As you know if you read our blog, we aren’t that big on setting New Year’s Resolutions. But one thing I do like to do is think back on the past year and consider what I learned and what I want to take from it for the current year.
For me, 2019 was a reminder to push myself outside of my comfort zone and try new things. My most memorable events in 2019 were all “firsts” that I wouldn’t have predicted a year ago.
These are the five “firsts” that stand out for me and the lesson I’ll be taking from each as we head into 2020:
FIRST TIME ORGANIZING A CONFERENCE
I never imagined organizing an international conference. If you’d asked me I’d have told you I wouldn’t enjoy it. But opportunities were scarce and I needed to do something challenging so I decided to just dive in. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my year.
Actually, what stands out to me are the smaller firsts that came with planning a big event. Getting our first speaker to sign on. Signing our first sponsor. Meeting the speakers in person for the first time. And of course, taking the mic and walking on stage on day one of the conference.
Each was different, but for the most part they shared a “this is really happening and it’s going to work out” quality. And that is a great feeling.
Go Be More 2020: Find a way to get more involved in your community. A small investment of time and energy can reap lifelong benefits in terms of the connections you make and the experience you gain.
FIRST TIME GOING TO DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE AND TOKYO DISNEY SEA
Okay, technically I went to both about 15 years ago, but I count this as a first because I literally have no memories of the first times. (Sidenote: where did those memories go?) Plus we did the trips with our kids, which makes any trip to Disney memorable. Watching them react to the rides and experiences, enjoying the foods, and going to the shows was a special experience.
Go Be More 2020: Find a unique experience to do with your family or friends. And budget for a souvenir to help make the memories stick.
FIRST TIME TEACHING IN A UNIVERSITY
I got a position teaching a couple classes at Tohoku University, one of Japan’s premier engineering schools. I’ve created a couple curricula based on project management and mental models for their 2nd year engineering students. It’s been a lot of work as I’m creating all of the materials on my own.
The feeling of walking into class on the first day was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Who are these kids? Will they care? Will I be able to connect with them? What if I suck at this? What if I’ve misjudged everything I’ve prepared? Seriously, our minds have an ability to conjure up an infinite number of things to worry about. In reality, it was a lot like I expected. Some kids care a lot, some kids don’t care at all, and the majority will meet you half-way.
The payoff for me has been seeing a bunch of bright, young people engage with ideas I care about and using them in their own lives.
Go Be More 2020: Find a way to teach people something you care about. Not only will you learn it even more, but you’ll gain a new perspective on the topic.
FIRST TIME ICE SKATING BACKWARDS
So, I’m not an ice skater. My daughters have been skating for a year or so, and can skate backwards, do simple turns, and look moderately competent. I occasionally rent some skates and go out with them and when I do, they try to teach me all the things they learned over the previous couple months of practice. I get a crash course in intermediate skating, despite being very much a beginner.
But a funny thing happened a few weeks ago. They were showing me how to skate backwards and it kind of clicked. Suddenly I was able to maintain my momentum, avoid people (most of them, anyway), and enjoy doing it. It was the first time my daughters taught me something new and important to them. They were so excited for me.
It was also the first time I thought, “Maybe skating isn’t actually that hard.” Next up: twirls!
Go Be More 2020: Learn something just for the sake of learning it. We’re happier when we’re learning, and it feels good to do something new for the first time.
FIRST TIME STARTING A COMPANY
That’s right, Go Be More is my first startup. I’ve invested in startups and advised startups, but never actually tried to start one. I’ll be honest, starting it isn’t what is memorable, although the first time you see the logo you want, the first time the website goes live, and the first time you wear your own products are all amazing experiences.
The biggest surprise “first” for me was the feeling I got from selling one of our products to someone none of us know. It’s hard to explain how validating, empowering, and motivating that first order was. I know that feeling will change as we grow the company and grow our customer base, but I don’t want to forget how amazing the that first sale felt. I really hope you experience this feeling at some point!
Go Be More 2020: If you have a project you’ve been meaning to start, get it started in 2020! It doesn’t have to be perfect or even 100% ready. Just start. The act of starting will trigger the necessary work to get it where it needs to go.
MAKE 2020 A YEAR OF FIRSTS
As I look forward to 2020, I want to push myself to create more of the experiences I had this year. To say yes to new “firsts.” To anticipate the feeling of excitement that comes from doing something new and not let fears and doubts or the lack of a perfect plan keep me from moving forward.
And that’s my New Year’s wish to all of you. Make 2020 a year of firsts. And don’t forget to share them with us so we can be inspired by your success!
Bryan Green is the co-founder, Editor, and COO of Go Be More. This is his first blog post of 2020, and the first time he’s written about “firsts.” He’s looking forward to many new firsts for Go Be More and his family in the upcoming year.