Celebrate your wins by writing them down

Nov 7, 2019 · 5 min read

I’ve been feeling “less than perfect” lately — primarily as a result of what I feel to be a stalled career. I left the world of consulting after 8 years in the game; I was just burned out. I took a local role in the bay area focused on enterprise sales but it has been incredibly unfulfilling.

Every day I sit trying to convince myself of the ‘amazing’ opportunity that has been afforded me to be in terms of: independence, compensation and work like balance but candidly my compensation year-ending 2019 will be the lowest in almost 6 years. I’ll clear $200,000 but it’s just not ‘exciting’. I went into this role with my eyes wide open on the compensation disparity relative to my old job ($300k+ vs $200k) but it has really impacted how I feel about my overall wellbeing.

I told this to my wife recently and she looked at me in shock, responding: “JR You’ve accomplished SO much in 2019”. I laughed and said “yeah right”, but after writing down what I’ve been achieved in 2019, it really brought perspective into my outlook on life. I want to share this as a reminder that my focus should not be so singular and tied to compensation. I’m not sure what I want to do professionally but I’m incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to explore so many different avenues.

My non-professional accomplishments of 2019:

  1. I married the love of my life

Thank you for the incredible perspective you bring to this relationship. I am a better person every day because of you.

2. I eliminated all meat, dairy, and fish from my food

The journey started with a simple question: “Is it possible to only eat foods where I can pronounce the ingredients?”. My answer almost 1 year later: Absolutely. I feel great, i’ve lost 20 pounds, the mental fog I used to get after eating lunch is gone. The aches and pains I used to get in my arms, neck and back are gone. No medication required.

3. I ran a marathon

What’s super cool about this is goal is not the actual marathon, but the 26 week training curriculum/running club that went with it. The experience was a great reminder about setting and achieving goals, and I think i’ve found a new hobby. I am going to run a 100k in May!

4. I became a real estate agent

This was a super random idea that felt into my “side hustle” category. This would have not been possible at my old career. In 2019 I took the DRE exam, joined a brokerage, and hosted 30 open houses. It was a crazy experience and i’m glad to have tickled that itch. Selling real estate is much harder than it looks!

5. I read 24 books

At the beginning of 2019 we took a radical step towards “living a purpose-driven” life by getting rid of the television. No we didn’t put it in the closet, unplug, or just cancel netflix : we actually gave away our TV. I am so happy to have done this because it reignited my passion for reading. The 24 books I’ve read this year span from financial planning, to health and wellness, to meditation, entrepreneurship.

If you’re looking to “kickstart” a change in your life, start by getting rid of your TV!

6. I learned to meditate

I used to think meditation was a kind of hokey new-world “too zen for you” activity but when i read into the science of meditation; specifically mindfulness meditation, I was hooked. Through mindfulness meditation, i’ve learned to better control my awareness, understand how I feel, and generally speaking, be a more pleasant and selfless human being. Now I meditate (just 2 minutes) every day.

7. I eliminated all synthetic ingredients from my personal hygiene

This really started when I stopped eating meat/dairy/fish under bullet point 2. The next logical step for me was to ‘only use personal hygiene products where I can pronounce the ingredients’. The core of these products use some combination of shea butter, coconut oil, tea tree oil and hemp seed oil. Now all of my personal hygiene products: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, lotion are all 100% organic, natural and only contains words I can pronounce :)

8. I trained my 2 french bulldog

This is actually an ongoing activity but i’m seriously having a ton of fun doing it. My 2 adorable french bulldogs were terrible listeners. They roamed the house like they were the boss, didn’t listen to my wife or I and lunged at all of the dogs they saw — totally embarrassing! We’ve hired a trainer who is now teaching us how to be amazing pet parents, and it’s a blast. I love it!

9. I learned to make my bed and clean the dishes (everyday)

I used to have this weird angst against any type of cleaning. Honestly, I thought I was just “toooooo busy” to spend the 15 minutes required and it was candidly a terrible character flaw that I look back on with shame. Through the small acts of ‘daily goal setting’ i’ve learned to make these activities part of my daily life. I feel like its a small win I can use to start my day, and my wife loves it!

10. I lost 6% body fat

At the beginning of the year, I was hovering around 16% body fat. I fit the typical profile of a skinny-fat overworked 30something. Through the evolution of my life over this past year, i’ve incorporated daily strength training (and running 2x a week). Now, in addition to the cleaning, daily exercise is just part of my life. I feel great and candidly i’m the best shape of my life. My goal is to hit the 8%-9% body fat range which is within striking distance of visible abs, almost there!

11. I paid off $70k of student loan debt

My goal for 2019 was to pay off $170k of student loan debt, but forecasting through the end of December 2019, it looks like I will have paid off somewhere between $85k-$100k. I actually think this is what is driving a lot of my discontentment. I FEEL like this debt is preventing me from doing alot and i’m trying to work through these emotions, but for now, I’ll take this as a win and be happy knowing that my student loan debt will be 100% paid off in 2020.

I feel alot better after taking the time to write this down (again thank you to my wife). It brings alot of perspective into how I define ‘success’. It’s not just about work. I want to crush it in work, don’t get me wrong. I want to KILL it at work and get to the top, but now, after all of the transformational change i’ve been through in 2019, “killing it at work” is no longer the only thing I want to achieve.

Thank you for reading this, if you’re feeling down about your career, maybe your peers got the big promo you didn’t, take a moment to write down everything else you did this year..and post it on medium! You’ll feel alot better.


San Francisco, CA
November 2019

This story is published in Educated & Broke — a publication dedicated to helping you fight student loan and consumer debt by providing real-life, practical advice.

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Educated and Broke

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Went to college and graduated with $170k of student loan debt. Insanity pursues @ Educated & Broke.

Educated and Broke

You are too smart to be this broke.

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