My Top 10 Greatest Victories & Failures In 2014

greatest victories & failures

Was 2014 everything you hoped it would be? Did you reach your goals for the year? Did you have goals for the year?

Our community is about building businesses and lives that matter. We’re about creating radical value and reaping the enormous benefits of an enduring brand. We believe that our businesses should make our lives better, not worse.

With that in mind, I want to pause and reflect on my greatest victories and failures this year. After all, our businesses are here to enhance our quality of life, right? I hope this will encourage you to consider “How am I doing? Am I stewarding my life and business well?”

The truth is, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. If only for this week, I want to pause from our regular brand training to look at the real life of a brand builder. Who better to throw under the bus than myself?

But First, My 3 Lessons Learned

1) Create a community. I’ve learned that community is one of the pillars of a fulfilling life. This is true for our businesses and our personal lives. By creating community, we benefit from the value of friendship, support, variety, and feedback. This life is not a dress rehearsal, so let’s make the most of it.

2) Define your own version of success. How do you define success? Is it working from home? Having freedom to spend more time with your family? Success looks different for everyone. Don’t let the world define success for you. By clearly defining our own version of success, we’ll have much better understanding of how to spend our precious time.

3) Only focus on what matters. Once we’ve defined our own version of success, we need to stop wasting time on things that don’t point us toward that goal. For example, if your goal is to make $100K working from home next year, there are specific steps you need to take today to make that goal a reality. There are also things you need to stop doing immediately.

My 5 Greatest Victories

1) I focused on my marriage. Leanna and I have been married for 3 incredible years. This year we laughed together, prayed together, and grew together. Although both of our jobs were extremely demanding this year, we consistantly leaned on one another for support and restoration. Neither of us are perfect, but I believe we loved each other well this year. A successful marriage is the backbone of successful life.

2) I started blogging regularly. Building a blog has been a personal goal of mine for years. The truth is, it’s quite a bit of work to write a solid post every week. Is it really worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Since launching this blog 2 months ago, I have reached an astonishing 32,103 readers. Those are relationships I would not have without this blog. If you are considering blogging, I highly recommend it! Danny Iny was the tipping point to get me into blogging. If you’re wondering how to start, his site is a great resource.

3) I began a mastermind group. Second to blogging, starting a mastermind group was the best thing I’ve done for professional development this year. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Barrett Brooks provides a stellar intro to mastermind groups here. Our group meets once a month with the goal of pushing each of us toward our greatest dreams.

4) I created my 5 non-negotiables. This year I realized how easy it can be to spend time on work that doesn’t support my ultimate goal. To solve this problem, I wrote out 5 non-negotiables that a project must meet in order for me to commit myself to it. This is something I picked up from Dale Partridge’s monthly income reports.

– My work must be creative
– My work must provide freedom
– My work must include a community
– My work must offer exponential growth
– My work must have strong income potential

5) I stopped recreational shopping. I have completely rewired the way I think about money in 2014. For years, my idea of a good time always involved spending money. This is a terrible idea for many reasons. First, it creates a positive phycological association between feeling good and losing money. Yikes. Second, it’ll make you broke. Need I say more?

My 5 Greatest Failures

1. I allowed too much stress into my life. The presence of stress is often a choice. I’ll usually notice myself becoming stressed and cut it down. However, this year I consciously allowed stress to persist far too often. In 2015 I’ll protect myself by creating a strategy to close the door on stress as soon as I feel it approach.

2. I spent too little time with God. As a Christian, my relationship with God is the foundation of my life. This year I noticed moments where I lacked gratitude and contentment. In part, this is because I failed to spend enough time in prayer, the bible, and meditation. In 2015 I’ll preset a time of day that is devoted to God.

3. I worked too many unpaid hours. If you own a business, you know how easy it can be to work endless hours. Many of these hours are unpaid. I found myself consistently working hours beyond the scope of a given project. Why? In part, because I’m a perfectionist. I have mostly resolved this issue by implementing a time management system, but it’s an area I need to work on in 2015.

4. I did not excercise enough. Growing a business is hard work. There’s no two ways around it. Sadly, the time I spent cultivating my business was often time spent away from my workouts. Success cannot come at the expense of our health. That is not success at all. To give credit where it’s due, Lewis Howes has influenced me more than anyone else on the benefits of staying physically fit.

5. I traveled too little. I love to travel, it invigorates me. Yet, I traveled very little this year. While this is not my greatest failure, it is a failure nonetheless. In order to live our dream life, we must design it that way. In order to travel more, I need to design it into my life.

Life Is Like A River

There you have it! My top 10 greatest victories & failures of 2014. My overarching theme this year was about creating my long-term vision for a successful life. I’ve learned that life is like a river. It is constantly pulling us down stream. If we’re not actively charting our route and rowing toward it, we can easily wind up in downtown nowhere-ville.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Now I hand it over to you. Do any of my victories or failures resonate with you? Have you seen these crop up in your life this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About Seth Addison

Seth Addison is a brand designer committed to helping entrepreneurs transform small businesses into iconic brands. Enter your email below for free updates.


  • Craig says:

    I absolutely resonate with your list! I run a design studio, and I really struggle with working too many hours. I LOVE what I do, which makes it easy to keep on going when I know I need to stop. I’d love to hear you thoughts on how you balance “a job well done” with “a job that needs to just be done”.

    • Seth Addison says:

      Hey Craig. I think that is an issue for almost everyone who loves what they do. To address this, I started tracking my time religiously. I began to notice times where I was less productive, which resulted in working extra hours to pick up the slack. For example, I noticed I am much less creative in the afternoon. Now my creative work is done in the morning, and meetings are scheduled for the afternoon. By shifting my schedule, I became more productive and began reaching my standard of quality without working extra hours. Hope that helps Craig!

  • Sarah says:

    Hi Seth. I just wanted to say that I love your blog, and I love your honesty in this post! I found your blog through Danny Iny – if he recommends you, then that speaks volumes! This post definitely lit a fire under my ass to open my journal and write my own 10 victories and failures. Thank you!

    • Seth Addison says:

      Thanks for such kind words Sarah! You just made my day 😉 Yes, I’m with you on Danny and the Firepole team – they have been one of my biggest sources of inspiration and insight in blogging. I’m so glad I motivated you to get intentional with your goals in 2015. You won’t regret it!

  • colette says:

    Thank you for such an honest post Seth. 2014 was a year of transition and change for me. My victories include having the courage to move half way across the country to live a simple life within my means, and to start baby steps toward my dream. A victory associated with this is the absolute knowledge that I have been in the center of God’s will. What a feeling!
    I can totally relate with you on most everything you said….and I too, have worked thousands of unpaid hours (easy to do when you love what you do).
    Thanks Seth 😉

    • Seth Addison says:

      That’s incredible Colette! It makes me so happy to hear that you are moving toward your goal. Like I said in the post, no one can define success but you. You are taking control of your life and your business. I am confident that it will pay off in spades. As always, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  • Dusty Baker says:

    That’s such a great point to define success on your own. It has been very hard to me to realize what success is to ME when I see what others are doing and continually compare myself to them. Much appreciated advice, Seth!

    • Seth Addison says:

      I’m with you 100% Dusty. For too many years I got caught in the trap of comparing myself to others. Success is a subjective term. Until we define what it means to us, we’ll always be working toward someone else’s ideal future – not ours. Also, congratulations on the launch of your new blog! Your are doing amazing things!

  • Abo Jassin says:

    How important it is to reflect and optimize work behaviour, time management, work-life balance.. Thanks for those helpful hints.
    My biggest challenge is to get rid of distractions and work smarter and more efficient. As Brian Tracy says: when you work, work.
    I often found myself checking emails the second they arrive. But I noticed that it pulls me out of my flow, and I have to refocus every time I get back to my project. I check and answer mails now once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. Small change with big effect, at least for me..

    • Seth Addison says:

      Thanks Abo! That is a huge point you made. If we all just completed the task in front of of us, we would be a 1000x more productive! I’m the exact same as you – I want to read emails/blog comments/social media comments as soon as they come in. I know they pull me out of my flow, but my curiosity just kills me! :) Thanks for your great comment Abo!

  • Rob says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Seth. These are all such great reminders to keep the things we value at the forefront of our priorities. Keep these great posts coming!

    • Seth Addison says:

      Ah, thanks for the kind words Rob! Just so you know, you can always stay up to date on my latest posts by entering your email at the end of every post. I send a nice little email each week with a link to each new post. No spam, just goodies :)

  • rana says:

    Hi Seth,

    Great post! I noticed we both have some of the same business/branding inspirations. I’m wishing you continued success in 2015.


    • Seth Addison says:

      Hello Rana! Thanks! We definitely share many of the same interests. I just spent 10 minutes reading through your site. I’m always so pleased to invite new readers into this community of small business heroes. We’re so glad to have you!

  • Hey Seth, just wanted to drop a quick note to say thanks for referencing the mastermind article. Glad it was helpful to you ;). Your site is gorgeous. Keep up the good work.

    • Seth Addison says:

      You’re welcome Barrett – but I’m the one that should be thanking you for your stellar post on building a mastermind group. Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you’re enjoying my site!

  • Adriaan says:

    Hello Seth

    I stumbled upon your site on searching for “Design Entrepreneurs”. Currently free-lancing as Graphic Designer, I am sourcing inspiration and input into establishing my creative offering rather than just being the go-to-guy when something needs to be designed. Big Agency life is not all that is cut out to be either.

    Thank you so much for the awesome design, tips and sharing your thoughts in your blog. I resonate with your victories and failures and have realized that there are areas I need to focus on, before I can hope for things to go better. Most noteworthy to me, is your devotion and openness regarding your faith and what it means to you. Spirituality is ones own source of inspiration in order to deal with the pressures of our chosen path. Thank you for the affirmation.

    Looking forward to reading more and wishing you a prosperous 2015.

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