On the first day of a new year it’s easy to dream. We look forward optimistically at the opportunities ahead and successes we will achieve over the next twelve months. We make plans and lists and resolutions that will make us happier, healthier and more productive. It’s good to dream and I sincerely hope that 2013 is your best year yet.
But before we look too far ahead, we should spend time on reflection, pausing to recognize a year of achievements, shortfalls and challenges. At a time when many are making plans to hit the gym, I find this exercise one of the most powerful as it helps me develop a roadmap for the year ahead. I like to organize my thoughts around key themes rather than very specific goals because it’s more important that I’m moving directionally toward my destination than the roads I take, as I will undoubtedly come upon and need to navigate detours. I also may want to create a new path that I haven’t yet found.
In 2012 my autograph-related resolution was quality over quantity—only graphing someone if they will improve my collection (i.e., Do I really need to graph the entire Bobcats roster?). I succeeded in large part because I graphed only a handful of times last year. I didn’t even put myself in a position to rack up big numbers. Supporting my wife during her pregnancy and a laser-focus on my son after his birth in June moved in-person graphing to the back burner, and then out of the kitchen entirely. Fortunately, the experience didn’t extinguish the passion I have on the hobby—I think it actually fanned the flames. I was able to reallocate much more of my free time (as limited as it has become) toward writing for Autograph University which leads me to my key themes for 2013: Community and Consistency.
My most fulfilling creative project of the year was publishing the first edition of the Autograph University Yearbook—a collection of stories from readers. I literally couldn’t do it without you. I knew there were storytellers in my audience and I want to do even more in 2013 to spotlight and share the expertise in our community (including an even bigger and better Yearbook—I want your story!). I love receiving your questions and reading about how you’re getting value out of the site but there is so much more we can do, especially if we’re building together. After all, Autograph University isn’t about me, it’s about us. You’ll see me asking for even more of your input in the year ahead.
My publishing schedule in 2012 felt a bit erratic and I want to do a better job of delivering valuable content to you on a more consistent basis. In particular, I want to reward my newsletter subscribers for raising their hands to say they want more content and more interaction. I owe that to you. The months following the birth of my son were especially hectic but I’m very optimistic about staying on track in the year ahead. There are just so many people to interview, best practices to share and stories to tell—I can’t help but be excited. I hope you are too.
Thank you so much for being a part of the Autograph University community. Happy New Year.
What are you most looking forward to in 2013? How can I help?