This will be my fourth year-end review. I like taking downtime and reflecting on the past twelve months because it lends perspective on what I’ve spent my time on and gives me motivation and direction for the next cycle. This year, the major theme was a commitment to growth and being doubly committed to building my skills, knowledge, and output. I’ve seen how powerful my work is when I pull it together and use it effectively. It was the centerpiece of a job interview which was not only successful, but a blast to do. I’m also enjoying the new position immensely because I can use my knowledge well plus I’m in a position to learn with some amazingly talented people.

I’ve written seventeen posts this year which chronicle my thoughts and what I’ve done. I’ve also read a number of books and noted them with a combination of sketchnotes (on a new page here) and quote posts on Instagram. I also started another blog page to publish a hand-drawn chart a day. All of this adds up over time and I’ve been at it for five years. Looking at my blog admin page, I’ve got 220 published entries (this will be 221 – whatever it takes!). That’s cause for reflection in itself because it covers so much ground. My writing in 2012 and 2013 helped prepare me to deal with the struggles of 2014 with my father’s dementia and a complicated job transfer. 2015 and 2016 largely chronicled dealing with his illness and eventual passing along with some personal growth. 2017 was much more about me dictating the next step at my own pace.

For Hanukkah this year, my wife bought me a copy of Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work. I enjoyed Steal Like an Artist immensely and had fun with The Steal Like an Artist Journal. This helped give me the key to sifting through my work beyond the tags I’d labeled them with. It’s amazing what a simple graphic can convey.

Austin Kleon's depiction of taking the flow of content creation to the stock of organized work.
Austin Kleon’s depiction of taking the flow of content creation to the stock of organized work.

This is what grew from that picture. If it looks a lot to you like chapters for a book, that’s what was intended. I’m confident there’s more than enough material to pull from for refining and repackaging into something coherent which can help a lot of people. Many of us are on career paths which will stagnate, grow boring, or even vanish without conscious initiative. With some thought, it’s like running in zigzags to escape an alligator – you can point yourself in a direction and take steps to get there with some urgency. Look for me to provide updates in 2018 as my new project comes together.

How that's looking for me. My iPad's multitasking and the Concepts app are terrific for this.
How that’s looking for me. My iPad’s multitasking and the Concepts app are terrific for this.
As a last word, much of the rest of what I wrote in 2017 has to do with national divisiveness in the US. Most of the country is feeling embattled somehow and very often, people entrench themselves by declaring “the other side” the enemy which means they’re fair game to attack. We’re questioning our values as a country and need to look at people as people rather than foreign combatants. I highly recommend reading How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs. Here’s a brief interview with him. Also, have a look at my thoughts on the matter:
  • You’re Not Going to Change Anyone’s Vote – Look for people’s traits and values before you judge them on a position. Try to ask about their vision for themselves and the country rather than debating facts and calling names. You may have enough in common to debate rather than scream.
  • Aiming for Less than 180 Degrees – It’s possible that people are looking at the same situation and have similar values but see something very different. This happened to me recently and breaking down what some of my friends saw vs. what others saw helped us have a dialogue. It was heated at times, but much different than name calling and vowing to never talk again.
  • I’ve written about Digital Divisiveness since Newtown. Have a look and remember to be introspective. If we simply respond to shocking headlines and don’t think about a situation from multiple angles, then we really are sheep.
I hope your 2017 was great and that 2018 brings you success and positive challenges to face and look on proudly this time next year.

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