“Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.” – Mike Tyson
- My 2014 resolutions
- My 2013 resolutions
- My 2012 resolutions
- My 2011 resolutions
- My 2010 resolutions
- My 2009 resolutions
2014 in Review
Mike Tyson once said “everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.” I spent a considerable amount of time in 2014 dusting myself off from the barrage of punches life threw at me in 2013. What I learned in 2014 is a big reason I haven’t been able to accomplish a majority of my resolutions over the years is a lack of time. Year after year I have the best of intentions to keep my resolutions, but life hits me with punches. Sometimes life’s punches are jabs you come to expect, and can often block. Sometimes you don’t see life’s punches in the form of an uppercut that throws your head back and makes you wonder what hit you. Every now and then the worst of the punches come called haymakers. Haymakers are instances when life winds up and really gives it to you good. No matter how strong, resilient, or well trained you are, no human can escape from getting knocked down after being hit by a perfectly placed haymaker.
Because nobody likes getting punched in any way, in 2015 my strategy is to be incredibly strategic. I want to move with intention, but remember to listen to advice from my corner on how to best proceed into the next round. Something I absolutely learned in 2014 was in the sport of boxing it is you alone in the ring against your adversary and I don’t want to be in that type of ring. There were many times in 2014 I felt alone in the ring and there were some tough adversaries. In business and life, teaming up with others is what has almost always made me most happy and successful. In 2015 I am looking to team up with many others to help fulfill their dreams, but remembering I’ll need their help to achieve my own as well.
I wrote about it briefly last year but think it is important to touch on it again now. On December 10, 2013 I was laid off which resulted in an unprecedented 4 months of uncertainty. The first thing I missed was the great many people I worked with. The other thing I experienced for the first time was phantom vibration syndrome which resulted in me often reaching for a work issued BlackBerry that was no longer there. The distress caused by the unfamiliarity of not having my BlackBerry quickly passed when I realized my previous responsibilities and challenges were also no longer there. Suddenly my life was adrift, but I felt a strange sense of reassurance. Although I wasn’t familiar with the uncharted waters before me, they were fast and exciting and I welcomed each new day with great anticipation.
The time I was able to spend with family is time I will never be able to get back. Time is a common theme I’m starting to realize as being incredibly important as I get older. Remember the first time you arm wrestled your father and realized how strong he was and how much less strong you were? As I have aged I have come to realize the same struggle of time’s strength on my life when attempting to hold back it’s hands.
In addition to spending time with family, I strived to learn as much as I could about topics I was most interested in. I got tremendously better at PHP and CSS after picking up a web application I had been working on as my “side project” for years. I am not ready for even an alpha announcement, but much of my spare time is now spent working on it. Career wise things ended up working out nicely in the end because in April I joined AWS as the Web Content Manager in Developer Marketing at their San Francisco office.
At the same time, I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture of the first few months of 2014. I had my fair share of self doubt despite my sometimes unrelenting positive perspective on life’s challenges. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, you can’t ever stop believing in yourself. I don’t care who you are, at some point in life you will go through adversity and people will doubt your ability to overcome whatever obstacle stands in your way. I’ve developed a mantra over the years which is to shake it off and take a step up. Whatever mantra you adopt, just promise me one of your life’s mantra’s is to never stop believing in yourself. It will make all the difference and you won’t have to look far to see people who have given up when life’s proverbial dirt was piled on them.
The goals I laid out in 2014 were to juggle 3 balls (I didn’t try at all so…fail), focus more time on stretching (fail), drinking more water (eh), flossing (eh), and reading a book a month (yeah, just about). Below are the books I read thanks to nearly two hours a day on BART.
- The Year Without Pants (Scott Berkun)
- Unless you love WordPress, or have a passion for learning about innovative ways companies operate internally, this book may not be for you. I obviously love WordPress, Scott’s books, and learning the new ways innovative companies are operating, so this was a great read for me.
- Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed (Alexis Ohanian)
- Like Scott Berkun, I love all things Alexis Ohanian has produced and shared in his life thus far. I loved Alexis’s book and more than anything else am happy a good person succeeded in the startup world.
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (Brad Stone)
- A must read if you work for, or love Amazon. If you’ve read it, I’d love to chat about it.
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (Eric Ries)
- For some reason this book didn’t resonate with me. It could have been that I had already read a lot about operating a startup, not sure.
- Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
- Probably the best book I read all year. I couldn’t put this book down despite already knowing a lot about Steve Jobs. What a fantastic, well written book.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (Ben Horowitz)
- If you are into reading about the startup game, this is another must read. Ben is a great writer and another all around good person. The first few chapters are a must read and are incredibly entertaining and transparent.
- Make Something People Love – Lessons From A Startup Guy (Alexis Ohanian)
- Another great read from Alexis. There was some overlap between this book and Without Their Permission, but I will read and watch anything Alexis shares.
- The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Adam Braun)
- I insisted Christina read this one. If you have ever thought about doing anything philanthropic (large or small), this book is a must read. Adam Braun has passion for philanthropy and I love anyone with passion who use it for good. Such a great read. Another book I couldn’t put down and wait to pick back up.
- The Ghost of My Father (Scott Berkun)
- Another Scott Berkun book, this one is unlike must of his other books in that it is incredibly personal, transparent, raw, and reflective. I did enjoy this one.
- How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It (Mark Cuban)
- I’ve talked about this one in small groups and have found Mark Cuban to be a polarizing personality. I can’t agree with everything he says or does, but man do I love his passion (see a theme yet?). A fantastic book in my opinion on business if you are someone who can look past some of the more controversial things he’s said and done.
- Create a resolutions app by February 20, 2015 to track progress of my resolutions so I am held accountable to my progress throughout the year.
- Take my old buddy Wilbur (the dog) for a walk at least once a week.
- Do at least one blog post a month. I’ve really fallen out of the habit.
- Don’t drink any diet or regular sodas. I stopped drinking regular sodas several years ago for health reasons and picked up the bad habit of “switching to diet.” I’ve been eating very well over the last year and want to continue that trend by drinking no soda whatsoever.
- I love writing, but my grammar hasn’t always been the best. I recently came across an article recommending The Grammar Book by Susan Thurman. As you can see on the Amazon page, it has received some great reviews and promises to be engaging. My actionable takeaway is to read the book, and apply the learning to my every day writing.
- Coco Chanel once said “don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door” and I can sometimes get in the habit of obsessing over ideas, people, and especially companies that either don’t want to change, or aren’t capable of changing. The actionable takeaway here is at the end of the year to write things I did to take matters into my own hands. This may often mean having the courage to walk away from things that aren’t ready to change, and venture onto the the path of happiness versus familiarity.
- Speaking of reading, because I had such success in 2014 I’d love to read 12 more books in 2015.
- Lizzy (starting with the ladies in my life first)
- You are a bundle of seemingly endless energy who loves life. Mom says you get it from me (the love of life part, I can’t match your energy levels at 37), but wow are you ever awesome. So far next to nothing slows you down and you literally can conquer anything life has thrown at you with ease. The only resolution I can think of for me and you is to see if we can focus that energy by learning to swim. Mom and I have talked about some tumbling or gymnastics classes too. Other than that I think the best thing I can do for you is keep out of your way and pick you back up when you fall. Reminds me a bit of this blog post.
- I thought 2014 was a really good year for us. Life threw some big punches our way but we really rallied and came together to overcome them. In 2015 I’d love to have a monthly date day/night.
- My little man is now seven years old and everyone knows how much I love my buddy. I was telling Christina recently that I need to focus more dedicated time on you because life and your little sister have demanded more of my time and you deserve more. To make the resolution measurable let’s go on a bike ride once a month, play tennis once a month, video game time once a month, and practice your handwriting one a week.