I am writing this post on the last day of 2013. Wow. It’s truly hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of 2014. In some countries, it’s already 2014. When you read this, it will be 2014.
I started writing this post in my journal, which has been with me through 13 countries. My journal has been to more countries than most people. As cool as that sounds though, it’s not the number of countries that’s important. What’s important is experiencing a country and a culture that is completely different from your own. Someone who leaves Canada to live in Indonesia or China or Nicaragua for 1 year will be transformed on a deeper level than someone who visits a new country every two weeks.
Okay, back to the post. The annual review. This is the first true annual review I’ve ever done. I’ve written versions of them before but it wasn’t what a true annual review should be. Personally, an annual review should be a deep and honest look at the last year. A compilation of what went wrong and what went right. A deep reflection into why things went right and why they went wrong. Something that allows you to learn from the mistakes made and then banish them into history. Finally, it should look ahead into the future, not necessarily with goals but with an overall vision of what you would like to see in yourself over the year ahead. It could be a vision of what you hope to achieve in business or more importantly, what you wish to see in yourself. It should be taken very seriously and not just a “dream” that gets tossed in the garbage a week later. Every day is a miracle after all.
So with that in mind, let’s dig into 2013.
It was certainly a year of mixed feelings. I had some very good moments and also had a lot of low moments. Moments where I felt like I was drowning. Moments where I felt like I truly wanted to just give up, move into a cave and just paint on the walls until the government kicks me out to put a theme park inside.
All the low moments throughout the year had to do with me internally. My internal self, my confusion, my regrets and my decisions. It felt like a year of mixed thoughts. At the same time, I did accomplish some very cool things throughout the year as well.
In terms of business, I launched Canadian Free Flyers; a travel hacking membership site for Canadians. Technically, it launched in late 2012 as a one-time fee sort-of-thing but I changed it to a membership site and put a lot more work into it. It’s been a hard time trying to market such a unique service and also something that’s specific to one country. I certainly got lucky with my feature article in the Toronto Star in October 2012 but also worked hard to get featured in other media publications and blogs throughout the year. I also opened the site up to affiliates and started contacting as many Canadian bloggers as I could. Nora Dunn has been a huge inspiration for jumping on board early and I can’t thank her enough for giving me the spark to continue. I love hearing from people who have earned enough points to take their dream to Europe or South America or anywhere else they plan on going.
I also invested some money in Canadian Free Flyers, which is a first for me. I had the site completely redesigned and it looks much more professional now. I don’t know why it took me so long to make that simple decision. I also had a new logo designed, which I really, really love.
I also took my blog, A World of Inspiration and rebranded it into Live Limitless, a phrase I feel is much more aligned with how I look at the world and what I want to inspire in people. I had a logo created and made the site much more professional looking than it was before.
Thanks to the new inspiration from Live Limitless, I created the Live Limitless podcast, which completely took me out of my comfort zone. Sending questions via email and actually asking them live-on-air is completely different but it introduced me more intimately to new people whom I admire and respect.
Recently, I decided to offer coaching and a mastermind for people who really want to change their lives in 2014. I’m really excited about this.
I also created many other sites, which is probably one of the reasons I feel I failed in business this year. I simply took on too many projects rather than just focusing on one or two. As part of a media road trip across Canada, I created Must Do Canada; a blog for the best adventures across the country. There is much more work to do on that one. I also created How to Make a Website Now to teach newbies how to make a WordPress site quickly and easily. It’s not finished yet but feel free to check it out.
On the personal side of things, I did read quite a few books this year. Favourites include Choose Yourself by James Altucher, Linchpin and the Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, and The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. Granted, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked but I tried focusing more on doing.
I graduated from university. I sometimes laugh at this because I think university is useless now. However, I had already made the mistake of going so far and I figured I may as well finish. To make it interesting, I finished my last semester in Malaysia. Another plus was that I met my soon-to-be-wife a couple of years ago in during a cross-cultural relation class. Go figure. Technically, I finished university in early 2012 while in Asia but due to not being in the country, had to wait until 2013 for the official date.
My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which he was treated for. We’re still waiting to see if treatment worked. This certainly brought me closer to death and realizing how quickly our life can disappear. Don’t waste a minute.
I spent many days in 2013 being in some sort of depressed state. Not everyday of course but definitely more often than I would like. I think I am too ambitious, which makes me constantly feel like a failure. I’m trying to scale that ambition back and get more down to earth. I also tend to focus on what I don’t have and what I haven’t accomplished rather than focus on what I have. I failed at looking at the entrepreneur life as being a journey rather than a destination. I also dived into too many ideas, failing to give any one of them enough attention for great success.
I also worked too hard this year and didn’t focus that energy well enough. I’ve noticed that I tend to be VERY hard on myself. Basically, I would wake up and sit myself in front of the computer for 12 hours. This is way too long and un-natural for any human being. Actually, this is probably what got me down most of the time. Basically, even if I wasn’t focused, I wouldn’t let myself leave. Even if I was so far down the rabbit hole of internet time-wasting, I would just make myself go deeper rather than simply climbing out and taking a break.
I should have aloud myself more breaks. Breaks to just sit and be quiet. Breaks to think. Breaks to be creative.
Permission to have more fun. I was simply too serious with myself in 2013. I won’t do that again.
Although I didn’t make it to any new countries in 2013, I did do a few amazing trips and made it to a lot of cool events.
Back in March, I took a 10-day trip down to Austin, Texas to take part in the craziness that is SXSW. I met some cool people, partook in many parties and enjoyed some great food and an excellent vibe. I also had a stopover in Seattle, Washington to visit a friend of mine.
In July, Karla and I went to the World Domination Summit in Portland. On the way there, we drove through beautiful Glacier National Park and did it in a Ford Mustang convertible, which added to the experience. Again, we met a ton of cool people, heard plenty of inspiring stories and had fun breaking a Guinness world record. Karla also found her wedding dress!
As soon as we got home, we jumped in the car with my parents and took an extended family road trip across Canada. In those amazing six weeks, we visited many places including Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, Montreal (where I have family), Quebec City, Halifax, Charlottetown, and finally to Newfoundland where my father is from. We got to see plenty of whales, moose, bears, eagles and seals. We saw plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, witnessed the largest ocean tide in the world, rode some incredible roller coasters, walked around Al Capone’s tunnels, and took a ferry so close to Niagara Falls that we got soaked. It’s rare to do this with my family and that’s what made the trip so special.
As soon as we got back from that trip, Karla and I drove down to Burning Man near Reno, Nevada. What an incredible experience. That’s all I can say. Incredible. I also found my wedding suit!
And now onto 2014!
First, I like the idea of having a theme for the year ahead, although I certainly wouldn’t limit it to just one like so many others have. Why limit a whole year of life to just one single theme?
I like the idea of multiple themes. I wrote down 5 words that I liked. Oddly enough, the first letters of each word spell Karla (actually, they spelled Carla but I changed it), which is pretty cool.
K – KREATIVE: Creativity is so important in my life. I could never go a year without it.
A – ALIVE: In 2014, I truly want to feel alive.
R – RICH: Rich in experience, health and relationships. I also plan to take business to the next level.
L – LOVE: Welcoming more love into my life. Giving more love to those around me.
A – ADVENTURE: How could I not include adventure, something I’ve always focused on throughout life.
- Quadruple membership in Canadian Free Flyers.
- Host a successful virtual mastermind that changes lives.
- Focus more on cash-flow and less on new projects. This means learning and implementing sales pages, statistics and marketing.
- Overall focus on completion of projects, successful marketing and high value.
- Be much more appreciative for the amazing life I’ve been given.
- Become much less serious and allow more fun in my life again.
- Show more emotion, more love and take more emotional risks. Open-up, Truth.
- Be more present.
- Stop comparing myself to others and realize that each journey is unique with it’s own successes and failures.
- Stop attaching my future success to relationships.
- LOVE myself more.
- Stay healthy. No artificial shit. No garbage food. More water. More exercise. More time outdoors.
- Slow down. Life is not a rush.
- Become more conversational in Spanish.
- Stretch more.
- Challenge 52 fears, whether big or small.
- Judge less, listen more and try to understand.
- Visit at least 2 new countries
- Scuba dive in at least 2 new mind-blowing places
- Stay for a longer period of time on one place rather than move around so much
- Try at least 12 new things
- Visit 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites
I’d also like to dive deeper into my interests in 2014.
- Travel and why I love it so much
- Entrepreneurship and business
- Adventure and trying new things
- Health and fitness
- Getting more involved in comedy, acting and writing
- Environmental issues, sustainability, wildlife, nature, the ocean, and new/alternate ways of living
That’s all I can think of for now and I think it’s plenty to focus on for one year. If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post. I hope it has inspired you in some way to do something you’ve always wanted to do in 2014. If you’d like to share your plans with me, feel free to leave a comment or send an email. Maybe we can challenge some things together.
Before I go, I also took the time to answer some questions (some of which may be redundant) that I got from Natalie Sisson’s blog. I thought this would make a great summary to look over and think about. Feel free to use these questions for your own 2013 review and plans for 2014.
What did I achieve over the last 12 months that I’m proud of?
– Launched and rebranded Canadian Free Flyers; a travel hacking membership site for Canadians
– Rebranded my blog, A World of Inspiration into Live Limitless, something that feels much more inline with my thinking
– Started a inner-circle mastermind group called Push
– Launched Limitless Masterminds, which are designed for 10-12 people who want to crush their goals
– Went on a 2-month cross country road trip across Canada with Karla and my parents
– Went to SXSW, WDS and Burning Man
– Launch the Live Limitless podcast and interviewed 12 amazing people
– Earned more than 500,000 frequent flyer miles
What am I grateful for in 2013?
– Being able to spend so much time with my family
– Booking and planning my wedding in Mexico for 2014
– Being able to visit almost every province in Canada with my soon-to-be-wife and parents
– Welcoming my family-in-law to Canada and showing them beautiful Banff, Alberta and their first snowflake
– Meeting so many incredible people at multiple events throughout the U.S.A
What did I learn about myself?
– That I am way to hard on myself and take myself way to serious lately
– That I’m willing to sacrifice almost anything to see my vision through
– That I prefer experience and adventure over money
– That I’ve become more of a robot lately, not showing as much emotion as I should
– I learned that I am a very hard worker but need to focus more
What worked really well in the last year that I would like to bring forward into the coming year?
– My writing seriously improved and I would like to continue that
– I got much better at interviewing people on the Live Limitless podcast
– I put myself in a position to meet more people that I admire
– Finally started to focus on business
– My creativity and ability to start things
What didn’t work so well?
– Too many distractions
– Didn’t focus enough
– Tried starting too many things
– Always felt that I was in a rush
– Trouble staying in the present
– Put too much emphasis on events and conferences
How could I do things differently to improve this/these situations?
– Pick the most important projects to work on and put all my effort into them
– Focus more on marketing and sales
– Slow down and enjoy the journey
– Create focus lists for each day
What am I letting go of or forgiving myself or others for, which will set me free from the past?
– For not accomplishing all my goals in 2013, I need to drop this and focus on the present and the future, both of which are mostly controllable by me
– Forgiving myself for past regrets and for going to school when I didn’t even really want to
– Anyone who I feel did me wrong. There is no point in carrying any negative thoughts into the future. Forgive or forget.
How would I like to feel in 2014?
– I want to feel alive and proud of myself and the opportunities I’ve created in my life
– I want to feel successful, adventurous, joyful and appreciative
– I want to feel physically and mentally strong
– I want to feel like I’ve made good decisions
– Fun, goofy and energetic
What do I want to achieve in 2014?
– More stability in my business and personal goals
– More stability in business income
– Being present
– Learning many new things
– Continuing to be free and building more systems that support ultimate freedom
In what way can I give back in 2014?
– Volunteering more of my time to worthy causes
– Helping others achieve their goals and dreams
This really is it this time. Thanks for being a part of Live Limitless.
All the best in 2014,
Nora - The Professional Hobo says
Thanks so much for the kind mention and compliments, Matt! I love your goals for 2014. I also want to give myself permission to have more fun.