Ready or not, here comes 2022
Issue 72: A look back this year and focus moving forward
I stopped creating New Years Resolutions ages ago. I personally don't get motivated by a checklist and wait until the Gregorian calendar to pass to start. However, the end of the year comes with a lot of reflection and looking forward to another rotation around the sun. It happens to be my birthday too, which results in a lot of noodling on what the new year will bring.
At the end of each December, I enjoy quiet time to reflect and maximize coziness. For me, reflection isn't looking at positives and negatives, instead of viewing everything as realizations from reflection.
Don’t wait for the pandemic to end—keep going
There was a blip of time in June where it felt like the pandemic was over. I was having a beverage with friends in San Francisco. This is what January of 2020 felt like. Then Delta and the rest of the Greek alphabet arrived. This whole time feels like a long March 2020. However, time is undefeated, and it’s been a few years, and not going to end. This means continuing being safe but adapting to moving forward with my life with hope that the normalcy we seek returns.
Time is the most valuable asset
There is no gift I appreciate more than time. This could be having time to focus or more time with loved ones. I realized this year that time is the greatest asset of all to me. It’s not only the amount of time but the quality of it. The existence of all other assets is simply to buy more time.
The desire to build my corner on the internet
Whatever you want to call the next phase of the internet, many are calling it web3. What excites me is this desire to de-graph the internet. I'm packing my bags from most social networks (with the exception of Twitter) and investing in real estate of the web—my personal website
My 2022 reflection process
My process is very simple—write ideas down on index cards. I love index cards because they are easily movable for storyboards and ideas. Being able to spread cards on a table and see the big picture helps me think. The reason I don’t like New Years Resolutions is they are often written as a checklist with no intention. I prefer to start big and get specific, and leave them optional.
1. Think big
Ruben Harris, CEO of Career Karma posted his vision board for the next decade. It inspired me to think a lot bigger before setting any themes. A question I’d ask in an initial coaching session was, “As far as you can see, what does it look like you’re doing?” If your reaction to your goals is “this is impossible and will never happen,” you’re on the right track.
2. Identifying themes
After reviewing the card about thinking big for the decade, I extract the important themes that come to mind. I try to constrain it to 3-5 themes to create more focus. I don’t think about goals or activities at all.
3. Create goals (optional)
This isn’t necessary, in my opinion. I think of goals as ways to create focus and can change. Creating too many goals can be overwhelming and may no longer be relevant in your journey. If there is activity that leads to my intended outcome, then I’ll create a goal.
My 2022 themes
Now you’ve seen how I approach my thinking, I’ll share a few themes I’m focusing on in 2022 (in no particular order).
Fewer things at a high level
As David Allen, author of Getting Things Done says, "You can do anything, but not everything." I’m applying this to anything in life, not only in productivity or work. For example, I’ve been thinking about this to my clothes in the closet. I donated about 40% of the clothes I since I don’t wear them and it can benefit others way more than me. My philosophy in 2022 is to own fewer clothes but keep the ones that are high quality and meaningful to me.
Health is wealth
Even while fighting health conditions, I find the human body fascinating in terms of how it can recover and heal—the most amazing system. 2021 resumed working from home and it’s taking a toll on my body. In order to achieve any dream I have, I need to remain healthy and well physically and mentally. Getting a Peloton bike was one of the best investments I made all year because it allows me to ride indoors when it’s too hot outside to ride (like 110 F hot).
I think of systems as networks I work with. The role of a manager is essentially to build and leverage systems. I’d like to apply this to my personal life too. I have this realization that I cannot take on any more mentorship anymore. It’s not because I don’t want to, in fact, I love it and it breaks my heart. However, if I don’t do this, I will not have time to respect my personal boundaries and focus time. What I can do instead is leverage my network to connect people with other mentors. Programs like ADP List exist for this purpose. Leverage systems to protect your time and boundaries.
Invest in existing foundations
2021 was a great year of building new foundations such as consistent writing and angel investing. Instead of exploring something new, I’d like to double down on a good thing.
Make time for R&D
This one is contractitory of the previous one. However, it’s important for me to experiment and explore. While I prioritize deeper focus, I want to invest a bit of my time to learn and experience new things.
As the year closes, I’d like to thank you for reading this newsletter. What started as a publication with no direction or consistency in 2020, I’ve found much joy building and growing this newsletter in 2021. It couldn’t happen without your readership and encouragement for me to keep writing. Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in 2022!
Tweet of the week
Salman Azari posted a great thread about end-of-year reviews. It's not too late to do your own.