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2018 Retrospective and 2019 Goals

My reflections on what worked well and what didn’t in 2018 and what I would continue to do and do something new in 2019.

I’ve started this practice a few years ago — to retrospect on the last year’s achievements, misses, and learnings and define the goals for the next year at the beginning of the new year. I have written about why I started doing this exercise in my previous post, but if I want to summarize it in one sentence — it would be — to be accountable and answerable.

But before I begin, wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2019!

Retrospective for 2018

Overall, it wasn’t a great year for me. Primarily on the family front, but also on personal and professional goals front. While I made satisfactory progress across many areas, there isn’t any particular accomplishment that I’m very proud of.

Let’s look into what went wrong along with why it went wrong in certain situations —

Family

The biggest loss

The biggest loss for me and my family was my dad passed away in May 2018 due to a heart attack. On one hand, it felt like it was a sudden death, on the other hand, it happened over 4 months.

He had the first heart attack and stroke at the beginning of Feb, which resulted in semi-paralysis and speech-loss. With his strong will-power, medication and the support of close family members, he recovered pretty well and was getting back to his normal life, but eventually lost the battle to another attack and passed away at the end of May.

Health

On the health front, I failed on most of my goals.

Workout
My key goal was to complete 3 routines of P90X-3 — that is 30 minutes intense exercise for 90 days — and repeating it 3 times in a year. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the entire routine even once. I started it 3 times but ended up giving up in the middle after 4–5 weeks into it.

So in short, collectively I’ve worked out only for 3 months than the planned 9 months.

Meditation
Overall, I failed to meditate consistently. I did it only on a need basis — more like 1–2 times a week.

Food
Overall, I have been following good food habits like reduction in sugar consumption, eating less junk food,etc., but since I have failed in a consistent workout, I have also slacked in eating a lot healthier food.

Work (Avoma, Inc.)

On the work front, we have made great progress, but again, we failed to achieve our planned goals.

After raising the pre-seed capital in Oct 2107, the biggest focus for Avoma last year was to build the minimum sellable product and technology. We launched the first version of our product in beta in Sep 2018, launched our partnership with Outreach.io, onboarded some paying customers since then, and built a team of an amazing group of 9 full-time employees.

So overall, we made a lot of progress, but I still feel we could have done a lot more on the customer acquisition front. I think if we could have sped up our product execution to address some of the feature gaps and invested more in our Sales and Marketing initiatives early on, we would have won some more deals that got pushed to the next year and some deals that we lost to competitors.

Knowledge

Reading
I did a decent job in reading a book per month. The books I read are (with my ratings) –

Currently still reading:

Blogging
I failed miserably in this. My last year’s goal was to write a blog post per week. I only wrote 1 article about last year’s retrospective for this blog and 4 articles for Avoma blog.

Even though I had many thoughts and point of views to share, I ended up not prioritizing blogging over other important tasks at hand.

Learning new skills

Playing Guitar
This is something I had not planned for 2018, but ended up starting at the tail end of the year. I’m still a beginner (3 months into it), this has been one of the best decisions I have made to invest 2–3 hours every week to learn guitar.

Playing Tennis
This is another thing that I had not planned for 2018, but also ended up starting at the tail end of the year along with Guitar. In Tennis also I’m still a beginner (2 months into it), this is also one of the best decisions I have made to invest 1–2 hours every week to learn tennis.

Goals for 2019

For 2019, I won’t be changing a lot of things from my 2018 goals — just a couple of minor changes.

Family

  • Continue to spend quality time with the kids, wife, mom and rest of the family on a daily basis— these times won’t come back again

Health

  • Complete P90X-3 routine at least 3 times
  • Meditate for 15–20 mins for 3–4 days/week
  • Continue to follow good eating habits — no/less sugar, no/less fried/oily food, more protein, more vegetables and fruits
  • Continue to sleep 7-hours a day

Work (Avoma, Inc.)

  • Achieve planned revenue goals for every quarter
  • Achieve product-market fit by the end of 2019

Knowledge

  • Continue to read 1 book/month
  • Continue to write 1 blog post/week — including both for personal and Avoma blog

Learning new skills

  • Play Guitar and Tennis reasonably well by the end of 2019

If you haven’t already done any retrospective for your 2018, then I would highly encourage you to take a moment and think about it and write down what worked well and what didn’t in 2018 and what are your goals for 2019 — even if you don’t plan to share it publicly, write it for your own benefit.


Once again, wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year to crush your 2019 goals!

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The Long Distance Driving And Living Your Life

And how these two things are similar.

This weekend I had been to Lake Tahoe with my family (wife, two kids, and mom-in-law). While driving to the Tahoe and also while coming back, there were moments where all family members had slept in the car for some period. When everyone is sleeping in the car, I get my alone time to talk to myself a.k.a. “deep thinking” :).

I love driving, especially the long-distance driving. It provides these opportunities for thinking about the future, retrospecting about the past or doing some deep thinking about topics of interest.

This time the topic of interest was — the long-distance driving and its similarities to living your life.


Driving — when you’re in control

When you’re driving a long distance, there are a few times when you experience that you are in total control of your driving — its direction, speed, experience, etc. You have multiple route options to choose from, and once you choose a route and start driving, there is no other car in front of you, so you can decide to drive fast and get to the destination sooner or decide to drive slow and enjoy the natural beauty around you while driving.

Living life — when you’re in control

In life also, you might notice that you have similar experiences. There are a few times when you have multiple options in front of you so that you can choose what you want to do in your life (e.g. professional career). You can decide how fast or slow you want to work. And accordingly, you also decide if you want to achieve your goal as fast as possible or enjoy what’s happening around you while achieving that goal.

But these are rare moments, where you are in full control of your journey and life.


Driving — when you’re NOT in control

Most of the times, you will experience that you are at the mercy of other factors — the drivers in front of you, the drivers next to you in the nearby lanes, the weather conditions, etc. It is even more evident if it’s a single lane road. You can’t speed up even if you want to. You try hard, but after a while, you realize that there is no option other than being patient and just following the driver in front of you.

Then you start enjoying the slow pace while looking around. And sometimes you get used to the slow pace that you forget to pass the car in front of you and continue to just follow it.

But sometimes you still have it on your mind that slowing down was a not a permanent state but a temporary compromise. And as soon as you find a passing lane, you take that opportunity and overtake other drivers in front of you. As soon you get the lead, you are back in control to drive at your own speed — until you hit the next set of drivers in front of you.

Living life — when you’re NOT in control

This is exactly how our life is. It is dependent on many other external factors — your family responsibilities in front of you, the constraints of society you live in, the larger economic market conditions, etc. And sometimes you are at the complete mercy of any one of these factors. You have high ambitions and plans to move fast but can’t do it even if you want to. You try hard, but after a while, you realize that there is no option other than accepting the responsibility, situation, and constraints in front of you.

Then you start enjoying your life even with these constraints. And sometimes you forget your ambitions and get comfortable with the current life.

But sometimes you still have that dream kindling in your mind, and as soon as you get an opportunity, you seize it and make some progress towards your ambition. And now you are empowered to take in charge of your life, make your own decisions, decide your own speed of execution — until you hit the next set of responsibilities and constraints in front of you.


Driving — when you’ve a responsibility

Another interesting thing that happens when you’re driving — especially with your loved ones (family or friends) is — now you’re responsible to drive them safely.

They trust you and know that they are in safe hands and are free to enjoy the natural beauty around or take some power nap. And it’s very likely that you won’t be able to have the same fun as they can have. You can’t take your eyes off the road and look around for a long time. You can’t just close your eyes and take some power nap.

But when you look around and see that your loved ones are sleeping well, or having great fun, then you don’t feel anything less than proud and happy of your responsibility to drive them safely.

Living life — when you’ve a responsibility

This also happens in our life too. Sometimes you’re responsible to take care of your family — it could be anything — financial, health, or any kind of support, etc.

They trust you and know that you’ll take care of them. And with your support, they might be able to enjoy their life again. And it’s very likely that you may need to work hard or sacrifice few things to give them that support, and as a result, you may not be able to enjoy your life to the fullest.

But when you look around that your loved ones are having fun, you don’t feel anything less than happy of your responsibility to take care of them and supporting them in any way you can.


Hope you agree with these observations. The main take away from these observations could be—sometimes it’s ok to drive fast when opportunity exist, sometimes it’s ok to drive slow when needed to be, and you should feel proud and happy to support the responsibility at hand even though you personally can’t have fun.


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