And how you can write your own Year in Review Too!
For the past five years, I’ve conducted an end of the year review (see 2016 as an example) I find this to be a great opportunity to pause to examine and self-reflect but also to think about what I do in order to make the most of the year ahead. I got the inspiration for this because when I was working as a consultant, I used to do one of these each year to prepare for year end performance reviews and thought it would be a great tool to bring over into my personal life as well. While this version combines a bit of both the self-reflection and planning principles still remain the same.
Like every year, I have many blessings and things to be thankful for in 2018, namely, health, family, and friendships. In the past year, I moved apartments twice, took a new job, expanded my career and leadership coaching business and traveled across the United States for friends, family, weddings, vacation, etc. I decided to breakout my year in the following format:
- Room for Improvement
- People and Relationships
- Next Year’s Focus
Transitioning into a new Job — I started a new job of December 2017, so 2018 was all about transitioning and trying to succeed in the new job (I wrote about it here) and so far I would call it great progress.
Even for someone who has helped lots of people transition into new jobs it certainly felt uneasy at times during the transition. When I took the job, I knew I was ready to move on from being a consultant, and was excited to try Product Marketing, but I still had many questions that every job seeker goes through, such as “will this work out, will I be good, what happens if I fail?”
Overall, so far I would call it a great start. In addition to enjoying what i do and the people I work with, I feel I can point to a number of things where I made a tangible impact. Furthermore, I can also identify a handful of skills and experiences that I didn’t have a year ago that I now have. As someone who measures their progress and success by what they learn, this is a big win. There is much left to do and much more to learn, but I am happy with how it’s started.
Coaching and Speaking — While I took on less clients, the number of referrals grew and my hourly rates went up. I’ve also narrowed my focus as opposed to being more broad Furthermore, I booked the most speaking gigs I’ve ever had, and got the chance to speak into new markets/industries. In the past, I was a little hesitant to share that I was doing this, but this year I have gone all in, and have been much better about letting people know that I do these things and it’s opened up a lot more doors and opportunities, which is exciting.
Writing — I continued to write and publish content through a variety of formats and outlets. I also was quoted and referenced in a number of others. For me, writing is a great way to synthesize what I’ve learned, what I am thinking about, get feedback from others and hopefully share my lessons so that it benefits other people.
Health and Wellness — Being healthy and living an active lifestyle is important to me, and this year I did a great job of maintaining a consistent gym and workout schedule throughout all 12 months of the year
Where I fell short
Less Volunteering and Community Engagement — My volunteer time was lower than I wanted and expect. Especially considering my employer gives me plenty of time to do it. I’ve always invested in the community wherever I have lived, and this is an area where I am falling short in.
Focusing efforts — This year, I had too many priorities, and not enough energy focused on a few priorities that can yield better results. As a natural optimist when I come across ideas or opportunities it’s easy for me to get excited and throw myself into them but doing so spreads myself thin and often leads to sub-optimal end results because I end up half-assing things or not being able to devote myself fully to them
West Coast Exploration — I have a list of places that I want to explore on the West Coast that I created when moved out here 3.5 years ago. I feel like there still are quite a few on there that I haven’t been to yet and ‘d like to change that.
People & Relationships
Building and Growing Relationships — I just turned 31 a few weeks ago, and friendships get interesting at this phase in your life. While some of my friends are starting to start families, get engaged, etc, others are in a similar position to me — people are kind of all at different speeds, and that’s okay.
However as your friends start evolving into new parts of their lives, it gets harder to maintain and grow those friendships, as priorities change. Friendships and relationships are important to me, and it starts with showing up and being there, but extends farther past that.
I’m fortunate to have lots of good friends in my life and I’m really grateful to be in touch and close to so many people, even if many of them are in different stages of their lives. In 2018, that meant weekend trips to the East coast to see friends and to meet their babies, 3rd or 5th wheel dates with newly married and engaged couples, hikes and strolls around town with new puppies and dogs, and mid-day coffee dates with friends with newborn children. These hangout sessions, visits, and check ups are highlights of my week and give me a lot of energy, but they also incredibly educational. I’ve learned more about the cost of childcare, selecting schools, Baby Shark and how to train a puppy this year than ever before!
Whether it’s all of these types of activities, or just simple emails and texts just to check in with folks who I can’t see on a regular basis I feel fortunate and happy to be a part of so many other people’s lives, and hope this continues.
Travel — I continue to spend a lot of time on airplanes and flying around, whether that’s for work (much less) weddings (still quite a bit) vacation (more than ever) or friends and family (still pretty high)In 2018, I had a great mix of both solo travel (Hawaii) friends travel (Phoenix/Scottsdale) and family travel (Boston, LA, Austin, New York)
Since I live on the West Coast but my family lives on the East Coast, family trips are a great way to spend time together. Furthermore, upon realizing a group of my friends all wanted to go to the same places group trips are awesome ways to see new places without going alone.
Next Year’s Priorities
Focus — Next year I will focus, and by focusing, I mean doing less but doing more with less. 2017–18 I did alot of things which was great, but they were at times all over the place, which made it hard to make tangible impact or progress.
Prioritizing and truly acknowledging that by choosing one thing that you are not going to do another thing is really hard, especially because I am an opportunistic person by nature, but to drive better results I need to be better about prioritizing my time. I’ve had to do this before (ex: business school is a great example) and I know it can be done.
Building and Growing Community — In college I had such a tight knit community. Honestly, it was easy, because I was literally surrounded by like-minded people, and since you are around them all the time, it becomes easy and natural to build relationships.
One of the low-key hard things about being a young adult/adult is that making friends, meeting people growing friendships (not to mention, dating) is really hard. It doesn’t just come naturally most of the time, and if you really want to have it you have to make it a priority and invest in it consistently.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for 3.5 years, and after a concerted effort I now have an awesome community of friends that I can see and spend time with and rely upon. I want to double down on this for next year and really grow that to deepen those friendships and relationships because I know that adds a lot of meaning and value to my life.
Writing Goals — I’m excited to say that next year I’m going to be launching my writing on a bigger scale than I have in the past. While I am still working on the details and the timelines, it will hopefully amount to something bigger than what I already do with CareerSchooled and publishing in places like The Muse and Business Insider. While I hope to continue to do a few of those things, an early 2019 priority is to help launch my brand on a bigger scale. More details to come!
Overall, 2018 was a great year, but in the spirit of “better better never best,” there’s plenty of room for growth and improvement. I’m looking forward to a relaxing few weeks of vacation and then gearing up for 2019 and will hopefully be another great year. If you have time over the holiday I encourage you to think about your year, and maybe even write your own year in review!
Note: if you want advice on how to do your own year in review, check out a few of these links
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