Is it a Growth or Stabilize Year For You?

January 10th, 2022. It’s my first day back in my office. I feel energized and excited!

But, honestly, I’m also feeling a little ungrounded. As in the “focused-action-toward-a-big-picture-goal” vibe I’m usually known for doesn’t feel very present.

There are 1000 things I could do, and none of them feels more important than another at this second.

AND there’s this pressure to make this THE BEST YEAR EVER.

A mentor coach of mine recently asked a big question:

What would have to happen this year for it to be the best year of your life?

That question stumped me a bit. Not because I don’t know, because my answer didn’t feel “big” enough.

This being the best year ever would be both my husband and I doing work we love and being well compensated for it.

Of course, the health of myself, my family, and my friends. I want to impact the lives of those I coach. I’m longing to have dinner parties the way I did before Covid, with people I love around a table of food I prepared, laughing and telling stories.

I want to keep hiking Colorado, getting stronger, and feeling nature in my everyday life in our new home. I want to become a person who cares for themself in simple ways, like taking time for lunch and not canceling yoga class (yes, life coaches are still guilty of doing this!).

I want to fly my aunt and uncle out to visit. I want to read good books. Laugh with my daughter like I have no place to be. Make some art in a way that feels good, effortless, just for the joy of it. I want to be even closer to my husband at the end of the year. I want to write a lot. I want to be a better coach. I want to remember my friends’ birthdays.

None of that feels world-changing or the kind of thing your mom brags about to her friends.

But it also feels like a rich life. The kind I want to live!

This week, a friend shared this video with me (it’s 2 1/2 minutes, has subtitles), and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Thinking about what “the music” is.

On one hand, living your life thinking only about the next goal can set you up to create some financial stability if you’re willing to follow the prescribed path. And making your way in the world and being recognized and rewarded is an innate desire for most of us within our tribe. But it also keeps us chasing the bag.

How do we know when to stop and enjoy the music? For most of my clients, it’s always somewhere in the future.

So when I think about that big question – what would have to happen to make this the best year ever? – and how my answer doesn’t feel good enough is actually a reflection of the fact that I may be finding my “music,” but also that in our culture, that doesn’t feel like enough.

I need a Big Goal! Something to put on the Christmas card! We bought a house! I hit six figures this year! We took a month-long trip to Bali! I got my PhD! My kid played piano for the freaking Denver Ballet Nutcracker. I don’t know! You get the idea. I know all my overachievers out there will relate.

But as I’ve let my best-year-ever and enjoying-the-music feelings percolate, two thoughts have risen to the top:

One: Sometimes it’s a growing year, and sometimes it’s a stabilizing year.

Two: No matter which kind of year you’re in, living according to your values will make either feel satisfying.

Grow Vs. Stabilize

I’m borrowing this term from Natalie Eckdal, a business strategist who usually talks about your business in each of these stages. But I think growth vs. stabilize can apply to life too.

Times of growth are when you’re starting big, exciting projects. Making big moves! Things often move fast, they need a lot of energy and attention. Those times can feel hectic and uncertain, but also new and energizing.

Times for stabilizing are when you follow through on what you’ve started. Smoothing out the wrinkles, fine-tuning the system to make things sustainable, creating consistency.

It can FEEL like not a lot is happening, but it’s essential to feel grounded in the new place you’ve grown to. It’s the winter of calm preparing for the spring of change.

Last year was a “grow year” for us.

We moved to our dream location across the country. My husband quit his job. I quit all my freelance work, decided to dive into becoming a full-time coach and do multiple certifications. I took up stand-up paddle boarding and aerial yoga. My daughter learned to ice skate, started playing the viola, and attended a new school for the first time in her life. We moved a second time to a house that was an even better fit for our family.

It was a lot. It was exciting.

This year is a stabilize year for us.

We’ll plant a garden at our new home and settle in. My husband will very non-dramatically keep exploring the work he wants to do now. I’ll do the slow, consistent work of building a business and growing in the mastery of my new profession. My daughter will keep practicing her instrument and nurturing new friendships. None of that feels big or dramatic. But it’s essential to ground us in this new life and put down the roots we’ll need for our next stage of growth, whenever that comes.

While a growing year might sound more exciting, if you sit back and look, a stabilizing year is just as beautiful.

It’s the work of watching a tree get thicker, taller and reach for the sky after you’ve planted it. Without that nurturing, sustaining work, the tree won’t reach the full potential that you dreamed about when you dug a hole and set it in the ground.

Our culture (and social media) tends to value growth – the new thing you can point to, post about and mark as a big leap forward.

We don’t always celebrate the stabilizing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as important and essential.

Where are you right now? Was last year a growth year or a stabilize year? Where does that put you for starting 2022? How can you see the beauty in whatever stage you’re in right now?

Whether You’re Growing or Stabilizing, Let Your Values Guide You

As I mentioned, we don’t always feel as proud of our stabilizing times, but they’re oh-so necessary to a rich, full life.

Regardless of which kind of year you’re having, I’ve found that getting in touch with my personal values helps me find satisfaction and guides me toward the kind of life I want to live.

Here are my own personal values:

  • Personal Growth
  • Humor
  • Connection
  • Confidence
  • Peace

If I can find a way to live those, as much as possible every day while ALSO pursuing goals, I can’t lose no matter what happens with the goals. Because living your most important creates a fulfilling life, regardless of which kind of year it is.

So, when I looked at my answer to “What will make this your best year ever?” and felt like it wasn’t “big enough,” I stopped to look at how my answer fits into living my values. And it turns out, this sustaining, stabilizing year rings every single one of those bells, deep and true.

So this year, I’ll live the list above.

It will be quiet, joyful, and meaningful to me. It will reflect my values and stabilize my place in this new life I opened up and began to create last year.

That feels like my big goal. It feels like music. It’s enough.

Wishing you music this week.



P.S. Like to do a session with me for your own values list?

It’s literally the most valuable thing I do when I start working with clients. Suddenly it explains things we’ve been doing our whole life that might not always make sense to others – or even US – but once we recognize our own personal “Jedi Code”, we look back and realize we were honoring our values.

Knowing them straight up can help us make decisions quicker, identify our why behind actions, and create a more fulfilling life. Book a values session HERE.

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