A Year End Reflection

I don’t know about you, but as I sit here and write this it’s difficult to believe that 2016 is almost over. It’s been an intense, insane, astonishing year. A great deal has happened, and at the same time it feels like everything got squeezed into the space of a month or so.

As I look back on the year, I’m proud of what I accomplished. Some of that was work related, some of that was dealing with (or helping) family and some of that was in terms of personal growth.

Work-wise, I’ve been consulting for a long time now. I first hung out my shingle in 1990, and I haven’t really taken it in since. You would think I would have this whole business down pretty well now. And while in some respects I do, I am very much still learning and growing. That’s exciting to me. It’s also a great deal of work. I’m not sure who it was that first said “the more you know, the more that you realize you don’t know” but it’s astonishingly true. And—a little daunting.

At the same time, I’m embracing the work that I am doing. In fact, I would argue that I’m currently doing some of the best work of my career. It’s certainly some of the work that I’m most proud of. I’m producing solid results that don’t just satisfy me, but also delight my customers. I’m finding better ways to communicate and explain, and to translate complex and difficult information into formats that are manageable, comprehensible and accessible. Even where I’m doing work similar to engagements I have done for years, I’m finding new ways into the work that make it more relevant and useful for the customers I am doing it for.

I’m also getting into some new areas of work, which is particularly exciting. Not that I’m straying to far from the worlds of strategy and project management, but I am getting the opportunity to play in the space where these worlds meet (and for all that has been written on both subjects, there is a lot of navigable empty space in the gap between them). Doing so is taking me off the beaten path and allowing me to explore. I’m looking forward to continuing that work—and sharing more insights about it here—in the coming weeks and months.

The work I’ve been doing with this column and has been quite rewarding as well. Like everything else, it has not been without its challenges but it has also been enjoyable and satisfying. I’ve been writing regularly and I’ve also started getting fairly regular feedback and response, which is awesome. I set a goal this year of writing a blog post every week. This will be my 44th for the year. Not a perfect record, but still one that I’m proud of.

I’ve also managed to get forty mailings published. So I’m writing more than I’m getting newsletters out, but still managing to get everyone caught up around the edges. I changed up the format on the mailing this year, and it seems to be one that’s resonated. The newsletters have been a great way to get my writing and speaking information out, but also to share the best of other peoples’ content that I’ve found.

Not everything has gone awesomely, of course. There was an aborted attempt to launch a podcast at the beginning of the year. It’s something that I want to do, and I think it’s a good format for me (it’s a bit of an intersection between speaking and writing, and a chance to get into a bit more informal and conversational form of narrative). But this was not the year to make it happen. I’m still noodling around on what that will evolve into and finding the voice—metaphorically speaking, my physical voice is just fine, thank you—that I want to bring to it. So stay tuned for more on that in the future.

Looking forward to 2017, I already know it’s going to be a busy year, possibly as busy as 2016 was. As a consultant, that’s an extremely nice thing to begin the year knowing. I’ll be working with customers that I know and like, and the work that is ahead will continue to be engaging and challenging. With luck, I’ll find some new customers and new opportunities as well, but the year certainly is starting from a very good place.

You can expect to continue to see regular posts and writing on my [web site](http://markmullaly.com). You can also expect to see weekly newsletters being published (and you [can get those here](http://markmullaly.com/subscribe/), if you don’t already subscribe). I hope that I’ll have a podcast up and running in the first few months of the year. There will also be some tweaks to the website to make it a little friendlier and more accessible.

What I also hope for is more time for me. I had hoped to take an extended motorcycle trip in the summer, but that—and a few other events—was put on hold when my wife broke her leg late in the spring. I wanted to read more. There is some research I would like to start working on. And there is at least one book noodling around in the caverns of my head, and possibly a second one as well. These are all commitments that I bring in to the new year with me. And while there are not specific promises or resolutions attached to any of this, there are certainly intentions.

I have similar hopes for all of you. I’m grateful to you all for sharing in my journey, my writing, my speaking and my appreciation of the work of others. I’m also sincerely appreciative to everyone that has taken the time to get in touch, whether that was because something I wrote inspired them or something I shared touched them or they just wanted to say that they really appreciated my doing what I do (and really, what’s more awesome than getting an email from someone telling you that?)

I know many people haven’t enjoyed 2016 a lot. There have been frustrations. There have been losses. There have been regrets. It’s been challenging economically, professionally, politically and personally for many in my life, and many in my larger network. I hope for you all that 2017 inspires and engages you in a way that 2016 may not have. I hope you all continue to find your own paths, develop and build new friendships, nurture and sustain existing ones, and do your own best work. And I hope that you stay in touch here.

To everyone, the very best of the holiday season, thank you to each of you for helping to contribute to a fascinating year, and my very best and sincere wishes for an exceptional 2017.

With best wishes,
Mark

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