Review & goals for 2021
Kathy: Hi, I’m Kathy Rushing, host of the podcast Committed: the Entrepreneur Marriage. If your middle name is restless and you identify with words like innovator, dreamer, changemaker, creative, independent. Or you are married to an entrepreneur, or heaven help you, you’re both entrepreneurs, this podcast is for you.
The entrepreneurial journey can be a little wild at times, like uncharted territory. Join me as I talk with others who are at various stages of the entrepreneurial process. We’ll explore the wisdom and insights they have gained while navigating the ups and downs of the entrepreneur journey. You’ll discover that there are many couples who have found ways to thrive in both their marriage, and business,
Hey everyone and happy new year. Have we ever been more happy to see a new year?! I’m joined today by my ever inspiring husband, Mark. Welcome honey.
Mark: Hey everyone.
Kathy: We’re going to spend a little bit of time talking through our goal setting process a bit later in the episode, but first I want to share a couple of ideas for setting goals, especially as a couple.
Now you may be well into setting your goals and intentions for 2021, but here in the rushing household, we don’t solidify our goals until. Usually mid January, our anniversary is January 12th. So for many years now we’re coming up on it. 41. That’s hard to believe.
Mark: I know it’s crazy.
Kathy: Well, we take time around our anniversary to getaway.
And part of that time, we’ve used to review the previous year and set some goals for the coming year. Years ago when we were in the midst of raising a family and launching businesses, we enjoyed brainstorming and dreaming about new opportunities. I can think of several new business ideas that came out of those dreaming sessions.
What stands out to you, honey? When you think about those strategy and brainstorming times.
Mark: Well, they were always lots of fun. I mean, we, gosh, since the very beginning, we’ve, we’ve been big on dreams and you know, I think it’s been the January around our anniversary has always been good. And then I remember also in the summer, like when we’d go somewhere for a week or so coming back, we’d always, you know, be talking as we drove.
Kathy: Yeah, kind of that time before the kids were going back to school. So that was sort of not a new year, but it was a new school year. Right,
Mark: right. Yeah. So I think these have always been, um, I think there’s always been some excitement. That’s a part of it, you know, being dreamers as we are, and always kind of looking forward and looking ahead, and, um, those times have always been a lot of fun.
You know, it’s been, it’s been good to think about where we’ve been, and I guess we’ll talk about that a little bit as we go, but, um, it’s always enjoyable to just look forward and anticipate. What we want to do and well, we want to hopefully achieve during the coming year.
Kathy: Yeah. Not all of those ideas worked out, but we try, but I remember coming away from those, usually it was just a weekend away because during those years we didn’t have much money.
Mark: Or time,
Kathy: yeah, it was hard to get away. And I remember coming back though, very energized and. You know, ready to start on some projects. I remember one project in particular, we had the idea of. Setting up a system of caregiver, not so much caregivers, but more like social workers, people that could go check on mom or dad or grandma that lived in another state because families are so dispersed.
And we really dug into that for a while. Didn’t we, and tried to do that, but we couldn’t figure out the reimburse.
Yeah, we were at least five years ahead of the market. Yeah, yeah. On that. It was a great idea. And there are companies
yeah. care.com now is, and I think there’s another one that’s doing it. So,
Mark: Oh yeah.
There’s a, there’s a lot of them that, and then there’s individuals who set up businesses around managing care for families, which was what we were looking at. Um, but we were just. We were just ahead of the game, you know, so a little too early.
Kathy: Yeah. And probably didn’t have the additional bandwidth to Oh
Cause Alzcare was still growing. Our kids were, you know, involved in all kinds of things and you had a private practice and. Yeah, we didn’t have a whole lot of extra bandwidth, even though we thought we did. We
Kathy: had more ideas than energy. For sure. If you’re new to this podcast, I’ll fill you in on us just a bit. We’re empty nesters that live in Colorado, which has been a lifelong dream for us. We’re grateful to be realizing many of the dreams we worked so hard for. Mark no longer runs the day to day operations of his company, but no, he is not retired. Right, honey. Right. Goal setting looks a bit different.
This year has been especially challenging. I mean, 2020 need. I say more, we struggled with some big challenges in our assisted living company. As you know, the Corona virus has been hard on older adults, especially those that are in communal settings. Like nursing homes, assisted living memory care. But the biggest challenges we faced actually weren’t related to the virus.
I think all of us have experienced some version of what would be challenges in. Quote, normal times, whatever that is, but the load we have been carrying under the profound changes brought about by the pandemic, made our margins for stress, even smaller Mark and I spent the better part of the past year finding a house in Fort Collins, Colorado.
I haven’t really talked about this before, but. We sold our home in new Braunfels, Texas, where we had lived for 28 years in June of 2018. We moved most of our belongings into storage intending to find a smaller house and split time between Texas and Colorado. But a lot of life happened in the next year and a half or two years.
And we found ourselves full time in the mountains of Colorado. And while we love the beauty and solitude of the mountains. Last winter was too long,
Mark: too cold, too much snow, too long,
Kathy: too isolated. So we spent much of the early pandemic looking for a house in Fort Collins, Colorado, where two of our married kids live currently.
We closed and moved into a brand new home early December, like who moves two weeks before Christmas? We did
Mark: right after Thanksgiving.
Kathy: But when the builder says your house’s ready? Well off you go. So after weeks of settling into a new house, just before Christmas, we are finally able to come up for air and set our goals for 2021. Cue the hallelujah chorus, which by the way, Mark watched on repeat online this year. That was, I know, I know you loved it. And it, that was a, that was a joyful
Kathy: You found several great groups that were,
Mark: and it was amazing how they did them with this virtual kind of. Um, production. It was very cool actually. Yeah. And we did less than several times. Yeah.
Kathy: Loved it. So there are many ways to set goals.
There’s not a right or wrong way, but, um, I wanted to just share a couple of ideas before we, uh, dig in a little bit to our process, um, which looks a little different. Um, and again, you may have a process that you love and if so, Carry on with joy, but I wanted to talk about a couple of ways to create goals both personally.
And as a couple, one of the keys to thriving in an entrepreneur marriage is having common goals. So hopefully something will resonate and you’ll give it a try. I’ll put links to some of these ideas that. I didn’t originate. They are processes I have explored over the years. And so I’ll put links to that in the show notes.
So here we go. One way to quickly create goals as a couple is to ask the three following questions of each other. This isn’t only for the new year. You could do this once a quarter as a way to check in and make sure you’re both on the same page. So the first question is what do I do that you’d like me to keep doing?
Affirmation is always a good place to start, especially in reviewing this past year, it’s helpful to recognize things that were life-giving and yes, keep doing that. The second question is what is something you’d like me to stop doing? Now? This isn’t a laundry list. It’s just one thing, because the truth is we can only change one thing at a time.
And if you have prefaced the request with an affirmation, you’re more likely to have a receptive partner. The third thing is what is something you’d like me to start doing? This is a different change request. Something that will create more harmony or intimacy in the relationship. I think something last year we did was, um, a date night, first Saturday of the month because we knew that there were some things we wanted.
We, we knew that we wanted more community, but there were a lot of things going on in the company. And we weren’t sure about income. And so rather than look at it every day or every week, we said, okay, let’s, let’s start once a month. We won’t talk about it until that review time. And then we’ll sit down and say, okay, where are things now?
What can we move forward with?
Mark: Yeah. And that was, I think that was a request on your part. Um, which was good because, you know, I, I look at that stuff almost every day and I’m thinking about the business aspect and I have in my mind how it’s affecting us or might affect us. You know, in our family. Um, but I, we don’t want to talk about that every day.
Right. And you didn’t have all of the background, you know? And so we got much more intentional and I was thinking we had started doing that some of the year before, but, um, We were just trying to become more intentional about really looking at what had occurred during the month and what we expected to occur the next month, so that we were tracking what was happening.
Really a big driver was financially, especially as we got into coronavirus season. And, um, so, you know, that was a, that was a really good ad and we lost a little bit of it this fall, I think. But. Um, yeah, that’s something we need to be doing, uh, ongoing. Cause we’re looking at some other things and goals, which we’ll talk about.
Kathy: Yeah, I enjoy doing that. I think what’s important to keep in mind here is that when you make these change requests, like stop doing something, Mark made a request of me, uh, at the beginning of this year. And, um, And I know that it’s, it’s, he’s not trying to change who I am. It’s something that I had picked up as a habit, picking up my phone.
Every time we get in the car and, uh, doing social media or, um, a lot of times I’m checking email or reading the news, but we had gotten away from just. Talking to each other. When we get in the car, of course, as we know from this year, we’ve been together all the time. So I didn’t realize how that was impacting him.
So that was a change request that he could make. And I didn’t take it offensively. Um, but the reality of living together over many years is that we both make adjustments to create a healthy space for each other. And, um, so that is a little practice that we have picked up from time to time. And again, it’s just three quick questions.
What would you like me to keep doing? Stop doing and start doing. And obviously both people ask these questions. I think our practice has evolved so that we don’t necessarily always ask. Oh three, but it is helpful to go through all three, because I think the affirmation piece is really important that it’s easy to take each other for granted or the things that we’re doing that are life giving.
We want to reinforce that so that, um, we keep doing that. Okay. Another process is one that I. Adopted from Marie Forleo last year, she did a pretty lengthy, I think it was a three-part video series as a way to review the past decade, looking at going into a new decade. And of course at the time we had no idea just how challenging this year 2020 was going to be, but she outlines a way to, to review the past the decade.
I’ve. I find it’s helpful to even do it for the past year. And again, I’ll link in the show notes. If you want to dig into that. Um, the first thing that she says is what are you most proud of from the past year or decade? So, you know, staring into the rear view mirror is no way to drive into the future, but it is helpful to do some review before going forward and ask ourselves a couple of questions.
What worked. What didn’t work? What goals did I think I want, but after a closer look, I need to purge. And the important piece then is to ask, why was this something you were proud of? That gets to a little deeper, um, focus on our core, our core values, our core, um, What we want to feel. So the second thing is what are my learnings?
2020 was like drinking from the fire hose of learning. Some of it was so painful that it may take some distance to acknowledge what we needed to adjust to the realities of shutdowns and businesses that were affected or kids that were home from school or in person in school. And then back home from school.
I mean, it’s just, it’s been a. Rollercoaster of a year and some of you may still be in the thick of challenges and it’s just too close to get perspective. So by all means be gentle with yourself. I hope that’s something we’re all learning, but as you look at your learnings, what was most important? And again, why?
Because the why gives us the motivation purpose fuels persistence. The third thing is, what do I need to let go of what no longer serves me like leftovers that get pushed to the back of the fridge. Some of our ideas may no longer be something we want to pursue, letting them go frees up the bandwidth. We need to chase the things that matter most.
Is there someone I need to forgive? Are there resentments or hurts that I need to let go of? What does it cost me to hang on to those things? The fourth thing is what is next. Having looked back and feeling a little bit lighter, focus on three goals for the coming year. So again, I’ll link that in the show notes.
This next idea was a new one to me. Our daughter-in-law Amy sent me a video last week by Brandon Wells of Ninja selling. He shared an exercise that had three parts, but it was the second part that I thought was very powerful and positive. He said to identify five people that helped get you through 2020.
And then be specific and list the characteristics of that person that were helpful. The next step is a little more challenging call or meet with that person face to face socially distance, of course, and thank them for helping you get through the tough parts of this past year. Share with them specifically what they did that was helpful.
I did this and have shared with four of the people so far that kept me afloat. Right? Well, we did that over breakfast last year, last week. And, um, there, there were some tears because I, I really, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you this past year, sweetie. And then the tears were happy tears though.
And at least one of them said, I didn’t realize I had that impact. And that is the power of this process. Letting others know how they have impacted us, may change how they see themselves. Many of us have crappy stories. We tell ourselves, but hearing the truth from someone else really can shift that entertainer to one that is more true.
Okay. The last suggestion is a much deeper dive into creating smart goals. You guys know about smart goals, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time focused. So I’m not going to go in depth because I won’t do it. Justice in summarizing Michael Hyatt has a course called your best year ever, which walks you through goals that are fueled by your why.
And I mean, he really does go deep. And to compliment this, he offers the full focus planner, which takes those goals and brings them into daily focus. If this sounds interesting to you check out the link in the show notes. I am not a sponsor, but maybe I should look at becoming an affiliate. Well, I have to look into that.
Uh, Mark, you and I both tried out the planner last year and we approach goals and planning a little bit differently, but what, what was your experience with the planner?
Mark: You know, for me, the planner was, um, the biggest, helpful part of it was it there’s a section where you can kind of. Pencil in your ideal week.
And I was thinking about that this morning, cause I, I kind of need to do that again. You know, back when college, we used to do that because you’d, you’d put in your classes and then you’d put in where you’re going to work out or where are you going to run or what you’re going to do when different things were.
Kathy: When you’re going to take Kathy out on a date,
Mark: when I’m going to take Kathy out on a day, we’re going to meet at 10 o’clock and you’ll run, run around. Yeah. PM. That would be PM. Yeah. And go for a run. Um, but the planner is just too much for me. I don’t, you know, I ended up using it just very, it was a. It was not a good investment of money for me.
Um, I tend to just use the mole skin, you know, because I just, I, I put a lot of notes into it if I’m in meetings or if I’m anticipating meetings, um, But once I, once I kind of lay out goals and figure out where I’m going, then I just dig in. I don’t do, I don’t spend a lot of time reflecting now. Maybe I should, but at 63, I just don’t think that’s ever going to be a part of what I do.
Um, so I really didn’t use it. Um, I appreciate it. I think it’s probably helpful for a lot of people. I just tend to use them. Blank mole skin, you know, to get me through the year.
Kathy: Yeah. Uh, one of the things I learned about you a long time ago is that I think it was when I was doing my master’s program, actually in psychology and going through personality assessments and we were learning to do the Rorschach. And, uh, what I learned about you in that process is that you are a big picture person probably could have learned that many different ways, but that was probably, I don’t know, two years into our marriage that you really don’t see details.
You, you see the big picture and that is part of what then became stressful for you over the years of running the company is you, you kind of stayed in that big picture mode, but you had to do the details to keep the day-to-day running. And it was, it was, it was exhausting for you. You can do it, but it’s not, that’s not how you’re wired.
Mark: Yeah. And those details are very important to me. Um, and I need to know that they’re happening. But if I have to get down into the weeds, it’s generally not good for me or anybody else around me. So, yeah.
Kathy: So talk a little bit about your process, what it looks like now.
Mark: Yeah, well, you know, it’s interesting.
It’s changed even over the last couple of years. Um, uh, two or three years back, I realized. The end of the year for me would actually be, it would lead into some kind of a time of depression, um, because I tended to get, come to the end of the year and focus on what I hadn’t accomplished and. You know, the really challenging piece of it was if I was not in a good place and I would be comparing myself to what I thought other people had accomplished and what I thought I should have accomplished.
And as I, as I recognize that I began to make a shift, um, I still, I still look at things that didn’t happen during the year, but I’ve. I’ve become more focused on looking at what has happened. And, and some of that is trying to make a shift into more gratitude. Um, and so looking at what did happen, what I was able to accomplish, because I am driven to accomplish things.
I mean, that’s just. That’s just the way I’m wired, the way I was created. And so that’s never going to change. Um, so, but looking at some of the things that I did accomplish enables me to look at some of what didn’t happen and in a more healthy way, look at, okay, what do I want to change this next year so that I can accomplish either those things or whatever new things are, you know, on my, on my list now.
So I’ve also, so that’s been helpful. Um, I’ve also started just focusing on a word, you know, for the year. Um, you know, so this coming year, I’ll start with the positive because this coming year, my word is, is gratefulness or thankfulness. Um, because I’ve recognized that what I’m thankful. I am just in a much healthier place.
I’m in a much more positive place. And I don’t, um, you know, I don’t go to the negative or just something I need to change or fix or, you know, um, so that’s a big part of, kind of where I start the year. Um, it’s interesting what happens sometimes in years, because. Two years ago, you know, I, I came into the year and used the word enough and there were two things that happened.
There were partner issues that, um, that brought more anger into the year than I wanted. And then there was the loss of really who the man that was probably my best friend. Um, and when Brian took his own life, Man. I was just overwhelmed with the grief that went with that and the grief with the anger just completely sidetracked, kind of that sense of being enough and trying to remind myself of that.
So that’s been a process of, you know, last, the last couple of years of work, really working through both things and working through, um, struggles in those areas. Um, So I’m back to this year, um, being grateful, being thankful. Um, and once I do that, you know, in the past, a lot of my goals have focused on work.
There’s certain things either grow for oriented or, um, things that I wanted to put into place in the company to enable it to move forward. And some of that has changed, you know, I don’t, gosh, we’ve got this amazing. Management team now with our business that has done an amazing job in probably the worst year we’ve ever had.
Kathy: worst year in terms of influences, we couldn’t have anticipated
Mark: no control around the virus. Yeah, no control over and yet they have hung in there and we’ve watched, we’ve watched our staff just step up and. Beef servants and, um, just, we’ve just seen them. Be such amazing people. I’m just so proud of, of the people that work for us.
Um, but you know, so again, we’re, you know, we’re in an early sixties, we don’t have to get up and drive to work every day and do those kinds of things. So for me, there’s, there’s probably three areas that I’m focused on. One is, um, I’m focused on physically, just, you know, I want to be healthy and active for, you know, I, uh, one of our neighbors here in Colorado, who’s almost 90 years old.
Um, summer before last, um, we were sitting out on the deck talking and he said, um, He said, you know, Mark, you need to plan to live another 30 years. And he was talking in terms of some financial things, but I began to think, well, shoot, I’ve got to, there’s a lot of things I’ve got to address. So one of them is physical.
So I set some goals about what I want, I want to do this year just to have this functional strength and to be able to live the life that we want to live. Then I kind of lumped in mental, emotional, spiritual. Um, we’ve talked about, you know, I’ve got this great group of guys, my whiskey and theology fellows, um, in Texas, but I don’t get to see them as much anymore.
And so. You and I are being more intentional about the finding community, um, finding friends in Fort Collins. And so I want to read, you know, I’m always reading. Um, I want to read things that are gonna be positive for me mentally and emotionally and spiritually, but I also want to seek out people with whom I can have good conversation, um, because I’ve, I’ve realized one of my, one of my.
Uh, I guess it’s one of my love languages is just quality time. I just love good one-on-one or small group conversations,
Kathy: and we have some great conversations, but this past year, 24 seven.
Mark: W we need a little more variety.
Kathy: Sweeper meant to be each other’s everything. And I, I think that’s an important reminder for couples too, is that if you find yourself a little, um, Short tempered with the other one, you know, have some grace with each other because we had several of those days where it was like you way we would have some conflict and I don’t even know what it was about, but it was just this.
We didn’t have other people that we were having conversations with, spending time with.
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. Um, the other thing I think for me is just thinking about work and we’ve realized we’re thinking about work as what we do every day differently than we have in the past. You know, you, I’ve tried to continue to encourage you in this podcast and in these interviews, I just think.
This time that you spend with entrepreneurial couples is very, very powerful and very valuable. And I want you to keep doing that. Um, and as we’ve talked, it’s life giving for you to do these things, you know, work is actually life-giving for me. And so. You know, I’ve looked at engaging with an organization that, that encourages and mentors entrepreneurs, um, you know, in a peer board kind of a setting.
And I value that. That’s just not what I want to do. I want to build something. That’s what gives life to me. And so, you know, we’re kind of talking through the questions of, alright, do I start another business or do we buy a business? Um, that I can build and, you know, grow over the next two or he knows how many years, so still wrestling through that.
Um, but that’s what I’m focused on as a work goal this year is to identify either, um, I’m starting something new or I’m buying something to grow. And so the next, probably six weeks, you know, we’ll be very focused on that. Um, And it does look different, you know, than it has in the past.
Kathy: Right. It’s very different, not having children at home that were trying to get to sports practices.
And, and now with the challenges of COVID learning, you know, gosh, my heart has gone out to so many parents and if you’re a parent with school aged kids, man, I see you. And I, I just, my heart really aches for some of you parents, as we have watched the in and out of school and trying to work. And especially for parents that, I mean, like, I think of many of our employees, clearly they cannot work from home.
Their job is to care for frail and elderly seniors.
Mark: Right, right. Yeah. And we have, fortunately we have not known anyone who’s lost their business this year, but. We know there’s been thousands that have just gone dark and won’t come back. Yeah. You know, and I, so yeah, yeah. In much the same way I feel, I feel such a compassion for business owners that are struggling.
Um, so that’s. Yeah. And I think it too, we talked some yesterday about. I think in the past, we’ve had more goals as a couple and now it’s, it’s, it’s shifted and I’m not sure when the shift happened. Probably some of it has been related to not having kids at home, but part of it is related to, we don’t get up and go to work every day.
And so our goals are a bit more individual, but they’re still related. And a part of what we do as a couple is encourage one another’s goals and support what each other is doing, you know, and we’ve done that. You’ve probably done that more, um, you know, historically than I have, um, But, you know, I’m trying to learn a couple of new tricks, right?
Kathy: You can teach an old dog, new tricks. You, you have been very supportive of this and that’s one of the things over the past year that really did get me through because when you’re creating something that. It is not a tangible product. You can’t go sell it and go, Oh, a hundred people bought this, you know, it’s more putting information out there.
It’s, um, it, it’s hard to keep going. And so you’ve, you’ve been a great support for that. And I have been learning in the last, well, amazingly, just in the last two in a couple of years, too. Uh, place as a priority and to verbalize to you what, what it is that I’m trying to do. Um, so yeah, we’re both still growing and changing and I, I will always be a person that is wanting to challenge myself physically, mentally.
I love to read, I, I like new ideas. Um, getting this podcast really. I mean, that, that was a big thing for me this past year was I got actually 20 episodes, I think out. And it’s, there’s a lot that goes into this. I do it all myself back. Now. Some of that is good. That’s one of my goals for this year. Yeah.
Because I am going to hire someone to help with some of the, um, detailed things that are not so fun, but. Yeah, I think are, are, are together. The goals are more about recreation and kind of finally doing the things that we didn’t have as much time to do when we were in the thick of building a company and, and raising kids.
You know, I remember when I had my therapy practice going. And we would get our little, you know, 10 days to go camp or whatever in the summer. And I would prep clients and it never failed. There was somebody that called with an emergency and it was like, I could never get away from it. So I think that is something.
And if, if you’re in the thick of the battle and wondering, you know, is this ever going to pay off? I would say, just keep going and, and look ahead, because that is one thing that really did help us when we were growing the company and chasing this dream of being able to live in Colorado and, um, all the things that we love to do in the mountains, hiking right now, we’re Nordic skiing.
We got to go twice this week.
Mark: And I shot my first elk this year.
Kathy: Yes you did
Mark: a four year process.
Kathy: Yes. Freezer full. We have a lot of elk. Oh my goodness. So yeah. So goal setting does change over time. And so I hope this has been helpful. Just maybe. You know, tossing out some ideas. You talked about the word of the year and, um, that’s something that, you know, if you’re on social media at all, you see a lot of people setting their word. Mine is joy.
And I realized this past year that I, I too really struggled with depression and, uh, for many reasons that I won’t go into here, but I, I wasn’t sure I could remember what joy felt like. And I am realizing, and being able to find again, that joy, finding joy, no matter the circumstance, I let my circumstances too much rule how I feel.
And that’s something I’ve been working on for some time and probably will continue to work on for some time to come. But, um, Finding something that brings me joy every day is that is my intention for 2021. So thanks so much for joining me, honey.
Yeah, this was fun. Always fun to be a guest.
Yes. Well, you will be a little more frequent guests because my other goal this year is to publish this podcast every week.
Uh we’ll combine interviews and have more either hosted on Mike, me talking in other words, or, um, You know, having you come in and we kind of get behind the entrepreneur mind and just some of the things over the years that have worked, or haven’t worked both in business and in our marriage, as we look forward to celebrating 41 years next week, it’s
Kathy: We won’t look like we do now. That’s for sure. So for more marriage resources, you can go to Kathyrushing.com. Sign up for my email. You’ll get more information maybe once a month. I don’t send out emails that often you’re building a life together. Make it a great one. And we’ll see you next week. .