I stood at the top of 2019 and looked across it with an equal mix of excitement and fear. Behind me was some very definite endings, ahead was the opportunity I was about to seize – leaning in to running a record label and building my digital consultancy.

How did that all pan out? Dear reader, I will tell you…but I’m going to jog through some specific goals I had for the year first.

My word of 2019: relove

In 2019 the word I chose to encapsulate my approach and focus was ‘relove‘. It covered off the personal work I needed to do after a challenging 2018, and also the approach to living I wanted to take – more reuse, more refurbishment, more recycling. I summed it up as an attitude of ‘positivity and hope, resilience and commitment’.

The year has really challenged me to stay focused in these ways – personally, professionally, and in the way I live – and while I might feel I didn’t relove in a massive way, I’ve made good steps forward and am more focused on the moment, gratitude, and appreciating everyday life.

In a practical way it has helped me start to regain my professional confidence and voice, has seen us grow a small but nevertheless delightful crop of fruit and veg at home, and my buying of new stuff has reduced again and where I am buying I’m doing so more mindfully. There is (always) more work to be done but learning to relove has made a hugely difficult 2019 bearable and purposeful.


I did this for the first time in 2019 having seen both Mary McKenna and Sharon O’Dea talk about it on Twitter. It gave me a measurable way of working toward my goal of having conversations which connect and also a spur to do something I often find difficult – having good conversations in person.

Out of my list of 83 people (I erred on quality rather than hitting the 100 for the sake of it, but noted I’d like to grow my networks) I listed for 2019 I managed in person conversation with 52 of them. I’m happy with this as many of the initial conversations led to follow ups, and work, and creativity, and good stuff. Even where it didn’t I felt enriched by spending time in the company of others and challenging my own thinking as well as expanding my understanding and exposure to things outside my comfort zone.

I’m currently making my list for 2020 as found this approach helpful and so want to continue with it.

Read more

In 2018 I read three books. Just three. I wasn’t happy about this – I wasn’t making time for it as a leisure activity, nor as ongoing professional development, or creative development as a writer myself. I set a goal of 12 books in 2019 – one a month felt achievable, a significant enough increase, but didn’t put on pressure for fear of removing the joy of reading.

I read 36 books this year and it didn’t feel like I was under pressure. Like 100 People it plays to the adage that what gets measured gets done, and being more mindful of my reading has helped to reflect on what I’m reading as well as see progress.

I’ve read modern classics which had evaded me until now, I re-read one novel, I delved into gothic fiction, read one book by a friend about our childhood, a couple of non-fiction books, and purposefully sought out female authors.

I’ve set my 2020 goal as 36 books again. With about six books started in some way I might finish those first, but I’m open to suggestions too. Find me on GoodReads if this is your thing.

Write more

My second novel was fully edited and sent to beta readers in 2019, but long-form fiction writing otherwise was more in the planning than the doing. That second book will be published in 2020 and while it finds its way in the world I’ve a couple of other stories I want to start getting words out of my head on.

I did, finally, launch Popoptica and start long-form writing about music. I’ve got so much from the conversations I’ve had with creatives so far and I can’t wait to write more for this site. I’ve set a goal of 12 long-form pieces for 2020.

Build a successful business

This is a longer term goal but progress has been good in 2019.

I’ve gone from co-founder to owner manager of independent record label Reckless Yes and we’ve made some exciting moves which set the stage for growth in 2020. Starting to build the membership has been a joy, as has working with our artists, and getting our biggest release to date out there. As a transition year at the label we ain’t done bad.

In my other business progress has been slower than I’d intended but it has been progress all the same. I’ve connected with new people, worked with new organisations, and hugely enjoyed my time on the road delivering workshops with Dan Slee. A huge thanks to everyone I’ve worked with in the last 12 months – from Aberdeen to Exeter and everywhere inbetween!

My challenge to myself for 2020 is to scale this side of my professional life, sustain the consistency, and continue to work in a way which is creatively satisfying while providing my family in time and money. No biggie then.

Goodbye 2019

So, reader, how did I do in 2019? It’s been a hugely challenging year with health and personal hurdles, but professional ones too. In lots of ways it’s felt like if something could change for the worse, it’s happened!

It showed me development is very much a journey and progress along it shouldn’t be taken for granted – anything not saved, will be lost, meaning even when you’ve recognised a gap and learnt from it and grown you can still go backwards if you don’t keep the work up. To keep growing you need to keep tending the ground, keep nurturing the parts which need nurturing, and keeping focused on the longer term goals.

The challenges may have slowed me, may have set me back in some areas, but I achieved more than I lost and have developed practices which means I’m going into 2020 with a renewed sense of self and commitment to refreshed goals. More on those later this week, as usual I guess.

Need a hand?

If you need a hand with anything do get in touch. I’m happy to take a look at what you’re currently doing, share my experience to help you build something new, or come in and share some of my knowledge and skills with you and your team. You can get in touch with me here and find out who else I’ve helped recently here

You can find the next dates for the Vital Facebook Skills workshops I run with Dan Slee here – I cover what you need to know about Facebook Ads plus we give you the low down on the algorithm, creating great content, engaging in Groups, the purpose of Pages, and knowing when to engage.