Personal Post: 2017 Year in Review

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Friends, we've come to the end of 2017. Each year, I'm mystified as to where the days went, pages of the calendar flipping by. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about 2016 being the most challenging year of my life, and now here we are. New Year's Eve 2017 is just days away, and it's time to write another Year in Review post. I wanted to close out this year by sharing a bit of myself with you and leave you with a few thoughts. 

As I reflect on 2017, I am humbled, I am filled with love, and I am overcome with joy. This past year has been quite possibly the best year of my life. Before I wrote this post, I took the time to read what I had written about 2016, and the place I had been in at that time. I had promised myself that I was going to make my life even better than it was. My word and mantra for 2017 was RISE. In all aspects, rise above expectation, rise above conflict and negativity, and rise above the past. I say with all humility that I did indeed rise, and quite possibly started soaring. There is so much power in stating what you want from your life. I am just giddy when I reflect on the changes that I made in my life, the choices I made, and everything that got me HERE. I made myself and my business a priority. I welcomed love into my life, both in my personal life and my business. I took chances and welcomed opportunities. I am proud of myself, of my business, and of the life I am living. And I certainly couldn't have done it alone. So much of my success and who I am is because of and dedicated to my parents, Andy, my family, my friends, and my clients. We are not alone in this journey through life, and we influence each other in so many unknown, immeasurable ways. To each and every one of you, I am so incredibly grateful. Thank you for joining me on this journey. It is because of the support from you beautiful souls that I am eager to share the successes of 2017, because I know that you can resonate with these celebrations, as I try to celebrate each and every one of yours. 2017 was amazing, let's see if 2018 can top this:

1. At the beginning of the year, I was somewhat full-time with KLEM Studios while working part-time at Hinterland Brewery. I worked with incredible people at Hinterland and served (and ate) amazing food while being a part of a lucrative establishment. In October of this year, I had reached a level of confidence in my business where I was able to go completely full-time with KLEM Studios. No more side hustle, no more safety net. You can read more about that journey here (spoiler: so far, it's been awesome).

 

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2. In January, my business bestie Kasey of Kasey and Ben Photography suggested the idea that we meet monthly to set business and personal goals, keep each other accountable, celebrate wins, and bounce ideas off of each other. I look forward to these meetings every month, not only because I have seen the huge strides this has encouraged me to make in my business, but because I cherish her friendship, support, and mentoring. I am so grateful for you, Kasey, and I celebrate you, your beautiful family, and your business.

 

3. In March, I went on the first date that would change my life. Andrew Lindsay, I am so thankful for you and your furbaby, Mya. You are my best friend, my biggest supporter, and I'm so stupid in love with you. Thank you for believing in me, loving me, making me laugh, and giving more than you get. I don't deserve everything you do for me and my family, and I consider myself so lucky that we continue to choose each other. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. (Photo credit Kim Hadden Photography)

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4. I was able to take two big vacations: one in May with my best girlfriend and cousin, Nicki to Colorado and Utah (Andy surprised us by flying out for our last night, too!), and a road trip to the East Coast with Andy in July. Two vacations with my favorite people in one year?? Hell yes. 

5. My mom retired from teaching after a 38 year career in education. I am so proud of her and all that she has accomplished. She is the world's greatest mom, my biggest fan, and I am incredibly thankful for her and happy for her newfound freedom. You deserve it, Mom.

6. I ran my first 10k (not very well, mind you). In the back of my head, I've always wanted to be able to run big races, like a marathon or something. This was the first step. I will begrudgingly admit that I am looking forward to trying another one soon. 

7. I made my first (failed) attempt at passing the Cicerone exam. It was a great learning experience, one that I will definitely attempt again. I've taken a break from beer education for a few months, but I am committing to picking it up again in 2018 and signing up for the exam again in the next few years.

8. Andy took me trout fishing and duck hunting for the first times, and I am completely hooked (no pun intended). I grew up fishing for blue gill and large-mouth bass on our private lake up north, and I followed my dad in the woods while he partridge hunted a few times when I was a kid. These new experiences with Andy were so awesome, especially because it gives me two more excuses to be outside. I caught six or seven trout and shot two ducks--I'm pretty proud!

9. I hired a business/life coach, Kaela Gedda. She has encouraged me to look at my business and how I run and grow KLEM Studios in a whole new light. I've already seen great changes, and I'm so excited for how this continues to improve as our relationship grows. Thank you for believing in me, Kaela, and for your support! 

10. I booked the craziest corporate gig of my life which basically included taking pictures out of a helicopter and shooting a paintball gun out of a helicopter at Navy Seals, and then sipping on sparkling wine in a steam shower afterwards. #isthisreallife?

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11. I started practicing yoga again, something I was really missing from my life. I enjoy the combination of the mental and physical workout and knowing that I'm doing this for me. I believe that physical and mental workouts are so important for our emotional health, and I can see that it makes me a better person and business owner as well. Grace Yoga Studio is right down the road from my house. It's so convenient, it makes it virtually impossible to come up with an excuse not to go.

12. I started my DIY kitchen remodel (with the majority of the work and teaching being done by Handy Andy, of course)! I absolutely love my old house with its warm, natural feel, and the kitchen stuck out like a sore thumb. I can't wait to share the transformation when it's complete. At the time of writing, we have the cabinets painted with new hardware, and will be picking up the countertops later this afternoon!

13. I started the year setting a monetary gross income goal for KLEM Studios, and I met that crazy goal in November. I thought the number I set out to make was huge and unattainable, and yet I met it with one fiscal month left in the year. What you really set your mind to, folks, you can achieve.

14. Finally, I was fortunate enough to photograph 17 beautiful weddings and 33 incredible portrait sessions. Seeing that number written out and knowing the work that was put into them is so satisfying and affirming. These amazing people welcomed me into their lives, and they in turn changed mine. I'm just speechless.

January means we've completed another trip around the sun, another page turned in the calendar, and have a fresh start. I'm setting some pretty big goals for 2018, like accepting at least 30 wedding bookings and starting a monthly newsletter. On the personal side of things, I'm setting goals of starting homebrewing and decreasing my plastic bag usage. I know a lot of people make New Year's Resolutions, items we tick off of a somewhat arbitrary list we make at the beginning of the year. I make those lists, too, but only four of the fourteen items listed above were goals that I had put on my list for 2017. The other ten (among so many others) were experiences from this year. I think there is great motivation and inspiration in setting goals. I think it is equally important to enjoy the journey between those goals, and welcome new opportunities beyond those goals. We somewhat limit ourselves by saying "I think this is what's feasibly possible for me to accomplish in this calendar year, and I'm going to shoot for this feasible amount". My word and mantra for 2018 is GROWTH. Growth in my business, in my relationships and friendships, emotional growth, mental growth, and growth in ways that I haven't even imagined yet. What are your goals and mantras for 2018? Share with me your stories and hopes. Let's support each other into the growth that we are capable of, and more. We've got a new beginning on the horizon. What are you going to make of it?

Thank you for believing in me. I believe in you.

Until next time,
Kate