My 2019 Annual Review

The year of turning 40.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

Time for my 2019 annual review.

In this blog article, I’ll do my best to answer these three questions: 1This format is inspired by James Clear’s annual reviews.

What went well this year?
What didn’t go so well this year?
What am I working toward?

Here we go:

What Went Well This Year?

Photography. I wanted to do something unrelated to my career and family life a few years back, and I discovered photography. Photography continues to surprise me; it helps me regain focus and relax. I’m not taking and editing photos for any other reason other than it feels highly satisfying at the moment. There are no goals, no end-game, no strategic advantage, just pure enjoyment.

Google ecosystem. I have grown quite tired of Apple (the lack of innovation, the pricing, the proprietary ecosystem). Hence, I’ve gradually started transitioning to using Google as the primary ecosystem—and it’s working quite remarkable so far.

Turning 40. Admittedly, I thought that turning 40 would feel terrible, but it didn’t. Instead, I feel much calmer and much less restless. I care much less about most things, and I care much more about things that matter. Only now can I recognize how pressuring it can be between the ages of 30-40, where so much is supposed to happen. And who knew that the answer was to teach yourself to care less about more?

Learnt more about cooking, physics, and chess. I used to be terrible at cooking and chess. So, when I’m not taking photos in my free time, I’m learning new skills in the kitchen, studying chess theory, and learning more about intriguing cosmological concepts. A bit weird, but that’s okay.

Removing daily frustrations yields surprisingly good results. Instead of focusing on what makes me happy, I tried focusing on removing what makes me frustrated. Long story short: This approach seems to yield better results than adding more pleasure.

Five years without alcohol—check. I’ve never been a big fan of consuming alcohol, but when my son was born five years ago, I decided to exclude it from my life completely. It wasn’t adding any value.

What Didn’t Go So Well This Year?

Goal-setting: Too much brain, too little heart. I had plenty of goals set for 2019, but I quickly learned that I formulated these goals without passion in mind. It’s pretty fascinating to realize that using only your logical brain makes you stupid.

Unable to break carbohydrate cravings. I’ve successfully given up alcohol, sweets, and snacks. I’ve also upped my daily intake of vegetables by a considerable amount. However, I still eat too many carbs per day on average. What can I say? I love bread, pasta, and potatoes. I must find a new and improved way to approach this.

I’m going back to 100% strength training. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong, but I’ve been focused on cardio pulse training during 2019 without any significant results. Strength training seems to be agreeing more with my physiology, so I’ll revert to that.

What Am I Working Toward?

Grow as a leader. I’ve been in several leadership positions throughout my career, and I’ve always taken immense pleasure from coaching others and seeing them grow into their full potential. Exactly how I’ll be exploring this avenue of personal growth is not yet entirely clear, but I feel highly energized about this 2020 focus.

Simplification is powerful as the primary modus operandi. I love and respect complexity, but removing it makes the air easier to breathe. I will simplify even more aspects of my life in the future.

Evolve my professional positioning. I’m considered an expert on digital strategy. But strategic communication is where I belong. I’ve not entirely worked out exactly how to reposition myself, but I’m sure I’ll find a way.

1 This format is inspired by James Clear’s annual reviews.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.


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