Over the last few days, I’ve been reading several retrospective posts about other people’s year in life and business. They talk about what they have accomplished, lessons learned, and how they succeeded or failed with the various goals they set for themselves when the year began.
I’ve done something similar privately, but don’t feel the urge to share it publicly. So instead of doing that I thought I’d share who I’m especially thankful for in the last year.
My wife and kids have been my greatest source of strength and inspiration. Their continual love and support has helped me believe I am capable of pursuing and even reaching my goals.
My Dad has always been supportive of whatever I’ve pursued in my life, whether it was sports, music, or anything else since I was a child. But this year especially, when I told him I was starting my own business, he’s helped me work through some of the things I needed to do to get it up and running, and has been there to help and support me along the way. As a business owner himself, I appreciate his willingness to listen and share his thoughts about what I’m workign on. But his friendship is what means the most to me.
This was the year I finally decided to come out of my shell and start participating in the WordPress community. I have been using WordPress for almost ten years, but struggled with my freelancing business because I wasn’t ready to make connections with other people in the area. In 2015 I attended my first WordCamp, but it wasn’t until this Spring that I started going to meetups and getting more involved.
Andy Stitt was the first person I met at the Philly ‘burbs WordPress Meetup through the random chance of where I sat down. Throughout the last year, he has been a major source of inspiration both in person and from reading his blog. His willingness to share his life openly and honestly, even when things are difficult, has been so encouraging to me and many others.
I was also introduced to Angelina Simms who seemed to know everybody, but still made me feel valued and important. Eventually, I met others like Matt Ryan (not the NFL quarterback), Liam, Joe, Lauren, and Jason. After giving my first talk at WordCamp Lehigh Valley this summer, I have become better friends with two of the organizers, Ken and Kim. Ken especially has been a great friend, keeping in contact even though we don’t see each other as often. And Kim is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
The reason I mention all their names is because it is truly the people who make the WordPress communitiy strong. Their friendship and support, even after only just meeting me, has been the main difference from every other year where I felt like a failure at this point in time. Even though I’m still an introvert and find it difficult to get myself out of the house, I leave every meetup and WordCamp feeling renewed and motivated to continue working on my business and improving myself as a person.
On a side note, it’s also been very exciting to see the diversity in this group, something that only makes us stronger and better off. Personally, I can’t wait until my daughters are old enough to participate and it is encouraging to see so many women in the group.