Zahra is Burning

Goal Setting (Part I) – A look back at the year that was…

I have always enjoyed spending the last few weeks of the year dreaming about the endless possibilities awaiting me after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

There’s just something magical about a clean slate waiting for you on January 1st; the idea, the belief, the prayer that, regardless of what has transpired over the previous 12 months, you can create the life you want, from scratch — that nothing is impossible.

March of 2020 quickly squashed that hopeful feeling in me, and I suspect, in a lot of people. Despite the endless messages from the universe telling me to slow down, and quite literally to stay home and to turn inward, I spent all of this year hustling to achieve the only real goal I had set for myself last year– to focus on building my business up as much as possible.

I moved into larger office space, invested in technology to automate a lot of routine emails and client intake, and invested in online and social media marketing. I hired an associate attorney and outsourced a lot of time-consuming tasks so my Client Services Director could focus on setting up speaking engagements throughout our community.

And then the stay-at-home orders started rolling in and we had to quickly pivot all of our practices so we could service our clients virtually (something I was initially resistant and loathed to do). All of a sudden, our calendar, and prospect funnel, was empty, even though my expenses had gone up due to all the investments I had recently made. And I had to learn new technologies (hello zoom and gotowebinar) to stay visible and relevant.

At first, I was hopeful. Early spring was great and we hit our internal goals nearly every month. But then summer rolled around and everything dried up. We barely had any new clients as people started feeling the economic effects of prolonged shut-downs due to COVID-19. I wasn’t too concerned, though, deciding to spend the time catching up on work for some of our long-term business clients.

As a small business owner in a service-oriented field, 2020 has been hard.

Things didn’t work out with the Associate Attorney I hired and my personal life just became too busy and I started questioning not only the goal I had set for myself but, more importantly, its continued relevance. Because, in the midst of the global pandemic, everything changed for my family and me when we succeeded in getting pregnant with our first child together and decided we needed to move into a larger home to accommodate our growing family.

Even after initially getting pregnant and deciding to move, I STILL stuck hard to my initial 2020 goal– I just didn’t know how to let go, because, who would I be if not a #ladyboss?

At the end of the summer, I finally decided it was time to reevaluate my life, particularly considering how drastically it was about to change in a few short months. I decided to let go of the associate attorney, to downshift to a work-from-home and a virtual part-time practice, only accepting 2-3 new clients per month, and to take an extended maternity leave from December through the end of March.

Leaning into those decisions was difficult, but as I’ve started winding things down, I feel like I can breathe again for the first time in years.

And as I think about what I want 2021 to look like for the first time, I don’t feel scared about all of the uncertainty that still remains in the world.

What has 2020 been like for you, dear reader? And how are you feeling about what this new year is going to bring?

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