Although, technically, we still have 2 more weeks until the end of the year, I decided to publish this blog post right now. I know many things can (and, according to my schedule, will) happen in the next two weeks, but I needed a time and place for this blog post. It’s a recap. A year in review. An evaluation. So 2 weeks are not such a big deal and today is as good as any other day to publish it.
I started this habit in 2009, when I had no less than 100 things to write about, then continued in 201o with 77 things, and then in 2011 I found no less than 41 things worthy to be told to the world (please note that 2011 was the year of my taming monkeys challenge). And now I have a list with 30 items.
Do you see a pattern here? Because I do. It’s obvious that I shifted my focus from doing. I don’t do as many things as I did in 2009 (or, at least, I’m not compulsively recording them). But I am way better, in terms of achievements, than I was in 2009. Maybe it’s that the things I do (or remember as worthy) are bigger, with more substance and spread over many weeks or months. Or maybe it’s just I decide to do less and be more.
1. Ran My First Marathon
By far the most important event of this year. I still have flashes of “I simply can’t believe I did this” but then I look at the finisher medal and realize it was for real. I’m usually good with words, but this time I simply can’t find the good ones to describe this experience and its benefits. You simply have to try it out for yourself. Meanwhile, go ahead and read my own angle at how to run a marathon.
2. Attended My First Official Triathlon Competition
It was a relay competition where I did the running part, and my team came in on the 2nd place (in the bloggers, section, of course). The main reason for that wasn’t my contribution, though, because I ran terribly slow, but my teammate, who proved to be one of the best athletes at the moment. Nevertheless, the excitement to attended to my first official competition as a runner was still there. I also did a few other after that.
3. Started To Tango
It was part of my larger attempt to experiment more connection, and less competition. Tango proved to be an enlightening experience, not in the disruptive, immediate way of the marathon, but in a rather slow building of expectations, changing of perspectives, and, eventually, taking on a completely new lifestyle. Parts of this new lifestyle can be found in the following article, where I described 10 tango lessons.
4. Went To My First Milonga
A completely separated experience from the whole tango thing, yet very… entangled, so to speak. Milonga, as a social event, quickly became a weekly habit for me. Not only I get to practice what I learn at the courses, but I met friends, I spend quality time and experience continuous physical beauty. Every once in a while, also, I get to learn some new stuff – or the reinforce something I already knew. Like the fact that people are their stories, for instance.
5. Started Open Connect
It’s a weekly networking event, taking place each Thursday at a Starbucks. It stared organically, as a way to bring together people that I already knew, as a digital nomad. And it expanded into a full time activity for some of them. Lately, it’s been organized in other cities too (Cluj, for starters). A small recap of what Open Connect meant for me, here, when I already had about 14 editions of this event.
6. Made Running A Habit
I already signed up for the Vienna marathon (which will take place in April, 2013) so now running is a full time activity. I began to wake up at 6 AM every other day and go out and run. Sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it rains or it snows. I just go out and do my stuff. Lately, when it gets too cold to run in the morning, I run in the afternoon, but I do run. Started as a tamed monkey, running is probably the second best thing that happened to me this year.
7. Started Kick-Adventure.com
It’s a crowd-funding project aiming at helping people who want to take on sports or, obviously, adventure projects. It’s more of a trial, but it’s in an area that it became close to me, and it’s also fitting great with my plans to start at least 3 new projects each year. At the moment of writing this, the project is in early alpha, meaning we have the domain, a bit of code behind, and an enthusiastic team. But bookmark the link, you never know when you’ll need it. 🙂
8. Started To Advise Traderion.com
It’s not a secret – if you’re a loyal reader to this blog, of course – that this year I experimented with being a forex trader. Out of this experience something nice was born, namely a trading game, creating by a group of friends. I have the honor to be on board of this game, as an advisor. At the moment of writing this, the game is in alpha stage, we’re creating the first group of power testers and… we play it. Again, bookmark the link. 🙂
9. Held My First Masterclass At A Business School
Got invited by a friend, as a way to promote a conference where I was speaking later that month. I was a bit overwhelmed in the beginning, because I didn’t know what exactly I can tell that would motivate those 100 people attending. So, I just told 5 real life stories from my life and, apparently, people enjoyed them all. It was a very nice experience. Not to mention it was a first, too.
10. Held My First Business Course At A Master Business School
Other than the one above, obviously. It was a full weekend module, where I had a group of 10 students (master level) and it was really powerful and enlightening. I think I prepared an entire week for it, but the preparation really paid out. Entrepreneurship is very hard to be taught, but, with the proper angle and case studies, one can generate very good results. Ready to repeat that anytime.
11. Launched The iOS App For This Blog
It’s called Dragos Roua (obviously) and you can get it from here [AppStore link]. I tried to build a little more than just the mobile version of this blog. So, apart from having access to the content published here anytime, anywhere (provided that you have internet, that is) you will also be able to buy some of my ebooks (or other products) at a heavily discounted price. Give it a try and give me feedback. I need it.
12. Got My First Translated And Printed Book In Korean
Along with my first marathon, holding my translated book into my own hands was an incredible experience. It’s about 100 Ways To Live A Better Life and its counterpart 100 Ways To Screw Up Your Life (that last one is still work in progress, should be on the shelves in a few weeks). Having your own work translated, packaged and sold by somebody else, in a foreign country, well, that’s simply unbelievable. If you read Korean, this is from where you can buy it online.
13. Started To Go To Improvisation Shows
Like in going there at least two times per month. I even did a social experiment on that. Also a part of my connection versus competition approach and another good habit, I guess. A few unexpected consequences of this: I befriended a few of the actors and I expanded drastically my social circle, by inviting new people to this show. Make people laugh, and they’ll seldom forget you.
14. Held My First Mentoring At Venture Connect
Venture Connect is a bi-annual event aiming to bring together businesses with potential investors (at the venture level, hopefully, not seed or angel investment). I’m on the board of this event for more than 2 years now, but it’s only during last year that they introduced this new activity. I had a presentation based on my 7 Ages Of An Online Business book and people seemed to kinda enjoy it.
15. Invented A New Language With My Daughter
I kid you not. I did invented a new language with my daughter, it’s called “Chinka-Paah”. There are no fixed words or syntax rules, we just make up words as we go along. But that magical thing is that it’s actually working. I don’t know why or how (maybe some of the causes are described in the link above) but it does work. You should see the people’s faces when we talk in Chinka-Pahh at the supermarket :).
16. Completely Re-Made The Interface of My iOS Productivity App iAdd
It was a real effort for me, but then again, it pays off. It’s not 100% as I wanted to be – because I always want to add a new feature, or to implement a new type of interface element – but its way closer to my initial vision. If you don’t know what iAdd is, well, it’s my time and task management app, [AppStore link] based on my own productivity framework called “Assess – Decide – Do”.
17. Launched the ebook “How To Self-Publish On Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore”
First, as an experiment for Kindle Select program (which turned to be a little bit disappointing, by the way), then made it available on all the other channels, like PDF format on my blog and iBookStore. If you ever thought about publishing your own book, both in print and as an ebook, you should check it out. It’s based on one of the most popular posts on this blog, with more than 350 comments to date.
18. Experimented As A Forex Trader
It was a very important milestone in my (let’s call it like this) professional life. An emotional roller-coaster and by far one of the best tools for self-improvement. A very thorough reminder that the world is literally driven by fear and greed. A tiring analytical activity, disruptively interrupted by bursts of emotion. I got out of it in one piece and I’m grateful for that (I know I’ll be back, I just don’t know when). A detailed review here.
19. Got Into A Conference Panel With Robert Hisrich
If you don’t know who Robert Hisrich is, well, he’s one of the most popular entrepreneurship advocates and teachers at the moment. I had the honor to be invited for a full day panel at a conference in Cluj, Romania, this year. Great experience, again, lots to learn.
20. Did My First Coach Surfing
As a host, this time, when I was welcoming Colin Wright, from the exilelifestyle.com fame in my own house. Knowing Colin in real life, after we’ve been blogging buddies for almost 3 years was a very nice experience.
21. Grew The Team Behind WPSumo
And a lot of other cool stuff. This project is still one of my top priorities and I’m really happy with its evolution. Now that we started to have specific child themes, things are getting even more interesting. If you don’t know what WPSumo is, I’ll tell you right now that this is the WordPress business I’m working on (this very blog is built on WPSumo, btw).
22. Published My First Course On Udemy
It was more of an experiment, or at least it started that way, but then evolved into fully fledged project. The course is about goal setting, contains more than one and a half hour of video content (shot and edited by yours truly) and it’s based (of course) on my Assess – Decide – Do framework. Oh, and just because you’re one of my readers you get a $30 discount (from the regular $69 price). Just use “dragosblog” as a promo code when you click here.
23. Received My First Donation On This Blog
That was exhilarating. I think it happened somewhere in August, 2 weeks after I put the donation code live on the blog. The process behind this decision was way longer, though, and it involved a lot of realignment towards receiving (as in not only “giving”). Usually, I get a few donations each month now. It’s not the amount that blows me away, but the fact that people actually feel the need to reward me for something I wrote.
24 Demoed My Cooking Skills At A Cooking Event
It was a very first too but only in terms of the social exposure, I do cook on a regular basis. I was invited by a friend to a weekly event where he showcases different persons passionate about (or skilled at) cooking. The atmosphere was surprisingly warm, people were incredibly helpful and, at the end of the day, everybody ate what we cooked, which, to be honest, way the biggest reward of all.
25. Got A Motorcycle For My Birthday
It was just a drawing, but it was colored by my daughter. She heard me talking a few times about me having a motorcycle (which is true, by the way) so, she thought this would be a good present for my birthday. I framed it and hung it on a wall behind my home office. Every time I need a ride, I just look at it. Feels good.
26. Published (As An Editor) The First Romanian Tango Manual
Which means I helped my friends (and tango teachers) Eugen and Teodora to publish their tango manual through my own account on various self-publishing outlets (Amazon and iBookStore included). It was also a first, I never did that for somebody else and it turned out that the manual was a success. You can get it form here for a very affordable $9.99 (Romanian content inside).
27. Been A Mentor At Startup Live Bucharest
It’s not the firs time I’m doing this, but I felt the need to mention it here. One of the people pitching at Startup Live ended up in a partnership (it’s about kick-adventure.com). Generally speaking, the second part of the year was literally filled with business related events, way too many to be mentioned all here.
28. Picked Up Blogging
After a rather scarce activity during the end of 2011 and the fist 6 months of 2102, I finally got back in business. I’m still calibrating my presence here, on the blog, as well as in social media. As a matter of fact, I never quit blogging (there was at least one article every 10 days), I just took some distance from it. Now, I feel like I’m doing the right thing again. But, in the end, you should be the ones telling me that. 🙂
29. Ate Tapioca For The First Time
Ok, it may seem like so little for many of you, but for me it was kind of a big deal, and also a first. As always, this is also part of another, much bigger thing that went on, namely making and keeping a very nice couple of friends (one of them being THE best cook in the world, and the one who made me want to pursue this cooking thing).
30. Ice-Skated With My Daughter
It should be noted, though, that I don’t know how to skate on ice. We learned together, so, in a way, it was a first for both of us. But we had a ginarmous amount of fun.
All in all, it was a very good year. Especially the last 3 months. If I look at it, looks like almost the entire year was concentrated in these last 3 months.
Which reminds me that time is a very subjective matter.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.