Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Annual Review: 2010 the year of discovery

I love New Years, and it has nothing to do with champagne popping and kissing at midnight. In fact, to be honest, I've missed the last couple of midnight countdowns passing up the hang over and opting to start the first day of the new year fresh with an early morning and exercise outdoors with friends.

There is one New Years tradition that I don't pass up however and that's setting goals for the year to come. I started writing out my goals in 2006 in what's become known to me as "The List". This was a very simple list I scratched out on a piece of paper and kept tucked into the front of my training journal. It became an important part of my motivation to complete the Honolulu marathon as I wrote it on my hand to remind me of all the things to come in my life after I finished those 42.2 kilometres.

Simple, it worked and it started my belief in writing out my goals.

Since then, my goal setting has become a bit more refined. Last year, I set another 5 Year Goal seeing that my 2005 five year goal was expiring (and realizing) this year. Throughout the year I use my dreamboard and other sources for motivation, but I have figured out the best way to realize your goals is to write them out.

This year, I've taken my goal setting a step further and created something more tangible to refer back to throughout the year. Over the last week or so, I've been conducting my own personal annual review. The process is not original, but it's something that made sense to me and because I am dedicated to a life of purpose and intent, there seems to be no better way than to be direct and specific about your goals.

The details of the review are somewhat personal so there are pieces I've kept private, but I'd like to share some of the process that I found helpful.

I started with asking two simple questions:

What went well in 2010?
What didn't go so well in 2010?

What went well:
2010 was a very big year with a lot to review, but what stands out immediately is that I had Anthony to stand by me through all of it. He's been a warm addition to my life and I am thankful to have him in it. We celebrated our first anniversary in October, although I was somewhere in Thailand and he was at home worried about me. I sent a nice "happy anniversary" email to put his mind at ease :)

Being unemployed for the better part of the year was also a special experience. I used the time wisely to commit to myself and to serve as time of self-reflection. During this time I discovered a lot about myself, what motivates me, what makes me happy, what makes me proud, what fulfills me, what I envision my future to be like (and got into a detail painting that picture). I also came to terms with aspects of what makes me, me, and accepted the good with the bad (or what I think others will perceive as "bad"). I've discovered that inspiring others to achieve their goals is what makes me happy. I'm also learning to not be so hard on myself and accept the best that I can do as being AWESOME and I am still celebrating everyday successes.

In June, my best friend Kierstie and I completed The Ride To Conquer Cancer. We raised over $6,300 in just 11 weeks. Our team, Powered By Noie has grown to 9 riders in BC, 2 in Ontario and the interest of 2 in Alberta for the 2011 ride. This was definitely something that I am proud of and something that went well in 2010.

A highlight of 2010 for me of course was becoming an Ironman. This closed a chapter for me but also served as the beginning of something new. For me, Ironman was about the journey and through the years of training I faced some of the most challenging obstacles and learned incredible lessons about the strength to endure. I also found motivation in this quote from Muhammad Ali.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ''Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."

It's not true about hating the training, but it does speak to my Ironman purpose.

After Ironman I took 6 weeks to travel through South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia). This was not only a great reward for my huge accomplishment, but was also a part of my new 5 year goal to see the world.

Late in 2010 I started a small business with Anthony called MANBASKET. The concept came to us only weeks before Christmas so where it stands today is very much a work in progress. However, it's already taught me some valuable lessons and generated a small income. I plan to continue developing that business into 2011.

Finally, I took a great interest in my financial future this year and am reaping the rewards of that. This was not something that came easily, I had to put forth an effort to get that part of my life organized, and it wasn't all fun and games, but in the end, the reward is confidence, security and empowerment.

What didn't go so well:

2010 had a pretty rough and unpredicted start for me. But I didn't let that set the tone for the year. I converted my sadness into energy and let that propel me forward. I was more determined than ever to live a life full of love, intent and purpose.

The annual review however should not include things that I could neither control or avoid so I can't really add this to my "what didn't go well" list.

Thankfully, what didn't go well is a much shorter list that what did go well.

Technically I had only three months of employment in 2010. One of which was for the most part spent addressing the passing of mother in January and February/March were some of the most stressful, odd, chaotic and blurred weeks I'd had in my 1.5 years with the Olympic Games. I'd love to have put my Olympic experience on the "went well" list, but if I'm being honest, it wasn't. If this were the 2009 review, it would have been number 1 - a job I loved and a hundred reasons for loving it. But the two months that made up my "Olympic experience" were somewhat tainted. I learned some invaluable lessons from that time, but I'll leave it at that.

My health was an ongoing issue in 2010 aswell. I have various back injuries ranging from a broken tailbone, a spinal cyst and a herniated disc that date back over ten years now. I've learned to manage the chronic pain, but occasionally I re-injure myself and can find myself immobilized or hospitalized. With proper care, it rarely gets to that point, but this year I found myself down and out twice. It's the most painful and scary situation to find yourself in and each time I swear I will do whatever it takes to avoid this ever happening again. When the pain is gone, I carry on as usual. What I need to do is prioritize my ongoing back health an take care of it even when I'm not in major trouble.

There are a few other things that did not go well in 2010, but as I mentioned earlier, they are a bit personal and I'm not here to air any dirty laundry. What I will say is that with everything that did not go well this year, there are great lessons to be learned.

For me, 2010 was a year of discovery. I tried to keep my eyes wide open and learn the lesson in every challenge. Most importantly, I learn celebrate every success that I had.

The annual review doesn't end here. There are goals to set and obstacles to plan to overcome, but that's for the next post.

What were some of your highlights of 2010? 
What were some of your challenges?

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