My Goals for 2017

Last year, I started writing my “Letter to Shareholders” as a way to hold myself accountable to what I had done and what I had hope to do in my life. In a previous post, I summarized my 2016 and how I progressed against the goals I set for myself. In this next post, I want to articulate my goals for 2017.

Keep going out of the comfort zone

I made strides to push myself and my comfort zone both personally and professionally in 2016. However, there’s more work I need to do in this department. It’s scary and nerve-wracking but is also where the growth and development comes. I need to develop more of a “tick” to go for it when I get into a choice of pushing my comfort zone or not. To do this, I hope to take my risks and stretch myself more, both personally and professionally. I want to tackle some goals (particularly with writing and blogging) that I’ve been pushing aside for fear of failure. I want to when faced with a choice of taking a safe route or a risky one, not be afraid to take the risky one. And I want to speak with confidence and conviction on beliefs even when I might be scared to do so.

Continue to invest in relationships in San Francisco

I live in SF, and one of the things that I need to do more of is to spend time with my friends here and build new relationships with people who also live in SF. This seems like a simple and intuitive thing to do but doesn’t nearly get done as often as I’d like it to given the nature of my travel schedule. Spending time with friends and building relationships gives me energy and joy. Furthermore, now that I have been in the city for long enough that it feels like home it’s time to really starting to take advantage of all the great things the city has to offer and it would be great to do that in the company of others

 

Focus on improving the community I live in

It’s a privilege and truly a blessing to live in a great city like SF. There are definitely days when I get up, go outside and have to pinch myself because I can’t believe I get to live here. Everywhere I have lived I have always invested in the community and I want to find ways to enrich the community here. Doing so is not only important to me to represent the place I live, but it’s consistent with my own vision and values around serving others. There are no shortages of challenges in this city, and I want to put my mind and heart towards working to solve one that benefits others.

 

Inspiring others around me

Over the years, I’ve developed a skill in being able to inspire and motivate others. I’m convinced it’s  why I played Point Guard on the basketball court, served in leadership positions in college, and served as a leader in previous communities. I’ve somehow developed a skill in helping people understand what they are capable of doing and helping them use their talents to achieve a goal or outcome, and I want to put that to use this year and proactively go out of my way to inspire others to achieve either A) achieve their goals or B) use their talents to benefit other people and C) solve problems that make the world better for people and society.

In 2017, there is no shortage of problems or challenges in the United States that need smart people to solve. My hope is I can do a little bit to help those around me not only achieve goals and their potential, but also chip away at some of those worldly problems that need solving.

PS – If you get an email or bombardment of text messages from me acting like your parent or sports coach, apologies in advance  🙂

 

Hone in on Vocation

As a lifelong student of Jesuit Education, I firmly believe in pursuing a vocation and calling, and doing something that brings together your skills, talents, and interests, but that also intersects with the challenges of the world that need help. While these topics have always made sense to me in theory I’ve struggled to make sense of them in the context of my own career. I’ve often struggled with my desire to serve those in need with working a career in Corporate America, and having lots of friends who think like me I know I am not alone.

Now that I’ve worked for a few years and have had time to think and reflect I think I am coming closer to how to translate this belief into practice into my own life. This is an incredible world, but there’s a lot of shit that isn’t right and there are a lot of people who are in need. If you are looking for opportunities why not find one working and serving those in the greatest need? For 2017, I’d like to spend more time thinking about my own vocation and calling and how I can translate more time in my life towards that calling and vocation each and every day. This is going to be a lifelong goal, one that I probably won’t solve this year, but I think this is a great year to start.

So there it is. Let’s see what 2017 has in store!

 

2016: A Year in Review

As it’s been well-documented, there’s a lot of good reasons why 2016 should just come to an end. However, before it does I thought it would be good to recap the year and preview what’s in store for 2017.

2016 went by in a whirlwind. I spent more time on an airplane than I ever have in my life and while I’ve lived in San Francisco for a year and a half it’s just finally starting to feel like home (in part due to the amount of time away) Furthermore, I had the privilege to spend time with friends new and old, and even though I live 3000 miles away had multiple chances to see my family all across the United States.

 

Here’s a quick recap of how I spent 2016:

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!

I had the privilege of attending and serving a number of weddings in 2016. It was great to see so many people that I care about tie the knot and move to the next stage of their life and to be a part of the celebration with friends and family. Additionally, each wedding served as a great opportunity to reconnect and engage with near and dear friends – they all were almost mini-reunions in of themselves! To be a part of those experiences with so many great people was truly special, and something I am grateful for.

Managing a Bi-Coastal Family

With my sister and I on the west coast and parents still back in the northeast, it makes it difficult to see my family as regularly as I did when I lived in Boston. Even communicating can sometimes be a challenge given the time zone difference. This year, I had the chance to see my family through various work trips, holidays, and celebrations such as graduations and weddings. We even celebrated our first Thanksgiving outside of Rochester! While at times I wish I was closer to my family we really made an effort this year to make it work and I’m grateful for the chances we had.

 

Hitting the Gym

Humblebrag and “insert where’s the weight room joke here,” but this year was the best year I’ve ever had in terms of going to the gym on a regular basis. It certainly helps that it’s a short walk from my apartment. I’m proud of the fact that there were many times this year when I didn’t feel like going to the gym and I had the discipline to force myself to go anyway. I hope to keep this up in 2017 (and beyond)

                                                  Wrigleyville

Travels and Friends

Being on an airplane for over 40+ weeks out of the year is tough but it definitely has it’s perks. Between weddings, weekend visits, and extending work trips to spend time with friends I was able to see and spend time with lots of friends throughout the past year. The most popular spots were DC and Chicago (5) and the farthest away was a solo trip through Italy (my first real vacation in the working world!) These trips are not only fun but give me a ton of energy and joy.

 

                                   Cinque Terre, Italy

 

Career Progress and Milestones

This year, I did a number of speaking engagements on career development to undergraduate and graduate students, had articles published on multiple media sites, started my formal career coaching career (after years of amateur practice) at The Muse and continued my career progression in my day job. Given that your career is something you devote a significant amount of your time to I’m happy with the progress I am making and the experiences that I am getting. Above all, I’ve been fortunate to work for and alongside some really smart people who appreciate working with other people, and working on causes that are worth working for.

Lessons Learned

We All Need a Sounding Board

As thinker, extrovert, collaborator and action driven person, I’ve come to realize that I truly need to vocalize thoughts, ideas and feelings with other people. I guess it took many nights on the road in a hotel room by myself, or cross country flights in silence, or having a roommate and group of friends now who patiently tolerate my thoughts and feelings, but especially after big events, or decisions being around other people to talk to is really important to me. Those who have lived with me, or who have had to spend a lot of time with me are probably laughing at this as they have been directly impacted by this trait over time (and thank you for your patience) and are probably wondering how it took me so long to realize this, but even as someone who is pretty self-aware I find myself learning new things about myself even at my ripe age of 29.

Discipline is Boring and Effective

This year, I set out to make good on some goals that I had been putting off for some time. Going to the gym more, developing a process for writing that was consistent, and jumping into career coaching were all things I set out to do in 2016. What I found was that particularly for ones which required a consistent effort (going to the gym) even though I had made it a priority there were plenty of times when I didn’t want to do them and needed to find some extra will power to get to the gym or churn out an article. This wasn’t fun or glamorous, I didn’t always see immediate results, but what it made me realize is the importance of those ordinary and pedestrian like workouts, or middling articles that really help you develop the discipline needed to pursue a goal. Only when you consistently execute those with 100% effort over and over will you develop the discipline required to achieve a goal. As Ray Allen said, “The secret is there is no secret. It’s just boring old habits.”

Finding Meaning in the Unexpected

2016 was the year of the unexpected (Cavs, Cubs, Trump, Harambe etc.) Despite these surprises, I’ve come to realize that even in those moments of in some cases, shock and utter despair, you have to pick yourself up and make sense of where to go next. I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this question since November 8th, and I wish I could say I’ve come to an answer. Unfortunately, all I have to show right now is the importance of asking yourself the question of “what role do I have in this moving forward?” and not moving forward until you come forth with an answer that you can take action upon. One glimmer of hope – I do believe that pondering that question will give you a sense of purpose, and in the case when it’s about a cause that is meaningful to you it will also give you conviction along with an urgency to act. So even when surprises suck, there’s opportunity to find opportunity to move forward.

Conclusion

In light of a bumpy ending to 2016,  it was a year of growth, learning, setbacks and successes, but all of which I am truly grateful for. After some much needed vacation I’m looking forward to the year ahead!

My 2016 Resolution Report Card

Last year, I wrote out my first ever “Year in Review” which was accompanied by a set of resolutions/goals for 2016. In the full spirit of transparency I’ve decided to review those goals and to grade myself on how I did.

Personal Projects: A-

Over the past few years, I’ve pursued a number of personal projects and have had varying levels of success. The hard part is sustainment as it takes persistence and patience. Additionally, it’s one thing to say you want to do something and another to do it. 2016 was a good year for my personal projects, as I worked on a few that I sustained throughout the year and jumped into a few things that I said I always wanted to do but never had the chance to do. They say that how you spend your time is a reflection of your priorities, so putting my pet projects as my priorities certainly showed in the time that I spent on them

 

Building New Relationships – B

Now that I am living in SF, I set out a goal to make friends and build new relationships to augment the many great ones I already have in my life. Even though I have a schedule that means I’m on the road quite a bit I made some progress towards this goal in 2016 by finding opportunities to spend time and go on adventures with friends who live around me. I want to do more of this in 2017 while trying to still stay in touch with my existing friends, but I was happy to make progress.

 

Sleeping Better – C

So, I started off the year pretty strong but faded quickly. Old habits die hard, and it wasn’t long before my phone was back in my room before bedtime.

 

Getting out of my Comfort Zone: B-

I had a feeling this was going to be one of the harder goals and I was certainly right. Even though I know in my head and heart that the most growth comes when I put myself in these situations it’s hard to fully be comfortable with doing this on a regular basis. I made some progress in this department this year in terms of the assignments I took on at work and through various opportunities I pursued personally and professionally. Not all of them worked out, but I learned something from all of them which was very valuable. I want to make this a goal again in 2017 and hope to push myself even further.

 

More Doing Less Thinking B+

I have a tendency to think…a lot, which in many ways is a good thing. On the flip side, I often suffer from paralysis by analysis, and it sometimes makes it difficult to make a decision. This year, I did a better job of cutting myself off when I was overthinking, going for things spontaneously and making the best of situation, or just generally “time-boxing” for analysis/research before forcing myself to make decisions. I still have a lot of ways to go in this department but feel good for making an effort to work on this as sometimes thinking gets in the way of enjoying what’s around you.

 

2016 was a good year with plenty of wins and many opportunities to do better. In an upcoming post, I’ll go into greater detail about 2016, and outline some more goals for 2017.