A Year in Review

Annual Review from 2014, in the style of Chris Guillebeau:

 What went well?

1)      Finding coaching as a career path– It felt really encouraging to discover how coaching a culmination of so many things I’ve been learning and studying – user experience/service design, creativity, mental health, decision making, spirituality, meditation, etc., and also how this is something that uses many strengths I have. I now know what I want to do with my life (at least I am confident in the next chapter how ever long that is to be).

2)      Building relationships – I have really changed how I show up with my family this year. This year I recognized how I was simply antagonistic and resentful of my wife and daughter, and I took the steps to actually change that in myself. It wasn’t about changing them at all, it was about changing how I showed up. And that made the whole household better.

3)      Developing my Design Guide to Life – it felt so good to actually get these ideas down on paper and out of my head. I have a lot of work to clean it up because its still a mess, but the core is there and ready for me to do a better job of shaping and cultivating. I’m really excited because I have a client who’s willing to help me prototype this out, and that is going really well.

4)      Changing my attitude as a parent – this year something has shifted inside of me, where I can look at my daughter with far more compassion and love, rather than just holding on to the negative experiences. A large part of the switch is my intentional gratitude practice – I journal 3-5 things that I am grateful for every day. Many times I make sure to write things about my wife and daughter. By going to bed with positive thoughts about my relationships  has really been powerful tool transforming who I am.

5)      Learning to find the confidence to use my voice at work – I’ve changed, and have taken many risks by speaking up with ideas and thoughts that I believe are important at work, rather than to just sit on my ideas and let them suffocate. This has been huge in changing how I show up everywhere, not just at work.

6)      Finishing the half-marathon – training from January to October, and being successful in finishing, in 2:07. I had hoped to get under 2:00, but made some poor choices that day, and learned a lot if I plan to run another race.

7)      Further progressing at TKD –  I have increased 3 belt levels, and now have my red belt (2 away from black). In two years, I have gone from never having practiced a martial art, to catching up with a friend who I train with.

8)      Putting together a business plan for the “business” that we want to buy, and being really proud of the work we did. This was a lot of work, and a really great learning opportunity. To be honest it was actually fun.

9)      I “finished” a huge photography project that was important to me. I put finished in brackets because there is one more image I want to make to complete the series, and will do that over the Christmas break. I just need to decide what I want to do with it (whether to put it in a book format, or to try to find somewhere I can put it on display)

What didn’t go well?

1)      My job – I’ve been dreaming of getting out of my job. I had set a goal to be out of my job by the end of the year. I haven’t met that goal, but if the year ends successfully, I hope to be out by mid-spring. I’ve also really struggled, because I find myself often zoning out at work thinking about other things (my blog, my coaching, the business plan, etc.) – I feel I am being dishonest by not being 100% present at work. I talked with my coach about this, and I really appreciated her point – you only have 100% of your energy to spend, how do you want to spend it. For all I want to believe I should be 100% at my job, the reality is that for me, if I want to make the changes I desire I have to put some of that energy elsewhere. This has been hard to face and acknowledge, but has been a valuable, if painful learning experience.

2)      Building relationships with friends – This has been one area where I’ve had some small successes, but feel like I’ve had more failures. I had set a goal to meet regularly with my friend this year (I think the goal had been once every two weeks). I’m probably closer to once every other month. Part of the challenge has been busyness with creating my coaching business and putting together the business plan for the “business that shall not be named at this moment”. I’m also giving a lot more time to being a husband and father, which further reduces time for friendships. I want to learn how to build better friendships, and how to sustain them.

3)      Failing with my photography business. I had hoped that by creating a photography business, I could make some extra income to cover the expense of my coaching training and certification. Sadly, that was a failure. A lot of that rests on my shoulders, caused by a lack of clarity on what I want to be photographing, how to get clients. I took a lot of little steps, but never faced the challenges and chances I needed to. If nothing else, the failure has been a great learning experience to make sure that I do a better job with my coaching business

4)      Not being able to show my photos anywhere I had hoped to – I didn’t make the cut with a competition I was hopeful for, and I wasn’t selected by the city of Ottawa to show my photo series mentioned above. Both times, it really left me questioning the quality and capability of my photography, and whether its worth pursuing this further in my life. I know I enjoy taking random photos, but I want to make better art, so facing this discouragement is difficult, but it has been valuable to me as I feel I can support other creatives as they are dealing with similar challenges. So, while this was a negative experience this year, there has been a learning opportunity for me that I can make use of.

What have I learned:

1)      How to create a meaningful business plan.

2)      How to be a powerful,  co-active coach

3)      Facing my saboteur, and dealing with it (even if there’s a lot of room for growth, this has been a huge gain for me)

4)      How to be a mindful husband and father (again, I have a lot of room to grow, but I have made major headway into becoming the person I want to be in these relationships).

Overall, this has been a hugely positive year. I have faced a lot of challenges, and have done a huge amount of personal work. I have spent much of the time trying to understand myself and answer the questions “who am I” and “who do I want to be”, and it is starting to bear some fruit. The next steps in my life will be pruning back some of the things that I do, not because they aren’t important, but I need to give space to the critical things so they can get sunlight to grow next year.

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