2018, You Were Pretty Good.

It’s strange how holidays just seem to fly by. And it’s happened again. In just a few days I’ll be heading back to work to embark on another year. First, though, I like to reflect on what’s happened and glean the lessons that have been most helpful from 2018.*

The year started with my one-word focus being: fundamentals. In recent years, I felt like I’ve spent so much time fluffing around with ideas and dreams that weren’t really moving anywhere. I needed to slow down, take stock (and a subtle step backwards) to focus on what was right in front of me. So I chose fundamentals to help me focus on what matters most.

In the end, the year turned out nothing as I’d planned. In fact, it was so much better! I decided to stop forcing creativity. I know this sounds a little counter-intuitive, but for so long (mostly in my coaching business) I felt like I was pushing the snowball up the hill and at any time it’d bowl me over.

So in 2018, I was really conscious about going public with my ideas, thoughts and visions. I even cut back on this blog because of that, but mostly I needed to stop trying to force things and just allow opportunities to come up and let God invite me into places he wanted me to go. Needless to say, this happened in 2018. A lot.

And initially, I didn’t think I achieved my goal of getting back to the fundamentals of life very well at all. But as I talked it through on New Year’s Eve, I realised I did get back to what matters most, it was just in ways I didn’t imagine at the start of the year.

Here are some moments I’ll savour from 2018:

  • I enjoyed a week in Sydney to become a Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer. I deliver this course on a regular basis for work, but in 2019 I’m considering how I can work with various organisations to deliver this really helpful and valuable course.
  • Watching my kids grow up has been really cool. As they both grow older they’re starting to ask different questions and be more curious about different things. I’m loving helping them develop, grown and mature into their own unique skills and talents.
  • Connecting with various homeschooling groups and seeing my wife take charge of our girls education, learning and character development has been really neat. Jess has found a nice groove (most days!) when it comes to managing schedules and ensuring the girls are learning something…(LOL!). And they both love it which is equally great.
  • Having zero debt and having only our mortgage to pay off has been really freeing. It’s such an awesome feeling to be in a position where we can pay cash for stuff and still enjoy a decent lifestyle.
  • I had my annual review at work in October and I was really pleased with the feedback I received. I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve been doing and most days look forward to jumping in the car and taking the daily commute. It was even nice to get a promotion (and pay-rise!) without having to beg for it. 🙂
  • Personally, I’ve had some tough moments which have brought Jess and me closer together. I’ve enjoyed the chats we’ve had with close friends who have helped us sort through the myriad of emotions. Life is good with friends, it’s even better with a great community!
  • I’ve enjoyed some intra-state travel for work which has been really fun. There is something really great about heading to the regional areas of SA and doing the same work I do in the city. It’s probably my country roots that makes it fun and hopefully in 2019 I’ll be able to bring the family along for some of the trips.
  • The Australians Together Aboriginal awareness training I’ve been delivering at work has been a massive highlight. I still remember when my boss asked me to be part of it…I kind of said yes without even knowing what I was getting in to! And I’m glad I was asked to do it. I’ve personally learnt stacks about Australia’s history but also met some excellent people along the way.
  • Jess and I led and participated in a few different parenting classes. It’s strange to think that we’re even doing this, (because heck, I feel like we’re making the whole thing up on the fly!) but it’s great to share time with other couples as we work to be the best parents we can be.
  • In 2018, Jess and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss. It hasn’t all been rainbows and puppy dogs, but I can genuinely say I love and know Jess better today than I did when I first met her. We are very different people but I love who we are becoming as individuals and also as a team.
  • Family holidays to the Gold Coast, Murrayville and Berri have been great memory makers. Who knows where we’ll end up in 2019, but taking the time to celebrate life with my wife and kids is truly special.
  • This year I really paired back my coaching business. Now, I just do 1-1 coaching and the increased focus has allowed me to be clear on where my strengths lie.
  • Updating my trainer accreditation for the revised Child Safe Environments course was really great. Due to legislation changes (the first in over 25 years) the course I deliver at work had to be updated. The new program, Safe Environments for Children and Young People is more in line with 2018 societal issues. Like the youth mental health first aid course, I’m exploring ways I can deliver this course to volunteers and organisations who may need it, especially the 3-hour refresher version. Some people think I’m weird for loving this training…it is on child abuse and neglect after all…but I absolutely love it. I love most the challenge of turning sceptical and often resistant participants into engaged and enthusiastic mandated notifiers.
  • I graduated as part of Business SA, SAYES entrepreneurs program I completed in March. It was a strange finish to the program because I was working full-time and not in my coaching business at all, but it was nice to dress up and be on the main stage at the fancy SAHMRI building on North Terrace. Here’s a pic if you’re curious…
  • My commutes to work have been a treasure trove of learning opportunities. I’ve enjoyed the many podcasts hours I’ve listened to and look forward to what new podcasts I’ll discover in 2019.

I know for many people 2018 wasn’t great, and don’t get me wrong it had its challenges, but all in all, it was a pretty good year.

2018 will be remembered for getting back to basics, enjoying stability, walking through open doors, being an available husband and dad, focusing on working hard and saying yes to opportunities and invitations.

Here’s to 2019.

*To help my reviewing and planning for the new year, I use the Stand Out Life planner Psychologist Ali Hill has created. Jess and I have used it for the last 3 years and find it really helpful. Grab your copy here.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash