5 Large Lessons of 2009 - Christine Kane

As 2009 came to a close, there was a bandwagon out there. It was the “Bash 2009” bandwagon.

I loved 2009.  I loved it as much for its challenges as its successes.  In fact, I believe that the tumults we’ve faced as a global community are forcing us all off auto-pilot and into a place of deeper creativity.

I know. I know.  That’s not a popular opinion for those who are out for status quo, security and comfort.

You can have status quo, security and comfort when you die, right?

For now, here are 5 large lessons I learned in 2009:

1 – Our Growth is Proportional to Our Investment.

This lesson is one of the gifts of owning your own business – though it sure doesn’t seem like a gift at first!

The employee mindset goes like this:  “Hey, when the company pays for it, I’ll do it.”

These past two years, I’ve invested more in my education and coaching than ever before.  Yet again, I had to move past the “employee mindset” and plunk down my own moolah.  Not only did I step up and play a bigger game, (When our cash is involved – we gotta show up, right?!) but my income skyrocketed.

2 – Clarity Trumps Practicality.

Last March, I had the idea of putting on a big event later in the year. (Eventually, it became the Wide Awake Weekend.)

I said something like this to my coach: “I just don’t know if this idea is practical, given the economy.”

Sheri gave me that look that coaches give clients when the client has just stepped into the Land of Crappy Thinking.  She said, “I don’t care if it’s practical. I care if you’re clear that you want to do it.”

I got clear. I did it. It was great.  (Yes, even in this economy!)

Clarity trumps practicality. When someone is clear, and they take action from that place of clarity – then practicality has no choice but to move aside and let manifestation occur.

3 – Systems Are Sexy.

I’ve always been great at “winging it.”  I’m creative. I’m intuitive. I take action.

The only problem when you’re good at winging it is that you often live in chaos, and you tend to see everything on your to-do list as urgent.  After a while, this leads to burn out.

Systems require that you step back and look at your daily activities with deep reflection. Systems require that you ask: “How does this work? How can we make it more effective?”   Systems allow you to step away from your work, take vacations, have weekends – and most blessedly, have lots of free space in your mind for creativity to bloom.

4 – Ignoring your Business and Marketing Doesn’t Make You Humble.  (It makes you fail.)

I was a big fan of the statement: “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”  It’s a beautiful philosophy. And true on so many levels.

But I used it as a way to ignore the business side of my work.  After all, hey, if the money will follow – then I don’t ever have to deal with it, right?

Uh, wrong.

I’ve since learned that avoidance is not a game plan.  Neither is hope.

Even though I was busy in my business this year, I experienced a deeper happiness than ever before because I understand how run my business and marketing.  In the same way that creativity and songwriting taught me so much at the beginning of my career – facing my business and being brave enough to market my work has taken that learning to a higher level than I ever imagined.

5 – Serve. Or Be a Servant. The Choice is Yours.

You serve others with your attention, your intention, your health, your clarity, your awareness, and your power.

You serve others by charging what you’re worth, taking care of your health, honoring your time so that you’re not distracted or multi-tasking, by making requests rather than complaining, and by taking full responsibility for your thoughts and actions.

When you’re a servant, however, you’re a slave to the ego, which wants you to believe that serving others means ignoring yourself.  After all, the ego would prefer that you remain powerless, fearful, and unaware.  That way, it keeps you tethered to the idea of “security.” When you don’t understand power (or service), you need security for survival.  The ego is great at security.

The difference may seem subtle. But the power of this lesson has been staggering.

  • Shumi

    Hi Christine,

    I came across your website while surfing the net for vision boards. I enjoyed reading your articles. I am a business ownwer of an online gift registry in Malaysia and Singapore and understand where you are coming from when I read your article (especially points 3,4 and 5). The one area that I am finding difficult to do is get clarity. Do you have any advice on how to best get clarity as to what to do next for your business?

    Thanks and all the best for 2010.



  • Ange

    Karen, your post resonated with me. 2009 was a very rough year for me on so many levels and while I was grateful for the learning opportunity, that realization didn’t always soothe the pain and sadness.

    As I work hard to move towards a belief system which puts love and understanding before everything else, I find myself trying hard not to feel dismissed by some of the wording of this blog post.

    That said, I think your blog is wonderful, Christine and I too am glad you had a great 2009 and I wish you continued success in 2010!

  • Karen

    I, too, appreciate the challenges that came my way during 2009. I feel that difficulties can present tremendous opportunity when viewed with the proper perspective. That said, I am not sure that the wording “for those who are out for status quo, security and comfort” properly categorized those who had serious difficulties with events occurring in 2009. I’m not sure that people who wanted to be able to pay their utilities in December were about “comfort” as much as they may have not wanted to suffer the potential serious health consequences of living without any heating. I’m glad that you had a great 2009, and I myself, appreciate what was for me “…the best of times and the worst of times…” I do think, however, that sensitivity for what have been very scary times for some people might be in order.

  • Marisa

    Dearest Christine,
    Today, you were the letter that the Universe wrote to my soul. You know when you get that message, feel that boost at exactly the moment you need it? Your email, your upcoming teleseminar, and this post… how did you know to create all of them just for me?

    In a way, we started at the same place. I first “met” you when you played at BC for the English Department back in 2001 and I have been following you ever since. You were such an inspirational voice in the blog world when I started my own back in 2007. I’ve been dipping in and out ever since and have only just returned to writing and reading online again, but this time through the fresh eyes of a mother to an 11 week old baby girl.

    I have been trying to worry my way to staying at home with my daughter, full of an at-home business idea but entirely too terrified to focus on it correctly. Today you have given me further courage to step back, stop panicking that my angel baby is crying during every moment we are apart, and begin to really focus on how to make these dreams a reality, not just a frenzied prayer.

    With gratitude, blessings, and eagerness as I look forward to Jan. 20!

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks everyone! Your comments are always a great read!

    bubba – nope, no big band stuff for me. And Laura – you go girl! So happy you’re choosing to expand even more in 2010!

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    These are really great lessons. Thanks, Christine! The one that really pops out to me is being clear on whether or not you really want something. Sometimes I let that crappy thinking get in my way and I’m unclear on what I want–no wonder the universe doesn’t respond!

  • Jessica Defibaugh

    you are all inspiring. I am rethinking my 2009 and looking forward to 2010. By the way, I have just tuned into your music and love it!

  • Michele Fischer

    Thank you for this beautiful blog on a day when I needed it most! I have been feeling stuck lately, at this place of indecision and I think this will awaken some wonderful considerations for me. Have a great day!

  • Lisa Larter

    Christine! I love this!

    Number one is for me. I always make excuses for why I should spend that money on something else, or not spend it at all (the guilt you feel investing in you when you have employees is worse) and yet every time I do it, I step up and invest in me, the results are amazing.

    Thanks for the reminder that we own our power in all our choices. This is a great list.

  • Beverly Bergman

    Thank you for the thought provoking post Christine — good stuff.

  • Laura

    Hi, Christine! Just to let you know how much my investment in coaching with you had paid off for me so hugely in so many ways. How long it took me to get the clarity thing — and that it’s still unfolding! Thanks and a big hug from Charleston!

  • Bubba


    Do you do any big band? Would you like to sing something with a 16-piece orchestra behind you? http://www.BBWW.org Regards, Bubba

  • ursula

    your sweet dog must be incredibly well trained (or on tranquilizers) to sit still for photo ops like that one – mine would never sit still for it! enjoying hearing about your focus on systems. I love ‘clarity trumps practicality’ – clarity sure feels lighter and easier in so many ways. thanks!

  • Angie

    Thank you for your great post, Christine. I always so appreciate your writing and inspiration, and I recommend your blog and music to a lot of my clients and friends.

    I had hoped to come to your Wide Awake Weekend last year. It didn’t happen, but I’m confident I will participate in one of your events sometime in the future! Your music and writing have been inspiring and motivating me for many years already and have contributed to much healing. Thank you! Keep shining your bright, beautiful light!

  • katherineME

    “To serve” has resonated with me for some time now. It has a sacred feeling pulsing through it. And I love how servant is the total opposite in feeling.
    Love the glasses and your adorable dog.
    I am sending this post out to friends, but one in particular who is quitting her job soon and getting ready to dive into something new and unknown.
    I know this will support her decision. Thanks for the post!

  • sue

    Ima is such a rock star. Want to squeeze her. Love the serve or be a servant as well…will be rereading this…

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks everyone! Kathy – I felt like that at first too. (Still do sometimes.) But the inner peace starts to feel so much better than the feeling of everything taking up space in your head at once needing to be done now! Keep me posted!

  • Anna

    I love that Ima! She is so cute. Love the “serve or be a servant”…lots to think about in this.

  • alisha

    awesome. what great lessons…and so wise. i think i’m going to have to print this one out!

  • sheista

    Thank you for the serve or servant comment. I said no to something today(because you said if its not a YES, its a no) but was feeling a little guilty. Your words reminded me that is is not necessary for me to be a servant to have worth.

  • Kathy Troidle Jackson

    I’m such a “seven” that the “systems are sexy” thought is a hard one to embrace. I’m a winging it person too – never hesitate to jump in and do something but as you say, it all ends up as urgent on my to do list and I can’t get as much done in the time I think I can. So implementing and sticking to systems may be one of my toughest challenges heading into 2010. I am doing UYL which is chock full of systems and have signed up with a weight loss coach who has yet more systems for me. I find myself resisting them at first but as they are becoming habits things are falling so much more naturally into place. It’s a year of upheaval for me. As many others, I am seeking a new job. But oddly, I am not scared. I know this is what is supposed to be happening right now. I am networking with more people than ever before and open to so many more possibilities than I knew were out there. My UYL work is helping me Uplevel my thinking and my clarity about what I will and will not accept as my next role instead of being ready to pounce on whoever will accept me. So thank you for this post, and sharing your hard earned secrets with us….and your systems!! Rock on with 2010!!

  • Grammy

    I am so glad to here your year was wonderful too. And your post is so inspiring. It makes me wish I was still able to work. My year was great because I learned to be happy feel joy and love my family and friends.
    Look at life differently. And empower my mind with creative art.

    Have a wonderful day.

  • Kim

    The largest lesson learned from 2009 was to just trust that there would be enough. And, amazingly enough, there was more than enough!