Reflecting on 2017 (Annual Review)

2017 has been the biggest year of growth for me.

I feel like I’m thriving in (almost) every single aspect of my life — a feeling that I’m still getting used to, because my whole life previously has always felt unstable and inconsistent (my 2016 reflection is an example of how much you can grow in one year).

Let’s start with the good, and then the bad.

The good:

BODY: 7.5/10

I feel amazing. I’m in the best shape of my life and built foundational habits that feel rock solid.

  • I started working out consistently beginning of Q3 first in the gym, now doing calisthenics and pole dancing, at least three times a week. On the side, I’m exploring other types of dance, climbing, and saying yes to any invites to play sports.
  • I finally learned how to cook. I would have no idea how to cook chicken breast on a pan. Now I’m cooking salmon, making protein smoothies, and so much more. I’m eating healthy 80% of the time.
  • I’ve stopped my habit of staying up late to watch Netflix and YouTube videos which I’m super proud of. I hit 8 hours of sleep 80% of the time.

Career: 7.5/10

I’m in the best place in my career working with people I admire, challenging myself in my craft, and having autonomy/power to create a huge impact in the organization.

  • I started Bot Academy, a new site, with my mentor Andrew Warner where I’m learning so much about course creation, executing 6 figure launches (will hit 7 figures by end of year 1), and meeting amazing humans because of it.
  • I’ve got to work with many of the entrepreneurs I respect including John Lee Dumas, Four Sigmatic, and Kettle & Fire. I got to meet my virtual mentors in person like Seth Godin, Mark Manson, Jordan Harbinger and Ramit Sethi — all were SUPER kind.
Andrew Warner and I at our team retreat planning the future of Bot Academy.
Ramit Sethi and Stephanie Lee (Left), Mark Manson (Right)

Tribe: 8/10

My tribe has never been stronger.

  • This is the first time in my life (since high school) where I feel like I have my core tribe of friends. Friends who give me a safe space to be vulnerable. Who are super generous and kind. Who go out of their way to support. Who don’t judge me. Who accept me. Tribe is something I’ve struggled with my whole life and after four years of searching, I finally feel like I belong.
Ride and die!

Personal Growth: 7.5/10

I am more confident, patient, resilient, empathetic, compassionate, and self-aware than I have ever been.

  • I have the most clarity about my life than ever. I truly feel like I’m my best self. I owe a lot of my rapid progress to my life coach, Kat Koh, who I started to work with eight months ago.
Kat and I at Color Factory :)
  • My tribe also have had a huge influence in helping me grow because like Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Fun & Adventure: 8/10

Life is fun when you want to make it fun.

  • I’ve taken two improv classes (8 weeks long each) which provided me the most laughs per minute in any activity I’ve ever participated in.
Endgames: Improv 201 (left), Improv 301 (right)
  • I recently fell in love with Pole dancing and have been going to the studio every week for 4 months. Dancing has made me embrace my body, sexuality, and love myself more.
Month 4 Progress
  • I travelled to Philly for adventure, Austin to build a chat bot for Sprayable, Chicago to attend Ramit Sethi’s Forefront 2017, and New York for Sol Orwell’s Cookie Chip Off (Watch my VLOG here).
Philly (top left), Chicago (top right), New York (bottom left), Austin (bottom right)
  • I hosted three writing retreats and my first friend retreat. Got so much writing done and bonded DEEPLY with everyone on the trip. I love retreats/getaways like these because of how present everyone is.
Writing Retreat Batch 1 (top left), Batch 2 (top right), Batch 3 (bottom left), Friend Retreat (bottom right)
  • Finished a triathlon in Napa and a half marathon in Yosemite. Training for both races with friends has been an experience on its own!
  • Got my first tattoo. I told Joey (high school classmate) that I’d never get a tattoo and if I ever did, I would get it from him. Who would have guessed I’d call him so soon?
  • Gave a speech to 4,000+ high school students about taking control over your life (Watch full speech here). I’m super super super proud of this speech. I break down what it feels like to live everyone else’s dream and what it finally felt like to live your own life.
credit: @j.essiephotography

Overall — Life has been fucking amazing. This has hands down been the most fun, and the most growth-oriented year I have ever had.

I talked with my coach about how I feel like a car is going to hit me because life has to balance out somehow. She talked about how that is all based on fear and the stories we imagine, and that I’ll be fine. (Thanks Kat!)

The bad:

Romantic Relationships: 4/10

  • I’ve made SIGNIFICANT progress in being my best self, that I intentionally did not date anyone until I was proud to date myself. After six months of working with my life coach and improving every aspect of my life, I finally felt ready. I made a solid effort to put myself out there and have met some amazing women over the last few months (without online dating).
  • One thing I feel extremely proud about is saying no to pursuing several gal friends in more than a friendship. The old Tam would say yes to any date and try to make things work searching for someone to complete him. To fill the needs that are not met in his life. It wasn’t until I read a poem by Rupi Kaur that I felt accurately describe how I currently feel.

Family: 5/10

  • I’ve gone more distant with my family ever since I helped them move out and sell our house in May. I knew there would be a trade-off when thinking about my energy and I’m 100% OK with this in my current life stage. I’ve lived with them for so long, I need time to be independent and grow on my own. I plan to rekindle and deepen my relationships in 2018.

More thoughts

This is one of the first times where I finally felt like I have control of my life.

Yes, I am bragging in every part of this reflection.

I brag not to boast, but because I feel SO FUCKING PROUD for eating shit for the past four years after dropping out of college.

For sleeping on couches to do anything I can to be in San Francisco. For never having enough money to eat out or buy an online course. For never feeling like I belonged anywhere. For failing every single diet and nutrition plan I’ve ever tried for the past 12 years. For grinding all throughout my career and never getting recognition or respect.

I look back at how much I’ve grown and I literally can’t recognize myself. It’s so amazing.

my first time climbing the pole (left), my new birthday presents (right)

I realized throughout this past year how EASY and how DIFFICULT it is to make progress on your goals. The trainer at my (old) gym said “The secret to being strong is to work out every day for 10 years.”

Showing up every day in the pursuit towards your goal separates you from the vast majority of humans. I am nobody special. I did nothing special. I simply worked hard every day for 4+ years in the areas that I want to grow in.

This year is the first time where I see my efforts actually paying off. Where I can look back and connect the dots thanking myself for trusting the process.

I’m excited to grow even more in 2018. I hope you are too. Thanks for reading.

Bonus Birthday Vlog #2