How to breathe life into your 2015 plans

Pam and Darryl 076

Ah, young love! Photo by my Pops, Lewis Stewart

I remember the date that proved without a doubt that my husband Darryl was the man for me.

We were in Northern California, and we started the day with strong Peet’s Coffee in Oakland. We drove to Phoenix Lake in Ross, where I used to go as a little girl, and hiked around the lake, drinking in the quiet beauty together.

After lunch in my hometown of San Anselmo, we drove to Berkeley for a Pow Wow, where we enjoyed beautiful music and dancing all afternoon.

That evening, we had a quiet dinner by the fire back at my flat in Oakland, looking at the twinkling lights around Lake Merritt.

Both of us called it “the longest day in the world,” because it seemed to stretch on forever, the slow pace allowing us to experience beauty all around us.

Now, after having been married for a decade, we still recall that day with affection, since it captures the spirit of our relationship, and the nature of our love for each other.

In the every day life of these past 10+ years, there have been struggles and arguments, sleepless nights carrying crying babies around, hard work, prayers, hugs, endless dish and towel washing (seriously, it is about a 10 towels to kid ratio each week), tender conversations, economic crashes and calamities, huge professional victories and celebrations, vacations, lots of grocery shopping and good and bad parenting days.

In short, the life of marriage.

The vision of marriage is a beautiful, powerful, tender thing that makes your heart swell.

Yet that vision will not be realized unless you breathe life into it each day through your daily actions. Some actions are pleasurable and easy, others test your very will to live (thinking of my friend Emily Han who is currently in her last days of writing and editing her first cookbook. Keep going Em, your will to live will return once the book is done!)

 Your work life is no different.

The “perfect date” equivalent of your work is a gorgeous, shiny plan for 2015. Your plan may include:

  • Fresh New Year resolutions
  • A colorful vision board
  • A squeaky clean business plan, with revenue projections that will solve your earthly problems and impress your parents

These plans are necessary and inspiring.

However, you must breathe life into them by articulating the plan details, and breaking them down into feasible, clear steps.

How to breathe life into your plans for 2015

Articulate your vision:

  • What do you want to create?
  • Why do you want to create it?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why now?
  • Why you?

Define your plan:

  • What are the individual components?
  • What resources do you need to accomplish them?
  • Which systems do you need to support them?
  • When does each part need to be accomplished?

Zero in on your immediate future:

  • What do you need to get done this month?
  • What do you need to get done this week?
  • What critical task do you need to complete today?

(In the spirit of full disclosure, this post is my immediate action item. I wanted to send it Wednesday. Then yesterday. Now it is Friday afternoon, and for the love of everything, you will get it today, even if I have to be here until midnight.)

To give you a living example of how this works, here is how these questions break down for me:

Example: What am I up to this year?

 In 2015, I will work with individuals, organizations and brands who want to operate from their strengths, create meaningful and sustainable work, communicate openly and authentically, build their communities and live joyfully while doing it.

 Why do I want to do this work?

Because in this uncertain, unstable world, we need individuals, organizations and brands that have the skills to grow, change and adapt.

We need to build our economy and get people back to work.

We need to feel better about our lives and careers, and not waste our precious time doing work that is not meaningful.

We need to solve serious social problems, and create a just and fair society for all.

We need to get rid of the notion that in order to scale an organization, you have to make it a horrible place to work.

We need to build open connections with our favorite brands so that they hear what we need and we share our love for them openly, and frequently (Did I mention how much I love Peet’s Coffee? They have never paid me to say that)

Who do I want to work with?

People who care about our future.

People who care about each other.

People who love to create.

People who get me and want to work with me.

Why me?

 This is my work. I have deep experience working with organizations, I have deep experience working with individuals. I have deep joy bringing great brands to life. I have one of the best communities of diverse people on the planet, and I owe it to them.

Why now?

Have you read the news lately? 🙂

Now, more than ever, we need a capable, engaged, collaborative community of people who will not let instability and fear run their lives. There are big problems to be solved, huge opportunities to be reaped, and beautiful things to create.

What are the parts of my plan?

  • Indispensable Course for Individuals (coming soon! Sign up for the wait list here)
  • Indispensable Manager Workshop for Organizations (can’t wait to share more about this soon!)
  • Indispensable Brand consulting work for select corporate partners like Citrix
  • Indispensable Community Building through keynotes, great content and conversations

 What is in my immediate future:

  • Launch the first Indispensable program of the year in early February.
  • Solidify my team for the year (I am currently hiring a marketing/communications assistant)
  • Help my current clients reach their goals (which includes things like finishing a book proposal, closing a big sales deal, launching a new website, and marketing a new course)
  • Begin Phase 1 of my marketing plan for organizations
  • Kick my keynote speaking into high gear

How it feels


Heck yes. This is the Year of Shipping Seriously.

My heart is beating quickly as I am writing this.

Will it be easy?

Heck no.

The living of this work is going to include ups and downs, twists and turns, heartache, exhilaration and hard work.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely. I can think of no other way I would rather spend my time and energy.

Let’s do this

You have great things to create this year. Whatever you wished you had done last year is gone. Focus on breathing life into your plans today, and watch your life bloom.

What are your big plans for 2015? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear!

Reader Interactions


  1. rebecca@altaredspaces says

    What I love so much about the way you work in the world, Pam, is that your BIG work leads with your BIG love story. This is why I trust you.

  2. Matt Fenwick says

    This year, I’m going to bring other writers on board. I’ll have other hands on deck for big projects, or just where I know they can nail a task I’d take ages longer to do.

    When I started out a few years back, I was very clear that I wanted to be more than just a freelancer with a logo. I didn’t want my business’s capacity to begin and end with my abilities and time.

    This year, I’ve got way more responsibilities (bub + mortgage) but even so, I’m moving out of purely survival mode. I can start to build a team, and that’s rather exciting.

  3. Lucy Chen says

    Hi Pamela,

    I discovered your work and website not long ago through Chris Guillebeau, and I’m very happy to have found you!

    Over the last two weeks, I’ve articulated my vision. I arrived at it from doing some deep work reflection and understanding my values. So my vision is to celebrate woman’s authentic self by mirroring their beauty in art.

    I’m still making and adjusting the plan, and I have tasks to do today, this week etc.

    Anyway, I’ll keep coming back 🙂

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