2018 was a year to get ready for 2019. Let me tell you why.
I was thrilled to invite Lydia to join me into the next phase of our lives and to build our future together - this was an immense milestone and achievement to me. Growing up I told myself I would get married around 32-34 and there was no need to rush. My mindset used to be “let me enjoy the freedom while I can”, but it has evolved. Now my belief is that starting a family creates a solid foundation for me to be “free”, to focus, and to go hard on my career.
In parallel, for the first time since graduating from university, I felt that I was not making enough progress this year. In the first 5 years from 2012-2017, I was a machine. I worked day and night and weekend. I wanted to go faster, to learn as much as I can, and to achieve something for myself. I wasn’t sure this was what people call a “burn out” or not. Nevertheless, I felt that it was a positive period as I got to reposition myself for the next big thing.
What happened in 2018
- I got engaged! I have to say I’m a lucky person to have met Lydia; not just because we’re becoming husband and wife, it is also because we’re in a really, really great relationship. Friends around us continue to ask the two of us questions like - how do you know he/she is the one? How do you have such a good relationship? Do you two even argue? I’m most grateful for our approach and mutual understanding in this relationship, I think that makes all the difference.
- Compared to 2017, I read slightly more in 2018 (mainly because I only managed to read 6 books in 2017). You can tell from the list that it was a bit all over the place. That’s right, I wanted to diversify my knowledge base instead of only focusing on business/management/leadership books. I learned 2 lessons from reading this year: 1) how to read multiple books at the same time and 2) how to skim through a book for the key highlights instead of reading word to word. These methods actually make me happier and want to read more.
- Lost and Founder
- Profit First
- Do - Purpose - why brands with a purpose do better and matter more
- The Four-Hour Work week (Reread)
- Girl, Wash Your Face
- Capitalism without Capital (Partial)
- The Pumpkin Plan (Partial)
- How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk
- Principles: Life and Work (Reread)
- I got better at speaking in front of camera and got slightly more creative. Thanks to my effort to share more on relationship/marriage/parenting through “Uncle Cheung”, I practiced a lot of speaking in front of the camera. At first, it was a nightmare. I was nervous and I couldn’t even go beyond 2 lines. As I filmed myself more, I learned to treat the camera like a friend and to be okay with the imperfect me. Making mistakes is okay, and people actually love to see flaws! In terms of creativity, because I have to plan video topics and content, I have to keep my ideas fresh and different.
- After being at First Code Academy for close to 4 years, where I became the COO and also the co-founder alongside Michelle, I decided it was time for a change. First Code had been the best time of my career and since I built everything up from the ground with Michelle, it was a very, very difficult decision to make. Seeing a more organized structure in the company compared to 4 years ago and a team of talented members, it was time for me to see what’s out there to continue develop myself to new heights.
- I improved my swimming techniques in the first half of 2018, then I got into cycling in the second half. Not that I’m really good at all of them, I just felt self-empowered being able to run, swim, and cycle as a suite.
- Near the end of 2018 was fun! I wanted to give myself a short break to rejuvenate and to explore, and video creation and editing have always been a side interest of mine. I spent 2 months learning everything about video editing and YouTube, from filming, to acting, to gaining insights on what people like to watch, to editing, to promoting. There has been a lot to learn and I have a ton of respect to the video creators out there who release videos every week. It looks easy but to put it in the right perspective, it is like making a short movie every week. It is tough. I love sharing my own creation, so I hope to share more down the road about my own experiences starting a family.
What is going on in 2019
- Drive innovation and impact through working with a talented, forward-thinking team
- Expand my circle through meeting and collaborating with new friends. This is especially true to a small entrepreneurs circle called “The Circle of Ants” that I started a few years ago with a close friend, Johanna. The circle meets once a month to discuss business topics like expansion, marketing, personal branding etc. It is meant to be a small group so we have 5 people in total, and in 2019 I would love to expand it to 8.
- Develop an online course. This has been on my mind for awhile since I run a lot of trainings at First Code Academy, and now that I become familiar with video production, I think it is time. I want to share my experience working my way up at First Code and how everyone can be successful at her company.
- Have an amazing wedding in Nov 2019!
- This might be the first year I don’t set myself a fitness goal, mainly because there are too many happenings in other areas of my life. I wanted to train for a triathlon or duathlon, but I don’t think this is the year. Anyway, I do have a fitness routine, so I feel okay without setting a goal.
Some world topics that I’ve been thinking about
- Raising a kid in the modern days. As I learn a lot about building a family and parenting in the end of 2018, I came to realize how difficult it is to raise a kid in modern days. In the past, most mums stayed home to take care of the children. It didn’t matter whether she was educated or not, at least she was able to directly raise her kids and taught them life values. Now, with double-income families, the responsibility of raising kids get passed to the grandparents or the helpers for close to 80-90% of the time during weekday. I am sure grandparents and helpers would take very good care of the baby’s/kid’s daily needs, yet in terms of teaching languages, behaviors, and values, I’m highly doubtful they can get the kid ready for today’s fast-paced world. Yes, I’m sure these kids will turn out okay because to be honest, our parents weren’t that hands on as well. I just wonder what kind of impact this set up will have on our next generations.
- Climate change, trash, and plastic usage. This topic increasingly worries me as more and more news and messages talk about it. World population is growing. Carbon emissions are raising. Climate is getting uncertain. More and more trash are produced and the majority of them goes to the landfills. Plastic is everywhere. I know that we’re getting better and better by finding new energy source, reducing plastic bags and straws, promoting recycling etc., but I don’t know if we’re doing all these fast enough.
- Social media addiction. Social media is getting scary because it offers an overwhelming amount of information and it is addicting. I spent quite a lot of time on Instagram and YouTube in 2018, and what did I get from that? I felt closer to people I didn’t hang out in real life because I knew all about their lives through Instagram photos and stories. That sounds weird, so time to turn these off in 2019. Also, I feel that virtual reality world, described in movie Ready Player One, is going to take over our lives at some point. That’s going to be the thing after social media, just a matter of time.
This wraps up my reflection. Cheers to a great 2019 ahead!