I've spent some time looking back at the year that just passed. It was an extremely unorthodoxed year from any way I slice it and dice it. I invested a lot of time, energy, effort, resources and money into things that were important to me. Some of those things worked out well. Some not so well.
When I look at my standard measuring stick for evaluating a calendar year, it's not as cut and dry as it usually is. I set out every year, just as I am this year, to ensure that it is the best year of my life. For several years leading up to 2016, the answer was an absolute "fuck yes" that the previous year was the best year of my life. 2016 was different though.
It felt like a lot of positioning and setup was done kind of like a setup episode of a TV series where there isn't much action, but it's building some incredible storylines.
I definitely succeeded in the personal growth department, which is consistently at the top of my list of things that are most important to me. The year was filled with a tremendous amount of self-discovery, exploration, and personal development. A roadtrip down the California coastal highway, a spiritual weekend experience in Asheville, North Carolina, and a few epic trips to SF were just part of the journey.
I also built some incredibly strong relationships with people who I'm excited to invite into my universe and be a part of theirs. Relationships are a key focus for 2017, and the past year was a setup for continued growth in this department.
In terms of actual business, it was a hell of a roller coaster. We built one of the best products in the history of Firehawk and have an on-going interest in the success of that company. That's exciting. There were a couple of other projects that didn't go the way we had expected. The products we built were flawless, but what came after that didn't hit expectations. It's easy to play Monday morning quarterback on what went wrong, but what happened was exactly what needed to happen.
There was a fundamental lack of alignment at Firehawk in terms of the future. David and I wanted different things, and a couple of projects definitely brought this to the forefront. I'm glad that they did, as uncomfortable as it was at times. We put off some difficult conversations for a while and 2016 forced us to have them. While there's definitely some uncertainty around the future, one thing is more clear than ever: I'm focused on helping the best people build the best products.
Some things didn't get as much priority as I would have liked. I only wrote 8 posts the entire year and half of them were crap. The other half were solid though, and I'm committed to writing more with less crap :) I also didn't prioritize reading, and I now have a stack of books in the queue that is embarrassingly high. As I've plotted out my world domination for 2017, reading and writing are definitely going to get their time.
Back to the question that has been bouncing around my head for a few weeks now: was 2016 the best year of my life?
After writing this post, the answer has become clear. Yes, I've continued my streak and 2016 was the best year of my life in that I've put so many pieces in place. You can't be committed to the long game and then only measure short term gains. While so much of 2016 did not go as planned, it's easy to get forget how much I enjoy and thrive in the uncertainty. If we measured the past year based on the amount of time filled with uncertainty, it would have smashed all previous years in a blowout. Looking at the whole picture though, 2016 was a hell of a year.
There was so much groundwork that has been put in place during the previous year. Now it's time to continue building on that foundation and crush 2017. I can't remember being this excited at the beginning of a new year, and that makes it even more exciting. Time to get to work.