As I hope will become part of my process for ongoing personal development, I am taking time to do my first ever Annual Review. An Annual Review is pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll allow you 4 seconds to explain it to yourself.
Great. You get it, but you want more. Sure.
An Annual Review is more or less a personal assessment of the year past, which helps pave the way for a plan for the upcoming year. In other words — what worked, what didn’t work, and what can be improved?
Now I’m sure there are any number of ways to conduct an Annual Review, but I am appropriating a template provided by one of my favorite bloggers, Chris Guillebeau. Chris is a writer, world traveler, and the author of the book The Art of Non-Conformity, which was one of my favorite reads of the past year. He’s written at length about his process, so I highly recommend you check it out here if you decide to do one yourself.
So with no further ado, my first ever Annual Review.
Step 1: Review the Previous Year.
In 2010 I “Broke on Through (To The Other Side)” like Jim Morrison, so I’m going to call it my personal “Year of The Lizard (King).”
(Worth noting: For all the strides I’ve made I still need to work on my predilection towards shitty Classic Rock references. Next year.)
As readers of this site know, I hit a personal rock bottom in 2010, my lack of direction finally getting the best of me. But through persistence and commitment I made a lot of progress, and have nothing but hope and excitement for the year to come. Score.
So, what went well in 2010?
–I figured out my life purpose. That is, in a grand sense, to make the world a better place. In a more specific sense, continue writing and producing things but with less intention on getting immediate gratification and more intention on creating quality work that inspires and entertains. In an even more specific sense, continue to grow this site, continue inspiring others to make positive changes, and put more focus and hard work into the creative projects that I believe in.
–I got into the best physical shape I’ve been in in at least 5 years. Starting with my big “September cleanse,” I lost over 10 pounds, I quit smoking, and I developed better eating habits.
–The success of The Long Shot podcast. It was a rollercoaster ride to be sure, but staying on board with it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made all year. For better or worse it fully documented my rock bottom, as well as the rise of Immaculata, and my growth in confidence as an air-contributor in addition to booking and producing the show. I also had the opportunity to meet and work with some of my personal comedy heroes which was, you know, awesome.
–The Speaking Career in a Box DVD. I produced a DVD for former stand-up, author, and professional speaker Judy Carter this year. Another rollercoaster ride of a project, but persisting through dropped hard drives and dropped frames (a hilarious Final Cut Pro reference) turned out to be truly rewarding for me, and resulted in a great product.
–The Enchant-a-thon/Upward Bound Project. In November I successfully inspired 120 people to commit to personal changes in the first ever Group Immaculata. As part of it we raised enough money to fully stock a brand new apartment for a homeless family working with Upward Bound House. Of everything I did this year, I am most proud of this.
–Lasting friendships. Through the ups and downs of the past 12 months, my truest friends and family members have all stepped up and been there for me in so many ways. The long conversations, the couches to crash on, and the heartfelt responses to my long winded and borderline crazy emails all showed me that I truly am the luckiest damn feller in the world. To not only have a lot of good friends, but to have a lot of truly exceptional friends, well that’s just the best.
What did NOT go well in 2010?
–The rock bottom. Duh.
–Career. I barely scraped by financially through most of the year by doing freelance video production, editing gigs, and booking stand-up classes. But in the past couple months it’s been slim pickings, and the bank account is in desperate need of, well, “money in it.” Living back at home has been a blessing (in a sad, sad way), but now that it’s coming on almost a year since I’ve paid rent anywhere, I realize how much I’ve taken advantage of the situation, and yup, it’s time to step up my game in a big way.
–Overall comedy. Other than the podcast, a live show in San Francisco in January, one Mortified show in February, and a handful of stand-up shows through Spring, my comedy output was pretty minimal. It was necessary to take the step back for a while, and I’m glad I did, but I do want to start getting back up, albeit more purposefully, in 2011.
–Focus and productivity. While I won’t harp on it, my biggest disappointment is that despite all my personal growth, I am still falling prey to many of the traps that have stunted my personal and creative growth over the past couple years. Unless there is a pressing deadline, I am still in a constant state of “getting organized” instead of “doing.”
Step 2: Outline Goals and Overall Focus for Next Year
(For the sake of keeping this simple and readable, I am going to keep this relatively broad, while keeping the smaller, actionable items and sub-goals in my own own highly classified documents.)
My theme and purpose for the upcoming year: Self-Sufficiency, Productivity, and Overall Awesomeness. I want to become a self-sustained, self-reliant big boy again, that produces projects with measurable results, while constantly experiencing new things, working on myself, and inspiring others to do the same. In short, I want to be able to say at the end of 2011, “This was far and away the best year of my fucking life.”
Oh, and less potty mouth.
I’d love to continue getting work as a freelance producer, and to the extent that it happens organically I will gladly take it. But I need a full-time job STAT. Ideally it will be in the world of comedy, writing, television, or video production. But for the first time in a long time, I am open to taking a job that might not be directly in my wheelhouse (read: Paper or plastic, M’am?), so long as I am able to devote all my extra time to my other creative pursuits. In the longer term, my goal is to grow this site and the group Immaculata programs, while building my creative portfolio for bigger writing and production opportunities.
I’d like to hold at least 6 group Immaculatas, one every other month, in 2011, while steadily growing the number of participants, the worldwide reach, the amount of content and overall readership of this blog.
I want to get good at it. To that end, I am committed to writing at least two hours every single day. The output I am aiming for: At least 50 blog articles on this site, two TV pilots, an outline for a book (yep, an Immaculata book, bitches!), and other creative writing as I see fit.
I want to give back a lot this year. I aim to volunteer at least 10 hours every month, and aim to raise at least 10,000 dollars for various charity projects.
Meditation. By the end of next year I want to be able to close my eyes and fly like a bird, scale mountains, and journey to the center of the Universe. Or you know, be more relaxed, or whatever. I aim to continue in my pursuit of overall happiness, focusing on gratitude and not on my chattering brain. I want to keep exploring all faiths and spiritualities, and really put by Religious Studies degree to work. I’d like to do a 10 day meditation retreat this year. “Nirvana by Next New Years” will be mantra. But not really.
I want to get into the best shape of my life. Six pack abs n’ shit. (How weird will that be?!) I want to run one marathon this year. will try to surf at least once. I will experiment this year with a Vegan Diet, a Raw Food Diet, and a Macrobiotic diet. Probably others. Something new each month to find what I like the best.
An Immaculata podcast is in development. I’d like to produce at least 20 podcasts by end of 2011. I will continue working on The Long Shot, and grow the listenership. I will try to produce at least one live show a month, be it for Long Shot, Immaculata, or otherwise. 10 by end of the year. I want to read 30 books this year and watch 100 films.
I want to have at least one new/crazy experience a week. In other words, I want to do at least one thing each week that 2010 Jamie would be too scared, or more likely too lazy to do. A list is forthcoming. It’s important to me that I always be engaged in some sort of personal development, so each month will have new goals, new themes, and new exciting experiences.
Step 3: Make Decisions in Support of the Goals and Focus
Ok, ok, I still have my work cut out for me if I want to come even close to achieving all of the above. But but by working with the Zen to Done productivity program, and instituting weekly and monthly check-ins I am confident I can make this and a whole lot more happen this year.
And so there’s my first ever Annual Review. It’s not quite as tidy as Chris G.’s, but I’m ok with that. I imagine priorities will shift often, but I really feel confident that I at least have this outline. Something to work from instead of going blindly into the year with nothing but high hopes, much like a “Crystal Ship.” (Another Doors reference that makes very little sense but in a wonderful way really brings this review full circle. Again, working on it.)
What about you? Feel free to share you Annual Review here as well!