Everyone knows I’m obsessed with the story of William Bligh and the Mutiny on the Bounty. I’ve written about it countless times in this blog as it reignited a curiosity and love of learning of maritime history. Imagine my surprise this year when I finally came upon the breadfruit tree in Hawaii. I even tried the fruit and had it as a dessert in a pie (which was delicious I might add).
It’s that time of year when sit and reflect what we did and what we learned in our work and our lives and possibly make plans and resolutions for the new year.
A Year of No Plans Just to Go With The Flow
At the start of this year, I deliberately chose to make NO PLANS.
Usually I write down goals and actions I would like to achieve in the year but thought I’d take a different tack and leave my year open to explore whatever came my way. And they did! (This was quite surprising for me and one of my BEST years for new friendships, connections, achievements and accomplishments – of a personal sense).
The reason was that usually, when I follow the frameworks of others – the “hustle” mentality never sat well with me – of what it is I “should” be doing, I succeed at never meeting them. Maybe it’s because I’m following what others are telling me to do instead of having the confidence to do my own thing – in my own way.
This year was a standout one for me because like I said, pretty much everything I did was unplanned and flying by the seat of my pants – which is unusual for me. I decided to see what unfolded and what opportunities presented themselves then decide whether or not I wanted to be involved in them.
The opportunities that came my way were:
- Three overseas trips and requests for speaking at conferences in the year (this had NEVER happened to me previously despite desperately wanting to travel more)
- Selected to be a roaming reporter for Microsoft’s largest technology conference which opened up a whole new world and networks in the Microsoft community
- I’m a published author for a co-created book with my peers at Adopt & Embrace (an experience which I loved contributing to)
- My connections with some of my Twitter network deepened and I can now call these people my friends (and who I met in person in my overseas trips).
- A role change from Adoption Consultant to Community Manager (which means a new opportunity to learn new skills and the support to see out a vision of what this community can grow into and achieve)
A Year Focused on Enjoying Life
It was also year I decided to devote to my own “self care” with a focus on agreeing to do things that gave me time back for my own mental headspace to calm down with racing thoughts. I even organised a cleaner to come and clean our house three times this year (I do all the cleaning usually) and a gardener as well (again, we do our own gardening and lawn mowing and weed attacking – horrible job). Rest assured, I’ll be using their services again more frequently in 2020. They gave me so much time back to read more fiction books.
Self care for me also included taking more time to spend time with my hubby and my parents; reconnecting with my extended family such as cousins; making time to meet up with girlfriends for breakfasts, lunches and dinner and drinks and I got that in spades this year. For friendships and socialising, this year has been one of the best years I’ve had and it’s made me realise how important these connections are for my own sanity (maybe not for my waistline).
My most wonderful moment for me this year was enjoying a 2 week holiday in Hawaii to celebrate my 50th birthday. My husband had organised the entire holiday and I planned nothing – except for what I wanted to do – and he made it all happen. My only requests were to go to travel on a ship; go see Kealakekua Bay to see where Captain Cook died; to find the breadfruit tree and to drink a lot of cocktails. He had to organise the trip around these requests. Everything else was just a bonus. He did – we cruised around the Hawaiian islands and had a ball every day. To date, this will be the biggest highlight for me for 2019.
This year, I continued to focus on minimising the time on social media – or taking a more methodical approach to it – hence why you have seen the demise of my ‘alter ego’ Shazza Breaknews, Foreign Correspondent for CNT News and the increase in my writing in this blog again. I’ve also reduced the publishing of daily videos of what I’m learning and instead focusing on creating more polished and finished videos instead. I’ve also stopped collating my monthly “What I Learned Videos” because I wasn’t creating daily videos from Snapchat. Oh, I also got off Snapchat (and no, I will not join Tik Tok).
My YouTube channel surprisingly is really a dump of all my videos with no intention to build a subscriber base but I’m always surprised when people subscribe or put comments to my videos. YouTube for me is basically a public video album – my evidence that I “existed in this world”. It’s not for the intention of marketing or promotion of any kind but if people get some value or ideas out of what I’m sharing then all power to them.
Another standout for me this year was that I did more fiction reading than ever before and read some wonderful books that made me think. You can see all my books read this year on Good Reads. I read 75 books – thats 17 610 pages with the books that I loved being the ones from Australian authors David Malouf and Charlotte Wood but also I loved the books I read by Ian McEwan. This year, I continued doing my BookTube reviews which surprisingly are the only videos in my YouTube channel that get a lot of views built up over time. My review on Machine Man by McEwan got 441! (Defies belief because I just ramble on in them)…
2019 was a massive one for me where it showed me the importance of not being wrapped up in my work too much – work is not my identity – and to take more time to not worry about keeping up with others, having to be ahead of others or even competing with others. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about it. I learned that I need to be more confident in my own skills and experiences and really, I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone. My key driver is to maintain good relationships with my peers, colleagues and friends around me. To do what is expected to the best of my abilities and go with the flow. Be open and honest and genuine when I’m having trouble with things so that we can work a way ahead.
This year was also the year I lost my best friend to dreadful ovarian cancer. I had known Mary for many years and met when we were serving in the Royal Australian Navy. Over the years, she got to know my family, she was the epitome of a continual and lifelong learner and had such enthusiasm and motivation to always be learning. An accomplished photographer, a masseuse and a light aeroplane pilot she was always learning something new. We had even worked together in video making as she was exploring ways to formally move into the movie making business. In fact, she helped me with some of the videos on my YouTube channel, we did film making classes together and we shot film together. Most of all, Mary was a guiding influence in my life for close to 30 years. She was looking forward to retiring from the Navy and spending her retirement years making short films – even had some projects on the go – AND we even submitted a film proposal for work for one government agency however, imagine the horror when we learned that she was diagnosed with cancer weeks after she retired and passed away soon after. I was at a loss to understand what happened – and why it happened. However, I spent time with her and her family in those days and it just made me realise that I had my priorities all wrong. It’s not about work – it’s about family and friends and nurturing relationships and to enjoy and live life as if it was your last. Mary didn’t hang around for retirement to do the stuff that she wanted to do and for that, I’m thankful that I had her as a friend in my life. She will never be forgotten.
So with that, what are my plans for 2020?
I’m not entirely sure as the ‘no plans’ seems to be working out for me.
At the back of my mind, there’s a niggling idea that I really need to take a more active approach to my health – in particular, my diet. I faced the truth to myself this year that I HATED the gym – I got into it for the social aspect and instead, it turned out to be anything but. However, I increased my walking which I loved to do. Maybe the plan in the new year is to start my intermittent fasting and low carbohydrate diet and see what goes? The other idea floating in my head is to write a book – not a text book like book – but a guidebook filled with lots of practical activities maybe with some humour thrown in. however, I haven’t really sussed out anything yet.
As for work?
I’m looking forward to being the community manager for Adopt & Embrace and unlike my personal life which is unplanned, I do have plans for building the Academy. My vision is that I’d like to build the community to co-create a new product, strategy, framework or even a book on adoption and building digital culture and capabilities then having them share that success story to a conference such as Microsoft Ignite and Inspire. Like we co-created and wrote a book as a team – now I want to share how working together can help people CREATE something of value to others. People who come from different companies to co-create a solution to solve a business problem and then share that to the world – that’s my plan for the Academy Community.
Well that’s it for my reflections of 2019. It’s been a great year and now looking forward to what the new year holds!