I am back and this time with a review of what the first half of 2019 has brought so far for Affective Facilitation. Some significant changes brought many ups and down along. Therefore, I had to step back from the efforts towards my online presence here and on social media. As the waves are slowly calming down now, I have the headspace and time to recommit to regular contributions. Also, there are great things ahead!
But let‘s go back to where I started this year.
In 2018 the author and podcast host Gretchen Rubin started the goal-setting project “18 for 2018”. The idea behind it was it to achieve 18 things in 2018 that are aiming to create happiness in your life. This year she relaunched it as “19 for 2019”. Her focus is on personal development, growth and first and foremost happiness. She invites her listeners to pick big and small things that they WANT to achieve on their way to a more fulfilled life. It is not about should-or-should-not-s like in traditional New Year’s resolutions.
So this year, I decided to join in on the fun. I chose to have two separate lists – one for my personal life and one for Affective Facilitation. As the year is already a bit more than halfway done, I want to share my picks together with a status update on my progress.
1. Go on part-time in my day job
2. Find a day job more in line with Affective Facilitation
These two picks were the most important ones, and I actually already achieved them. For the last two years, I was stuck in a relatively abusive and exhausting day job within the cooperate sector, which did not align with my values and aims. Affective Facilitation as my side hustle had to take the backstage in many moments to maintain my overall health.
So on the 3rd of March, I dared the jump! I joined the International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International on a three-day position as Project and Communications Coordinator. That does not just mean a more fulfilling field of work but also opens up time for healing and refocussing on Affective Facilitation. I put up with a significant pay cut but trust in this still small endeavour to provide and make up for the financial cutbacks.
3. The 3-3-3 of client acquisition
One of the things I really need to focus on for making Affective Facilitation work is finding more clients and building and maintaining my existing ones. For that, I decided to try out an approach called 3-3-3. Per month I will contact three potential clients for the first time, follow up with three who I contacted but have not worked with before and check-in with three existing clients.
So far, I have not done this. I gained a big new client, but there is no method to the madness. Trying to apply to every call that comes my way, is not paying off. So, I will be focussing on this pick in the upcoming two months.
4. One meetup a week
As an ambivert, I am not always comfortable to spend time with larger groups. Nevertheless, if I want to succeed in a city like Brussells, I need to get in touch with people on a personal base. Last year, I discovered the app Meetup. I already joined several groups related to public speaking and facilitation. But I went just here and there once in a while without a real focus.
This year, I want to use these opportunities more purposefully. Therefore, I decided to join one meetup or another meeting each week of the year. There will be weeks when I will not be able to go, so the goal is in general 52 meetups in 2019. So far, I went to 12 meetings. With 23 weeks left in this year, I will have to join 1,7 meetings a week…
5. My own meetup
As much as I am enjoying the meetups offered, topics are missing that are dear to my heart. I want to discover those with the diverse bunch of people Brussels has to offer. I am thinking mainly of one for non-formal education practitioner and another for planner and journal junkies. I have many other ideas, but I need to start small, so it does not overwhelm me.
The furthest developed is the one for non-formal educators, and the summer break in August might actually allow me to kick it off. I will keep you posted! 😉
6. Go on the stage
7. Go in front of the camera
These two picks are again connected as they go along with my public speaking journey with Toastmaster International. I am enjoying writing and giving the speeches in my club and receive relatively good feedback. Therefore, I want to hold at least one in front of a large and mostly unknown crowd.
I am looking for a stage where I can be me and speak my truth. So far, I have not found one, but I have a couple of moments coming up in the next months in which I could create this stage for myself.
I will keep sharing my speeches here in writing, but I am also looking at recording myself on video. That scares me more than I like to admit… I will have to get over it if I want to promote my message.
I am thinking of some international networks related to facilitation and visual practice and also applied for a couple of Pool of Trainers. From both kinds of connections, I hope to gain additional work once I can actively engage in them.
On the other side, I also want to purposefully develop my own network. Being a trainer and facilitator is a quite solitary profession in between different engagements, so I want to bring the community together outside of work. That can mean having a coffee or dinner with one or two people or coming through on my plans for the meetup.
9. At least 12 paid projects.
In 2018, I was able to have four paid engagements. In 2019 I am attempting to triple this number. That is realistic as I am having several smaller requests for design and logo work as well a couple larger trainings already done and more booked. Properly implementing 3-3-3 and reworking my website and portfolios should give an additional boost. AND, I am already halfway there.
10. Allow art in
My professional background, among others, is in art and art education. Through my Bullet Journal and Visual Practice, I was able to bring it into Affective Facilitation. Nevertheless, I want to further build this out. Friends are encouraging me to start to offer my illustrations and graphics for designs and prints or create videos of my process.
I will spend the upcoming months discovering what this would mean administration wise and putting myself and work more out there. Check my Instagram to stay tuned!
11. Tidy up my bookkeeping
12. A Salary for me
These are two big ones! As in the last year, Affective Facilitation did only generate a tiny income keeping track of it was easy. It was enough to simply log it in my Bullet Journal.
That is finally changing for good, but having more money coming in means also more money going out. My attempts to diversify my offers and income streams are additionally complicating things. So, I need to take a weekend time and start a proper bookkeeping Excel spread! This will also allow me to evaluate my potential to start paying myself a monthly salary. My goal is to put this in place latest by December.
13. Train the Trainer
14. Give back
I am at a stage in my development as a trainer and facilitator where I feel comfortable giving my skills on to other practitioners. I already gave smaller visual practice sessions, and I enjoyed it genuinely.
So, for 2019, I hope to be able to be part of at least one Training for Trainers as a facilitator and gain at least one mentee to give back to the community. I already reached out to a couple of junior trainers in my network and some stated interest. So now we need to put the structures in place!
As facilitation becomes more and more an income-generating activity, I do not want to lose sight of its the potential for social change and innovation. Those people who would benefit most from my kind of work often cannot afford my services or join activities I am engaged in.
So I want to make a conscious effort to keep creating time and space where I volunteer my skills for a cause that matters to me. That might be a neighbourhood project here in Brussels, an NGO that does fantastic work or something even more significant.
16. Device up!
For the last four years, I only had an iPad Air 2 and a Bluetooth keyboard to work on. That drove me mad at times, but I could not afford to device up. An update was more than overdue!
My new job gave me access to a MacBook, and some projects from 2018 enabled me to purchase an iPad Pro and an Apple Pen. These two devices revolutionised my workflow! It is so much easier to work on enormous documents, add graphic design and digital visual practice to my offers and to work on the go. It feels like my possibilities are unlimited now!
But, be aware, I do not believe you need the newest and fanciest devices to get started or progress in your venture. My minimal setup was serving me well for a really long time, but I reached a point where I felt like I deserve an upgrade for my efforts.
17. Skill up!
In most of my skills, I am majority self-taught, and I often carved my own way. I have the urge to further professionalise and add on new ones as well. I am enjoying learning things like graphic design and copywriting. But I would prefer to take a course than to just go by learning by doing. I also want to broaden my repertoire of facilitation methods and add on to my art skills.
So far, I took a weekend course in Creative Facilitation by Partner for Youth Empowerment which blew my mind! They combine personal development and topic work with arts practices reaching from visual arts to dance and music.
18. Add a professional language.
Over the years, I attempted to learn many languages and even mastered some to the point where I have a good understanding of the spoken and writing word. But I am far away from being capable of working in any of them…
Living in Brussels and dreaming of going into development work with my facilitation demand to add at least one additional working language to English and German. The best would be French and Spanish. My Spanish is relatively rusty, but I think some effort in revitalising and actually speaking it, could push it far.
Nevertheless, I decided earlier this year to focus on French, but I have to honestly admit that it is not realistic for me to master it this year… There was just too much going on, and I was not able to put real work into it. This pick will have to migrate to my 20 to 2020 list… 😉
19. Stick to a schedule
To make all the things above come into reality, I HAVE TO stick to a schedule. Having these two days during the week for Affective Facilitation is only paying off if I actually spend them working on something and not in my bed with Netflix. I am aware that after my old job, I needed time to heal and recover, but it is due time to start eating the frog.
So before I focus on anything else, I will sit down to create a schedule and take the necessary steps for implementing it. That will make things hard in the short turn but will prove viable in the long run.
There are they, my 19 for 2019s. Many of them are ambitious and scary. But my progress so far and the willingness to admit that I might not come through on some of them are proof that I can do it. Putting them out here on the internet will create much needed outer accountability.
So what do you think, did I go too big, too bold or just far enough to push me forward? How is your year coming along so far? Let me know in the comments below or on social media!