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2018 Year in Review: F*ck the Quadrants

Jan. 3, 2019 | 5-min read

No offense to Robert Kiyosaki, that guy with all the dads, but for me 2018 was about a return to being self-employed after trying to build a business.

The financial guru Robert Kioyosaki came up with the above Cash-Flow Quadrant for achieving personal financial freedom.

In 2018, I was all like, I’m going from the “S” square to “B!”

So I tried to scale, automate and build myself out of my business. I moved from non-fiction books to cozy mysteries, hiring a bunch of writers. I tried to Build a Brand, and it all kind of blew up in my face.

Though I loved the women I had hired and the work they wrote (and they did, too!), and I learned a lot, I didn’t love running a business (or an unprofitable one, at that…)

I realized I actually love writing.

I love being self-employed.

I shut my “B” down, and being a solopreneur has felt so freeing. I like doing things myself. I’m having flashbacks to the thrill of bootstrapping, my first $1 made online.

But! Business gurus would say, you need to outsource what you’re not good at, optimize your time, maximize your skills, lead your business into the land of rainbows and sunshine of passive income.

You know the parable of the Mexican Fisherman?

I had a passive income from my previous year of solo-preneurship, but instead of saying, OK, what do I really want to do with my time?, I looked around and said, What am I supposed to do?

I left the 9-to-5 grind in 2016 because I wanted to make my own path, and then once I did, I got all caught up in how other people were making their own path.

I’m around so many inspiring and bad-ass entrepreneurs that I wanted to follow their lead. “But,” someone said to me when I told them I was firing all my writers, “You’re going back a quadrant.”

F*ck the quadrants.

* * *

Looking forward to 2019, my theme for the year is, “What do I already have?”

When I set goals for 2018, I’d had a pretty good 2016 & 2017. But I was ready for MORE! BETTER EVERY YEAR! I’d moved to Asia and started a side-hustle in 2016. I 60x’d my income (lol it started at a few dollars) in 2017.

2018 had to have bigger and better achievements.

I set goals for traveling more, reading more, making more cash, saving more, meeting more people, exercising more, writing more, and building that capital-B Business that was going to impress people.

I did some of those things well but failed at most, at least at the more part.

I recently found my 2018 vision board (I know, I know), and portions of all of my goals I set literally fell off the back of it, could there be a more apt metaphor?

When you set too many goals, there’s no glue in the world strong enough to hold your vision together.

You guys, I even took up figure skating. At age 28. It was so much fun and a wonderful challenge and I loved every minute of it until I didn’t, but WHAT?

Clearly, I was scattered.

I like the phrase David Cain gave his year, the Year of Depth.

Whenever I want to start something new, go somewhere new, buy something new, I want to ask myself, “What do I already have?” and lean into that.

I already know a lot of amazing people. I’ve found places around the world I love to live. I’m working on a project I’m really excited about. How can I go deeper with each of those things, instead of chasing novelty?

In the words of the immortal Oprah:

So — who cares how many countries I visited this year? Or how many books I read?

The more interesting questions to me: What trip meant the most to me and why? (Rome, because I was surprised how much I loved learning about the history), and which books impacted me the most, and why did I love them?​​​

2018 was shifting from MORE MORE MORE and BETTER BETTER BETTER to let’s stay still and be present and go deeper.

I deleted my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter profiles. I think social media presents some pretty f*cked-up metrics for living life and literally tries to addict you to them, and I’m much happier focusing on what’s actually in front of me (and having oodles of time to read.)

I’m grateful for all the sh*t I messed up in 2018 because it taught me a lot of great things, and I can’t wait to mess up some stuff in 2019, too!

Don’t get me wrong, 2018 was a year for the record books. I grew so much, I met so many amazing people, I got to travel the world, I started (and ended) so many crazy things.

One of the best things I did was Turn Pro as a writer: I started taking it seriously.

Though I’ve dreamed of doing it since I was, IDK, 18?, I’ve finally gotten around to starting Major Scary Project, writing my first novel under my own name.

In 2019, I’m looking forward to not looking at quadrants, or how my life looks filtered and staged on Instagram, or a vision board, to decide what it’s missing.

Instead, my only meaningful goal: To ask myself continuously, What do I already have, and how wonderful is that?