2019 - The annual review
The year of transition
This year has been a transition, as the dictionary description says transition is " the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another" and for me, this year has been a year of personal growth, figuring stuff out and finding my purpose After reading Atomic Habits by James Clear at the end of 2019 I decided to do one of the principles of the book by publicly reviewing my year.
Its the first go at writing an annual review, although it sometimes feels very personal to be open on a year and look at the good and bad I feel part of my biggest learning this year has been to share more and to write more, so this ticks both boxes.
Yes, it’s feels a little weird to put this out here, and this is by no means a forum for me to brag about what I’ve done and learned but a chance for me to reflect and prove to myself that I’m “walking the walk” on the things I put in place last year.
The concept is pretty simple, give your self a simple structure to reflect in and also a chance to write down the answers to three questions that form the foundations of the review.
The annual review will answer three questions:
1. What went well this year?
2. What didn’t go so well this year?
3. What did I learn?
Remember this is a review of what my year looked like, not a suggestion of what yours should include, everyone, runs their own race. Ultimately the only person you are ever competing against is yourself so this is a good way to measure the ups and downs of life and also figure out what steps you want to take, so here goes.
What went well this year?
Let's start with the good stuff…
Launched my website
Yes, the thing you are reading this on! I mean I’ve never had a website and part of going through the transition of leaving the business I had built as “Phil Disrupt” meant redefining who I was and rewriting my story. The project of the website helped me do this, writing about yourself is always weird but going through the process helped me to collate together a new vision for my life, define my story and helped me cement a new set of values that will be the cornerstone to my beliefs.
I learned so much about myself and also figured out how to build my own site at the same time, something that I doubted I could do but in the end something I really enjoyed. I used Wix which was mega easy and not expensive, I hooked this up with google account and voilà done, a website to act as a hub for your content and audience and more importantly a place to share your ideas.
I’ll be spending more time this year working on it so keep up to date by signing up here
After launching this podcast at the end of 2018 we carried on the momentum into 2019 and managed to start regular creating our own content and podcast. It’s been one fo the best experiences of the year, one being creative for ourselves and two giving back all the things we have learned along the way as we start our new business. My favorite moments have been the community of people that have engaged with the podcasts and got value from listening or coming to our coffee mornings.
What we’ve learned is consistency is key, delivery regular content with a theme creates a narrative people what to get involved with, such as our regular monthly coffee mornings which now have 40 people a time and new people every month, it’s about adding value to your community and although Brandtrepreneur for us has been purely a passion project it’s one that I personally have enjoyed being part of.
Working closely with Matt and Nish and creating moments together like the Gary V event and a stage production at Cannes Lions festival has showcased that a simple idea can grow quickly into something that people connect with and a brand that in my humble opinion has an opportunity to become a valuable platform and brand for entrepreneurs, startups and creators. Listen to the latest podcast on itunes, go check it out here
Marketing with Attitude
One of the hardest things this year has been to pull together my first-ever keynote and deliver it on stage, it was something I always wanted to try and I’m not going to lie this time last year I added it to my wish list and put ‘keynote speaker’ on my LinkedIn as I felt I could make it happen, and it did. I got my first booking in April for Goafest which I pulled together the first version of Marketing with Attitude, (the core strategy we had used at Disrupt to make brands famous) into a 30-minute talk on the new 4ps of social marketing and how brand stories can create human connection (you can read all about it here)
The research took three months to pull together and although we had created the concept I wanted to back up all our principles with stats and case studies that brought the idea to life. I was really surprised that all the latest trends backed up our thinking, I know this sounds weird as it’s something we believed in but spreading this idea has shown me how powerful the theory is and how it's working for so many brands.
I’ll be working on an updated version for 2020 and hopefully delivering the talks at many more conferences across the world, we are also making the M.W.A workshop and content stream and showcasing our own theory in action as we launch reboxed using marketing with attitude as the framework. If your interested in booking the talk or want to find out more check out my speaker page here
This has become my social platform of choice in 2019, I’ve always enjoyed it as a network but in 2019 with a focus, this has been one of the things I’ve loved the most about creating content building a community and engaging with content and people online. It became a powerful tool for networking for me, reaching new people online to work with and also hopefully added value by inspirational, motivational and entertaining content but also by giving away deck templates, learning’s and connecting people together that can work.
LinkedIn is special in a way that you can ask for help, be real and I feel that people respect the hustle and the journey. I’ve got “connections” from all over the world in all different parts of life, not everyone I know for sure there is now over 8000 people but I would say for sure that it’s the platform I’ve had the most value out of this year. I managed to get investors, workmates and create opportunities by pushing our weekly content. It’s been a year of learning for sure but I feel that this will be one of my main focuses of 2020 to develop, grow and create content specifically for the platform, if you haven’t already added me, feel free to connect and drop me a message here
Reboxed - www.reboxed.co
The new co… well, it’s nearly time to launch and 2020 will see me go into my third business with Matt Thorne and also a completely new field “recommence’ - or reverse commerce, refers to the process of selling previously owned, new or used products.
People always ask where this idea for a platform for selling, swapping and shopping pre-owned tech came from? The truth is it found me…. sometimes timing is everything and with this idea, we had the space to research an area of business we are passionate about “consumer tech” and look at the real problems around the industry.
We had already said that we wanted to do a business that had a paltry impact and that added value to people's lives and we knew we had a skill set to build brands so where was the missing piece? It was in the recommence of tech, the second life of devices and the system that is in place that has its problems. We knew e-waste was growing, we knew that recommence was growing and we knew what the system and industry were broken and fragmented, when you get that cocktail then you have a receipt for disruption and an opportunity to change not just an industry but also consumer behavior.
Reboxed is a unique culmination of over 6 months of work pulling together the team, the tech and also raising money to launch it in 2020, all of which we finally have in place! We have been pulling this together for a while so I’m just ready and excited about getting this out of the world and seeing if we can take it to the next level, all I do know is it’s going to be one hell of a ride and I’m going have fun trying to make it work. It will be my main focus for 2020 and a business that can have a positive impact on both people and the planet 🌏.
Some 2019 stats
X 24 video clips
x 6 new articles
X 1 new website
X7 new events
x 2 new brands
x 1 SEIS raise
X5 speaking gigs
X 200,000 views on content
X 8000 subscribers on LinkedIn
X 1 Gary V interview
X 3 published interviews
I started off the year traveling with a trip to Thailand and Cambodia and It was my ambition to keep seeing more of the world, which I managed to do.
7 Countries - Thailand, Cambodia, Goa - India, Slovenia, France, Amsterdam, Italy, Berlin (3 new)
There was some an even split or work and play but the speaking engagements took me to a few which was great. I’m sure next year I’ll keep up the momentum but will have a focus on launching the new business so maybe more conferences. I really enjoyed India and would love to go back and see more of the country and culture and already have a little break in Dubai planned for the end of Jan to kick-off 2020.
2. What didn’t go so well
The not so fun bits...
Gym and weights
This was the year I fell out of love with the gym, I just didn’t have the motivation to keep lifting weights, I had gone into 2019 in good shape but without a gym buddy or PT, I lost my momentum. I substituted the routine of the gym with squash and yoga which I’ve enjoyed and even took up boxing lessons but again didn’t have a chance to get the rhythm but really enjoyed the idea of learning something new.
As I go into the 35+ era I’ve decided to make this a priority, keeping healthy for me helps me with my energy and power for work-life, there are a balance and a direct effect on my performance, plus I miss the competitiveness so I’m going to compete against the one person I can myself and aim to get much better, my accountability I’ve hired a coach and I’ll also put my goals below, cause maybe if it's out to the universe I’m less likely to try and slack. I’m also going to spend more time documenting the tracking the process maintains my health this doesn’t mean just gym and actives but also diet so let’s see how that goes, I’ll be able to update what has worked in next years review.
Living more consciously
Going into business trying to tackle e-waste has really made me step back and take a look at my consumer life. I’ve got to admit I’m nowhere near perfect, I brought lots of new things for my house, new clothes for myself and presents for people. I didn’t even realise refurbished tech was a thing and I haven’t brought a second-hand clothes item for as long as I can remember. I’ve also gorged on great foods, lots of meats and not had a look at my own impact when it comes to the environment or my own habits, so I’m gonna relook at all these elements and see where I can make a better more conscious contribution for my own impact.
It won’t be a perfect transition, I’m not going to suddenly become vegan and buy everything secondhand but I will take a look at my lifestyle and make the changes in line with my overall values to help where I can. I’m much more aware of my own contribution and also what we are all facing as a society so as the famous saying goes “you have to practice what you preach”
Charity and giving back
I 100% didn’t spend enough energy giving back to charity in 2019. 2018 was a good year for pulling together lots of time and people to work on projects such as “Good Vibes” my community festival in Brixton and “Do Something for Nothing” with Joshua Coombes, but 2019 I’ve found it hard to put this to the front of my list. It’s not so much the benefit of helping other people I also think work with people who are less fortunate or using your skills to help others makes you feel great and inspired. It’s an important balance of being a human and there will be a bigger focus next year on ways in which I can use my skill set to give back and support my community.
I will also be putting together a mentorship program where the simple trial will be mentoring x2 people across the year who are looking accel their entrepreneurial career as well as taking a position on board of a charity that I can add value to. These commitments are important to make upfront as it’s easy to let them slip as other areas of your life take energy and time away.
Time vs Finances
I’ve struggled this year to find a balance between finding my purpose and bringing in a profit, we walked away from our secure positions and potential income to pursue the opportunity to build reboxed and I’ve spent most of the year developing projects or working on myself. In all honesty, I’ve been very lucky to be in a position to be able to give myself the space to take a step back and be free to come up with new ideas and work on them. It’s not very often you get that opportunity to do this, so even though I've added this into the bits that didn’t go very well it’s more of a reflection on that although money was traded for time and experience the one thing you can’t get back is time, I wouldn’t be in the position I am If I didn’t make the trade so it’s a note to self that although my bank manager may not be happy when all is said and done sometime you need time to reset, refresh and refocus.
One of my favorite quotes of the year, remember >
3.My biggest learning
Some of my major sessions from this year include.
Learn to love the process
I’m impatient like probably a lot of you guys, I come from an on-demand generation where we expect things to be quick and easy. The reality is that life isn’t always quick and easy. Things that are good take time, and things that are hard don’t happen overnight. I’ve come to realise that one of the most important lessons that I need to come to terms with is learning to “love the process” one of my mentors said it to me this year and said one day you will look back you the time you where staying up lates figuring out that problem and working hard in a small team with a single mission and you will miss it. He was right, It's important to understand that everything is a process and to try as hard as it can be to enjoy the ups, downs and rounds and rounds as growth as you won’t get those times again.
Being selfish doesn’t mean you're a bad person
Our own character assignation can be one of the easiest ways to defeat yourself before you have even started, most people suffer from self-limiting beliefs but also from listening to too many other people's opinions on themselves or their ideas. I’ve been there so many times, putting other people first, or not starting something just in case it offends someone. Honesty we all need to stop giving so much of a fuck and be more selfish. I’m not telling you to go out and ignore everyone and not be nice, I’m telling you to protect your ideas, believe in yourself and give yourself beak energy and time to pursue your own happiness.
If you aren’t happy then you won’t make others happy so put yourself first, spend time on personal growth, find hobbies and find people who support you on that journey. If you have people in your life that don’t then hear that to do… Get rid of them. Shed them like skin and trust me you will feel better for it… being selfish doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if can actually make you a better person,
Your Identity is always evolving
Your Identity is fluid, always evolving and moving. Much like your emotions and experiences change, so does your identity. I used to think of identity as a solid block now I think of identity as something that will grow with you and something you keep on developing. It’s helped me move past the Phil is x or Phil is Y to Phil is X, Y and could be all the rest of the letters if it’s something I choose.
You create your identity by the experience and emotional journey you go on, and the best thing is....you get to choose it. Once you learn this you can become anyone you want to because you always have a chance to change it, grow and become the person you always want to be… just let that person out, be proud and flow like to ocean.
Create your own contract
When you are young being accountable is easier, you have parents, teachers, coaches as you get older and have to become an adult this process changes and all of a sudden you have to keep yourself on track.. that shit is hard, by nature we want things to be easier and technology have solved lots of those issues… I want food… deliveroo., I want. A distraction social media, I want to buy something I'm not sure I want… amazon, you want a new partner… tinder.
So one thing I’ve tried to do and it’s been working is to be more accountable for the good and bad habits in my own life, and this doesn’t have to be hard just write down some key rules and try and stick to them daily.. as James Clear says in Atomic habits I don’t have to be 100% every day just 1%, it’s about compound improvements to try and get better. If you mess up, just start again and work towards the bigger picture, my list is simple but provides me with a guideline of way to live better.
Sleep 8+ hours each day
Lift weights x3 a week
Go for a walk every day
Save at least 10% of your income
Drink more water and less of everything else
Leave your phone in another room when you work
Trust the process, you may not win every day but if you win more than you lose you will be on the path higher potential and that’s the right road.
Well, this was the first full year I spent in a relationship for a while and to be honest the first year ever I’ve felt happy, secure and supported by my partner. Having done quite a lot of deep work on myself the last few years it’s been incredible to see the benefits of bringing a better sense of knowing myself and confidence in my new relationships. In so many ways this year has felt like a transition, some kind of rebirth into a newer version of myself and so much of that growth has been down to finding the right person to be with and help me grow.
It’s so much easier to find the right type of people to be around when you know yourself, I took a long time to be fully happy in my own skin, to feel fully comfortable with my good and bad bits and to be able, to be honest about what I needed from a partner. This was core so many times, and where I see things go wrong, you can’t just be with someone because it seems right you have to be with someone because it feels rights.
You can’t build anything strong off a weak foundation, I used to see cracks early in relationships and ignore them but they would end up ruining it later, but as you get older and wiser (I’m allowed to say this now) you start to understand how important it is to build a solid foundation for your relationship, this first year is key from the way you communicate, your ambitions, your energy in and out, your values and beliefs, you set many of your boundaries and patterns within this formative year.
Why is this in here as learning, because ultimately the person you spend your time with will have a massive effect on your life, you have to be careful with who you “choose” to be around, not just in love but in life. One toxic person can take you out for a while and cause you so much pain, not many things in our life cause us as much pain as some of the bad decisions of who to bring in. On the flip side when you find people that give you back energy and love its special, treasure it, learn to appreciate it and be grateful…these people will help you see the light in yourself that they see in you.
So I leave you with this if you made it to the end..go into 2020 a new decade, shed your skin, go forth with passion, people that love you by your side and pursue your brightest light and best version of yourself, go big, go strong, go shine… 2020 is your year - go get it.
Seeing as we are headed into a new decade, here is a pic from 2009 and 2019, here's to the next 10 years!