I remember the year my elementary school put on an operetta, Alice in Wonderland. I desperately wanted to play a part.

Like every little hopeful in the room, I was determined to be centre stage.

I read for Alice amidst a crowd of eager young actresses. There were a couple of clever girls who knew it’d be more fun to be the Queen of Hearts (read: bad), but the majority of us wanted to be the good and golden girl.

Obviously, I didn’t get the role. So, I tried out for the White Rabbit. As did the rest of the unsuccessful Alice wannabes. Then I tried out for the Mad Hatter or one of his crew. At this point, our beleaguered director put a limit on solo try outs – we could read for three, maximum.

After three attempts I was disappointed but remained determined.

No, I didn’t join the crew backstage. I remained determined to find my place on stage. And I found a loophole in the prohibitive. I applied for a group part – as one of the Card Guards.

I distinctly remember another student bitterly complaining that I didn’t know when to quit.

Turns out I got almost as much stage time as Alice and the exuberant queen. The Card Guards stood on either end of the stage for the entire second half of the operetta. We even had our own song to sing and march to. And who doesn’t look amazing wearing an enormous playing card hung like a sandwich board!?

If my goal at the Prairie Telegraph is to pave the way, smooth edges and make your business life easier, it would be remiss of me to only share the tools and tricks. Mindset matters.

Determination has been a thread in my life for as long as I can remember. This year, I’ve held onto it tightly.

My determination has played a large role in my successful year:

  • I became a full-time business.
    I may not be the most confident. I’ve been known to slink away from a crushing defeat with my tail between my legs, but these setbacks have not defined me. Neither have they defined this year, my third in a new province, my first as a full-time proprietress.

    While the Prairie Telegraph has been in operation for two plus some years, it was a part-time hustle for me, born out of side gigs and favours to friends and former employers. I worked on the side of a contractor position, managing special projects for the regional Muscular Dystrophy Canada office.

    As the contract neared its end, the Prairie Telegraph seemed busier than ever. However, I was very disappointed when my contract wasn’t renewed. While I knew that I no longer had the bandwidth to continue my juggling act, my heart was terribly sad to leave the non-profit behind, saying so long to beloved co-workers and wonderful clients.

    I stumbled in my first few weeks as a full-time business owner. My income dramatically decreased and I didn’t have enough clients on board. All the light started to come through the cracks. But it gave me an opportunity to see. It’s an ongoing process, but I continue to evolve as a business owner, and the Prairie Telegraph is evolving with me. I optimized my marketing for referrals successfully. I’ve also hired on two subcontractors to assist me. And I’ve kept in touch with my former co-workers and clients, too!
  • I travelled.
    This isn’t as easy as it sounds. We are a military family, which means we can’t easily take time off or guarantee that my husband can be home for the children. We are also posted away from family.

    I travelled to two different conferences that have shaped my world. The Create Your Laptop Life Retreat introduced me to so many of friends I’d only met online. Blogjam Atlantic allowed me to meet small business owners and influencers closer to home. Both have made a huge difference in my referral marketing.

    I also determined I could work from anywhere. This gave me the freedom to work as I travelled, whether that be for work or pleasure. Being location independent is a game changer, allowing me to align my priorities and create work life harmony.
  • I took care of myself.
    I joined a run club, I got medical checkups and dental checkups and went to a chiropractor. I’ve always let things slide blaming busy-ness and a dislike of dentists, blessed by generally decent health (though it turns out I had a couple cavities). Putting everyone and everything else first didn’t pay off. The return on investment on self-care has been tremendous: new friends, less aches and pains, and even friendly networking introducing me to new business opportunities.

    I became president of my Women’s Institute chapter. I was hesitant, being a bit strong-minded and not wanting to run over other members from my central seat. I wanted to, though, for me. To help me develop my leadership skills, to develop authority and to make a difference in my community.

There is only so much that others can do for you. Without your own determination, you won’t get far.

I have had to find loopholes and back doors and different perspectives over the past year. My determination to have my own place on stage has helped me succeed.

How was your 2017?