You Need a Lot of Space to Be Limitless

Emily's Musings

You guys, you guys! Did you know the end of the decade is right around the corner?

Something about endings and beginnings make me extra reflective. Does it feel like this ending snuck up on you? I’ve definitely been feeling that way. Maybe it’s because it seems like everyone only started talking about how the decade is ending about a week ago. And now here we are with only about 19 days left.

Actually, I think my first thought about this being the end of the decade came when I started seeing people posting their Facebook profile pics from 2009 alongside a current photo (and then other people shaming them for falling for Facebook’s scheme to get users to help test its facial recognition system…and then the people who posted the comparison photos responding that Facebook already has all of the data…and then…).

Setting aside all of that malarkey (yeah, I mean, it IS old timey, but it’s not a terrible word), I have been thinking about where I was in 2009 and how far I feel from that person I was 10 years ago.

I turned 30.I turned 40.
I finished my dissertation (on John Locke’s moral and political philosophy) and graduated with my PhD in 2009.I hardly ever think about John Locke and I only think about philosophy when someone else brings it up.
I ran my first of two half marathons, which led to me running two marathons in 2013.I don’t run anymore. Instead, it’s yoga every damn day-ish.
I started my first job as a college professor at UNC.I’ve been my own boss for three years and change.
I moved from St. Louis, MO to Carrboro, NC.I moved from Carrboro, NC to Chapel Hill, NC.

Here’s a quick self-indulgent chart:

That last one really stops me in my tracks because there’s so much more to that story than meets the eye. I moved from St. Louis to Carrboro for my first teaching job. Then I moved back to St. Louis for a year. Then I moved to Myrtle Beach for five years before moving back to Carrboro and finally putting down some roots in Chapel Hill.

This chart is a snapshot of a number of life-changing decisions that I consciously and very freely made during and prior to the past decade. It also represents a number of life-changing decisions that I made out of fear or the desire to prove something to someone else. 

What life-changing decisions have you made consciously and freely? What life-changing decisions have you made out of fear or the desire to prove something to someone else?

Many of the past 10 years felt very ungrounded and uncertain. When I look back at my 2009 self, I feel so grateful to be in a place now where I feel grounded both mentally and physically.

The Joys of Feeling Grounded

And speaking of endings and beginnings, the past couple of years I’ve done an infographic year in review around this time. I’m not doing that this year, but I do have some reflections to share about 2019 and some ideas for 2020, which may benefit you as well.

With my business, when I look back at 2019, I see the joys of feeling grounded. Being grounded has allowed me:

  • To fill my sales funnel through a combination of networking and being awesome at what I do.
  • To focus on the stuff that matters and get sh*t done when I need to.
  • To grow and create within boundaries I’ve set.

But being grounded also comes with its own set of challenges:

  • I see a lot of doing and not enough being.
  • I see too much working in the business and not enough working on the business.
  • I see a lot of potential that I want to figure out how to actualize.

One of my developmental editing clients, Marcey Rader who is a speaker, author, coach, and founder of Work Well. Play More!, expresses this challenge beautifully in her new book, Work Well. Play More!: Productive, Clutter-Free, Healthy Living—One Step at a Time. In one section, Marcey discusses decluttering your mind and I love what she says about reducing the number of podcasts she listens to:

“Why do I want to subscribe to fewer? Because I found that I was continually inputting without outputting. If I’m always listening to information going in, I’m not giving myself white space to think and get something out.”

This could have been my theme for 2019. I’ve been filling my tank to overflowing, so much so that I have been in mission critical mode for most of the year. I haven’t given myself the white space I need to think about my own business. I’m making this change my big course correction in 2020.

Going to Marcey’s book launch celebration in November was one of the highlights of my year. Marcey is awesome! I want to be her when I grow up. If you are looking for a handy list of easy personal development tools for the new decade, this book is a great place to start!

Make Space for the Things that Fill You Up (But Not Too Much) in 2020

There’s something about big endings and beginnings that make us extra reflective. When it dawned on me that the end of the decade was right around the corner, I started reflecting on the above. I also started envisioning what I wanted to be different going forward. I set my goals for 2020 (with a little nudge from my mastermind groups) and I decided my word for next year is “limitless.”

Here is my vision for making space to be limitless in 2020:

  • I will find the white space to reconnect with my creativity.
  • I will reawaken my sense of curiosity by taking time to read, write, and reflect for myself.
  • I will complete the challenges and online courses I’ve signed up for before I sign up for others. I will not sign up for challenges, subscription services, or online courses that I know I won’t complete or use within the next 3 months.
  • I will “stay close to the people who make me feel like sunshine.”

What are you making space for in 2020? I’d love to hear about your endings and beginnings. Seriously, shoot me an email ( I could geek out about this stuff over coffee any time.

As always, thanks for reading my musings. I hope my reflections about business and life prompt you to reflect on your own endings and beginnings. And, of course, if your reflections lead you to your next big book idea, you know I’d love to hear about that too!

Photo credit: Christina Noel