented designers who will always help me out. I failed to launch a podcast that required too much time and technical expertise. Towards the end of the year, when I started focusing more on my core skills and getting help on the rest, I started to feel more productive and see more success.

I DIDN’T SAY “NO” ENOUGH

I know the the improviser’s motto is supposed to be “yes and,” but it has its limits as a guiding life philosophy. In 2015, I found myself overfilling my calendar with “obligations” rather than things I was excited about (even if those things were staying home to write or just vegging out). The more I had to deal with things I felt like I had to do, the less time and energy I had to be creative and focus on what I wanted to do.

THE IMPROV ABC LAUNCH WAS LACKLUSTER

Although I truly believe the book can help any improviser up their game, I didn’t make as big a fuss as I should have about the book’s release. There were so many people I could have reached out to help me promote, but I was too lazy. I didn’t do the hard work I should have to make the book a bigger success.

WHAT’S COMING IN 2016

A NEW FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT

I want to meet more cool people doing cool things in St. Louis. I want to talk to more of the people inspiring me online. I want to get in touch with the people who read this blog. If you’re in that third camp, we can start now. Send me an email (ben.noble91@gmail.com) and say hi. Tell me what you’re working on, what’s challenging you, or what you’d like to see more of from me. I’ll read and respond to every email.

A NEW BOOK

After publishing Improv ABC, book writing seems less scary. I just finished the first draft of my next book last week – it’s going to go into detail about how you can overcome your fear and incorporate creativity into your everyday life. If you’re interested in the book, drop your email address here and you’ll be the first to know about book updates and get special release discounts and bonuses.

BIGGER RISKS

While I will continue to share all of my improv and creativity musings on the blog, I want to start exploring my other interests as well. I want to try out some new mediums (in small, manageable ways) and different types of content. I want to take my own advice about exploring and trying new things, and I want you guys to be part of the process.

 

It’s easy to lose sight of all of the awesome stuff that’s happened over the year when you have your head down in the day-to-day work, but (as cheesy as it sounds) writing this post has given me a different perspective on 2015. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now without you guys who generously read and share my stuff each week, and I’m glad you’ve decided to come along for the ride. I can’t wait to show what I have in store for 2016!

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