As much as I like to plan (as evidenced here), each year brings a few things that catch me by surprise.
Sometimes they're truly amazing, like out-of-the-blue travel opportunities; other times, I (try to) appreciate them for the learning experiences they are.
In what is now becoming an annual tradition (two years in a row is a tradition, right?), here are a few of my favorite surprises from 2015.
14 Things That I Didn't Know Would Happen in 2015
Stop writing the Dilettante Diaries ... then pick up where I left off six months later
The Dilettante Diaries was a website that I started at the end of 2014 as a way to combine every creative project and endeavor that I'd ever done. It went through several drastic transformations, eventually landing as my first group lifestyle program and the home of the Daily Dabbles.
I ended up shuttering both of those projects in May—a move that surprised me at the time, but ended up being a fortuitous decision, as my personal schedule got insanely hectic less than a month later.
And I had no idea that, after taking six months off, I would end up in almost the exact same place: building programs, writing on personal development topics, and choosing my coach training program.
Speaking of programs ...
Build my first (or second! Or third!) programs
Putting together a group learning program was something that had been on my mind for a while, but it took a firm kick in the butt from professional ass-kicker Rebecca Dickson to actually do it.
Once I had one under my belt, well, it just made sense to keep going. Hence Overwhelmed to Overjoyed and Release & Refine were born. Release & Refine is the only one still active—in fact, it's getting a facelift right now for 2016.
This one was a total surprise. I went from concept to publication in just about eight hours ... which should have been a terrible idea. (Because, you know, quality control and editing and stuff like that.)
However, I already had the source material, and after getting a bunch of questions about how I broke into lifestyle journalism as a freelancer, I decided to collate my answers and put them on Amazon in a short ebook. Good thing, too, as Byline was the #1 best-selling book in two categories shortly after its publication.
Perform at the National Geographic as part of their NatGeo Live! series
I might be cheating a little with this one—I think we actually started talking about and preparing for this performance in December of 2014. But I can tell you that I did not know that we were part of a series of cultural exhibitions, and I wasn't clear on whether or not I was going to chant live.
(Spoiler: I totally did.)
Get back into graphic and web design ... then get back out of it three months later
Several years ago, I dipped my toes into graphic design. A logo here, a website there. I liked it, but other things took precedence and I let it go. The same thing happened this year: I got a word-of-mouth request to do some design work, which turned into more word-of-mouth design work, which turned into a handful of regular clients and a complete redesign project for a German nonprofit. (!!)
When 2015 began, I figured that I would visit my parents for Thanksgiving and my husband and I would take our already-planned trip to Oregon.
I had no clue that 2015 would also take me on a family vacation to a luxury resort on Maryland's Eastern Shore, to NYC for my birthday, to Virginia Beach for a weekend of Polynesian dance, to Paris for the girls' week of a lifetime, or on a spontaneous, kid-free weekend getaway to DC.
All in all, it was a pretty great year, and I can't wait to see what surprises 2016 delivers!
What took you by surprise in 2015?