Hi! 2023 is upon us. And this is my annual review of what I did #in2022 and what I want to do #in2023. This will be a long post and for the ease of writing and your reading (if someone is reading), I will divide this into sections. Here…
- Why this post? What does this post mean to me?
- How do I do the review and do a yearly plan?
- What did I plan to do in 2022 and how I fared?
- Plans for 2023 – Grand ones, small ones and the ones that I would not pursue.
With some disclaimers, let’s dive in!
A. Why this post?
Simple answer. I like the idea of having a sense of control over where I am in life and where I am going. You know, I want me to happen to life (rather than life happening to me) and this review helps me stay the course. All this planning gives me an illusion of control. Of course, it’s a mere illusion. Life has a mind and a plan of its own and there is nothing I can plan or do that will allow me to control it. But I still do this nonetheless.
Apart from this, at a spiritual level, I feel more connected to myself after I have taken time to sit down and do a review and imagine where all I want to go. With all the million dreams and ideas and thoughts, I do get overwhelmed and get scared about the amount of work I need to put in. I do get sad that one life will probably not be enough. And I get to know my limitations as a human and I become a tad more accepting. In fact, recently in a conversation, I told one of my closest friends that I have accepted that I am past. I told her that I have accepted that I will never be the big deal that I have always wanted to be. I admitted that I will die unfulfilled and I would not know what it takes to move the world. So, I need some tethering, some sort of a compass that allows me to not lose my shit.
Plus, I like the idea of living in public. And this public documentation and disclosure help me with a sense of accountability. Of course, the goals I chart for myself are very lofty and I often dont reach the finish line. But that’s ok. I like to shoot for the moon.
With that as the background, let’s get into the how I go about writing this post.
B. How do I do this?
I start with my vision board. Then I look at this excel sheet where I have mapped all that I want to do in life. And this document that has my life themes / ethos mapped. I follow it up with a scan of tags like LifeGoals, in2022, in2023, in2026, et al on my notes app (Roam, Apple Notes, Notepads). While I do this, I make notes (mostly on a mindmap). I use Year Compass to help me think better. #in2023 I plan to make a planner of my own. And then I try to make sense of things by putting them in categories of health, wealth, relationships, career, contribution and others. I use the following chart…
Once I have gathered all the information, I go over all those one last time, finalise the mindmap, copy-paste from previous editions and start writing this post.
PPS: I need to write a longer post on how I do this. Maybe sometime later. #parkedIdeas
C. What did I plan and do in2022
the top three goals for #in2022 were…
- Write and publish book2
- Lose weight, get fit (and learn dance, run a marathon etc)
- Make money (revenue, debt etc)
Funny thing is that I have chased these exact goals since I can remember and I did not get even close to even one of these.
For book2, I made a few starts (LFWc2, 80K words for AK in the month of Oct) but I was unable to close it.
For fitness, I didn’t even move an inch. I did order a yoga mat in the last week of December!
For money, while I had a few good months, I was back to the same spot where I started the year with (taking on more debt to service expenses). I know what I do and how I operate is not sustainable but I remain hopeful that what I do will someday make sense.
#note2self: The surprising thing is that none of my goals were related to the work I do (brand consulting / events / marketing consulting etc). I mean the money goal is an outcome of work but I did not specifically plan what work I would do to make money.
This year as well, I will keep the three large ones the same as the previous years (book2, health and money). I however will add a few smaller goals (some new ones, some old ones that I haven’t been able to work on at all). I will come to those in a bit, but #in2023, I will put a larger focus on health than on anything else.
And before I get to other things, lemme do a month-on-month review of how I spent 2022. Wait. More than a review, this is a list of highlights and lowlights from the year gone by.
C.1. Month-on-month highlights from 2022
- Jan – Signed a couple of new clients. One of them would eventually make me spend 3-4 months in Bangalore. More on this in a bit.
- Feb – FT crossed 100 episodes. Thanks to the effort by AD and the team. While it’s helping us create the noise that we have a popular podcast, it is offering no tangible value. Not sure what to do about it. And no, not shutting it for sure.
- Feb – Lost a client. This is one of those rare clients where I (and C4E) was let go because I did not perform.
- Feb – Met Ankesh Kothari. I’ve met him just twice but he’s left an indelible impression on me. I wish I could be friends with him!
- Apr – Did an event at Indore. Loved it. Wish I could do larger, grander events. I think it will never happen and I will die with this as an unfulfilled wish. And no, I am not ok with it. May be if I get to make a film, that would replace the trill of putting an event together? Let’s see.
- Jul – Exchanged tweets and got an opportunity to work with a billionaire. While I had the opportunity, I couldn’t convert. This has to be amongst the biggest fails of the year for me. The other thing to note here is that Twitter helps me create grander opportunities than any other social network.
- Aug – Along with Shikha, produced my first ad-film as a producer. I plan to expand this further in 2023.
- Sep – DD went live – thanks to the hard work of Chandni, Pooja, Anshika, Vaishnavi and their team. This is one of my most ambitious projects. I hope we can take it to its destiny.
- Oct – Started to keep a weekly track of what did I achieve at C4E. I should’ve done this sooner. Inspired by the tweet from Elon Musk where he asked Twitter CEO about what he did this week.
- Nov – Thanks to VG, moved into a house far fancier than my aukaat. My worry is, now that I have lived here, how would I adjust to living anywhere else?
- Dec – Stumbled upon Zakir Khan’s work. And I am enamoured. Like all his fans, he speaks to me at such a deep level that it feels as if he’s baring my soul on camera! See this for example. And this.
So that was my 2022 in a nutshell. Lemme catalogue big losses and wins.
C.2. Big Losses #in2022
Here is a list. In no order…
1/ I lost three big clients during the year. One I lost because we couldn’t perform. I have learnt my lessons from the loss and I am committed to not repeating. The other two we let go by ourselves. And that’s ok. I am realising that I am not ice cream and I can’t please everyone. I am ok to let go of revenue opportunities if I dont see myself or my team getting respect, learning new things or expanding our luck surface area. Oh, we did get QUITE a few new clients.
2/ I spent good 5 months in Banglaore and I couldn’t capitalise on my time there. By capitalising, I mean I should’ve been able to build a network there. But I. was unable to. As I retrospect, I realise, I made three mistakes.
- I lived FAR away from the startup hotspots and that meant I couldn’t travel from where I lived to where those events were.
- I did not carve out time to meet more people. I was lazy and I waited for the magic to happen. No, it doesn’t happen if you dont move your ass.
- I did not have a personal brand. If I had one, people would have travelled to meet where I was. And would have taken time out at a time when I was available.
While the first two are fixable easily (I will now ensure that I live in the middle of the hotspot and I will invest a LOT of time in meeting people), I need to think hard about the third one #in2023.
3/ Got an opportunity to work with a billionaire and I couldn’t capitalise on it. Truth be told, I did EVERYthing in my power to make it happen. Including wearing a white shirt and shoes to go and meet him IRL but for some reason, I could not capitalise on it.
So this. Now onto the wins…
C.3. Big Wins #in2022
Here is a list. Again, in no order…
1/ Strengthened Team C4E. Against all odds. And I had to take on debt to be able to meet the payroll (I still need to make enough to fund the team on a month-on-month basis). But I did manage to strengthen the team.
This means that people that work with me at C4E are engaged and they like it here. We are building a company that is safe, kind, humane and inspiring. Each day is exciting for people (well, most days, not each day). They enjoy and look forward to interactions with each other.
Of course, I am merely hoping all this is true. The team at C4E may or may not agree with this. If this pic is to be believed, they are happy 🙂
2/ Operated from a sense of scarcity. A prime example is point 1 above.
3/ Interacted with two dollar-billionaires. Even if those meetings were of no use and even if they would not remember my name. Just to be standing next to them was inspiring. I hope I can meet more such people. And become one of those 🙂
4/ TRS and PPP started to make money! I have been funding these for years and we finally have cash flow coming in. Whatever they make is still not enough to run their operations but it’s a start nonetheless. Podium anyway makes some cash flow. #in2023, I hope these three (and DD as well) makes enough to break even.
That’s about it. I am sure there are more but these are the ones that I want to highlight as big achievements from the year.
#note2self: All my wins and losses are from work. Maybe I need to think harder about this.
C.4. Lessons from 2022?
So here are some lessons from 2022 (most of these have come from this post where I listed 22 lessons I learnt in 2022; some are new).
- You can’t control the outcomes. You need to keep at it. Take steps. One at a time.
- You need a marriage of ethos before you can do anything together with others.
- People are inspired by things that give them the opportunity to do things larger than themselves. You know, showing them the vastness of the sea?
- Community trumps an individual.
- Young people are fascinating. We all need to spend more time with young people.
- Ready, Fire, Aim is the best damn strategy.
- Timing is everything and one must ALWAYS err on the side of action. If you dont act fast, you lose opportunities. And while opportunities are not scarce, that particular opportunity would disappear faster than you know it.
As I work towards my goals #in2023, I hope I can keep these at the top of my mind and act!
D. The plans and goals and dreams for #in2023
I will divide this into large goals, small goals, things I will say no to and other random words.
D.1. Three Large Goals for #in2023
The three large goals for 2023 remain the same as they were in 2022 and in 2021. And maybe in 2020 and earlier.
The point is, there is nothing else that I want more. The other things I already have. I mean I have a family that is as supportive as one would want. I have friends that back me up when I need them to. I have a team that loves each other. I have clients that talk to me with respect. I am slowly building a community of people that have the same ethos as me.
I can’t ask for anything in the relationship department (except for love – I am giving up on that). So, the three goals are…
- Write and publish book2
- Lose weight (get to 30″ waist), get fit (and learn Bhangra, run a sub-5 marathon, do Killer Boogie etc). Within this, I will focus on health / fitness and add things like yoga, massages, steams, multivitamins, protein shakes, cold showers et al to the routine. In fact, I have promised that this year the only reading I would do would be health-related books. And I will take notes and I will implement those in my life.
- Make money (pay back the debt I have on my head and then make enough revenue to pay Team C4E more than what the market would pay them and live to that maxim about enabling others)
If I could add a 4th to this list of three, I would say I want to amplify my personal brand. But let it be in the “other goals”. Here they are.
D.2. Here are “other goals” and plans
Here’s how I will reach these goals. In no order…
1/ Build Brand SG
The goal, the Northstar metric of this is that when I walk into a room, people must know who I am and they must want to get into a business transaction with me.
To be able to achieve this, I need to be known as resourceful, reliable, intelligent, trustworthy, effective and all that. And I need to be known as an expert. On things that those rooms are discussing. I still need to work on what those things are but a broad selection would be Marketing, Startups, Storytelling, Coolness, Writing, Productivity, Creativity, People, Mentoring, Problem Solving, Web 3 and more. I know this is a LOT and I need to reduce this list to a handful.
The tangible goal is to have 100K followers each on Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. I also want to be more visible on the Internet and in the media. Again, I dont know how to do that but I shall try. I recently created a team to help me with it. Let’s see where we reach.
2/ Preserve my mornings.
I dont think I have issues in waking up early. I will continue to do that.
The change I would make is that no one would be able to reach me before 9 AM. Maybe 10. I would in general take up meetings early (to reach early and avoid traffic). Now, I will try and refuse those. Nothing before 11 if it includes travel. Of course, I know that I may not be able to maintain this but I will do this as much as I can.
3/ Save my energy.
This means I will let go of people and things that take my energy away. Even if I have had years and years of vested interest and investment in those. You know, sunk costs.
While this energy concept is new to me, but as I grow older, I realise that this is an important one. More on this some other day. But I will sort of fade away in the bushes. You know, how Homer does it?
4/ Become a People Magnet
While I try and preserve my energy, I also want to become a people magnet. This means I want to attract talented, bright and interesting people to meet me and shower me with whatever they can offer!
I dont have a tangible for this. In vague terms, I need to be the person that people want to meet even if they have to travel miles and miles to meet me.
5/ Eat home-cooked food.
Till the April of 2023, I have a house that comes with domestic help. I will try to eat as much home-cooked food as I can.
Post-April I need to find a place to live and will see if I can afford domestic help at that point. We shall see when that happens.
6/ Get frugal.
I anyway dont spend a lot of money needlessly. But I will become even more frugal with it. I have spent 4528 since morning today (morning of Jan 1, 2023). Lol! And each month, I will save at least 40% of what I make. At least till April when I have to pay just a tiny rent. Post that, we shall see.
7/ Chase 100 rejections
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. I think this year I will try and chase these rejections.
8/ Become a shoulder for others.
SoG will become my life’s purpose, goal, Ikigai, whatever. I need to do more of it. There are multiple things within this – SoG book, SoG grant, Team SoG and more. Each has to become big!
Oh, I will roll out the SoG Grant (I first thought about it in 2021) this year.
10/ Establish C4E Base
I wrote the following in my 2021 plan…
Adopt an old bungalow and convert it into a cultural hub of sorts that creative people can call home. Maybe replicate it across the world. Like Soho House but far more affordable and far more meaningful. Got inspired by this person. Part of Personal / Curiosity.Saurabh Garg, 2021 Plan (link)
I want to make this happen this year. This is also in line with my thought on being a people magnet, having more handshakes (compared to Zoom meetings), becoming a shoulder for others and do more!
11/ Do a Startup
What I do at C4E is fantastic but I am still a services company and I need to find a way to not rent my time.
12/ C4E International
In case I am unable to do #11, I will try and take C4E beyond India. The long-term goal is to be out of India and I need to take steps in that direction already.
#note2self: Need to do a similar review / plan for C4E. Apart from international operations, I am thinking about evolving into a collective (getting more people to be a part of the loose network), establishing niche agencies (women, youth, web 3 etc), creating a line of products and more.
13/ A Film Script
I really want to have my name in a film. And I want to do whatever it takes to make it happen. But then I am on the edge on this. The priority would be book2. If I get that out of the way and I am left with time, I may pick this up.
So these are minor goals for #in2023.
I know this is a long list but these are all secondary goals. Ambition is to get the primary ones going!
Other things that I want to do but I am saying no to in2023…
In no order…
- Poker. I will get back to it once I have achieved financial freedom.
- Pool. I thought about getting back to it. But I realised I am not good at it to be world-class and thus no point putting time and energy into it.
- LHV (unless I am compelled to do it for elevating my brand).
- Needless travel. While I love to travel and I like the idea of exploring newer places, with a heavy heart, I will say no to it this year. Unless it’s for work or with my family. So, no friendly trips, no needless holidays, no relaxation ones.
- Minimalism. I have always liked the idea of having no material possessions and living an untethered life. I will change this. I will acquire things that make my life more comfortable, more convenient and more productive. So for example, I will buy massage rollers, shakers (for protein shakes), hardware for computers etc.
PS: These are the 5 that I can think of right now. Over the year, I will keep adding to this. Maybe I will bring some from the 13 above into this!
So, in the end…
I’d like to end this post and the year plan with two things.
1/ I plan to live a lot more in public this year. This means that I will share what I am up to on a public forum. This sheet specifically. This is WIP and I will evolve this over the next few weeks.
2/ This is a vision board that my friends made for me on my 40th birthday. I am reproducing it here (have redacted a few things). Before this year, I have never had a team of my own. The only people I have been responsible for (and there too I did not do a good job) were my family. But now I have people to take care of and be accountable to. And thus I will have to work hard to live up to their expectations.
I will use this board as a reminder to self!
The mantra for 2023?
As I end this, I would say that the mantra for 2023 would be…
Me. Enabled by we.
We. Enabled by me.
Here’s a post that I wrote on the last day of 2022 that captures this well…
That’s about it for the time being.
My review of 2022.
And ambition for 2023.
Apart from this post, I have captured these on a mindmap as well. In case you want a copy, please do let me know.
Oh, and here are posts from previous years.
2022 – Annual Goals
2021 – Annual Goals, Jan-Feb-Mar, Apr-May-Jun, Jul-Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov
2020 – Annual Goals, Jan, Feb-Mar, Apr-May, Jun-Jul-Aug
2019 – Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
Older posts – 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.
Here’s wishing you a glorious, fascinating, fulfilling 2023. May it is the best year of your life.
Thank you for reading!
Thank you for your support and patronage!
1 Jan 2023, Mumbai
PS: Here are a few disclaimers…
- I tend to operate on extremes. While planning, I assume that I am God and I can do everything and anything. So I am VERY VERY optimistic about my plans. So if I know that I want to write 100K words in the year, I will plan to write 200K. And while doing a review, I am harsher on myself than I am optimistic. So if I end up writing the 100K words I had planned, I assume that I’ve written just 50K.
- Each year, thus, I list down a million lofty things that I want to achieve in the course of the year. And beyond. I always aim far beyond what I know I am capable of. I mean unless I aim for the moon, how do I get to be in the middle of stars?