I have been reading Chris Guillebeau’s Art of Non-Conformity Blog for a while and he makes a very convincing case of annual reviews and planning ahead for the new year as a means to be aligned to what you want to achieve by the end of this year. Taking his advice so here it goes –
2009 was like beginning a new phase in my life. The phase that starts when you get to a certain age, when virility and stupidity both start to wane and a sense of mortality seeps in that makes you walk that path that is really meant for you. For me it kicked in after 24yrs and I think I was ready. There were challenging times and during this review, I give myself a 8 out of 10. Most of it is obviously because of being in the green monetarily but a little of it has to do with the fact that I think now I know what my weaknesses are.
Tactically, 2009 was a year of consolidation. I cleared most of my debt, made strides to invest a little for the future and enhanced my skillset for the near term demands that I will have. A few tangibles being –
- Going home to India and spending time with parents.
- Organized Finances – Mint
- Picking up hobbies and activities that allow me to relax than challenge – Painting, Biking, WordPress
- Pursuing courses that will benefit me short term – Berkeley
- Fitness – 3 Mile, 30 min limit (PROUD!!!)
Strategically, I don’t think I have done a lot in terms of setting course anywhere but a few tangibles here –
- Perfected a routine for the rigorous 9-5’s.
- Cut down the non-essentials (Food, Partying, Shopping for “stuff” etc)
- Identified strengths and weaknesses in communication – Linear vs. Fuzzy Communication
- Seriousness towards detail (Learnt the hard way!)
So what’s in store for 2010?
Let’s see, there is answering the 2 questions that I have always avoided and then there is the preparation to beat out the small delta’s. I think I will be happy if by Dec 2010,l I have made inroads into these two items.
So that 2 questions that I have always asked myself –
- What is it that I truly want to be doing as not only a way to live(monetarily) but also something in a more intrinsic way, if you know what I mean?!
- How do I get to where I am doing what I truly want to do?
For me, the two questions have been a struggle. I really don’t believe in destiny so much and I like to believe that I will make it so at this stage of my life, answering these questions are a priority and I am making them the top 2 for this year. I have reasoned my self to be a …
1. Successful consultant by getting an 2. MBA from a top tier school;
1. Start a firm of my own by 2. Getting out to a start-up, slogging and making enough cash and contacts to invest.
1. Get serious about community work and social activism by 2. Moving to India
… but none of the three really appeal to me at that intrinsic level.
Don’t get me wrong, MBA in 5years looks awesome to me to make serious money and never have to ask these questions again but not a single person I know who has an MBA or who is planning an MBA who has given me a good enough reason as to why they did or are planning to do it and I myself have not come-up with a reason either. MBA, in my opinion, is an outlet for most people who hate their jobs or are not talented enough to grow or gain more work in the job that they are in. I love my job and I think there is great progress to be made where I work so I just don’t see a reason.
Entrepreneurship sounds lofty and mesmerizing but coming from the background that I have, I think I still need more experience before I take a plunge. Don’t get me wrong, again, but seriously my heart is set on this and I think this is the path for me but not yet, definitely not at 25! But this is a path that I plan to start working on in a small way here and I will articulate more ahead.
Community work… sounds morally superior but I think on its own, I don’t find it appealing. If I can combine entrepreneurship with independent community service, that’s bull’s-eye for me.
2010: Tactical Goals –
- Go home and see family more often – Planning 2 trips to India this year and one trip from parents so that’s awesome!
- Get into the best shape of my life – I have the workout routine all set, now it’s time to drop it from 180lbs to 160 lbs by May (!)
- Biking – Should be able to ride 20miles by Dec 2010 without having to break the back!
- Painting – Dispel the notion to myself, I have 2 left hands!!!
- Complete Berkeley Certification – 7 credits to go in 3 sems. Doable!
- Contribute more for PFC – I hated myself for dropping out entirely in the 2nd half of ’09.
I think the 6 above are a good measure for 2010. Quantifiable and accountable in all respects.
2010 Strategic –
1. Connect more – Family, Friends, Contacts.
In 2009, when doing the overall life pie-chart, I realized that I scored horribly on communication with family and especially with friends. Family I mean not the immediate Mom and Dad but Family, the whole 70mm. With friends, I think I really blew it. Considering the number of social channels, I just flaked out… need to do more.
2. Develop strategy around the 2 questions.
By March, I ideally want to have a tangible proof of concept on what it is that I really want in life, what I want to do and how can I combine what I want to do with how beneficial I can be to others. It is a choice that I make that what I do SHOULD be beneficial and there is no shame in that.
3. Start working on the strategy above using social media
Whatever it is I come-up with, I would ideally like some kind of a footprint developed either through a blog or a website so that I can get into the habit of working on it one day at a time.
The above 3 suffice for 2010.
So what lost out, or did not make the list –
- Traveling – It’s sad but I think it will have to take a back burner this year.
- Buying the “house” – I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon for the real fear of being struck in US with a 30yr mortgage! I would love to have the garden and the garage and the game room but… interesting things to do elsewhere.
- Yoga, Tai Chi, Golf – Maybe 10yrs later!
- Writing the blog – I think I will write a lot more this year, but maybe not so much as a blog on everything. Maybe something more tactical and on one area to match the goal in life?
- Marriage(!!!) – Will have to wait an year! Maybe more… but the noose dangles.
To wrap up, I think this year is going to be just great. Or maybe not. At times there is this knowing, when you are in the zone of whatever it is that you do, I have been feeling it for about 6 months now. Maybe that’s why I have been more at peace with myself, more introverted, more focused but there will be the time when you have to be on the offense and that’s when playing zone is just dumb! 2010 may just be that year!
Happy new year all!