What's On My Mind
Time to get personal.
I do an annual review of myself every year.
I got the idea years ago, when I realized that a weakness I had was holding me back.
I avoided routines.
I like newness!
I didn't want to do the same thing over and over again.
That seemed so boring.
I realized excellence is boring.
Tirelessly focusing on precious few things is what makes someone great.
Without routines to keep me in check, to make things efficient and easy, to create focus, I was too easily distracted.
Look! There's a squirrel!
I saw a lot of squirrels.
So to forge the right rhythms, I created and committed to three keystone habits:
A weekly MIT process, picking three Most Important Things I'd do each week.
They have to be BIG: Big impact, In my control, and Growth-oriented.
A quarterly process where I pick the "deep work," longer-term projects to finish in the upcoming quarter.
And an annual review where I zoom waaaay out, evaluating the last year and choosing the themes to emphasize in the coming year.
All three rhythms are now cemented as habits.
And all three were game changers for me.
I just finished my 2021 review.
And I'm going to share it with you below at a level I've never done before...
What We Just Created
But before that, here's more value for you!
The last special year-end podcast episode dropped this week.
Here's the entire lineup we created in December, to help you blow the doors off 2022.
And finally the last in this 2022-focused series...
The key to that last one?
Those "new relationship" techniques work in a digital world.
Out of 200+ episodes to choose from, here's why I picked that last one to close out 2022.
Virtual is here to stay.
With Omicron racing and the world in constant change, Zoom is is your answer to fostering new and elevating your current relationships.
If you're going to thrive in 2022 and beyond, you need to get good at using valuable content to meet the people you want to meet.
That's what Idea 4 is about.
I think it's the top skill professionals need to get great at in 2022.
Check at that last link for more. It's worth the watch or listen.
And if you want to go deeper and watch the four Jay Baer episodes that led to that recap link above, you can see them here:
What's Worth Lingering On–My 2021 Annual Review
I adopted the six-area framework I'm using below from Shawn Blanc's The Focus Course.
I found it gives me a great view of my entire life: Spiritual, Physical, Relationships, Rest and Recreation, Vocation, and Economics.
Here are my grades in that framework, along with what I'm going to do about them in 2022.
Not awful, not great.
I worked too much in 2021 and didn't get outside enough. Work was fulfilling, but honestly I was burnt out at the end of the year.
I didn't take many breaks and didn't connect with nature as I should have.
Many people miss in-person events, which have a spiritual connection too. I don't feel strongly about that either way. The work events are awesome, but the travel is brutal on me.
For me, I just need to pull out of computers and Zoom and get outside more. More walks, more running, more camping.
I routinely underestimate how important getting outside is.
2022 Focus: More outside, nature, working out, and being around my most important relationships.
Another good but not great area.
I have a great fitness base but need to take it up a notch. This year, I got into the bad habit of being consistent but not pushing myself enough in each workout.
I mastered random acts of sweat.
But, good news for 2022. I'm playing Ultimate Frisbee again and will be heading to the age 48+ World Championships in Ireland in June 2022. There's nothing like a huge tournament for motivation. I need to ramp up the training!
(Don't know what Ultimate Frisbee is? Here's a super fun highlight reel.)
2022 Focus: I'm going to track HIT minutes.
Let me explain.
I define HIT a little differently than HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). I drop the second I and generalize it to High Intensity Training.
I'll track any HIT minute that's in these categories:
Longer runs like steady 5+ miles.
Focus on building longer Heart Rate (HR) duration and clearing my brain. (Double win as it helps me a lot with Spiritual, above.)
Tempo runs like 4x mile intervals.
Focus on dialing up HR capacity. These are amazing.
Intervals/Sprints like 1 mile warm up and 10x 100 meter sprints.
Focus on power/speed + HR max.
Speed/Power workouts like plyos, cone drills, pulling a power sled, etc.
Focus on change of direction, acceleration, anything that simulates Ultimate Frisbee play.
I'm going to shoot for 225 minutes/week doing the above four workout types, trying to get 3 or more of the 4 types every week for balance.
I did a monthly version of this a few years ago and found that I was making great progress if I got 800+ HIT minutes a month. I got out of that habit for some reason, even though it worked better than any other measure I've tried. Another casualty of the pandemic!
With the Ireland Ultimate Worlds coming up in June, I'm shooting for 900+ minutes a month. 225 minutes a week will work great.
Upgrade: converting my old monthly goal tracking to weekly will make it easier to integrate this into my weekly MIT planning process. I am really excited about this!
(By the way, my wife Becky got me a 15 lb Onnit Steel Mace for Christmas. I honestly can't believe what a great strength training tool it is. High recommend! Can't wait for that backordered Whoop band to arrive...)
Can't say it enough. I am really excited about this change.
I've already added some columns and integrated these metrics into my Life Dashboard weekly tracker. More on that later.
I over-index to investing in others and deepening relationships, so this score is pretty high every year.
If I have any fault here, it's not taking enough time for myself to recharge!
2022 Focus: Keep doing what I do naturally and stay focused on my Protemoi List.
Rest and Recreation: D
That's a pathetic grade. And totally in my control.
I just didn't take breaks last year.
I kept working.
Nights. Weekends. All the time.
Some of it was justified, but I have to make a change this year.
2022 Focus: More time off.
I almost didn't include this next part in this public newsletter because it feels vulnerable to share, like we're all supposed to work all the time. Like it's a weakness to share I want to work a little less.
But here it goes...
I'm committing to taking 13 weeks off next year.
There, I said it.
Gosh knows I've put those weeks in over the sixteen years since I started BIG.
This is doable.
I should take more time off next year and feel good about it.
I've mapped the thirteen weeks out on this sweet dry erase "Finish" poster that the amazing Jon Acuff designed, where you can see your entire year in one view.
I LOVE JON'S FINISH POSTER! Another high recommend.
Mine is hung on the wall in my office, so I'll see it every day. Constantly in my sight.
Sure, I'll still use Outlook for my granular calendar–but this is SO much better for strategically planning out a year.
Here's how the thirteen weeks break down...
I've taken a couple of five-week sabbaticals in my life, and I need another one this year. That's planned in the summer. Add a couple of weeks at Christmas, Thanksgiving, my birthday, spring break, and some other odds and ends like crewing for my wife Becky's 50-mile horse races, and it gets me to thirteen weeks off in a hurry.
Honestly, this is pretty easy to plan. That's the fun part.
But the challenge is–how can I hold myself accountable?
Honestly, for me, it's easier to work than not to work.
So, to keep this in check, I mapped out how much I could work.
I'm thinking of that as the flipside of rest–limiting how much I can work.
I've never done this before, so I might get this wrong, but here's what I'm shooting for in 2022...
I'll work a max of 42 hours a week for 39 weeks. Rounded up a bit that's 1,650 hours.
That's going to be a significant drop.
This year I worked 2,146 hours.
I'm sure many of you put in more, but in COVID's second year, I don't want to do it again.
Man, those are some intense 2,146 hours.
They impacted my health, my spirituality, and my family relationships.
So let's get to how this plays out...
Here's some other good news about 2021.
This is the most positive grade of the year. All the hard work led to an explosive year of growth at BIG.
That growth has been a blast.
Amazing clients. Amazing advancements. And watching their amazing successes. It's truly been a thrill!
I just love seeing our clients succeed.
Here's how my 2021 work hours played out:
Running BIG/Internal Leadership: 180
IP Development: 215
Business Development: 845
Marketing (Podcast and platform building): 258
Delivery (Facilitation and coaching): 648
Total hours were 2,146.
And that included 149 weekend hours–way too much.
2022 Focus: I've designed this "perfect" year and need to stick to it:
Running BIG/Internal Leadership: 200
IP Development: 50
Business Development: 800
Marketing (Podcast and platform building): 250
Delivery (Facilitation and coaching): 350
Total = 1,650
We've recently hired several FANTASTIC people, so I think this plan will work. They're talented and fired up. Add them to the insanely talented team we already had and we have an unstoppable team.
The last of the six Focus Course areas of focus is Economics.
We had a great year managing our finances (Tesla and Apple stocks helped).
I view economics simply as a tool–something that can create freedom when it's strong. We're in good shape here so just need to keep doing what we're doing.
Walt Disney said something like "we don't make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies."
I love that quote. Financial strength is important.
Just need to keep doing what we're doing here.
This is where it all comes together. My analytic and creative sides love themes and the next section, measurement.
In past years, my themes have been 100% about BIG–just the work stuff. Maybe that's why I overindex to work!
I've made my three themes cross both personal and professional to keep things in better balance this year.
I started fiddling with this in November, and finally landed on three Fs:
I had fun combining the words Freedom and Easy. I want both in 2022–Freedom of time and less stress/more Easy.
This year definitely needs to be freasier!
This is where I need to steer some of my newfound time. Dial it up for myself and my future.
And I want to crush it at Worlds in Ireland.
If not fun, then what? I want more fun this year.
The time off, the doing the things I enjoy, and the challenge of working a little less should free up time to have more fun. Working out. Being outdoors. Seeing my family more. Backpacking. And doing more of the boring stuff: walks, cooking, and happy hour with Becky and her herd, incorporating some Louie Hamilton hugs.
That's my 2022: Freasy, Fitness and Fun.
Keeping Focus–Tracking Metrics
You know how strongly I believe in the power of weekly habits.
Our brains are trained in weeks.
We know what a Monday feels like. We know what a Friday feels like.
We can tap into that.
So I mentioned my little spreadsheet that tracks my progress. I call it my Life Dashboard and it houses every number that's important to my short and long term success. More on it in my interview with USWNT Soccer star Kelley O'Hara here. Kelley keeps one too!
But honestly, last year, I had too many metrics. This year, I'm trimming. I've cut half out.
This year I'm down to these key three, and they're based on everything above.
If I hit these metrics each week, I'll be in great shape. And I'll be in great shape!
Weekly Most Important Things (MITs).
This is my gold standard measure. Three things a week: Big impact, In my control, Growth-oriented.
How many of my three Most Important Things did I get done each week?
MITs will be even more important this year because I'll work a little less. Shoot for 3 out of 3.
Weekly HIT Training Minutes.
As defined above. Shoot for 225/week.
Weekly Hours Worked.
I'm seriously going to limit myself to the 42 hours/week described above.
I'm scared about this as I've never given myself a work cap. I'm afraid I'll let myself down on this one, so I need to give it a little extra focus.
I need to make this happen.
This article took much longer than I expected to write. I hope you enjoy it–it's deeper and more transparent than I've ever shared.
Personally, I find this annual process challenging, enlightening, and uplifting.
I find that when I do it right I'm a little scared.
Can I really do this?
Can I kick whatever bad habits I have?
Can I stick with it?
I feel a little scared right now. And that's why I'm also super excited.
And that's good.
It means I chose the right level to push towards.
So before I head downstairs and swing that steel mace, getting those HIT minutes in, I have a question for you...
What makes you a little scared to tackle?
What three themes summarize it?
How can you measure what you can control weekly to make sure you're on track?
Let me know. I'd love to hear from you.
The world might feel weird, like it's out of control.
We're in control.
Let's crush 2022!