It’s that time of the year where we get the opportunity to take a step back, reflect and be thankful for the year we’ve had. 2014 has been a great year and it’s my pleasure to share my successes and failures with you.
2014 Resolution – In Review
Let’s start with my 2014 year Resolution. This year’s goals were:
- Spend Time w/ Friends
The good news is that I dedicated a significant amount of time to having 1-1’s with friends, mentors and mentees. This was great, given the fact that since I moved to Panama it’s become more difficult to catch up with old friends. The second great news is that I surpassed my blogging goals, investing a solid amount of time into reflecting on my experiences and honing my writing (communication) abilities.
The goals I didn’t succeed in were reading and exercising. Even though I did spend a lot of time reading short articles and blogs, I could have read more books. The ability to sit down for longer, concentrated periods of time is important and one that I need to work on. The other area I could have done better was building an exercise routine. I need to take my health more seriously and give it the priority it deserves; seeing it as a key enabler of my mental health and personal productivity.
Biggest Moments this Year
Academic: Finished 4th year + Graduated!
This year I finally finished my undergraduate studies and graduated from the University of Toronto. After 5 gruelling years, 4 Engineering + PEY, I finally did it and proud to have graduated from Engineering with Honors. I also earned myself a sweet Leadership Award (Gordon Cressy). The best part of it, seeing my mom’s giant smile when she saw me pick up my diploma on stage.
Travel: Travelled to Europe + Dominican Republic + Guadalajara
This year saw significant travel for me. I did a Grad Trip through Europe with some of my best friends. We had a crazy fun time seeing new places and meeting new people. I got to scratch off Cliff Diving off my bucket list in Greece. After that trip, my girlfriend and I had a couple’s getaway in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic! We got to spend some quality time, kayaking, sailing, dune buggying and doing all kinds of fun water and beach sports. Finally, later in Nov I was able to join in on a Family Trip to Guadalajara for my cousin’s wedding. We got to spend time as a family and roam the streets of the colonial town of Tlaquepaque; not to mention my bro and I partied hard till 6 am both nights we were there.
Lovelife: Girlfriend and I agreed to move to Panama
After a year of difficult and serious conversations my girlfriend and I finally agreed to try things out and move to Panama together. I took a job in Panama and she was open to the idea of discussing the possibility of a move. We started off for a short period of long distance until we can move her in Feb 2015. I’m incredibly happy and fortunate to have such a wonderful person in my life, willing to join me on life’s next adventures.
Career: Started 1st job @Ubiqua + First intern!
This year I took off my career starting my first job at Ubiqua, as Ubiqua’s Vice President of Operations. Ever since undergrad, I’d been working on finding a small startup where I could join, learn and play a key role in their growth. Ubiqua offered me the opportunity to do that and more, even giving me the opportunity to manage my first intern during my first 6 months on the job. Another win to share, the intern did a great job and earned himself a full-time offer! Career off to a great start!
Finances: Bought my first car!
Even though this is a small win, and I received significant financial support (loan) from my dad, I bought my first car this year. This is probably the first large item that I own and am now responsible for taking care of. I’m a little scared that from this point on, expenses get larger and larger, but I’m excited that I’m finally starting/learning to manage my own finances and in charge of my financial growth.
Health: I got fatter this year!
Yes, during my 5 years of college I didn’t gain a single pound. In fact, I always came back thinner. It must’ve been the Rugby, the snowboarding, cycling around Toronto, or maybe the ridiculous amount of coffee I drank. Now that I’m a graduated working man I finally experienced the perils of worklife and no exercise. I’m now 7-10 pounds heavier and can feel it in my gut (beerbelly). Oh well, I must be enjoying the good life!
Key Lessons of 2014
- Listen more to understand, to learn.
The value of listening isn’t just to earn my turn to say what I believe and to share what’s on my mind. It’s to discover something new about the world or someone’s frame of mind that I didn’t know before. When it comes to understanding people, listening is the (best) only way to go. I need to listen more to what people say, directly and indirectly, in order to truly understand what they mean and where they’re coming from. It’s the only way to learn about how they feel and what they really value. So much of understanding is missed because we don’t take the time to truly listen to others. So for 2015, less talking and more listening.
- It’s the little things that matter, that people remember.
Little things go a long way in terms of doing great things for others. This could be as simple taking out the trash or washing the dishes for everyone after dinner. It might come in the form of a simple, but symbolic birthday gift for a friend. In the end, it’s the little things that we do for others that pile up and matter the most. These little things are often unexpected and received as delightful surprises. This is the sweet spot of doings things for others. They won’t remember every little thing you do, but they’ll definitely remember how you made them feel. And they’ll appreciate you so much more for it.
- It’s important to appreciate the things that others do for us.
In our day to day we often get blinded to all the great things that people do for us. We might be blinded by feelings of entitlement, or habit or simply because its customary. Nevertheless, it’s important that we open up our eyes, recognize and appreciate all the wonderful people that we have in our life making it better. There are the obvious ones, appreciate your colleagues when they help you with work or your friends when they do you a favor. But there are also the ones the go unappreciated, like when your mom prepares a special meal for you or when the security guard at work welcomes you every morning. We must learn to be mindful and grateful of all of these interactions, big and small, that enrich our lives everyday.
Time to Appreciate
To end off such a great year, I’d like to say thank you to those who were a part of it. To my dear friends at UofT, thanks for helping me through these past 5 years and for all the fun times we had. It was definitely the most difficult intellectual and emotional challenge I’ve taken on in my life and I’m glad you guys were a part of it. To my family, thank you for teaching me that our successes are so much more valuable when shared with the people we love. To my colleagues at Ubiqua, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to prove myself and test my limits. And to my loving girlfriend, thank you for always being there to cheer me up in the bad times and for making the good times even better.
I’m very fortunate to have all of you amazing people in my life.
And that’s a wrap to an incredible 2014! Looking forward to the success, hardships, and lessons to come in 2015!