Tag Archives for " 2021 "

Your Year in Pictures, 2021

Messy group of disorganized photos covered up by pieces of paper

I've noticed a message about the year in pictures for 2021, from various websites and publications,and the message is:

 "It isn't pretty. Are you SURE you want to look back?"

While I couldn't fully read the New York Times version, since I decided it isn't healthy to digest a steady diet of bad news, my glimpse at the headline before it got covered over by advertising messages promised a photo album of the apocalypse, with cities covered in dust.

(Hey, if I want to see things covered in dust I need look no farther than my own living room, amiright?)

Low-angle closeup of "Caution High Winds" traffic sign with strong winds visible in the cloud formations behind


While 2020, as I wrote at this time last year, may have been

 "a nonstop series of life or death storms for our little

 planet,"  2021 has been more like one BIG storm that never seems to end.

Just when you think it's safe to peek your head outside, you get blasted back  under your rock by the howling wind of another Covid variant.

And sometimes by the ACTUAL howling wind as well.

We've read the positive-thinking books. We've got the meditation apps. 

We know that it's important to have a positive mindset, in order to bring more positive things into our  businesses and lives ....

But it's a Catch-22 when negativity comes flying at us day after day after day, for years. 

No blowing smoke here, this is a very long slog up a very steep hill.

It isn't easy. And it isn't over.

So how should we look back and remember 2021?

My suggestion is, don't.

Don't look back. 

Look forward.

Keep going.

Envision the good that  you want to do in the world and focus on that with laser vision.

Because everything else is going to heck in a handbasket, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Just focus on your circle of influence and make the positive changes you can in your world and life... and especially in your courses and teaching work.

Young couple running away from waterfall (blurred motion)

What is the specific change you're here to make in the world, and how can you best achieve that? 

What will it take to make that happen, given all the odds that are stacked against all of us on this planet, right now?

Here's how my version of that looks (I'd love to hear yours!):

I'm here to help people create effective and engaging online courses that really DELIVER on the transformation they promise.

An important goal of my business is to take the stress and overwhelm out of online course design.

I'm like a professional organizer for your mind... helping you structure and display the aspects of your expertise you want to share with the world, in ways that (as Marie Kondo famously puts it) "spark joy" for you and your course participants.

In the midst of the swirling chaos, crazy weather, and general mayhem of the past year, it's been a source of great joy to celebrate my coaching clients' and course participants' successes as they launch their courses and deliver meaningful transformation that beautifully expresses their life's work.

I truly couldn't ask for anything more.



Your course content... 

before and after

applying the

Course Design

 Formula® to it!

Wide angle view of young woman with hands covering face kneeling on bed among large tiles of clothes and other objects in a chaotic bedroom. León, Castilla y León, Spain.
An organized closet

How about you? Despite everything that's going on outside your sphere of influence,

what have you been able to focus on in 2021 that WAS in your control?

What's the difference your work and teaching made in the world this past year?

As you look back on 2021, what pictures do you see in your own mind,

 that reflect the impact your work has made on others' lives?

POV From the bridge of a boat sailing ocean
Sailboat in stormy seas, lighthouse in distance (Digital Composite)
Composite image of a lighthouse beacon shining with stormy weather and crashing waves

When you're out there  on a stormy ocean, it helps to have a group of fellow travelers to help you reach your goal.

For each of us, our guiding mission and vision

 serves as the beacon that keeps us on track no matter what the external conditions are...

and our community is our group of fellow travelers to support us in reaching our goals.

In 2021, our community met every week on Saturdays to brainstorm and synergize about how to survive and thrive with online courses and online business in these challenging times.

The members of the Learn and Get Smarter community are experts in many fields, and we shared ideas and pooled our expertise on topics ranging from systems thinking to human behavior to software development... and of course, teaching and learning.

As a result, we all learned and got smarter. We created a community of practice around transformational online teaching, and a weekly practice of building community and supporting each other in these very challenging times.

I'm thankful for the participation and sharing, the generosity of spirt, and the sheer brilliance, that the members of this community have shared with each other and with me. Thank you for being who you are and for doing what you do.

What's your mission and vision for teaching online,

and what beacons and landmarks have you set for yourself 

to head towards in 2022?

If you’d like to make creating an online course that really teaches at a deep level, a priority in the new year, 

schedule a time NOW to talk with me

about whether the Course Design Formula® Master Course (starting January 18th, 2022) is right for you.

 Spaces are limited so book your call now.

Join the January 2022 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

CLASS STARTS JANUARY 18TH, 2022

Book your enrollment interview now!


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of this community, for your vision,

 and all your hard work to make the world a better place in these challenging times.

I hope that 2022 will be a year filled with blessings, growth, and service

for you and your students, clients, community, and family.

We'll resume the Saturday community meetings on January 8th, 2022.


Have a great holiday season and I will see you next year!

2022. 2022 business goals concept illustration. Business team seeking new opportunities. Leadership. Vision. Achievement. Success vector design


Gratitude, Fulfillment, and Ease

Thank You written in different languages on speech bubbles.

As you reflect on the past year, with its unprecedented challenges, and think ahead to 2021, it can be helpful to adopt a practice created many years ago by Chris Brogan, which he calls "#My3Words".

I adopted this practice last year for the first time, and it worked! My three words for 2020 were:

  • Prosperity
  • Service
  • Joy

Despite the surrounding conditions that 2020 presented to us all, these three words helped keep my focus on an even keel... allowing me to serve clients, students, and customers in ways that brought joy and allowed me to make a sustainable living in challenging times. I am profoundly thankful.

#My3Words for 2021 are:

  • Gratitude
  • Fulfillment
  • Ease

I wish for these not only for myself but also for all my readers, clients, customers, students, family, friends and members of the Learn and Get Smarter community...and for everyone in the world.


To start the new year off on a note of gratitude:

screenshot of the art materials for Alli Berman's Color Your Gratitude course

Color Your Gratitude

with artist Alli Berman

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

5 PM Eastern/ 2 PM Pacific

on Zoom

Are you ready to uplevel your online teaching practice in the new year?

The time is NOW if you would like to reserve a spot in the January 12th cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

(Write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com if you'd like to talk about it).

To learn more, watch my new, free, Master Class and learn three secrets of online course design.

I hope that 2021 will be a gracious year for you, filled with gratitude, fulfillment, and ease in all areas of your work and life. 

Screenshot of webinar registration page

Sign up to the Webinar

Secure your place in our free webinar on course design and learn to make your course stand out from the crowd!

Your own “Year in Pictures”

Crystal photography ball showing the seascape at St Bees, Whitehaven, Cumbria - British seaside

Many publications are coming out with their “Year in Pictures” for 2020.

As I scrolled through the New York Times’ version, I was overwhelmed by the enormity, the intensity, the global impact that this past year has had on everyone around the globe. 

And no sooner had I gotten done with this heart wrenching visual odyssey than the next headline assaulted me: the earth is about to be impacted by major storms on the Sun, whose effect on our atmosphere and telecommunications may be significant.

Alright, then!

Lighthouse beacon shining over stormy seas

Sometimes, you’re gently sailing your (metaphorical) ship on a calm sea with the wind to your back.

And sometimes, it takes everything you’ve got to keep your ship upright in a life-or-death storm.

2020 has been a nonstop series of life or death storms for our little planet.

It’s forced us to batten down the hatches and tighten up our act.

We’ve had to become more self-reliant, uplevel our technology skills, and develop entirely new social structures and ways of running our work and family systems.


As the year comes to a close, it’s time to turn inward (if it’s possible to turn any MORE inward than many of us already have) and reflect.

  •    What went well for you this past  year, in spite of everything?
  •    What did you have to let go of?
  •    What did you learn? 


As you scroll through the mental images stored in your memory (the memory in your head, not the one on your phone), what pictures stand out for you?


If you were creating a virtual photo album of this mind-boggling year, what would it show?




young woman using laptop PC and various pictures. internet streaming service concept.

Here's mine:

When the pandemic started, I tried to figure out how to stock up on groceries that would be both sustaining,tasty, and workable for the new weight loss program I had just started… Weight Watchers online.

 I wasn’t sure what would work so I tried to guess. It turned out I did pretty well.

After a last trip to Trader Joes, I started relying on Instacart. Turns out I LIKE having expert grocery shoppers comb the aisles for me, and I like not having to carry heavy bags of groceries up multiple flights of stairs.

Instacart’s algorithm has learned my weekly shopping list, and only shows me pictures of the things I need to buy.

So my first set of pictures will be my standard grocery items, lined up every week on the screen.

These are pictures of the life giving foods that keep me alive and healthy, have been an important source of enjoyment during a year filled with restrictions, and have helped me lose almost 30 lbs.

Food backgrounds: table filled with large variety of food

What has worked, or not worked, for you on the level of sheer physical survival, this year?

What pictures stand out in your mind?

Some people have had a lot of chances to be outside in nature this year, and others have had almost none.

I was in the latter category, and one thing I’ve learned this year is how important being outside in nature is to our physical and emotional health.

The feeling of moving our feet on uneven natural surfaces, the sensory crunch of our footsteps falling on leaves, the surprise of discovering different types of animals and plants and weather and clouds… this type of sensorimotor learning is fundamental to how our bodies and brains are wired.

We were meant to learn through and from interactions with the natural world around us, while moving and touching and feeling and seeing and hearing.

The need to sit at a screen for (often) 14 hours a day, has made it harder than usual for many of us to experience this type of natural interaction.

After a while it starts to wear on you.

 Once I realized that, I made a point of getting out to a park and walking around, even if only once a week or so.

The vistas that I saw there and the way their natural beauty fed my soul, is the 2nd set of pictures I would share.

palm trees against a cloudy sky

What has worked for you to stay connected with nature, to feed your senses, and to get out and move? 

How have you experienced the world beyond the edges of the screen?

The social world this year has both shrunken to a single point (with each of us alone in our own spaces for months on end) and expanded to cover the whole world (with new connections forged via not only endless  Zoom meetings, but an increased appreciation for online learning, virtual conferences, and creative forms of physically distanced/socially connected interaction.)

The online learning space has been through a forced evolution that propelled our collective understanding of how to interact online, ahead by quantum leaps from where it would have been.

 We may be sick of Zoom calls but we’ve also gotten good at them.

 From trying to figure out how to unmute ourselves, we’ve graduated to playing online scavenger hunts, inviting goats to attend our meetings, and giving collective virtual hugs.

My third picture would be of the many online conferences I’ve attended this year where I’ve met amazing experts and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Laptop screen webcam view diverse people engaged in group videocall

Who have you met this year through online conferences and meetings?

How have you expanded your connections while remaining physically apart?

My most important pictures from 2020 are pictures of YOU: the mission-driven, service-oriented, incredibly creative clients, students, community members, colleagues, mentors, coaches and friends who have sat across the screen from me and shared what was on their minds. 

Whether in private coaching calls, the Course Design Formula® Master Course, Course Crafters Camp™, our Saturday morning community meetings, or informal chats with colleagues and friends, it is YOUR faces I see when I think about this year. 

Thank you for being present with me and working so hard, amidst all the chaos and upheaval surrounding us all, to make the world a better place for those you are here to serve.

Hand of touching network connecting the human dots icon in business project management. Teamwork organization and brainstorm concept

You are radiant, you are beautiful, you are remarkable.

 You make the world a better place by being here. Keep being you, keeping doing what you do.


Let’s all picture a better world in 2021… what would YOU like to see, experience, and do?

Dreaming Intellect series. Visually pleasing composition of human face and technological elements to serve as  background in works on mind, reason, intelligence and imagination

Join the January 2021 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

Space is limited.

Enrollment is via private interview only.

I’d love to see some “pictures” from your virtual photo album. If you’ve taken my digital flip book course and would like to create a flipbook of your own, come share a link to in the Facebook group

Or just describe your “pictures” verbally… on Facebook or via email privately to me (Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com), or in a blog post of your own to your own community, if you prefer.

We won’t be meeting on Saturdays for the next two weeks… there will be no community meeting on Saturday, December 19th or Saturday, December 26th.

Let’s all take this time to rest, reflect, and prepare for the new  year.

I’ll keep writing this blog and I’ll look forward to hearing from you anytime via Facebook or email.

The community meeting will return on Saturday, January 2nd 2021 (you can register for it here, and put it on your calendar).

Meanwhile, if you’d like to make creating an online course that really teaches at a deep level, a priority in the new year, schedule a time NOW to talk with me about whether the Course Design Formula® master course (starting January 12th, 2021) is right for you.

 I’d love to talk with you about it! Spaces are limited so book your call now.

Course Design Formula Master CourseJanuary 2021 screenshot


May the days ahead be filled with blessings, insight and inspiration for you and yours.

 I look forward to seeing you next year on Saturdays for the community meeting, and hopefully in class.

Stay fabulous, and thank you for being such an important part of the picture.

You made this past year very special, despite the challenges we all faced.


 Save your spot 

in the January cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

Take the stress and overwhelm out of setting up YOUR online course

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call