Annually, at this time of year, I take time to sit down and review the year that passed before me on a personal level. As a strong believer in goal setting, I find that reviewing my written goals regularly helps me to keep on track and achieve more. This year, I’ve also found that regularly reviewing where I’m at and where I want to head to has helped remind me of what is important to me.
You might ask why I bother blogging about this? Well, I make no excuses for the introspective nature of this post – I’ve learnt that even if I’m the only person who ever reads what is written here – the act of writing down the review is both very positive for me to revisit where I’ve been and also helps clarify my thoughts for the year ahead. That said, in the previous years I’ve done this, I have always received e-mails and comments from people either seeking or offering advice, and that’s valuable to me.
So how did 2010 go for me? I look back on it as a mostly positive year, albeit as one where I faced a lot of challenges. I enjoyed a reduced travel schedule, and made time to relax when I travelled for business, I made new friends and was glad to re-connect with some old friends , I gained what I consider a huge amount of experience both personally and professionally, and very sadly, said goodbye to my Dad, who passed away.
Here’s my review of 2010 broken into “the good”, “the bad” and “the ugly”:-
- At the close of 2009, I set myself a goal of enjoying more of the possessions I already own instead of the endless circle of buying “stuff”. Organising and De-Cluttering my Bookshelf, CD, DVD, Video Game and Comic Book collections saw me able to more easily do this. Sometimes it’s the simple things like getting organised that make a difference!
- My inner geek was fed heartily with trips to the Gadget Show Live, the Doctor Who Exhibition, the British International Comic Show and Memorabilia 2010.
- I was honoured to be asked by Susanne Dansey to be a contributor to her publication “Advice for Positive Growth in 2010”.
- In July, I travelled to Washington, DC for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference where I was a speaker. WPC is always a great event, but this years was incredible – partly because after three years of attending WPC and other events, I feel something of a Conference veteran now – blogging regularly, knowing how, where and when to spend my time, and also because I have so many people I consider friends at WPC who I look forward to catching up with that before, during and after WPC is always nothing short of a blast! Huge thanks to my friends Dave and Sharon Sobel for making my stay in their hometown so enjoyable!
- As well as WPC, I gave a number of presentations to various groups at different events across England including AMITPRO, SBSC, UKITA, Supply North-West, the CompTIA UK Reseller Forum, the TCA Conference and Accredit UK. I’m still not comfortable or particularly polished at presenting, but I hope that as a result of the increased experiences I gained presenting to audiences of varying size and nature, I’m getting better at it!
- I, along with many friends including the GG and my buddy Adam, walked the 26.2 mile BRMB Walkathon. It may have crippled us, but we did it!
- I started playing Badminton again regularly. By December 2010, I’d even managed to win my first match of the year! Huzzah!
- I donated Blood to the NHS for the first time in 2010.
- I updated some of my IT qualifications, gaining my Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician and Small Business Server 2008 badges.
- I had a Smart Meter installed at home to help me keep track of my Electricity consumption, so I could meet my New Years Resolution of reducing my Carbon Footprint.
- The living room *finally* got a Media PC installed, and a ton of my old VHS tapes got converted to Digital format so they could be enjoyed once again!
- Thanks to my colleagues and HTG, and my experience from work with Accredit UK, many other vendors and Strategic Alliance partners, I felt 2010 was a stand-out year for me in terms of Professional experience gained.
- For the second year running, I was nominated for the Computer Weekly Blog Awards in the “IT Consultant” category.
- If that weren’t enough to convince me that some people actually *do* read this blog, the feedback for my article “Cloud Computing – Good for Clients, Bad for IT Companies?” was amazing.
- The front and back gardens at Chez Tubb finally found order and even <gasp> beauty! Thanks to the GG’s Herculean efforts, we now have a nice outdoor space to relax in.
- In January, Microsoft named Netlink IT as the first Small Business Champions, and in July, I was named as one of the three UK SBSC Partner Area Leads (PALS). Later in the year, I accepted an invitation to join the Microsoft UK “Ask The Experts” programme on Facebook.
- In August I made the MSP Mentor 250 list, and in December I featured on the SMB Nation 150 alongside many of my respected peers. I know such lists as subjective, but I’m always thrilled to have my work recognised by my peers in this way.
- In September I turned 34 years old. How better to celebrate than with a raucous house party with lots of friends? There are plans afoot to join friends in Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest and my 35th birthday in September of 2011.
- Linda and I took three really nice and relaxing trips to Ireland (June), Herefordshire (September) and London (December). I also travelled to Dallas, TX with HTG 11, and Washington, DC with Microsoft.
- 2010 was also the first year I didn’t suffer from e-mail overload, thanks to some new techniques I stuck to. Believe me, “Inbox Zero” Zen is not impossible to achieve!
- I moved this blog away from the bloody awful Windows Live Spaces, to the wonderful WordPress. The only question is, why didn’t I do it sooner?
- It might feel morbid to put it in “the good”, but at the end of 2009 and into 2010 was the year I put together my legacy plan – including a Will and Funeral wishes. Believe it or not, I found this exercise very positive as it helped me realise who and what was truly important to me. After all, you surely don’t get a chance to write those things down after you’re gone! It also made me re-assess things like my Life Insurance cover, to make sure those loved one’s I leave behind will be catered for during a stressful and upsetting time. I shared these thoughts with my parents, who agreed with me and subsequently made their own provisions – which with hindsight made the first item on my “The Bad” list, a very tough time, a lot easier to deal with.
- In November, my Dad, George Tubb, passed away aged 82. Dad was in good health and passed away suddenly but peacefully at home with Mom by him. Dad’s death was obviously a huge shock and a terrible low point, but despite not wanting to say goodbye to him, I can’t begin to say how uplifting the wonderful support from friends was, and how much closer I’ve become with my family as a result. Dad’s death also made me realise that life is, relatively, a short experience – and so you should do your best to make a difference now, rather than put things off until tomorrow.
- I’m still slowly (but surely!) learning the lesson that you can’t please all the people, all of the time. The more you raise your profile, and the greater exposure you get in your field of expertise, the more a chance that the way you behave and the opinions you hold will irritate or annoy someone else who behaves differently or has firm opinions in conflict with yours. On the plus side, the same theory holds true in that you’ll draw more likeminded people to your circle simply by being “you” – so I guess I’ll take the rough with the smooth.
- The house in Wigan remains albatross like around my neck, thanks to a poor housing market to sell any property in. I don’t regret the purchase of my Northern retreat all those years ago now, but seeing all those bills pour in for what is essentially a mostly empty property is probably not the road to property Tycoon status that I envisaged at the time.
- The year started well for weight loss and fitness, as I dropped over a stone in weight in the Spring with healthy eating and regular exercise. I liked the “Have you lost weight?” comments. Sadly, that weight didn’t stay off and by the close of Autumn, I’d piled the pounds back on. I like the polite but honest “You’re looking well fed” comments less now. Sigh.
- The recession saw some clients unfortunately go to the wall, and some other clients act in a much less than honourable way towards us as a company. Whilst I appreciate that when money is tight difficult decisions have to be made, and that it’s nothing personal, I’d hope that if I was ever put in that situation I’d realise that how you behave in these situations shapes peoples opinions of you for the longest of times afterwards, long after those money problems are long forgotten.
Goals for 2011:-
As for 2011, I’ve got some very specific goals (remember to be SMART when goal setting) that I’ll track in greater detail privately as the year goes on, but I thought I’d share a summary of my personal and professional goals with you:-
- I will schedule and enjoy more good quality time with my loved ones, friends & family by way of fun activities and events.
- I will read more books – business and self-development books inspire me and fiction books allow me to relax and un-wind. That’s all good stuff – so I’ll make the time to read them!
- Apart from reading books, I’ll also write one and become a published author. At least half a dozen people have been encouraging me to do this for a while now, so I guess I’m assured of at least a few readers!
- I will lose weight and up my fitness levels, so I can have more energy to do the things I enjoy doing.
- I will continue my Professional Development, learning new skills and measuring my competency in them through Qualifications.
And finally, “the biggie” for 2011…
- I will find a new and exciting challenge professionally, one that will allow me to be as passionate and excited as I can be about work, collaborating with people who share my passion and enthusiasm for business and professional development.
On 31st December, 2010, some 15 months after the company I founded in 2003, Netlink IT, merged with JamesCash.co.uk, I’ll be selling up and stepping away from that business and seeking out new challenges. I’ll be leaving behind the Netlink IT brand and the MSP clients who helped me develop that business, but I know they’ll be in great hands with a company that will continue to grow. I consider the last year one of my most important in business ever, and thanks to the merger, I now have much greater levels of experience and knowledge to move in to 2011 with.
I’d like to thank my friend’s James, Mark and everyone at JamesCash.co.uk for their continued support, especially over the tough recent months for me personally as I dealt with a big life event. It was very much appreciated. Thanks guys!
As for my next step – how about I tell you all about that next year?
If you know me, do me favour and the next time you see me, ask me how I’m getting on with one or more of the above goals – the more people who ask me, the more accountable I am to those goals, and the more likely I am to strive to achieve them and save the embarrassment of having to make excuses!
Thanks for all the comments and e-mails via the blog in the past year, and for continuing to read my ramblings! I wish you a fulfilling and very prosperous New Year!