Reflecting on 2014 #thinkkit

I’ll be honest, 2014 was a mixed year in many ways. I’ll start with the good stuff.

It was a great year for the spaces I lived and worked in. My home had major renovations- our kitchen was completely transformed as well as several other areas of the house. We also added a tree fort to the back yard. My business, SmallBox, was able to purchase our building- the old Broad Ripple library- and it is a wonderful place to work.

It was also a great year for travel. Between business and family/pleasure I was all over the country in 2014. Nashville, Siesta Key, Tampa, Chicago, St Louis, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland, Phoenix, Redlands (CA), Bloomington (IN), Yosemite, Tahoe, Cleveland…I’m sure I’m missing one or two. I really love traveling and going to new places. It shakes up my thinking.

All this travel made it a great year for vinyl digging. I brought back gems from most of my trips. This provided great fodder for my annual “Very Vinyl Xmas” mixes. If you want this CD set (2014 releases and vintage finds) hit me up. I’ll post the liner notes for both CDs on this blog in the near future. 

It was a great year for my family and marriage. We took a 2 week trip out west in late July that really bonded us in new ways. My marriage feels very rock solid right now and I am grateful every day for my wife and 3 girls. Each of my girls is growing in unique ways and I get so much joy from them. 

On to some of the challenging stuff. 

SmallBox had a challenging year. After a strong 2013 we came out of the gate expecting strong growth in 2014. But for most of the year it was elusive. It wasn’t until the past few months that sales really kicked in. We have gone from famine to feast and it is a real head scratcher- what did we do wrong , what are we doing right? One factor at play was that our competition- local and national- raised its game over the last year or so and we found ourselves losing projects we most likely would have won before. It was a good kick in the ass but it hurt. I won’t forget the week we lost 3 major projects in a row. That was rough. One of our core values is Persistence. We have been tested in that area this year. I’m really proud of how the SmallBox team has come together and faced this challenge. In 2015 we will face the challenge of capacity. A different but more welcome challenge. Lesson learned, and to quote my biz buddy Angel Morales- “sales before scale”.  We should have hired a business development person a year earlier than we did.

I struggled with some health issues this year. Over the summer, while traveling to multiple business events, I had a really bad flare up of a chronic digestive issue. I won’t get too specific but you can Google “diverticulitis” if you are curious. I soldered on for a couple months with pretty intense pain (especially at night) until I opted for the antibiotics that always take care of it. I just hate taking antibiotics. I want my body to gain the strength to fight things off. But in this case I should have gone to them sooner. It was a rough couple months.

Many of my close friends and business associates had a tough year. Stress was high and money was tight. I saw this over and over again. As an entrepreneur it really saddened me to see so many people struggling this year. Although there were some real highs to the year with this group I was reminded how hard it is to start and run a business. It is a very stressful experience and not for everyone. I'm really proud of all of y'all- you know who you are.

I was overcommitted this year and it showed. I really saw how I had spread myself too thin, saying yes to too many things. This stunted growth across some of the organizations I am involved with. I am now re-auditing what I spend time on and going towards what feeds me and away from what drains me. Also, I have come to see alignment between what feeds me and where I provide real value. 

Looking forward to 2015. 

I’m excited about next year. I see strong growth for SmallBox and my other endeavors. I see many of my friends that have struggled this year having a much better 2015. I am looking forward to taking off the month of July for a mini-sabbatical to reflect on my life, work, past and future. I look forward to writing more. I look forward to playing more music. I look forward to being healthy. I look forward to being with my family.

You know, 2014 was a good year on the whole but I want to look back on 2015 and think “2014 was something of a dress rehearsal for what came next.” 

I sincerely wish all of you- friend, family, acquaintance, stranger- an amazing 2015.


this post is part of the SmallBox December blogging project Think Kit. Inspired by today's prompt below. More info at Join anytime in December! Follow on Twitter and/or on .

Just Can't Wait. The calendar still says 2014, but let's push forward. What are you looking forward to in 2015? Is there an event, special occasion, or reunion that you're counting down the days until? Planning a trip? A life change? A move? Or maybe it's the simple pleasures – the release of a movie, something or someone hitting a stage near you.