This is one of my favorite spots in all of Austin. It’s Butler Park overlooking the downtown skyline. And while the horizon has shifted every year, the coffee shop I frequent has changed ownership, and the number of joggers increases every day, this place continues to hold a special place in my heart.
It was here that I decided to leave my first job without any clarity on what would come next. I still remember that day and I still remember every moment each year when I’ve returned to this exact same hill, starting fresh, confused, and asking and praying for clarity. It’s here that I establish my annual theme and finalize my yearly goals.
Without further ado, my theme for this year is: Reflect.
2017 was built around synergizing, creating collaboration and cutting back on commitments. There’s been a tremendous amount of progress in finding a healthy pattern for work and rest. Burnouts have been less frequent this year and I’m grateful. Amidst all that, there’s still something missing. I’ve recognized that while I’ve gotten better about taking time to recharge, I haven’t given myself ample opportunities to be still, meditate, and allow my mind to wander. I’ve been on the road so often this year with my calendar being so full, it’s been difficult to find time to be still and daydream. Daydreaming is where my greatest ideas come from.
I recently took a trip in November to a campsite an hour outside Austin. It was a full disconnect. No internet, no cell service, in fact, no clock. Just some books, a journal, and pre-downloaded podcasts. I fell asleep when I wanted to, spent the day absorbing wisdom from literature, and spent a lot of time praying and meditating.
It was this stillness that gave me the inspiration for a few new ventures I’ll be launching (more to come very soon). I returned 100% recharged, not just at 80% levels like I’m accustomed to. What I experienced first hand was the value in allowing myself to get bored without any distractions.
Once you’re wired to distraction, your body craves it. Unfortunately, we live in a distracted world. Every notification, email, text, it keeps our brain in a shallow place of reactivity. I’m privy to it.
So that’s where my theme of Reflect comes from.
So what does this mean? My most recent blog post covered goals tracked from last year. Many have stayed similar, but there are a few I’m adding to the list per my new theme for 2018:
Conduct a silent retreat once per quarter (0/4) – I want more retreats like the ones I experienced in November. I like the full disconnects where I’ll be off the grid for 24 hours without technology, cell service, internet, and clock. I can still be reached, just not in a 24 hour window. It’s refreshing not having distractions lingering for a period of time. I get to just Be.
Go without phone until 8am every weekday (0/260) – I’m committed to limiting my cell phone usage during key hours of the day. I’ll be turning it off before I go to bed and ignoring it untill I’ve had time to run through my morning routine. I hate how reliant I’ve become on this thing. I’ve switched over to a physical alarm clock and have reprioritized Duolingo lessons so they are post-8am.
Interview 50 entrepreneurs (0/50) – I’m so stinking excited about this one. I’ll be interviewing an entrepreneur of a multimillion dollar business about once per week. There’s more to come on this, but the motivation is two-fold: 1) connect with business professionals I respect 2) treat this as a crash course MBA and learn from some of the world’s top founders, leaders and CEOs. I want to spend this year getting better at asking questions and learn how to draw out themes which can be turned into insights for others.
Write 300 words every day (0/260) & Write a blog post once/week (0/52) – I’m not a natural writer. My perfectionism makes writing public content extremely time-intensive. I want to get better at crystalizing thoughts and conveying them through words without slaving away for hours in front of a keyboard. Writing 300 words doesn’t mean they have to be good. They don’t have to make logical sense, but they’re for me. That said, I do want to have these words eventually convert into a blog post on this site, hence the goal of blog once per week.
Overall, the majority of these things I’m really excited about. Yet I understand there is no such thing as saying “Yes” to something without saying “No” to others. Because a lot of this is based around being quiet and still, I’m scaling back time on face-to-face meetings with people. My hope is that this blog can serve as a way for individuals to keep up to date with my musings but at a scalable level. Certainly, this isn’t permanent, but simply what I will be prioritizing this year.
Full list of Goals
Here is the full list of goals I’ll be committing to:
(it’s Day 1, so I’ve already started tracking them)
- Workout at least 3x/week (1/156)
- Yoga twice per month (0/24)
- Sleep 6.5 hrs every weekday (1/250)
- Journal (1/312)
- Meet up with Lucas one-on-one once per month (0/12)
- Eat dinner with parents once/every other week (0/26)
- Quiet time in Word at least 5x/week (1/260)
- Meet with MC 2x/mo (0/24)
- Meet with LTG 1x/mo (0/12)
- Communal prayer 2x/mo (0/24)
- Fast once per month (0/12)
- Host a dinner once per quarter with at least 3 other people (0/4)
- Conduct a silent, no technology, wilderness retreat once per quarter (0/4)
- Travel once per quarter outside of Texas (0/4)
- Travel outside of US once/year (0/1)
- Go without phone until 8am every weekday (1/260)
Business & Financial
- Sell 3MM in revenue ($0/$3,000,000)
- Write a blog post once/week (1/52)
- Write 300 words every weekday (1/260)
- Interview 50 entrepreneurs (0/50)
- Save for 2nd home (0/$50,000)
- Read 24+ books each year (0/24)
- Read 4 memoirs (0/4)
- Read 4 fiction books (0/4)
- Read 6 faith books (0/6)
- 100 days of Spanish lessons (1/100)
- Take a glass blowing class (0/1)
As 2018 begins, I wish you nothing but the best in your making this your best year yet. Let’s knock it out of the park.