Strategy And Accountability In 2023 (2 of 4)

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By Alexa Ward

What's On My Mind

Last week, I showed you how I think through and write a personal annual review, recapping the prior year and setting a strategy for the next one.

​Today, I'll show you the first part of my actual 2022 annual review / 2023 strategy.

​Keep this in mind–I wrote this for me.

​Some parts are clunky, while others are raw.

I'm hard on myself.

But one things for sure.

This exercise is one of the most important things I do all year.


Beginning of my annual review...

SUMMARY

Note to reader: You'll remember from last week this Summary section is meant to summarize the year and get you going. Write this downhill–whatever comes to mind.

​What a year!

​Progress on all fronts–despite major headwinds emotionally and physically.

First, the headwinds...

​Becky got diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring. That took a toll on our family and community. But she battled, doing everything she could.

​Then we both had a nasty bout with COVID in June that surfaced the day we landed (ack!) in Ireland for my ultimate frisbee World Championships. I missed the tournament, and it took us several weeks to recover. Not fun.

​And then Becky got a rare form of pneumonia in December that got misdiagnosed, putting us weeks behind recovery and compromising her immune system for more months following the breast cancer treatments. Tough year!

It felt like one punch after another all year long.

Despite all that, we had so many highs!

​Becky and I celebrated our 30th anniversary.

​Gabby and Josie rallied to help all they could with our health issues. I’m so proud of them for navigating their lives as they fly on their own and for helping emotionally and physically through the process. They rose above anything I could have expected. Wow, I’m proud of them.

Another high: taking a 7-week sabbatical this summer let me really focus on family and “re-find” myself after 2.5 years of sprinting through the pandemic. I feel like myself again, getting me back to focusing on fun, the amazing relationships we have, and the things I enjoy and am good at.

​And BIG had its best year ever. Our team is SO GOOD. I almost can’t believe what we’ve built sometimes. I pinch myself thinking of the fun we have had impacting our clients. That’s been a dream, and we took a big step forward this year.

Here are my end of year personal grades and more detail...

SCORES

Note to reader: Again, here's the process from last week. This section should be brutally honest, a reflection across all the main domains of life. Mine is a bit long this year, especially in a few areas. If you're doing this the first time, short is fine. Keeping this simple and knocking it out in 5 or 10 minutes will provide you with tremendous insight. Also, like we talked last week, I learned these six life domains from Shawn Blanc's The Focus Course. They are perfect for me, but feel free to modify them.

Spiritual: A

I’m happy with my personal self. Tim and I set up our shared database called ThinkingOS, and it’s awesome. I go back to it frequently, helping me navigate the highs and lows of life. Small setbacks rarely get me down anymore, and this was an issue before.

Great progress this year–I want to keep it going in 2023.

Physical: D

Whoa, a D! Not good. I’m not used to Ds in these. Lots to write here.

First, a caveat. Many people would give themselves an A. My annual physical was strong, with no issues whatsoever. I’m “healthy.”

I’m grading myself on a different scale...being a strong athlete.

Emotionally, Becky’s cancer diagnosis weighed me down the entire first half of the year. That sucked. I also worked WAY too much in the 1st quarter, not letting me work out enough.

Net: Over the whole year, I didn’t get the physical fitness volume (minutes) I set out to. Not only was quantity down, but the quality was down too, especially in the first half of the year. This is my worst athletic annual summary in years; I need to improve this.

I also had physical setbacks.

In Ultimate, I pulled my hamstring in March, making me miss our team’s first tournament. I battled back strongly, getting in good shape before Worlds in Ireland in June. I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I was in good enough shape to make an impact.

​Then another setback. We got COVID the day we arrived in Limerick, and I missed the tournament. It took six weeks before I was physically strong again. Then I got sick with some bug in September and, finally making our team’s last tournament in early November, I pulled the same hamstring in our first game. The first game!

What a cruddy year for Ultimate and a cruddy year of being an athlete.

This got me down so I went back in my tracking spreadsheet and pulled in all the years I tracked High Intensity Training (HIT) minutes by month.

*** Note to reader: I count HIT minutes when I do something where my heart rates is 130+ BPM over a prolonged period of time. This is my own definition and different than the HIIT Training like tabata or Crossfit. I would count those types of workouts but also broader training like longer runs, playing ultimate, etc. ***

Here’s the data I was able to quickly summarize. I remember being super fast and strong in 2016 and looking at this, it’s because I put in the work!

Insights to pull through to 2023:

Need to focus on fitness in 2023.

• Need to reverse this trend and put in the work. I’ve been reducing training volume every year I’ve tracked this since 2016. No more!

Exercise Quantity

• In the good years, I see I’m getting some 800-minute months to offset any down periods

• Continuing to measure will help. Shoot for 180 HIT minutes/week = 9360/year.

• This gets me close to what I was in 2017, which was a great year physically. (2016 was even better, but I was helping coach Josie’s ultimate team and doing some other things that would be hard to duplicate now.)

Exercise Quality

• I’ve hired a top-tier trainer and former University of Florida cornerback Robert Cromartie (who is amazing!) to help me train for change of direction offense and defense for ultimate.

• This should help with the hamstring troubles too, as he’s pushing me with speed/power exercises, hip mobility, strength and more. He’s so good. Wow, I didn’t know what I didn’t know!

• This one action = multiplicative impact because his workouts are flowing through to my home workouts.

Recovery

• I need keep doing recovery work with Tanya, our massage therapist. That’s working.

• I’m also going to measure self recovery and stretching.

• Shooting for 60 minutes/week, about 1/3 the time exercising. This should be easy.

Focusing on ONE Thing

• I need to play ultimate pick up as many weeks as possible. Shoot for half the weeks in the year = 26 at minimum. Maybe I will sign up for the spring league too.

• Those super intense 2 to 3-hour sessions are much more than I do when I’m on my own.

• Go. Arrive early. Stay late.

• This alone gets me ~140 HIT minutes in a week!

Whew!

I need to turn this 2022 low point into a 2023 high point.

Relationships: A+

Little to change here.

I put others above myself all the time, resulting in great relationships. Keep focusing on my business and personal Protemoi Lists. Love our clients, Becky, and our community. We keep up with amazing people, and they make me better. Keep investing.

Rest and Recreation: A

Taking the sabbatical last summer was a game changer!

That was a huge win.

​I was burnt out, more than I even realized. Now I’m not. I had lost my way, and now I’m good.

It’s too bad I had COVID and missed Worlds, which was the beginning of my sabbatical, but the illness forced me to slow down, creating a hard reset.

​It’s hard to capture how important it was--more so than I expected. I’m SO thankful we have an amazing team that actually accelerated the business while I was out. The team rose up and I’ll never forget it.

I’m going to do something similar again this year, although a bit shorter, maybe 5 or 6 weeks. As a side benefit, that time set aside will give a buffer I might need to finish Book 2’s manuscript, which is due at the end of September. Might need it!

This year’s rhythm was great. Work super hard when I’m working. Take breaks for Spring Break, summer time off, and a fall break around my birthday, Then finish with family-focused Thanksgiving week and Christmas.

​That cadence works for our business cycles and lets me know I’ll go hard but have time off.

​We work hard–having planned times off that align with our work, works great. No more random years–keep the cadence here.

Vocation/BIG: A+

This was a breakthrough year for BIG.

Highlights:

• Adding a dozen or so amazing facilitators and coaches was huge. I love our team!

​• Adding two full-time Account Managers freed me up a ton...maybe 10 to 15 hours a week? We need at least one more, probably two more by EOY.

​• Really happy I spent so much time coaching our team this year. 528 hours facilitation coaching! 283 hours BD coaching! These investments will pay off in the short and long term–keep measuring, keep coaching.

More than ever, I feel like I’m doing the things I should be doing. And, the future is bright!

I’m SUPER excited about branching into YouTube once we can find a great team member to help. There’s someone great in the 100+ applicants.

I’m even SUPERER excited about book #2! The working title and structure is really coming together. Todd has been a better editor and thought partner than I could have imagined.

Looking backward, my work hours ended up like this:

Running BIG: 187

IP Development: 82

PreBD: 188

BD: 613

Delivery: 799

Total hours: 1,917

Wow, that’s a LOT of hours especially considering I didn’t work for 7 weeks this summer and tried to take 12 weeks off overall. Turns out I work hard.

I’ll shoot to tweak this a bit going into 2023.

More in my Leading Indicators below.

Economics: B

What a roller coaster!

Positive: We had our best year ever at BIG and have more momentum than ever.

Negative: Like everyone, our investments took a big hit due to the stock market swings. Weird year too that our bond portfolio didn’t help as stocks slid.

Overall, I’m happy we’ve made the choices we have and have (and will) stay the course. BIG is worth more, and the stock market will return long before we use it. I’ll probably see several more downturns like this in my lifetime. Time in the market, not timing the market.

All in all, I’m super happy with where we’re at. I’m just giving myself a B here because of the stock market. I can’t control Mr. Market, but it’s a B just the same. I’m very happy with our decisions and what we could control.

Worth remembering: I still have the future net worth calculations I created in 1996 as a practicing actuary. We’re SO much farther ahead than I thought we’d be, and at the time, I thought they were aggressive at the time.

If I could have told my 1996 self where we’d be now, that younger self would have been blown away and worried a lot less in the 25+ years in between.

Need to remember that!

End of this part of the annual review...

 


Whew!

That ends the part where I look backward. Next week, we look forward.

​I can't say this enough...

You don't need to write this much.

Even a few minutes of writing in this format produces deep insights.

The process works!

Next week, we'll keep moving forward. I'll show you the following sections of the process, including...

  • How to convert your goals into measurable leading indicators–metrics you can control to inspire and hold yourself accountable.
  • How to create a "Mantra / Remember List" for the behaviors you want to change. It's the fastest way I've found to cement new behaviors.
  • And how to summarize these results into a short Closing that gets you fired up for the coming year.

​OK, one last thing.

​This was a hard one for me to send.

I've never shared this much personal detail about my annual process.

Was this helpful?

​If so, what was meaningful to you?

​Please hit reply and let me know. I'm super curious.

​Mo

​ps. Speaking of the coming year...

​Did you catch my interview with the amazingly funny and insightful best selling author Jon Acuff? HERE we covered the mindsets you need to succeed.

​And...

​My equally valuable interview of another best selling author Jenny Blake? HERE we break down her book Free Time to show you how to...get more free time!

​Both are awesome thought starters for our new year.

Mo

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