2014 In Review

Since I started to blog, at the end of each year, I stop for a while to look back and review. Was this a good year? A bad year? It’s good to just sit still and look back at what you lived for the past 365 days.

2014 was a good year. In so many ways. I started it living alone and I’m ending it living with somebody. I started it as a digital nomad and I’m ending it as an entrepreneur with a full day job at his own business. I started it with two months of apathy and I’m ending it with 2 semi-marathons, 2 marathons and 2 60km ultra-marathons in my shoes.

If I would choose a theme for 2014, it would be “roller coaster”. There were so many moments of high and so many moments of low that the picture of a huge, shiny roller coaster is the only one accurate enough. There were moments when I felt the earth disappearing from under my feet, at the speed of light, leaving me suspended in a void of chaos and whirlwind. And there were moments when I felt on top of the biggest mountain I could ever imagine.

To be honest, the only thing I wish from the next year is that the roller coaster will keep on rolling 🙂

Now, without further ado, let’s see what were the main inflection points of this year.

1. I Ran Two Marathons

First one in October, and the second just a couple of months later, in December. I finished both of them in around 4 hours and 30 minutes, but given the conditions of the second marathon, which was ran at below zero degrees Celsius, I find the latter result to be very encouraging. I wrote extensively about both these marathons, so if you’re curious, just go ahead and read the conclusions.

The Story Of My Third Marathon

The Story Of My Fourth Marathon

2. I Ran Two Ultra Marathons

60km each. The first one was a part of a bigger race, between Bucharest and Sofia. It was a much pleasant experience than I thought it would be. The second ultra was part of my training for a bigger race which will take place next year, at the end of May. I decided to run an ultra marathon each month until I get to that race, starting with this 60k. In January I plan to run a 70k, in February an 80k, and so on, until I’ll reach the magic milestone of a 100k. Just one year ago, running 60 km seemed out of this world for me. If you wonder, the photo for this post is taken after my first ultra-marathon.

The Story Of My First Ultra Marathon

The Story Of My Second 60 km Race

3. I Ran My First Mountain Semi Marathon

It was a beautiful race, called Transmaraton, taking place on the most beautiful road on the planet, Transfagarasan (if we should take Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear fame, seriously). I discovered what huge difference is to run on the mountains and how running on flat ground is almost useless in this type of race. I made a lot of new friends at that race and I’m still in contact with them. Next year I plan to run the ultra marathon race of Transmaraton, which is 63km.

The Story Of My First Mountain Semi Marathon

4. I Ran My First Mud Race

That was the thing that ignited the running season, in the spring. It was literally a race in the mud of a forest near Bucharest. Again, a great socializing opportunity, where you can meet like minded people. It was also a bit surrealistic, with all the spartan conditions and the cold, but a great experience overall.

The Mud Race

5. I Ran My First Race With A Moving Finish Line

It’s an international event called Wings For Love – World Run. What sets this race apart from other races is that the finish line is moving. Half an hour after the start, a car (also called “the finish car”) starts from the same point and it goes forward at a constant speed, on the same course. Once the car passes you by, the race is over for you. I set  my goal to run 10km, but in the end the car passed me by at 15km. I already signed up for the next edition of the race.

6. I Started Connect Hub, My 8th Business

This was by far the cornerstone of this year. I confess it came a little bit out of the blue. I didn’t intend to start it, but I wasn’t reluctant either. For the past 4 years I’ve been comfortably living as a digital nomad, without too many commitments. Starting a new business form scratch proved to be extremely challenging and during the first few months was one of the most important causes for the roller coaster moments I was talking about at the beginning of this post. It’s still in its infancy – just 7 months old –  and I’m still with the finger on the trigger, so to speak, ready to stop the loss, if things will not go like planned, but until then I will do everything I can to lift it up.

8 Things I Learned From Starting My 8th Business

7. I Co-organized Two International Events

I am really happy that I had the chance of being the host of one of the most important events I organized ever, a series of 2 conferences with Geshe Michael Roach, in Bucharest, in September 2014. I wrote extensively about Geshe Michael book, The Diamond Cutter, and if you follow my blog, you must know that I’m very fond of the concepts outlined in that book. Even more, I consider myself a follower of the principles in The Diamond Cutter. The event was beneficial on many, many levels: we created value for more than 100 people (that was the audience for the 2 days of the conference), I got to personally meet Geshe Michale and I’m honored that he gave me a lot of encouragement and advice, and, last, but not least, we created a team specialized in organizing international events. Just one month after this event, we co-organized another one, about mindfulness, with Viggo Johansen, from Norway, he himself a former Buddhist monk.

8. Moved In With Flat Mates

That was another one of those roller-coaster moments when I felt the earth was literally running from under my feet, but, in retrospect, it was a very good move.(for 3 months). To put this in perspective, I never lived with somebody else (apart from the times when I was married, of course). Not even in college. So, this was a huge, huge stretch for me. But, to be honest, it was really fun. I have some very nice memories and the energy created when you live with flat mates is certainly enticing. For a while.

9. Moved Twice

This time with my girlfriend and tango partner. It was something very natural and we’re enjoying it day in and day out. That’s one of the highs of the roller coaster.

10. I Had My First Live Tango Performance

Like, you know, in a show. On a stage. Yes, it was in a park, and the audience was mostly kids, but I don’t care, it counts. 🙂

11. I Crossed The Border Of 1.000.000 Written Words On The Blog

Sometimes during 2014 I crossed the limit of 1.000.000 written words of this very blog. It’s a very important milestone for me. Given the fact that English is not my first language (and I never really had an English lesson in my life), I think I went a long way. I still cringe when I look at the first articles, they are so full of typos and grammar mistakes. But that’s ok. That’s how you learn.

Life After 1.000.000 Words

12. I Made My Ebooks Free

I wrote 9 ebooks so far, 2 of them being translated in Korean and Farsi. This year I decided to make them free, if you download them as PDF files from this website. If you want to have the printed version, or if you want to read them on your Kindle or iPad, you can still buy them. Since we’re talking about books, I also started to write a series in Romanian, as a Facebook experiment, and I have another project in the making, in English. Next year I’ll finish it, but until then, let’s keep a low profile.

Free Books: Get Them For Free, Pay What You Like

13. I Made It On A Cover Of A Business Magazine

I really was on the cover of a business magazine, as part of a bigger event feature in that magazine, an event called Venture Connect. The presence on the cover didn’t please me in any way, on the contrary, I still have this shyness combined with a strong tendency to stay in the dark, not coming to light and so on. I’m still working on that part of me that thinks “you’re not good enough to be on a cover of a business magazine”. A part from that, this cover thing was a good reminder that being famous is just an accident.

Being Famous Is Just An Accident

14. I Started To Meditate Daily

This is more than just meditation. It’s a full daily practice for keeping myself mindful and aware of the consequences of my own actions. If there would be one sentence that would define this daily practice, that sentence would be: “I understood how things work”. You may infer that this practice was a breakthrough in terms of spirituality, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. Yes, there was a big leap forward here, for me, and the review of the book that changed the entire perspective, The Diamond Cutter, will give you a few clues here, if you’re curious.

But maybe the biggest understanding was that everything is related. It’s never only about spirituality. You can’t be spiritual today, until 1 PM, and then start doing business until 3 PM, and then have a personal relationship until 7 PM. It’s all interlinked, everything is connected. There’s a big picture and that picture is finally making some sense for me, not in the “a-ha, I just had a breakthrough” way, but in the “ok, now I know how everything works, and I really have to work at it” way.

Like I said, it’s more than meditation, and many habits that I incorporated into my daily routine are coming from buddhist teachings, with whom I became familiar during this year.

15. I Started A 100 Blog Posts Challenge

It was started the day I made 44 years and it’s still going on as I write this. It will be finished sometimes next year, but it counts at a 2014 event too. It’s the biggest blogging challenge I ever took, with around 500 – 1000 (meaningful, if possible) words per day, for 100 days in a row.

The Biggest Blogging Challenge

16. I Crossed The Border Of 100 Live Open Connect Events

The last Open Connect of this year was the 100th event of the series. I started this series of events in 2012 and I didn’t miss any of them. Not even a week. Open Connect was the main igniter behind Connect Hub and also a great game changer for my social life (I met more than 2500 real people because of this). It’s a major milestone for me. I’m really happy that I was able to make this work and that I helped so many people meet other people, create opportunities or start businesses together. I fell like what I do has a real meaning, in real life. It’s a wonderful state to be in. I plan to keep staying in this state.


Well, that was it. Let’s look forward at 2015 now. 🙂

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