What did I even do in 2023?

Photo by Christof on Unsplash

Before logging off work, I wrote a recap email of all the things our team had achieved this year.

It was meant to be a short thank you email with a summary. But I realised that this would not really be doing the task justice. So instead, I spent some time properly trawling through our achievements.

Over the last year, my team had published 3 reports with 2000+ accumulative views, 5 events with over 400 attendees (including one in the European Parliament and another in Dubai for COP), 20 videos with over 17500+ accumulated views across platforms, 8 media mentions (either quotes or op-eds). We also ran ten working groups, a research workshop along with four individual interviews, 10+ stakeholder meetings, 15+ meetings with businesses, 4+ position papers on files, and 5+ speaking opportunities to promote our work at other events.

I’m not sure I totally did it justice, but I’m glad I wrote it out rather than just saying ‘we wrote 3 reports and did 5 events this year’.

We can really downplay the accumulative effect of what we have achieved. So I thought I would also do a similar exercise for myself, blending in the personal and the professional.

  • This will be my 51st article of this newsletter this year. They average about 600 words (if not more), meaning I’ve written over 30,000 words just through this blog. The readership has grown to 1600, and on average, about 450 people read each article. Accumulatively, my articles have been read at least 22,500 times this year. Pretty cool considering it’s something I do in my spare time! According to LinkedIn, this is my 156th article I’ve written too. Once I get passed January 20th, I will have not missed writing an article for two years.

  • I invested deeply in my personal development. I attended three 3 day seminars, one 2 day seminar and a 7 day developmental immersion. Additionally I had a one day in-person session with my coach. I also went to India for 10 days, which including some solo travel, was directly focused on attending The Ultimate Experience, another personal development conference. In total, I’ve spent a whole month’s worth of days on personal development – all stuff outside of my ‘formal job’.

  • This is not also factoring all the additional coaching calls. I’ve averaged fortnightly calls with my coaches, completed an online 8 week programme and tuned into numerous additional free personal development talks. I’ve easily wracked up above 100+ hours. Again, this is another 12 working day’s worth.

  • I got my voice out there far more this year. From a professional point of view, I wrote op-eds around circular economy policy – two in Euronews and one in Euractiv. I was quoted in the Brussels Times, as well as a quote at the bottom of an article in Forbes (the Forbes quote is longer than I remember!!) I’m also co-author for the three publications we did on circularity which I mentioned earlier on. (here, here and here)

  • I also spoke at more events – in the last month I spoke at two event in Brussels, at the Sustainable Packaging Summit in Amsterdam and to Spanish Clean Tech companies in London. Earlier in the year I also spoke on policymaking to sustainability start ups in Cambridge. This has been underpinned by my regular attendance of Toastmasters, where I’ve been honing my speech craft. I did four prepared speeches over 2023. I attended around 15 club meetings/socials (which include impromptu speaking exercises) – I am also Vice-President of Membership there.

  • I attended interesting events, including the EU Industry Days in Málaga, Innovate Zero in the UK as well as those on my doorstep in the European Parliament (one of which we hosted) and the European Commission (on the Paris Stocktake). There are also a few podcasts I’ve been on this year, I recorded 5 episodes with a friend sharing reflections, but also additional guest appearances around sustainability, diversity and personal development.

  • This has been a year around exploration and self-expression. This is the first year in my ‘nine year cycle’ which is a year of creating foundations for the next 8 years. I certainly started this year feeling pretty lost and unsure about what I really wanted, and I end the year with far more clarity and ease about myself. The journey between these two points have included some very difficult moments filled with confusion, but also many fun moments too.

  • I’ve also become far more comfortable in my own skin. At the beginning of the year I would freeze at the idea of dancing or moving to the rhythm of music. I’ve attended a number of ecstatic dance events which has really freed up my skin and allowed me to get out of my head. I’ve also been much more active and connected with my body through exercise, as well as shifted my diet towards regular intermittent fasting. I’ve gotten in much better shape (albeit a slump from stress in the last two weeks).

  • I am far happier with the relationships around me. I have put more effort into the relationship with my parents, which is one of the reasons I go back home to London more often than I used to. I’m glad I’m doing this now (even if not perfectly) whilst I still can.

  • I’ve become more discerning around friendships. I used to try very hard to maintain friendships, whereas now I’m much more content to let them go. For a friendship to work, there needs to be the time and energy from both sides. This has given space for new connections where I feel a much more equal balance.

It feels pretty nice writing out these things. Each time I go back I add a few more points when I realise I have completely forgotten to mention something! I had to go through my calendar to remember what I had done earlier in the year.

Whilst I knew I did a lot, the sheer amount was not really visible to me. So it’s nice to have it written out more fully (even if there are more things I could write here!)

So if you feel inclined, I recommend you doing a similar exercise for yourself. It will make you appreciate yourself far more.

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