The calendar says it’s December 26th, which means that it’s time for my “Annual Review” – You know, that annual end-of-the-year “check up” where – as far as my personal growth is concerned – the rubber finally meets the road!
Yep, after two days of holiday binge eating, drinking and watching movies (Damn you, Netflix!) it’s time to get focused and spend time reflecting back upon the past 365 days. The purpose of the exercise is twofold: First, to see if I’ve achieved the many ambitious goals I set out for myself this time last year; and secondly, to figure out what worked, what didn’t, and what I can improve upon in 2016.
So without further adieu, let’s find out how I did, shall we? But first…
I have to say that for me, 2015 has been a HUGE year in many ways, especially since I technically remained “retired” fully and completely throughout the entire time, which was pretty brilliant. This unique status allowed me to challenge and push myself in a lot of ways that I probably wouldn’t have been able to had I a 9 to 5 job to go to. Because of it, I was able to do a ton more travelling, speaking and writing, for which I’m truly thankful.
Also, I never picked up any real paying work which means that the goal of “working part time” wasn’t achieved… but to be honest, I’m okay with that.
In fact, lately I’ve begun to think that much of what some people call “work” these days is really a massive waste of time that is neither fulfilling for them, or truly contributes to society as a whole… but that’s an entirely other post.
However, in addition to all the awesome-ness, there were also some drawbacks and disappointments over the past year, of which I’ll briefly touch on as we go down the list. But since I don’t want this to turn into a long, boring drawn out post (I have the upcoming 2016 goals list to accomplish that) I’ll just note 2015 successes, failures and possible progresses along the way… sound good? Okay, then let’s get to it!
MY “davidknappfisher.com” GOALS:
Blog: In 2014 I learned not to chase numbers (site hits, Facebook “likes”, etc.) and just to write for MYSELF; and as a result, this year I believe that my written work has improved a great deal. My strategy to achieve this was simple: To both read good writing, and surround myself with said good writers, most notably award-winning blogger Emma from The Marvellous Mind. She kindly reviewed my work and gave me invaluable advice that I’m using as I write this post.
Meeting her in Sydney this year was so awesome; I’m so pleased to both have her friendship, and call her a mentor of mine – Thanks Emma! Ditto to my other friends Erin and Melissa who are equally as awesome and inspiring to me as both friends and writers – you ladies rock!
Other than that I just keep on trying to express myself by writing as authentically as possible, be interesting to read, and learn something new with each post.
Create an Actual Business: I got my new website up, and it looks great – but that’s where my success in this goal ends. I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about doing this as a “business”- but to be honest, I’m probably still just feeling the fear about the whole deal… More work is definitely required if I’m going to bring this to fruition.
Speeches/Workshops: I pushed myself hard to create opportunities to speak, and then took them – something that made me immensely proud. And even though I didn’t hit 12 speeches as hoped, the ones I did do were pretty high profile and often involved paid travelling, something that was a pretty cool perk!
Speeches included two for Muscular Dystrophy Canada in both Edmonton and Calgary, two minutes on stage in front of 3,000 people at WDS in Portland, a keynote at “The Evening to Inspire” for local business organization “YES”.
Oh, and don’t forget that little event last May called TEDx Stanley Park… all kidding aside, being on stage in front of 450 people and receiving a standing ovation for my TEDx talk was (and is) certainly one of my proudest achievements ever. Boo-Yah!
Part Time Employment: Nope… I tried being a demo guy selling brownies but it reminded me too much of the job I quit because I hated it, so I followed suit and also quit this gig after a couple of months. Epic fail or stark realization? I’m not sure either…
Mexico: We never made it to Mexico this year, and for good reason; we went to India instead! And while the trip cost approximately 3 times as much as a couple of weeks at The Royal Decameron in P.V. (the all-inclusive resort we go to) AND totally depleted my cash reserves, I have to say it was one of the most incredible travel experiences of my life.
Here’s a few more photos of this most awesome once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Portland, Oregon: In July we attend our very first “World Domination Summit” and were so blown away that we’ve already booked in for next year. It was everything I’d hoped it would be, and more – in fact I can honestly say that after years and years of searching, I’ve finally found my tribe of like-minded adventure seekers!
You can read more about this adventure here; or better still, come join us next year in Portland!
In addition to WDS, I went back to Portland a second time this past month hoping to create some business & travel opportunities for the future. And while the mission itself turned out to be a major disappointment, I turned this trip into its own adventure by discovering “budget travel”! This approach included staying in a hostel dorm room, and riding the Greyhound from Hell… Read more on this, here.
On a positive note, while I was in Portland I got to eat at Sizzle Pie once again, the best pizza and beer joint ever – That alone makes the trip a win!
Australia: And of course we made it to Australia this fall, where we attended a sunset memorial for Paula’s father at beautiful Trinity Beach. It was a simple yet poignant ceremony, and an opportunity for her to spend time with her family. Before heading up North, I had a plan of my own which was to finally see Sydney, and the gorgeous and stunning Opera House that graces it’s harbour. More on that side-trip here…
In Sydney I got to experience my very first foreign Air B&B which in itself was a wicked experience, all thanks to my awesome host Terry. If you are ever there make sure you stay at his amazing home! Book it here.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Inspired by the speakers I saw at WDS I started reading again, mostly towards the back half of the year. I managed to read a total of about 6 books on personal development, which is pretty good. Whats even better is that I enjoyed them enough to contact the authors, all of whom in turn contacted me back! I know, right? But here’s the thing:
It was a great epiphany for me to realize that authors are real people; real people who WANT to hear from those who read and enjoy their work! I’ve kept in contact with many of them, and have even created a friendship or two out of our conversations. This strategy is a game-changer for me, and has since become a major part of my life. Which brings me to the next goal…
Create New Friendships: As fate would have it, this past year I’ve made many friends and connections, however most of them live in other parts of the world – something that makes going for coffee pretty tough! Instead we keep up with each other through email, Skype and (dare I say it) Facebook – which is pretty cool.
WDS was incredible for me to create connections, and so I consider this category a major success; just one that is far different from what I thought it would look like.
Toastmasters: After a long, hard deliberation I decided to pack in Toastmasters after six months. Yes, it got me out of the house, and made me social; however the leadership at the club I joined seemed very “stuck” in their ways, and to be honest wasn’t very inspiring to me as a whole.
On the flip side I made new friend, and she and her wife have become friends of mine which is so cool as they are truly wonderful people. So with that in mind, I’d say that the Toastmasters experiment was a success!
Alcohol: Partial success: We weren’t supposed to drink all of January, but after week 2.5 we craved some wine and had it. ‘Nuff said. Due to a perceived massive recent personal failure I plan to do better in 2016.
Eat Better: I definitely became more aware of how and what I was feeding my family, much of it driven by Tristan’s weight struggles. It’s weird that we’ll do more for our kids than we will for ourselves; shouldn’t we do more for ourselves THEREBY doing more for them by osmosis? Another brilliant theory I don’t seem to understand… either way, we ate really well this year, and I’m proud of this.
Paula’s Liver Cleanse: We did this “Liver Cleanse” in January and it was the worst thing I’ve ever done to myself. In my mid-year check in I described it this way: “Besides shitting out what felt to be several organs, my ass was bleeding from the constant wiping, and then toxic waste spewing from it”.
Seriously, don’t ever do this to yourself – it was bloody torture, both literally AND figuratively.
Gym: I did really well with this, going to the gym the committed 5 days a week all the way up until September, when I slowed down mostly due to being away, then letting my membership lapse. I have full confidence I’ll be back again soon, especially as I was able to drop down to, and keep my weight at 205 lbs. for most of the time. I’m pretty pleased about this accomplishment, for sure.
FAMILY GOALS: I thought I did pretty well at this; but as always, there is room for improvement. In fact, a decision made in late 2015 (and clearly something I didn’t see coming in July) will have a major impact on my life in 2016 and beyond, but I’m not ready to put that out there for mass consumption just yet.
Let’s just say life will change big time for me, and I’m 50% nervous, 20% excited and 30% sad about it, all at the same time. I’m sure as time goes on and I deal with it, those numbers will all improve. My focus is to ensure everyone involved gets my very best patience, love and attention wherever I can provide it.
Tristan’s Future: This has been a tough year on so many levels. Tristan’s health has taken a major hit which has in turn created a great deal of anxiety and stress for him, and therefore for me as well. Regardless of age or circumstance, nobody wants to see their children suffer; and M.D. has a way of really being cruel and insidious to all of those it affects, something we felt a lot of this year.
Making matters worse we had major drama with his care aids, especially with the first two. Despite being paid very well to take care of Tristan, both proved to be dishonest and lazy in so many ways and rarely did what was expected. Managing these guys was like baby-sitting a couple of children – not something I expected to have to do. But here’s the thing:
For Tristan to be successful in his studies and day-to-day life, someone had to oversee these guys and make sure they were doing their job – which they usually weren’t – and (as usual) that someone was me. This role made me unpopular with many people in my life; but like most unpopular roles, somebody still has to get the job done.
Managing these two bozos created a lot of heat for me from all sides; by being deceitful, and by not giving a shit about anyone other than themselves (including Tristan) they created a really painful period for me, and on so many levels.
If I’m honest (which I always try to be here) I still harbour some ill will towards them both for their behaviour and lies while in our employ.
The good news is that with lessons learned, we seem to be back on track, as Tristan hired a really terrific aid a few months ago. She not only is very nice and does the job well, but also has Tristan’s best interests in mind at all times – Thank goodness! After much trial and tribulation, I think we’ve finally weathered this storm.
I have a great deal more confidence for Tristan’s future these days because of this, and that’s a very good thing.
FINANCIAL GOALS: My R.R.S.P. grew by $25,000 this year with no new contributions; however in late November I had to withdraw about $11,500 ($2,500 of which was tax) to help cover off some past debt from our travels and to have a little “cushion” for the new year. I don’t know what else I can do other than keep living as lean as possible on a day to day basis.
Money Magnet: My goal was to save up all the “found money” – what we lovingly refer to as “Money Magnet” in our house – for the full year to see how much enters my life. Up to July I had about $460 which I used for our hostel in Portland; and after that I kept a rough track, but still spent the money as it came in. Total Money Magnet in 2016 was close to $750 which I thought was pretty good! Next year I plan not to spend it to see how much I can save over the course of the year.
So there you have it; 2015 in a nutshell! I’m pretty please with most of it, but certainly know areas where I could have done better, and will strive to do so in 2016 with all the lessons learned leading up to it.
Speaking of 2016, this week I’ll be working on my goals for the next year so stay tuned. All I can say is that it’s going to be a very, very different year for me; but one I will use to grow and develop as much as I can, and keep working towards becoming the person I want to become.
Wish me luck, because from what I can tell, I’m going to need it…
Thanks for checking in – it means a lot to me that you do.