In Before the Ball Drops: A Review of my 2011 Goals

With the end of the year just a few days away, it is time to make that dreaded visit to the always-ambitious list created one year ago.

What craziness had I set out for myself this year and how did I do? Each goal will be rated: “Check”, “Nope”, or “Kinda”, with a description of progress or the lack thereof. You might be asking yourself, “But Chris, why would I want to read about your old goals?” The answer: I have no idea, but people seem to read these posts for some unknown reason, and quite honestly, I checked my own list occasionally throughout the year to see where I stood. Putting goals down in writing is a definite plus…as is putting them out publicly for everyone to humiliate you if you don’t meet them.

Without further adieu, I grade myself:

1.   Continue making progress with the Delaware Staats families research
Self-explanatory. While I haven’t broken down the wall yet, I have cracked it a little. As long as it is a little weaker at the end of the year than it is now, I will be happy.

Check. I uncovered some new info, but more importantly, I finally got some of my thoughts down in writing in an actual proof argument. Progress comes slowly when you’ve been working a family for years, but damned if I didn’t do it.  I should get extra credit for this one.

2.   Publish two articles beyond the local society newsletter level.
This I especially true since I happen to edit my local society’s newsletter! I want to publish one methodology article and one family narrative this year – preferably at the state society or similar level.

Check. Kinda. I had two articles accepted for publishing, but one article that was supposed to appear this month didn’t. But I’m in the holiday spirit, and am giving myself the benefit of the doubt for a late Christmas gift. Cross it off. One of the articles was about using the NARA online ordering system, the other about professionalism.

3.   Finish the NGS Home Study Course
I need to finish the last lesson of the first CD before I lose or break it. And then I need to finish the next two CDs. At least I don’t own CD 3 yet, so it is not in danger.

Nope. I didn’t even get the first CD done, although all I had to left to do was write a measly paragraph to finish it. Because there were no deadlines, this kept getting pushed back in a crunch, and never made it off the back burner. I was engaged in ProGen 8 simultaneously, and ProGen took priority. Maybe one day I’ll try NGS again, but probably not.

4.   Begin (as in actually start the application) the BCG certification process.
No more cheating here and saying that this or that “helps towards getting ready.” I need that pre-application filled out, and that document to start the application in my hands before the ball drops on 2012

Check. That’s right, I did it. I look forward to working on the application over the next year. Plus it makes for an automatic gimme when I set some goals for next year. Since I already used some of the work I had planned to use for submission, I have my work cut out for me over the next year to make sure I have a chance to pass the first time out.

5.   Produce a high-quality newsletter for my local genealogical society.
As of the 1st, I am officially the newsletter editor for the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society. One of the things I think I was brought in to do was to help start e-delivery. With that option, the content and layout options are greatly enhanced, and I hope to deliver an appealing newsletter with great content that people can’t wait to get in their inbox (or mailbox, if the whole e-thing fails!)

Check. The change to e-delivery went pretty smoothly. I’ve had several nice comments about the newsletter. One person claimed at the last meeting that it was the best newsletter of any group. I think her lemonade may have fermented some, but I’ll take the compliment. Cross this one off, too. Extra credit here, too.

6.   Begin speaking/lecturing, with a focus on land records and mapping.
Land records always scare people. Maps sometimes scare people. I occasionally scare people. We were meant to be together.

Check. Despite forgetting to breathe for about 8 minutes the first time out, it seemed to have gone pretty well. It lead to some more speaking gigs, and in fact I have two coming up next week. Speaking is still a little out of my comfort zone, but apparently within my skill set. Full steam ahead! More topics are in the works (Hey look – another easy goal for next year). What the heck – extra credit for a job well done. Thanks, Chris. You’re welcome, Chris.

I’m going to lump the next three together, as they all have to do with business goals.

7.    Double the amount of Staats Genealogical Services research clients for compared with 2010.
8.   Finish the Staats Genealogical Services website.
9.   Work to standardize correspondence, reporting, and record keeping formats.

Nope. Kinda. Kinda. Sadly, of all the goals on my list, the ones directly related to business were the least successful. Why? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest, but it’s something I definitely need to investigate as I move forward. Fr a large part of the year…okay, for all of the year, I was finishing ProGen 8. While the monthly assignments were not overwhelming, they did take time to complete. Many of the assignments were along the lines of what I had hoped to do, business-wise. However, between ProGen, work, client projects, and all the volunteer society things I’ve been doing (not to mention family), I just never quite had time to focus on business stuff. Another, more disturbing possibility is simply that I am just not good at the business end of things. I have no doubt that I am an excellent researcher. I know I can write, and I am improving as a speaker. But when it comes time to sit down and hammer out some business projects, I really struggle. Time will tell. I really only have through the summer to focus on the business of genealogy. If it’s not producing at least a little more, I will be forced to abandon efforts to develop the business and refocus on getting a “real job.” *shudders*

10. Increase my  social media presence as a business.

Check…kinda. While I did create a facebook page for Staats Genealogical Services, I’ve not done much with it. Most of my genealogical interaction has still been through my personal facebook page. Perhaps I need to sit down and think about at least creating groups. Hey, that sounds like a new goal!

Final tally: 72% (10 points for “check,” 5 points for “kinda,” and 2 points for “nope.” I get points for “nope” because even though I didn’t get it done, I did make an effort in most cases)

I think this is about where I was last year, point-wise. It’s not a bad score for an ambitious agenda. As I begin thinking about next year it is tempting to scale back in order to give myself a higher score. In the end though, I doubt I will. I’d rather get 72% on an ambitious set of goals than a 90% on a lame set. OH CRAP! I forgot about my extra credit. Graded on a curve, using math so complex, I don’t even understand it (I think it has something to do with Chaos Theory) I actually ended up with an 80%. Yay, me!

Best of luck in meeting your goals, whatever they may be in 2012. Happy New Year every one!

Chris

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4 Responses to In Before the Ball Drops: A Review of my 2011 Goals

  1. avatar Sheri Fenley says:

    Overall not too bad of a scorecard. I am going to speak for the first time on January 13th to the Rotary Club here in Stockton. Don’t have a clue as to what they want me to talk about. Hell, I don’t even know what a Rotary is or does!! LOL The genealogy Society volunteered me to do it!

  2. avatar Chris Staats says:

    I got a $500 scholarship from the Rotary coming out of high school. I don’t think I knew anyone in the Rotary club…I had no idea what it was…I still don’t know what it is.
    Hopefully they give you $500, too!

  3. avatar Shelley says:

    Chris, I think you deserve every bit of your extra credit, and then some. Especially for submitting your application to BCG! Will you send me a copy of your last society newsletter? I’m trying to revamp the one for Ohio Chap. Palatines to America and would like to see (er, steal) some of your ideas.

  4. avatar Anne says:

    Hi Chris – I think you have done well. I think building up a speaking business and completing ProGen are goals to be really proud of. Plus you have done some interesting research in the year and started on the certification process. Achieving all those things are terrific. Revisiting your business and marketing plan regularly should be something you seek to do too.

    best wishes for 2012