What did you do this year?

December 31 is an annual (and arbitrary) milestone date. It’s the time media outlets get to compile their best-of reels from the past year.

In my early 20s, I started compiling and acknowledging various milestones of my own. Significant events that I thought were new and may not be repeated. (I’m pretty confident this really started when I spent my Junior year of college in England and traveling much of Europe and Russia.)

My approach has evolved a bit over time as I like to think back on what I achieved and what meant the most to me. I think you and everyone should take stock of things you did in the last year – even if they might seem to others to be insignificant. For example, in 2009, I was flown to Seattle for an interview. To me that was huge. It remains the only time I have done that. To others, being flown somewhere for an interview may not be a big deal, but I’m glad it’s something I can say I’ve experienced. (And, I got the job!)

Some have misunderstood my approach to this sort of post as bragging, It couldn’t be further from the truth. While I am proud and excited about much of what I’ve done, my real intent is to hopefully inspire you to look back and think of what you’ve done. In fact, it would be great if you’d post some here in the comment area of this post. I’d love to hear about it.

So, here’s my look back at some of the things I was able to do in 2011 (in no particular order):

+ I partnered with another dad to coach both of our daughter’s then first grade team to an undefeated season. I mention the undefeated part because it’s true, but in fact, it was teaching these 6 and 7 year old girls skills they can use the rest of their days that was best part. (I sometimes think I should have been a teacher instead of a marketer.)

+ I coached the Meadowbrook Community Center’s sprint team for the second straight year. The team is made up of boys and girls, ages 7 – 13, and it was great. I learned a lot from my first year, and I think the kids got more out of it while teaching me a few lessons about managing people (parents and children).

+ With no money (in fact, working at a net loss) and starting as a complete unknown, I marketed and sold several hundred copies of the book I wrote, edited and self-published in late 2010. In fact, I also was asked to speak to a few groups about it later in 2011 – making it the first time I’d ever been asked to speak to anyone about a book I had written. Another first!

+ My neighbor, Jeff Johnson, ran for City Council and tapped me to lead and run his campaign – making this the first political campaign ever that I got to manage. This also marks the first time I was able to do what went to college to do – use my marketing degree to run a political campaign. It was an exciting five months, and we beat the incumbents to win.

+ This was the first year since I graduated high school that I did not board a plane. I hope to start a new flying streak in 2012.

+ I had two Lane’s Bakery cakes flown to me from Wisconsin. Not quite enough, but it got me through the year. Here’s hoping a few more of you can visit in 2012 (transportation of one cake being the cost of admission).

+ For the second time since college, I reduced me weight to under 200 (198 to be exact). Starting at 230, I was able to get below 200 and keep it under 210 for two months (until the last week of December… coincidence?)

+ One of my best friends of over 20 years decided he couldn’t be friends with me anymore because of the great union argument going on in Wisconsin. I can’t say that’s ever happened to me before. I have many friends with whom I disagree on things, but none have ever disowned me – nor I them. As Mom and Dad would say, “Guess they weren’t really that good of a friend, after all.”

All in all, it was a good year. About the only goal I didn’t accomplish was practicing piano at least five times a week. But thankfully, we have another arbitrary set of days coming up in which I can do it (366, in fact).

Here’s hoping you can look back and find some good things that happened to you and your family in 2011.

Happy New Year, everyone. Here comes 2012.

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