It’s time to reflect on this year from a personal point-of-view. This year has been a story of extremes of success, failures, grief, and joy. The pendulum has swung from side-to-side this year. Let’s take a few moments to reflect. Then I’ll share my goals for the upcoming year.
I can’t even believe how much as happened in this year. I wrote a book, something I’ve wanted to do my entire life. I made friends. I dove deeper and deeper into the WordPress Developer Community. I lost a friend. I lost my father. I wallowed in self-doubt and regret. Then I got focused.
Food is Fun
This year started with me being able to eat again. I know that sounds weird. But since 2007, when I became incredibly ill, I had to give up nearly all foods. I had to eat at home and only raw, pure, and organic foods. Nothing could be processed. And we couldn’t risk anything being made by someone else. I was on a very strict diet, low sodium, no chemicals or preservatives, all fresh, and gluten-free.
We took our time acclimating to our new lives after my miracle. I got off of my medicines, but the weaning process was long. Finally, it was time to let me eat like everyone else.
This year, I went crazy! I was like a kid in the candy shop. Everything was new to me. I over-indulged at every turn. Okay, truth be told, I put on a ton of weight.
2017 Goal: Be Back into Shape 2016 I went crazy. It’s time to get disciplined again, drop the weight, and focus on my health.
Losing a Friend and Business Partner
This year I made a close connection to someone I really admire and trust. She and I spent a lot of time together brainstorming different ideas and strategies. We just clicked. It’s a rare phenomenon when you meet someone who fills in those gaps and helps to push you to do better. Well J was that person for me. We laughed together. We dreamt of what we could create. We planned to merge our interests and build UpTech Labs together.
But then something went wrong. One morning, I got this email that told me she didn’t want to be in business with me. She was severing all professional ties with me.
I had failed her somewhere along the way, though I’m certain it was small incremental failures that accumulated over time. I wasn’t serving her needs. As a result, I made her feel less than. I deeply regret that.
She was to blame too, as she was unhappy but chose to keep it to herself. Instead of talking to me about it, she chose to just walk away.
In hindsight, the news wasn’t a surprise as I saw the patterns. I just chose to ignore them. Still, I took the breakup hard. It’s my biggest regret of 2016.
Lesson Learned: Don’t take people for granted. Make sure you are serving their needs. Take the time to nurture your relationships. If something is showing signs of a problem, stop and address it now.
2017 Goal: Nurture relationships and spend more time focusing on them.
Losing a Parent
In May, unexpectedly we learned that my father had terminal cancer and only two weeks to live. Two weeks. How do you squeeze the rest of your life into just two weeks? How do you spend that time? How do you deal with the magnitude of this awful reality? Seriously, I’m asking you.
We dropped everything and ran to his side in the hospital.
In August, I stood at a pulpit in front of our family and his friends. My little step-nephew had just shared his words. Everyone was crying. I stood there. I had practiced my eulogy for days trying to capture the essence of what he meant to me throughout my life. There I was, standing, and overcome by grief.
I composed myself and spoke from the heart of the man I knew, the man who gave me my foundation. I spoke of the man who was always the rock in our lives, who always had our backs. He’d give you the shirt off of his back without question.
He was the only person in my life who told me like it was, completely unfiltered. I knew my father loved me dearly because he constantly told me. I knew he was fiercely proud of me, because he told me constantly. It was my turn to share his story through the eyes and life of his child.
In August, I lost my father.
Focusing on My Education
I have a confession to make. My biggest regret in life is that I never completed my educational goals. I had always planned, even as a small kid, to get my PhD. But then life got in the way. Over the decades, I tried to complete my bachelor’s degree. But it became a chore instead of a learning process.2017 – I’m focusing on learning and obtaining my educational goals.
This summer, Dad and I talked about my biggest regret. Watching him slowly die and recalling when I was laying in ICU on life support, it hit me that I can’t sit and regret this gap in my life anymore. I have to get off my butt and go get it. It’s time to make my learning and growth a priority.
2017 Goal: Complete my Bachelor’s Degree and Start/Complete my MBA Enough is enough. I’m making the time to finish my educational goals. I want to learn. I want to know what I’ve missed and fill in some gaps. This month, I took action and applied to three different universities. I’ve been accepted by all three. I’m doing this on my terms via a self-paced, competency-based learning model.
In addition, I’m focusing on building my proficiencies in Digital Marketing and Product Management. I’ll be enrolling in various programs to learn, grow, and then prove what I know with different certifications.
Everything I’ll be learning will be put to immediate use as I apply it to Know the Code. My education and leveling up process will help me to achieve my 2017 Business Goals.
Focusing on My Career
This year several companies approached and actively attempted I want to grow my proficiencies, reach, and influence to help and empower others.to recruit me. I listened and considered their offers. But none of them fit my goals and mission. I’m focused on empowering and growing developers. I’m focusing on open source, open web, and growing Communities. None of those companies aligned to these focuses. I told them “no.”
2017 Goal: Be open, but purposeful. I’m open to considering the right opportunity to join a company who is aligned to those ideals. But I’m not actively recruiting companies or seeking job opportunities. In this life, you can’t ever say “never.” Therefore, if the right opportunity comes along, I will consider it.
2017 Goal: Focus on growing my proficiencies, reach, and influence to help and empower others. I already discussed my educational objectives. I want to write more and share all the stories and insights I’ve amassed over the decades. I’d like to write for some major sites. I’d like to write another book or two. I want to spend more time networking and helping in the Communities. I’m reaching out into other developer communities to learn, help, contribute, and teach.
I want to grow too.
Wrap it Up
I have ambitious goals for 2017, I know. But they are achievable. This year kicked me in the backside to focus on not only business but also my personal and professional growth.
How about you? Share what you learned as well as your personal goals for the upcoming year. I want to hear your story.