F50 Issue #13: Five Lessons for 2024

F50 Issue #13: January 2, 2024

Greeting the New Year with Authenticity: Five Lessons from The Crown

DECREPIT — the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this word as “wasted and weakened by or as if by the infirmities of old age.”

And it’s the word Queen Elizabeth uses to describe herself in the series finale of The Crown on Netflix.

Now, if you’re familiar with Elizabeth II and her 70-year reign, “decrepit” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of her. But in this episode, her 80th birthday is approaching, and she’s considering giving up her crown to the next in line, Charles, Prince of Wales.

She has a conversation with her younger self, who tries to convince her that she’s still in the prime of her life:

Younger Elizabeth: “I don’t know what you think you’re doing.”

Older Elizabeth: “I’m doing the sensible thing. The responsible thing. If we’re not careful, if I go on another 20, 25 years, a tired, white-haired geriatric queen will hand over to a tired, white-haired geriatric Prince of Wales.”

Younger Elizabeth: “Those are the rules.”

Older Elizabeth: “But if he were then to go on another 20, 25 years, it would mean that for the next half century, the British monarchy would be a very decrepit experience indeed. Is that the right thing to do to the institution? Charles is in the prime of his life now.”

Then the younger Elizabeth brings up the older Elizabeth’s fitness and youthful vigor:

“You’re fit enough to ride and drive, so you’re fit enough to wear the crown.”

The older Elizabeth still isn’t convinced, so her younger self offers some positive words to cancel any thoughts of being decrepit:

"Since the jubilee … I see you as liberated. Confident. You say that Charles is in his prime. Well, I see you in yours.”

Do you notice how important words are? How we describe ourselves can affect our mindset and ultimately our goals and plans.

You may have heard that the Merriam-Webster dictionary lists "authentic" as its 2023 word of the year. One of its meanings is "true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.”

When you’re true to yourself, you can embrace your age and stage of life, without thinking you’re “decrepit” and incapable of having a career.

With that in mind, let’s unpack five ways to greet the new year with authenticity and the realization that you’re in the prime of your life too!

Five Lessons from The Crown

1. Enjoy your favorite pastimes.

Queen Elizabeth had many hobbies. For example, she enjoyed riding horses, walking outside, and spending time with her beloved dogs, including many Corgis. These activities kept her fit and brought her joy.

Make a list of your favorite activities, and recommit to pursuing them in 2024. In addition to benefiting your health, they can inspire your choice of niche if you decide to become a freelancer. Our greatest passions often serve as a doorway to creating a meaningful career.

2. Practice positive self-talk.

As Brené Brown says, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” So, first of all, don’t call yourself “decrepit” or “too old” to do anything.

Find a comfy chair and consider the qualities you like about yourself. Name them with positive words. If you need more vocabulary, try an online thesaurus like WordHippo. And whenever any negative words creep into your mind, cancel them by repeating a positive word.

3. Be open to change.

The Crown illustrates the tension that often exists between tradition and innovation. In the show, members of the Royal Family find themselves in situations where they need to be open to change so they stay relevant.

If you’ve had a previous career in a certain area, you may need to adapt your skills when you decide to become a freelancer. For instance, if you’d like to continue your teaching career, consider learning how to deliver classes through video conferencing or online course platforms.

4. Try new things.

Hand in hand with being open to change is embracing that change by trying new things. If you decide to pursue freelancing, learn about different services and practice new skills.

Experiment with various online tools and apps to see which ones you like best. Some have free plans, and others let you access free trials before deciding to purchase them. If you’re having trouble, look for YouTube videos or other online tutorials that can help you out and provide additional insights.

5. Choose your own Word of the Year.

Finally, think about a word that describes how you intend to greet the year 2024. What have you faced in 2023, and how does that inform how you will approach the new year? Do you foresee any positive developments or potential challenges?

Brainstorm a list and narrow it down to the word that best fits. If you’ve had a tough year and feel discouraged, write down words that describe your experiences and think of positive ones that can counteract any negativity.

As you do this soul searching, you’ll become more confident and courageous, as Queen Elizabeth ultimately did in The Crown.

Handy Tools

Sometimes technology advances so quickly, it feels like one of Queen Elizabeth’s Corgi dogs is taking you for a walk when you’d like to be the one taking it for a walk. Fortunately, trying out different tech tools is a good way to learn more and feel like you have the leash firmly in your hand.

ChatGPT is used for brainstorming and gathering useful information. For example, you can ask it to recommend a dish to bring to a potluck or help you brainstorm what your own word of the year for 2024 could be.

You might be pleasantly surprised to see how friendly the artificial intelligence (AI) sounds when it shares a response. Think of it as C-3PO in the Star Wars movies. It’s eager to please and wants to serve you as best it can.

So, let’s see what kind of recipe it recommends:

User: Recommend a dish to bring to a potluck.

ChatGPT: Certainly! How about bringing a delicious and crowd-pleasing dish like "Spinach and Artichoke Dip"? It's a classic appetizer that's easy to make and always a hit at potlucks. Here's a simple recipe for you:


1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, minced garlic, onion powder, black pepper, and salt. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, spreading it out evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the dip is hot and bubbly, and the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the Spinach and Artichoke Dip with tortilla chips, baguette slices, or vegetable sticks for dipping. It's a tasty and comforting dish that's sure to be a potluck favorite!

As the website says, “ChatGPT can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.” Keeping that in mind, try out this recipe and see if it works, or ask it to suggest another one you’d like better.

Words to Live By

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Wishing you a prosperous new year filled with opportunities to live more authentically and chase your dreams!

IMPORTANT: We are opening registration to our 2024 Intake of Freelance University next week, so be sure to jump on our Waitlist and keep an eye out for an email on when the doors open!

2024 is a year full of untold opportunities for your freelance journey, but you will find greater success (and faster) by joining our University and getting the skills, tools, and support you need to thrive this year!


2024 is a blank page with a story yet to be written.

What story are you going to write this year?

We look forward to being a part of your success journey in 2024!

Until next time,

Co-founders of Freelance University

431B 41st Avenue NE - Unit 94, Calgary, AB T2E 2N4
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