Each year, I write an annual review as a way to reflect on the year that’s passed, review my successes and failures and keep myself publicly accountable.
- What went well?
- What needs work?
- What did I learn?
- What am I working towards in 2018?
- What is my theme for the new year?
(If you’d prefer to listen, I also recorded this annual review as a solo episode on The Quarter Life Comeback podcast, which you can listen to here.)
If you don’t already do so, I highly recommend writing your own annual review. It helps you celebrate your forgotten wins, identify where to improve and know what to double down on in the upcoming year. Feel free to use this format. Now let’s get into it.
(Side Note: I wrote this post on Thanksgiving, which was really cool and might become an annual tradition)
WHAT WENT WELL?
These were some of my big wins in 2017.
Simplify. My theme for 2017 was ‘Simplify’ and I definitely made progress this year. I began looking at all areas of my life and asked myself if something was really adding value or not. Some of the things I simplified included my physical environment (house & home office), my iPhone (no notifications, no apps on the home screen, Do Not Disturb all day), my website (loving the more minimalist design), my morning and evening routines, social media habits, diet (plant-based) and workout.
I’ve come to believe the simplicity is a prerequisite for true freedom and happiness.
Work. Continuing the theme of simplicity, I focused more of my time on fewer projects, as I no longer needed to “collect” income from smaller jobs. 2017 was the year I became truly location independent and can now literally work from wherever I decide (if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know this has been a big goal of mine). I was also fortunate enough to work with some amazing mentors and have some exciting projects lined up for 2018.
Halfway through the year, my primary source of income came to an end. But using the skills and relationships I’ve developed along the way, I launched a new offering supporting high-level coaches and was able to not only replace but also surpass that income in just 2 months, enjoying my most successful month as a result. This was a big confidence booster for me.
A big part of my work is obviously my podcast, and I was super proud of the work I put out this year. I published a new episode every single week of the year, made some amazing friendships, received emails from people around the world thanking me for helping them improve their lives, and got featured in some big publications. At the time of writing, the show is close to 50 000 downloads, which I think is pretty awesome.
I also stepped into a new part of my business, speaking, and landed my first paid speaking gig. This is another area I’m excited to grow in the new year.
Relationships. For a long time, I’d been thinking about Jim Rohn’s line about being the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, but it wasn’t until this year that I started taking it seriously.
I became more intentional about who I spent time around and who I didn’t (not easy) and also established relationships with some inspiring new friends online.
To the mentors I’ve worked with this year (Jacob, Michael, Greg, Christina, Jason, Ajit, Bassam, Tom, Craig, Clark, and more), thank you. You will never know the impact you’ve had on my journey.
And finally, the biggest relationship of all! I got married to the girlfriend from last year’s annual review 🙂 The whole thing happened within 2 weeks (no, we’re not pregnant) and continued the unconventional theme of our entire relationship. I love you.
Personal Growth. One of my biggest goals for the year was to develop a reading habit. And while I didn’t hit my target of 24 books, I am super happy with my tally of 15 for the year (including a 700-page monster!). Hint: read first thing in the morning for a minimum of 30 minutes.
I also invested and/or participated in 11 coaching programs or courses, investing thousands of dollars in the process. I say this not to brag, but to point out that investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. In fact, most of my money went towards personal development.
Besides courses, I also worked with my own coaches for the first time, began speaking at Toastmasters, educated myself on personal finance, and made learning a part of my daily routine.
Travel. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on two overseas trips this year; a work trip to meet my mentor in Spain (Barcelona and Granada) and our honeymoon to Sri Lanka. In addition, we went on a safari on the Garden Route and are taking a roadtrip in a motorhome/camper for New Years.
Went Vegan. NEVER did I think I’d say those words. But truth be told, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’d been having a moral dilemma for a while around eating meat while claiming to love animals and eventually we decided to make the switch. It has been easy, fun and delicious (it helps being married to a chef!). I’ve felt no worse in the gym or in general, have loads of energy, I’m eating more variety of foods, still “get my protein”, and no animals need to be harmed, tortured or killed in the process. I suspect this may become an area of focus in some way in the near future.
Highlights of 2017:
- Read 15 books (excluding other book summaries and pdf guides)
- Published 51 new episodes of The Quarter Life Comeback podcast (only taking a break for Christmas)
- Appeared in 12 new interviews or features (including The Huffington Post and Good Men Project)
- Had my record month of income since going solo
- Worked with more coaching clients than any previous year
- Launched a second business supporting high-level coaches
- Participated and/or invested in 11 coaching programs/courses
- Worked with my own coaches for the first time
- Spoke at my first paid speaking gig
- Traveled to two new countries
- Got married!
- Went Vegan
WHAT NEEDS WORK?
There were also
some a lot of things that didn’t go as planned.
Writing. Once again, I failed to write as much as I would have liked this year. I’m not beating myself up about this too much, as I decided halfway through the year to rather double down on the podcast, but I do enjoy writing and plan to ramp this up in a big way in 2018.
Video. In addition to not writing, I’d also planned to start posting video content, which never happened. However, this is also sure to change in the new year as my revise my content strategy (see the ‘working towards’ section later on).
Consistent coaching. While I worked with more coaching clients than in previous years, I would like to have had a consistent client roster throughout the year. Perhaps this isn’t always how the industry goes, but I do feel I could have been proactive in this regard. At times I also had to focus on bringing in income as fast as possible, and so coaching took a back seat in those instances (I never want to work with a client just because I need their money).
Business systems. The systems nerd in me would have preferred some more structure and strategy in my business, as well as more intentional email list growth.
Savings goals. While I was on track to hit my financial goals for the year, at times I had to dip into my savings. I had wanted to save up for a surprise trip which I won’t reveal here, but wasn’t able to do so. More fuel to the fire in 2018!
Recreation. Finally, my year was heavily focused on work, and I would have liked to make more time for personal hobbies, specifically picking up my guitar again, learning photography, writing poetry or just being creative with no agenda.
WHAT DID I LEARN?
This is a new section I’m adding to my annual review this year. Based on my experiences and personal learning this year, these are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned:
- Your relationships and skills will get you where you’re trying to go.
- Instead of stressing about everything you have to get done, focus on your 1-3 most important tasks for that day and do the best job you.
- If you have a good idea, pursue it fast or someone else will do it first.
- Learning and investing in yourself is THE GAME CHANGER.
- If something is important, do it first thing in the morning (before checking email, messages or social media).
- Our thoughts create our reality. Period.
- The universe really does have your back. Whenever one opportunity falls away, another (often better) one is waiting to show up.
WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARDS?
This is always my favorite part of the annual review: a chance to dream big and get inspired! I seem to say it every year, but 2017 feels like I laid a great foundation for big things in 2018. This is, of course, what I want – the feeling of consistent progress. Whenever I don’t feel like that has happened, I’ve done something wrong.
Personal brand + thought leader. For the past two years, I’ve interviewed almost 100 inspiring guests for The Quarter Life Comeback podcast. Now, I feel like it’s time for me to establish myself as an authority in the personal development space. I’m not sure what that means for the future of the podcast (at least in its current form), but I’m still figuring that out. Nevertheless, there may very well be a slight pivot in the near future.
Part of establishing more authority will also include seeking out more speaking opportunities, something I’m oddly excited to do given my previous fear of public speaking.
Video content. Closely tied to the previous point, I plan on doing a lot more video content in 2018, sharing my unique perspectives and thoughts on certain topics. This would also be repurposed into a podcast for those of you who love plugging me into your ears (side note: thank you!). And, in order to still satisfy my love for interviewing others, I’m planning on hosting an online event bringing together a group of amazing experts. Stay tuned!
Coaching. 2017 was the year I started taking myself seriously and educating myself as a coach, which I’m looking to leverage in 2018. I’ve invested time, energy and money learning from some of the best, and now it’s time for me to make an impact for myself.
Writing. Finally, as I mentioned above, this was an area I felt I could have given more attention to in 2017, but plan on ramping up in 2018. This includes both writing for big publications as well as turning all the content I’ve developed from the podcast into a book!
THEME FOR 2018
Looking back, I’m satisfied with my progress on the 2017 theme of SIMPLICITY. I created personal systems for different areas of my life which I feel good about, started surrounding myself with inspiring people and invested more into my own learning. Perhaps most importantly, I was able to focus more of my energy on fewer things.
In 2018, my theme for the year is PRO.
As I mentioned above, it’s time to put myself on the map and expand my personal brand in order to make a bigger impact and serve more people. This includes coaching, speaking, writing, video and a possible pivot in who and how I serve.
What’s your theme for the new year?
If you’ve listened, downloaded, shared, played, liked, tweeted or otherwise consumed any of my work this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support means more than you will ever know.
2017 was a phenomenal year. As James Clear said in his 2015 review, “There aren’t many jobs where you can work on what you want, impact people in a positive way, and live a good lifestyle all at the same time. I’m so lucky to have one of those jobs.”
(P.S. Here is my annual review from 2016 if you would like to read it.)
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