Happy New Year! 2014 has been quite a year for me personally and for our family. No major life changes, but a good, satisfying year of growth and overall excellence.

We all agreed last night at dinner, during our annual “Best of 2014/Goals for 2015” roundtable discussion, that our trip to Charleston was the absolute highlight of the year with walking on the beach, particularly the nearly-empty Boneyard Beach, as the number one best memory.

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I absolutely love the two weeks of Christmas and New Year’s. It’s like the intersection of everything: we start off making all our favorite foods, even easier this year thanks to my mom’s updated digital cookbook, and end with a cleansing kale quinoa salad minus the red pepper, which sounds like punishment but is actually so good I sneak over to the fridge to grab bites in between meals.

We start with gifts and worship and celebration, and end with cleaning out the kids’ toys and game closet and making a big bag for Goodwill to make room for their new stuff. (I won’t lie; the gift-opening is overwhelming and brings out my inner Scrooge, but the cleaning-out and making-room always puts it right in my OCD brain.)

I start with reflection on the previous year and end with a whole new list of goals and dreams for the year to come. My office files get cleaned and sorted. Old papers get shredded. (The girls love this job, and don’t worry, I supervise carefully with many warnings re: not getting their fingers shredded off.) My goals journal gets updated.

In my goals journal, I labeled 2014 the “year of growth.” Growth, because it was four years ago, after Jonathan was born, that I decided I wanted to move out of the writing business. Four years ago marks the beginning of a series of experiments (if you will…some might call them failures, dead ends, whatever, but everything I tried has gotten me directly or indirectly closer to my goal). Some of these experiments were about thinking I wanted one thing and discovering I couldn’t have it (law school, anyone?) and realizing later that, actually, I was never meant to be an employee anyway. Some were about me thinking I wanted something I really did and still do want (my own business), but going about it wrong (ecommerce based on the slim margins of dropshipping without the scale to support it…check). Two things–both of them regular employment–fell into my lap and gave me some breathing room and new learnings while I tried to figure out what’s next. One thing–pneumonia–put me flat on my back for a month and made me realize that I need a business that won’t literally grind to a halt if I myself have to step out for a bit.

What happened is this: I spent 2014 building the foundation for launching a new business. Not a literal foundation, and not even a framework like opening a bank account or doing a market survey. I’m talking about the foundation of mindset, and it’s become clear that mindset is what I’ve been missing all along.

I didn’t truly understand what it would take in terms of expansive thinking to run a business that would meet my life goals. I kept defaulting to what I knew: the humble solopreneur mentality, which doesn’t work for what I want to do.

The main concepts I’m taking into 2015 are these:

  1. I want to move from being an employee and/or freelancer to being an owner and/or investor.
  2. I want a business that’s at the intersection of what I love, what I’m good at, and what the world will pay for.
  3. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster, and if you’re doing it right it never gets easy. If it gets easy, you’re becoming obsolete.
  4. More than anything I value time freedom, so the business has to be set up so that long term I’m not just buying myself a job. I also can’t be a “guru” without whom there is no business.
  5. The business needs to be scalable, and in order for it to be scalable it has to have repeatable processes that work at least 80 percent of the time.
  6. There has to be value at the end of the business’s life. For this to happen there has to be an asset of some sort–physical or intellectual property–that other people would pay for.
  7. Related to #2, I want my business to be something that, when I talk about it to other people, I create a magnetic field around myself because I’m so fascinated with it. It’s not just a math formula.

Enough of my New Year’s brain dump. It’s time to get off the treadmill and make Chicken Pot Pies and arugula lemon salad for dinner. (Have I mentioned how much I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s? Pot Pie is just one of those reasons.)

I posted this quote on Facebook this morning, but it’s so good I want to leave it here, too. From C.F.W. Walther, a lovely New Year’s reflection:

Should the Christian be reminded all day long that the flowers of his youth fall more and more? He stands planted by God in the water of his Baptism as a palm tree which becomes greener and greener and whose leaves never wither. Yes, his Baptism makes death for him like a short winter’s nap, out of which an eternal spring — an eternal youth — follows…. In death you will see heaven opened and will finally come into the joy of your Lord to celebrate a great year of jubilee, a year of praise, with all the angels forever and ever. Amen!

Blessings to you in 2015.