My 2016 Annual Review

Each year, I write an annual review as a way to reflect on the year that’s passed, review my successes and failures and keep myself publicly accountable. This is the first one I’ve done here at BryanTeare.com.

Inspired by James Clear, this review will primarily answer 3 questions, plus a fourth bonus question recently inspired by my friend Greg Faxon:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. What am I working towards in 2017?
  4. What is my theme for the new year?

If you don’t already do so, I highly recommend writing an annual review. It helps you celebrate your forgotten wins, identify where to improve and know what to double down on in the upcoming year. Feel free to use this format. Now let’s get into it.

WHAT WENT WELL?

These were some of my big wins in 2016.

New website. It makes me proud to think that none of what you’re reading or looking at existed 12 months ago. This seems to be a similar trend with my previous blogs, both of which lasted one year. But with BryanTeare.com, I feel something more. Perhaps there’s a lesson in giving yourself a set time (not necessarily a year) to experiment with something you’re interested in, and then allowing it to fade away if it’s not quite it.

The Quarter Life Comeback Podcast. A big component of this new site was my weekly podcast. I decided to focus on this over written content, which resulted in me reaching far more people (both in my network and listeners) than I possibly could have by writing articles. The show hit (and stayed at) #1 in iTunes New & Noteworthy for both the Health and Education categories, something I’m incredibly proud of. Elle Magazine also named into one of five podcasts you will love.

Growing my network. As a result of the podcast and general interest in meeting inspiring people, I became friends with some awesome people this year. Some of them have become mentors, some business advisors and others just occasional Skype hangouts. There’s something to be said for letting someone know when you appreciate their work. Try it.

Landing a dream gig (+ location independent). One of those mentors reached out to me in Q4 of 2016 asking if I’d be interested in partnering up for an upcoming product launch. It was a no-brainer. My game plan: add ridiculous amounts of value and do more than he asked for (try this, too). What resulted was me joining his team for the foreseeable future! I’m also now completely location independent, meaning I can work anywhere with just my laptop. This was one of my biggest goals coming into 2016.

Discovering Stoicism. A big part of my growth this year was discovering the ancient Greek philosophy of the Stoics. In a nutshell, this entails choosing how you respond to things and only focusing on what is within your control. It’s been a game changer in terms of my mental state, peace of mind and wellbeing. Add this to the 10-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat I did in March and I’m basically a monk now.

Financial turnaround. At times this year, I was quite literally broke, even while I was inspiring others to create extraordinary lives through my podcast. However, I somehow always managed to keep going (with a lot of support from my parents, too). By the end of the year, I’d gotten out of debt, started making regular income that I feel passionate about (almost matching that of my engineering job), got my own place and didn’t have to live in my car (I thought about it).

Relationship. And finally, the year wouldn’t have been what it was without beginning a new relationship with my girlfriend Taryn. Together with her 7-year old son Cooper, they’ve brought me a lot of joy over the last few months and reminded me that there’s more to life (and your twenties) than “hustling” and work.

WHAT DIDN’T GO SO WELL?

There were also some many failures throughout the year.

Writing. As the podcast became my primary focus content-wise, all other content took a knock, including writing. Writing is something I really enjoy doing and also serves a different audience, and so I was disappointed that I let my morning writing habit slip. I plan to pick this up again in 2017, with a more strategic approach in doing so (stay tuned).

Reading. I’ve never been a fast reader, but I read far fewer books this year than I would have liked. I’m going to implement a rule of “when in doubt, read” as well as making it part of my morning routine (most important things first) to see if this improves things. I’d like to read 2 books a month.

Coaching. While I started out the year with a few clients, I allowed some limiting beliefs to get in the way of me creating new clients. Being in a financial situation was also a contributing factor, as I never want to NEED clients. However, I ended the year with newfound confidence in my ability to help others, and in 2017 I’m inspired to focus on this.

Trying to take on too much (+ neglecting fundamentals). Perhaps this was because I was desperately trying to figure out how to make money and get out of debt, but I found myself trying to do so many different things at once. Throughout the year, I was personal training, managing social media clients, coaching, doing admin for a friend’s business, modelling, freelancing as a podcast consultant/editor, teaching online and other small jobs I can’t remember. This is probably why my coaching suffered above. Working all the time also meant I sacrificed my health at times, which is a no-no for me in 2017. By the end of the year, I’d started culling A LOT of these “jobs”, in order to focus on what’s most important to me (read more below).

WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARDS?

I’m inspired to create something extraordinary in 2017 by building on the foundations I managed to lay this year.

Systems, structures and routines. I’m dedicating the first quarter of the year not to a goal/outcome, but to getting clear on how I want to do things, how I best operate and what needs to get done in order to make everything else easier for the rest of the year; my 80/20 if you will. This includes my morning and evening routines, personal finance systems, business strategy and a few other areas. Laying the foundations.

Coaching. As mentioned above, this is an area I’m really inspired to step into, and one that I didn’t in 2016. I’ve realised that I don’t need to “figure it all out” before serving others. The best business (and indeed coaching) model is helping clients get awesome results.

Simplifying. Everything. You’ll see more below, but in contrast to 2016, I want to focus more of my energy on fewer areas in the new year.

Email list. I want to grow my audience in order to reach more readers/listeners, create more value and inspire more people to create their own path in life. If you find value in my work, I’d love for you to spread the word. Plus: what would you love me to create?

Monetization. While I’m stoked about landing the dream gig mentioned earlier, I want to generate regular income from my own brand, too. This could include things like coaching clients, a group program, online course, monthly membership and a podcast sponsor. But one thing at a time 🙂

THEME FOR 2017

Looking back, 2016 would probably be categorized by the words ‘grit’ or ‘foundation’. There were many times I felt like quitting, but I KNEW deep down that things were going to change (another takeaway from Vipassana + Stoicism). And they did.

In 2017, my theme for the year is SIMPLIFY. I’m starting the year by looking at everything I’m currently doing, identifying the 80/20 and focusing on the most important tasks/goals/actions that will create the biggest results. I’m letting go of a lot of “could do’s” and focusing more of my energy on the few “must do’s”. These include continuing to build my brand (podcast, articles, monetization), coaching and the dream gig above.

In doing so, I will free up more time to relax, read, have fun and spend time with friends and family.

2016 was a crazy roller coaster ride, and a year I’ll look on as one that forever changed my trajectory in life. Through all of the struggles and challenges, I’ve come out of it doing work I am inspired by, being able to do so whenever, wherever I want. As James Clear said in his 2015 review, “There aren’t many jobs where you can work on what you want, impact people in a positive way, and live a good lifestyle all at the same time. I’m so lucky to have one of those jobs.”

If you’ve listened, downloaded, shared, played, liked, tweeted or otherwise consumed any of my work this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m excited to continue sharing content that helps you improve your life in 2017.

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Bryan Teare is a coach and host of The Quarter Life Comeback podcast where he interviews various experts, mentors and other inspiring guests to empower young adults to create extraordinary lives. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanTeare.


Originally published at bryanteare.com on January 11, 2017.

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