My 2019 Annual Review

The year of turning 40.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


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 reas­on oth­er than it feels highly sat­is­fy­ing. There are no goals, end-game, or 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 remarkably.

Turning 40. I thought 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 when so much is sup­posed to hap­pen. And who knew that the answer was to teach your­self to care less about more?

I learned 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 remov­ing what frus­trates me. 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. Realising that using only your logic­al brain makes you stu­pid is fascinating.

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 focused on car­dio pulse train­ing dur­ing 2019 without sig­ni­fic­ant res­ults. Strength train­ing seems to agree 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 explore 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 breath­ing easi­er. 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 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 Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has



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