(In this blog, Jennifer Waters ponders and says goodbye to her 2018 Dog Year.)
It’s with great sadness that I prepare to say goodbye to this particular Chinese Dog Year. There was something about 2018 that was unlike any other year for me. For the first time ever, I’ve decided to write about it by asking myself 3 questions: What worked? What didn’t? How can I improve?
For you dog people out there, you know that dogs need a job. Dogs love to work and are the happiest when they are working. Whether fetching, swimming, herding or protecting, they need a well-defined job in the moment.
To reflect well on any business or work endeavor, we have to look at time spent vs. accomplishments. I have to ask myself, did I follow my business plan? How distracted have I been from the tasks at hand? How much time did I spend in retreat, contemplation or study? Dividing up time consciously requires effort and good decision making, aka clarity.
As a Dog myself (based on birth year and the Chinese Zodiac, find yours here), my instinct is to work. Whatever work that may be, just do it. And don’t stop. I could never understand why people who wanted a job or wanted to make their current job or business better, didn’t just “go to work.” What I have always instinctually done is just show up at the office, clock in and start working until clients are scheduled or whatever task needs to be done.
So the Year of the Fire Dog has been particularly revealing to me on many layers of self awareness and introspection. The year started off with the return of Cota (aka husband and business partner). What a relief! And, we liked each other better after a break. Even my roommate commented how less stressed I was when he returned. The best part is that I got to work more! Dream come true for a Dog. I got to show up for more hours. Very happy Earth Dog (me).
The last Dog Year I founded Happy Uterus Consulting, my most successful business “failure”. I loved the brand and idea but it was not my personality. I still believe it could be resurrected and be very successful, modeled after the Red Tent Sisters. With the right personality at the helm, we could go back to selling the Magic Banana.
2018 was the first time I hired an assistant, Katie Evans. I have always wanted to find the right person and have certainly tried but it is nearly impossible to find someone who fits the requirements: has a personality, can communicate with me and all my clients well, needs money for a living (this is the most important one), and actually shows up as often as I do. Katie came straight from the Heavens. It’s been a real pleasure to work with her and she knows a lot more than I do about computers, posting, & blogging.
2018 was also the first time as an adult that I had an intentional birthday party for myself! Go figure….I mean honestly, it’s hard to convert parties to work, so why bother?! However, I found it immensely fun and intentional way to honor the passage of time and invite those I truly value as friends and spiritual companions. Monique Lang led us in a birth honoring ceremony, it was a blast! It was also the first time I drank organic champagne from the awesome wine store in Cazenovia owned by Judith. It’s on Main Street, hard to miss. We also participated in the local Syracuse Blues Music WinterFest scene. Scarcely attended due to no marketing but incredible talent. I was honored to be there. Keep your eyes open for Winter Fest 2019 and go!
In 2018 I decided to take my bucket list more seriously. Honestly, approaching 50 forces contemplation and the urgency of time is more present.One thing on my bucket list was a bike trip. We headed to Utah in April for one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. Can’t wait for the next one. In May, I attended the second thing on my bucket list – to spend 5 days with Gil Hedley in a cadaver lab going through the layers. What an amazing, life changing, and extremely humbling experience that was. I brought my bike and biked across to Rutgers in NJ.
In July I did the grown up business decision to go way out of my comfort zone and do a professional photo shoot with Alice Patterson Photography. It was a Girls Night Out group shot that ended up being wonderful! Just to connect with other female entrepreneurs with the same hang-ups was totally worthwhile and refreshing. This came about because of my month long commitment working with Jen Liddy, business coach extraordinaire, whereby I created clinical programs (I have yet to implement any of them but I intend to!).
In September I hired the talented Jess Ryan to redo my website, and overhaul the brand from Life Source Acupuncture to Waters Light. This prompted me to form a new LLC with my husband, Joe Cota, as business partner. For a Dog, going into business with someone is far more serious than marriage. I know it sounds crazy but that’s just how Dogs feel. Business has to last forever…marriage lasts for as long as your agreement is. And maybe that’s for one lifetime or countless lifetimes. That’s great news for a Dog who wants to work 🙂
The year has ended with a 2 day class at the NYOC. What I learned? FB ads don’t work as well as they used to, or as well as you think they will. “Clicks” don’t convert easily to butts in seats. I think face-to-face and snail mail is going to have a comeback soon. Phone calls and then emails. People are becoming overwhelmed with input. We have to unplug.
I did not spend nearly has much time in 2018 contemplating, rejuvenating or concentrating. I used to prioritize this better. I intend that 2019 will have much more time for me spent in retreat developing prajna for the benefit of all beings. May all obstacles be removed for the benefit of all. I dedicate any merit generated by me or my actions for the benefit of all beings. We must make time to receive in order to give.