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Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011

This post was most recently updated on February 23rd, 2014

donnamerrilltribe.comReflecting back on 2011, I realized that despite many obstacles that took me away from my internet business, I have learned and accomplished so many things.


Caretaking “Distraction”
My father-in-law had a massive heart attack that required hospice care in our home for over half of 2011. That became an unexpected priority. It seemed like a “distraction” at first, because life and death situations always take immediate and intense effort.
You can just imagine the 24/7 caretaking of a man we all loved, as he declined day by day. It was certainly a life lesson. But I soon learned that giving 100% of yourself to another human being is far more than a distraction. It is also a bittersweet gift.


You come to realize that this job is one of the most important ones you will have in your life. Sure, the emotional, self-centered side of you just wants life to go on as usual. But the lesson here is that as precious as life is… there’s a lot more to it than just staying “alive”. The last days of life proved to be the sweetest part of the experience. Watching my father-in-law go back “Home,” and observing his transition between going in and out of the world-at-hand and the spirit world, is the single, most significant experience in the cycle of life.


Like A Cat, I Jumped On Every Opportunity To Move Forward
You could just imagine trying to work in those months. I was determined. While my husband took the lead with his dad, I was determined to keep moving forward with my online business, because that has come to define much of what my life is about. Because I am a firm believer in God, the only way I could have possibly stayed focused in my progress was to “Let go and let God.”
In the beginning, it was difficult. I decided to take some time away from working on my “business” and invest it on working on ME.
What do I really want to accomplish?
What is the best way to assist people so they won’t give up their business, and their quest for financial freedom?
What do I know well, so well that it is second nature to me?
What can I contribute to people struggling through the economic chaos surrounding us all?


I wrote it all down and realized I already knew what I had to do.

Increase my mentoring load as a means to my own self-fulfillment; and fine-tune my own inner SELF in order to enhance my ability to teach others to confront theirs.
At this same moment, Teach Jim and Gavin Mountford announced that they were starting a group called “Do What You Love For A Living.” I immediately joined, recognizing the synchronicity of this event. I want to thank them for their inspiration and guidance along the path that I had embarked upon.


I Am Grateful To So Many People
Looking back on last year, I have so many people to thank. I am truly grateful they are in my life and an integral part of my success:

Gavin Mountford and Teach Jim for their timely course, and the time they invested in helping me clarify the process of developing online products.

Dave and Dawn Cook, for all the time and effort it takes to run the TSA community.

Of course, Kimberly Castleberry and her ever-helpful Just-Ask-Kim which has been a blessing, and top-priority resource for me. Kim is always there, offering the latest and greatest tech advice, and business problem-solving strategies. I swear she has a clone!

Ken Pickard, who picked up the pieces of The Empowered Tribe Network. He gave so much time to pull it all together this year.

And of course, all my sydication buddies. I learn so much from the go-giving process. There are so many people that came into my life this year, I know God has blessed me.



AS FOR 2012:

I am taking all that I have experienced last year because it was a blessing. I will be putting it all together and rolling out my incredible learning experience to share with others so they can live by my own motto: “Never Give Up.”

What are your thoughts of the past year?  What have you learned and did you or will you apply it.  I would like to know.  Please leave your comments below.

Blessings, Donna

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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22 Responses to Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011

  1. Mandy Swift January 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    hi Donna, you sure have a lot of ‘life experience’ to draw on from a tumultuos 2011. The mark of a truly ‘great’ person is how they define themselves through everything that life throws at them. What a wonderful example you shine for everyone for is currently in ‘struggle’ and is looking for some answers on how they can best take away from the experience.
    I truly wish you the opportunity in 2012 to reap from all your learning in 2011.
    What a heart-felt post, thank you 🙂

    • Donna Merrill
      January 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks Mandy for your kind words. I have learned long ago to turn those negative or disturbing experiences into positive ones. Life is not a bowl of cherries. But rather one big learning experience. I have a passion to learn and that’s what 2011 has taught me.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..A Day In The Life Of A “Life Coach”My Profile

  2. Steve Nicholas January 10, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    Great post, Donna! It truly is amazing how the thing that seems like a burden ends up being a blessing when you look back on it. I think that way about my college experience. My first college as an undergraduate was one that I thought was my dream college, but the dream ended up being a nightmare. Then, I transferred to the school I swore that I would never go to when I was younger, and it was the one that was for me, and I knew that I found a place where I fit in and belonged, and I enjoyed those three years greatly for all of the ways that I grew as a student and as a person.
    Steve Nicholas recently posted..The Christmas TruceMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 13, 2012 at 1:35 am #

      Thank you for your input Steve! Isn’t it amazing how some things seem to be awful at first, then when pushed into it, we have a great experience?
      It is all how you look at things in life that count. There are always going to be pitfalls and such popping up when we don’t expect it. But it comes down to dealing with the problem and how we can do that mindfully and emotionally.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Eliminate Email Overload In 10 Mins Or Less Per DayMy Profile

  3. Yorinda January 7, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Hi Donna,

    it sounds like you had a very full year, with distractions, challenges and blessings in disguise.
    An it sounds like you did really well considering everything you fitted in.
    My condonenses in regards to your father in law leaving this earth plane.

    Like you I have tuned in this year and asked myself questions.
    From these questions came inspirations to be committed to growing myself and my online work/blogging etc.

    Thank you for sharing your powerful questions and story of your 2011.
    Yorinda recently posted..How to Include Music with your vision boardMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      Hi Yorinda, I like to turn my negatives into positives. Although I was faced with a big challenge, the experience was one of learning and spiritual guidance. Growth is my passion. We never stop growing, so going with the flow has taught me how to better deal with life’s situations.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Eliminate Email Overload In 10 Mins Or Less Per DayMy Profile

  4. Dr. Erica Goodstone
    January 7, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    I have learned so much in 2011. So many wonderful mentors and colleagues have assisted me to keep moving forward. I started the year off at a Braveheart Women Release Weekend which helped to release cellular memory just from being a woman but also other types of memories. Then I continued in her year long mentoring called “My Vision and Me.” During the year, I had the good fortune to work with Teach Jim learning how to be a profitable producer and also with Gavin Mountford, whose main message to me was to clear my email inbox – although the new emails keep creeping in again. And I’ve been going through Think and Grow Rich with Mentoring for Free and Jack Canfield’s Success Principles in a Womens Prosperity Network Success Mastermind. And there was Jean Houston’s Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. And so much more. I wrote a 14 page list of my gratitudes and accomplishments. Now I am geared up and ready to launch my Complete Relationship System in 2012.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Is 2012 Your Year for Love?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 7, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      Sounds like your year was much like mine. In between all the immediate actions I had to take, I did spend so much time with learning curves. Looks like you have been a busy woman in 2011. Also seems to me that 2012 will be launching time for you!
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

  5. VaNessa Duplessie January 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    This is a beautiful post and I resonate so much with it. My Dad moved in with us this past November and gratefully he is in fine health. We are all adjusting and there are times when more of my help is needed than on other days. For example, yesterday we spent 4 hours doing doctors visits. I learned to multitask – I dropped him off and took my laptop to the coffee shop to get some work done 🙂

    I am thankful he is with us and I have this opportunity. I’m looking forward to Donna 3.0. I know wonderful things are coming for you in 2012.

    All the best,
    VaNessa Duplessie recently posted..Down and Out For a WeekMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 7, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      Thank you VaNessa, I know how difficult that must be, but please do not multi-task for too long of a period. It will lead to melt down. I learned the hard way. Multi tasking is only good for a short period of time.
      Good luck juggling.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

  6. Emilia January 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Donna! Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that Gavin’s and Jim’s course was timed, and it was time just for you. I had my own awakening last year too, I must admit that it took time for me to understand my mission. I wish you an even better year this year!
    Emilia recently posted..how much do veneers costMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 6, 2012 at 3:18 am #

      Thank you so much Emilia!
      Yes timing is everything when you have your eyes open. Through all the upside-down days I had, Gavin and Jim’s course had pulled it all together for me.
      Thanks for stopping by
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

  7. Dave and Dawn Cook January 5, 2012 at 1:05 am #


    It was a pleasure getting to know you over the past year and it is people like yourself that make this thing we call the internet all worth while!

    I see a lot of potential for you in the coming year and beyond. Keep doing what you do and you will have everything you desire in this world.

    With high regards!

  8. Anne January 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    One of the main things I learned is that I need focus. I want to have an online business that at least pays me back for the time I spend writing and helping others. I don’t want to be rich. I’m a writer and just want to use my blogging and writing skills to earn some money.

    This has eluded me so far (the money part – not the writing or helping part). I’ve become so desperate that I cling to every new thing I read and try to spread myself so thin to do everything every person has recommended in order to earn online.

    This year I’m stopping. This year I’m going to ignore most of the things that come into my inbox. If I don’t make it then I don’t, but I don’t want to be so anxious any more.
    Anne recently posted..Building Confidence AppsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 6, 2012 at 2:51 am #

      Hey Anne, looks like you found that secret step to success! I think all of us get caught up in the information that is thrown at us every day through all parts of the internet. So glad to see what you are committed to this coming year. Stick to one thing and roll with it would be my advice!
      That’s what the gurus always say..
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

  9. Eldridge DuFauchard January 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    You are such an inspiration Donna! Your thoughts on this past year sounds like such an awakening for you. We know that God always has a plan for us, and for you to accept your father-in-law into your home and give him the love in which he needed at that moment, will define the love you receive as you go forward.

    It’s such an honor to have you as a friend!

    • Donna Merrill
      January 6, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      Thanks for your kind words Eldridge. The only way I got through it all was to put it in God’s hands. At first, it was like part of my life was torn away from me. Then, asking God to work through me, I found my inner strength. When your life is going one way and in a snap of a moment you know you have to change it, inner guidance is the key factor. I am so grateful for my faith.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

  10. Ken Pickard January 4, 2012 at 4:36 am #


    Thanks for the wonderful shout out. i have always admired how you have taken a liking to the tribe syndication model. You “got it” from day one!

    It’s not haw many times we get knocked off our horse…it’s how many times we get back on. You have shown that same resilience every time.

    Thanks for being you and doing what you do to others achieve more.

    Ken Pickard
    The Network Dad
    Ken Pickard recently posted..New Year’s Resolutions To live ByMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      January 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      Thanks Ken, Gotta give credit where credit is due and the post was written from my heart. You have had such an impact on my life..you have no idea. I followed your example of go-giving, persistence, and leadership skills. Syndication not only helps each person, but there is ALWAYS a learning curve when I read blogs. Thanks again, Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

  11. Darryl Burgess January 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    Donna, You are wonder woman in so many ways. With all that your family had to battle this past year and having the time for your Internet business and Friends.
    I have learned to give more than I already do. There is so much gratification felt by giving. With being involved with people like you makes giving an amazing opportunity. Your 2012 will be filled with so much success. I look forward getting to know you even more throughout this year!.

    • Donna Merrill
      January 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      Hi Darryl! Yes sometimes I play the Wonder Woman part, but keeping in mind that it only leads to burnout. Maybe it is because I’m a Libra but I like balance. It was a long haul, but you do what ya gatta do lol.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Reflecting On Lessons Of 2011My Profile

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