This is the first year I’m formally writing a recap of the year that’s past. And what a year it’s been (I could say that for every year).
This is a time for me to reflect and write an honest review of what went well, what could have been better, and what I’m working toward for 2015.
1. What went well this year?
My surfing this year improved dramatically. This is largely thanks to the Mentawai Island Wolfpack Trip, where me and 6 other mates lived on an old Japanese fishing boat for 10 days and did nothing but surf, eat, surf, drink, sleep, surf, eat, surf, drink, sleep, repeat. The happiest moments of the trip were:
Longest single surfing session ever attempted. Captain and I were in surfing Bintangs by ourselves for almost 7 hours straight. Bintangs was a classic right-hander reef break that peeled perfectly, allowing me to refine my right hand cut backs and re-entries.
Getting barreled and coming out on a wave at Bintangs – even though it was a mongrel.
Becoming really comfortable at surfing my backhand, thanks to the mechanical left-hander at Macaroni’s. On the right wave, I’m now able to perform some solid re-entries on my backhand.
I’ve always been interested in learning acrobatics, but this year saw some real focus into trying new things. The happiest moments were:
Flying trapeze course with Haejin where we learned how to backflip dismount and a flying grab to dismount. So cool!
Aerial silks course with Haejin at Sydney Trapeze School where we learned how to climb the silk, do a few different tricks and some crazy fall thing, which almost cost me my balls. It was great for building strength, and it showed. By the time I finished the 4 week course, I could easily climb the silk to the top with my legs suspended and just using my arms.
Backflips on a trampoline. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always had a fear of backflips. So this year I had enough and put that fear to rest. I simply called Sydney Trapeze School and booked a private trampoline lesson. Within less than three hours I was able to complete several backflips without guidance.Goal accomplished and fear defeated. Plus, it was so much fun!!!
Pole Dancing Course. Haejin bought me a 4 week introductory pole dancing course for Xmas. It was fun to learn a new skill and to have a new appreciation of how strong you need to be to pole dance properly. It’s hard!
Having the opportunity to shoot with one of my favourite photographers, Tim Denoodle. I probably took some of my all time favourite photos that morning.
Surfers In A Dress 2014.
Well, Surfers In A Dress has certainly been a highlight over the past 3 years. But Surfers In A Dress 2014 (SIAD14) was something special. Even though I didn’t hit my donation or participation target, the whole campaign felt like it was really successful and it’s the one I’m most proud of. One of the biggest highlights of the campaign was having Dan Sharp from Sharp Pictures direct not one but two promotional videos. I’m still gob-smacked at how good they look and so grateful for everyone in the team for their support.
Some of the other highlights of the campaign were:
Being featured on SBS World News for International Day of the Girl
Being featured in the Wentworth Courier
Being featured in Marie Claire magazine
Having other One Girl Ambassadors want to hold a Surfers In A Dress event at their local beach
Raising $2,840.60 personally and in total, $7,523.60 for Surfers In A Dress team. This equates to 25 girls in Sierra Leone who will now have the opportunity to get an education
Meeting my nephew, Parker.
Welcoming my nephew into the world was a stand out moment of 2014. He popped out on 16/05/2014 and I met him for the first time in September. He is by far the most chilled out little dude I’ve ever met. Hardly cries. He just likes sitting there kicking his legs and looking at everything. He had a very calming effect when I first held him.
Celebrating my Dad’s 60th Birthday.
The Old Man reached a milestone this year. The Big 60! It was a pleasure to fly back to Adelaide for the occasion and give him a flight voucher to visit me in Sydney in 2015. I’ll be looking forward to spending some quality time with him.
Writing a Journal.
Another positive influence of Haejin Yoo. She gave me a notebook back in June 2014 as a way to help me capture my thoughts and ideas and to record my journey to find myself. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I’ve been keeping a log of all the noteworthy things every day since the start of August.
Why keep a journal?
It helps you to appreciate the smaller and generally unnoticed things that happen in your day-to-day life
It records your life and how you were feeling during moments in time
It can help as a way to digest and express how you are feeling, so you can be more aware of yourself and how you behave to others
It helps you stay more focused on what you want to achieve. For example, if you notice that you haven’t made any progress towards a goal in the week that’s flown by, then you can be more aware of it and make changes for the week ahead
It’s good to reflect on where you’ve been as a way to measure how far you’ve come in your journey. I always think about how cool it will be to read an old journal in 10 year’s time. Imagine sharing some of the memories with your kids and with your grandchildren one day
It goes without saying that I want to continue this positive habit into 2015 and to encourage others to give it a try also.
Learning to Meditate.
Learning to meditate had long been on the list of things I wanted to do and become committed to. I had tried it before by attending a Buddhist Meditation Centre, but I found it was hard to stay committed to and costly for something I couldn’t see short-term results from. So, one day when I was thinking about meditation again, it dawned on me that there must be a guided meditation application I could use. A quick search on the App Store and I found Headspace. It’s a fairly basic app and the free version comes with 30 guided meditation sessions to get you familiar with meditation. I ended up deciding to purchase the yearly subscription for about $80. Many people would think that is expensive for an app service, but when you consider that it’s about $10 a class at the Buddhist Meditation Centre, the app then appears as an extremely cheap investment.
Since practicing with the Headspace App, I have completed a total of 165 sessions, averaging 14 minutes and with a total meditation time of 38 hours. I’m quite pleased with this effort and I have seen a noticeable improvement in:
My overall happiness – i.e. I generally feel happier when I meditate as it helps me reflect on what I’m grateful for in my life
My emotional intelligence – i.e. I am much more patient and empathetic in situations of conflict
My creativity – i.e. I’ve noticed my ability to think creatively and come up with new ideas has improved as a result
Needless to say, I’d highly recommend giving meditation a go and to leverage the convenience of having a guided meditation assistant, such as the Headspace App.
I’ve always wanted to get more involved in public speaking at Industry Events and 2014 was the year this avenue of personal development kicked off. There were four standout public speaking events of 2014 and I hope to continue this more in 2015.
Mumbrella Digital School. I was invited to speak on the topic of Big Data and Marketing Automation on behalf of Datarati. Average audience size of about 15. Here’s the presentation:
University of Western Sydney. This presentation was prepared for the Advertising students (~50) at the University of Western Sydney. In it I explain the concept of fear and how to change your perspective of fear, or any major challenge in your life. I support the stance with some personal examples and advise the students what they should be thinking about and learning as they finish Uni and start their career.
Marketo Marketing Nation Roadshow, Sydney. Standing in front of about 300 people, this was the biggest audience I’ve had to present in front of. I was talking through a Nautica Case Study and explaining the importance of investing time and effort into tracking campaigns effectively to get the best insight for future optimisation. To compliment this, I explained how all of this was possible to achieve when using a marketing automation platform, like Marketo.
Building a team at Datarati and winning a big piece of business
Buying a car space and storage space for my apartment, which will be completed by February 2015
Seeing the Sydney property market go up by 10%+, meaning that my apartment should have increased significantly in value since I bought it off the plan in November 2011
Quitting the gym and being more committed to attending Kung Fu training
2. What could have gone better and what am I working toward for 2015?
Surfers In A Dress. I feel like the success of SIAD is somewhat limited to how big I want it to be. Even though I’m extremely happy and proud of what SIAD has become and achieved, there’s definitely room for new ideas and expansion to make it more successful than ever. This is something I am placing more thought on in 2015 and here are a three things that I’d like to implement:
Form a group of Board Members to collaborate on strategy, leverage networks and divide and concur the workload
Change the donation strategy by stopping asking friends and family to contribute, but rather position the cause as a “what do you think education is worth?”-type of proposition and ask for gold coin donations to be a part of the Surfers In A Dress event
Reaching a total of 100 girls back in school since SIAD started would be an amazing achievement (currently sitting at around 85 girls)
Routine and Procrastination. This has been a weakness of mine for a while now, but I’ve not yet mastered a way to get into a good routine of study, exercise and socialising. I also need to be aware of when I am procrastinating and decide whether I should classify it as laziness or simply relaxation. Here are three things that I will work on achieving this year:
Maintain Kung Fu training every week for the year and record the days missed, if any
Spend 2 nights a week at home studying, blogging or working on SIAD
Be more decisive when I procrastinate. Tell myself what I am doing, whether it’s procrastinating or not, and remember not to be too hard on myself when I do procrastinate.
Having more confidence in my abilities at work. This has certainly improved over the past year, but as I move into more senior roles I need to be convinced (and to convince others) that I can solve business problems and actually deliver the solutions confidently. The three things that I will focus on to achieve this are:
Never stop learning. Keep my brain active by reading blog articles, taking courses on Coursera and getting trained on new systems and tools at work, e.g. Salesforce Admin Certification, Tableau, SPSS, Marketo etc.
Continue to engage in public speaking events, such as Mumbrella Digital School, maybe Marketo Summit and other industry events
Practice refining my strategic and presenting skills. I think this has felt like one of my weaknesses for some time and I’m determined to flip this around this year. I think it will be imperative in my ability to progress in my career
Some other areas of focus for the year include:
Improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle – diet and exercise
Manage my finances to ensure I can comfortably service my mortgage and save for future
Plan and go on a holiday
Update my blog at least once a month
Invest in learning how to Hip Hop dance and improving my Salsa dancing skills