2016 in the Rear View Mirror
I’m currently sitting on the spare bed at my Nanna’s place in Victoria. I’ve driven for two days through inland New South Wales and stayed with family along the way. Yesterday I went out for a milk run and got a little distracted. I went down to the neighbourhood I grew up in, and drove past the school I went to when I was younger, the place is unrecognisable now! I love to reminisce like this, I’ve always been sentimental like this.
Myself and my younger cousins on Christmas day, 2016.
Just before leaving for Melbourne, we had a Christmas celebration at work. During this celebration, we were presented with a “Book of Reflections”, which was a compilation of reflections written by each staff member. We were instructed to write a piece about the year that had passed. I found it incredible to read about how other people saw the year compared to myself, and to read the stories of those who I hadn’t had a huge amount of contact with during the year.
I recall sitting down to write my reflection. I’ve had an incredibly busy month or so, so I wanted to get it written and submitted quickly. I had a quick think back to when I started with the company and decided it was a good place to start. This activity forced me to reflect on all the things – good and bad – that had happened in my year at work. Once I submitted the piece, I started thinking about my 2016 outside of work. It prompted me to do my own personal reflection of the year.
Going back to January, I was lucky enough to extend my IT traineeship into the first six months of 2016. I had an incredible mentor back there, and made many good friends who I still maintain contact with. I was recovering from a bad breakup and still discovering who I was as a person. My health wasn’t the best it had been, and this was the fault of my bad diet. I started to pick up the pace a little bit with my Diploma of Graphic Design study, but found I would lose motivation when I got some bad feedback returned to me from the assessor. This would continue to be a problem for months (until this day, actually) and would mean that I had to extend the course multiple times.
A photo of me using a VR headset at a JB Hi-Fi.
I was scrolling through Facebook in February and came across a job offer, which I put in an application for. I had finished all my studies in the traineeship and decided it might be worth applying for a new job, even if just out of curiosity. Shortly after applying, I was invited to go to an interview. During this interview I was told about the incredible culture at the organisation, and all the quirky ways they show their customers and staff that they care. I was very impressed! At this point in my professional life I’d done a short time at Video Ezy, a number of years at a small bakery, and worked as a trainee at a government school. The company I was interviewing at was something very different, and I knew it from the beginning. I was invited back for a second interview with the COO shortly after, which was also successful. By the end of the month, I had been offered the job and accepted it with glee.
Upon starting with the new company I quickly made friends and got to know everyone. That’s one of the things I loved about doing IT Support – I loved chatting to people about their day as I tinkered. It was a quick and sure fire way to learn about people and get to know them. Talking to people I quickly discovered something that is encouraged at the company was the pursuit of dreams.
It’s a good thing, and something that isn’t a big topic among adults these days. Dreaming sounds like a childhood pastime, not something that working class adults should be focusing on, but why not? Why can’t adults dream and imagine themselves in different places, jobs, or situations? Dreaming is a powerful tool that can be used as a motivation for people to advance, to grow, to develop!
Opportunity was another concept that was strongly encouraged at my new job. I was offered new experiences and coaxed to leave my comfort zone. The biggest opportunity for me was the chance to take on an IT project. I’d never had a project assigned to me in the workplace before, at least not on a scale like this. Reading more into it I was terrified. I felt that there was such an importance for me to get this right, and I feared the consequences if I were to fail. This is something I’ve struggled with all through my life too. I’ll always focus on “what could happen if it goes wrong?” rather than “how great will this be if I nail it?”. I don’t like to think about the amount of opportunity has passed by me because of this mentality.
Some of the incredible people I worked with in 2016.
2016 has been a big year. I’ve made many friends, and said goodbye to others. I’ve made big achievements, but also stumbled and fallen. I’ve been held back in the past, but also accepted opportunities.
I’ve been able to pay off my second car, which was an incredibly achievement for me. The loan duration was for three years, and I had it paid off in six months. That said, the whole time I was still hung up over my first car. To this day I miss that car, and I catch myself wishing I hadn’t handed it over to scrap in February. I’ve noticed that this can hold me back from truly enjoying my car, as petty as that sounds. Something I’ve decided to do prior to the commencement of 2017 is to let go of the past. Yes, I loved that car. Yes, it was my solitude in darker times… but these darker times are over now, and it is my turn to shine.
Gavin, my first car. 1989 – 2016.
So to you Gavin, thank you. Vale my old friend.
“Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not, miss them do not.” – Yoda
I’ve also allowed myself to be hung up on failures of the past. You’ve probably heard me say “I failed year 12”. Although this is true, I have since achieved my Senior Certificate by other means, but I will still tell people the same thing – “I failed year 12”. I think I am afraid of being ordinary, as odd as this sounds. I’ve decided that 2017 will be my year of being extraordinary in a different way – my goals for the future. I want to inspire people, not impress them by my growth. I want them to join me for the journey.
I’ve had so many incredible influences this year rooting for me all the way along, and I am very grateful and lucky. That said, I can’t coast off the success of 2016. I’ve coasted off of previous success in the past and became static and dormant. I refuse to do this again.
So what does this mean for me?
I have three mantras that I’ve decided to live by in 2017. The first one I’ve lived by in 2016, but the second two have slowly developed and I’ve decided best to put them into words for the new year.
- I believe that there is no failure in life. Everything that happens, whether it is good or bad at the time, is a potential to learn. It’s all about what I decide to do with these experiences.
- Always be determined – never give up. Adapt to a situation, by all means, but never do so because it is “too tough”. Go Forth. Finish. “Do, or Do Not – There is no try.” – Yoda
- Never be afraid to dream, and always be brave enough to chase those dreams. This is the only way to achieve incredible things.
Jedi Grandmaster Yoda, said to be the wisest of the Jedi.
I have been reading a lot of bios recently, and inspired to write my own. Across a number of different services, I’ve seen people write things like the following:
- I’ve travelled to multiple continents
- I can speak fluently in seven languages
- I’ve got a brilliant family
- In my free time I love to keep fit
- I’m currently studying a insert incredible smart sounding degree here
Inspired by these things, I’ve decided to write my own bio for 2017. Essentially, this is what I want to be true by the end of the year.
Bio – Tim Combridge – Current as of December 2017.
My name is Tim Combridge. I am 21 years old, living and studying in Melbourne. In the last year I’ve restructured my life in three main areas – health, studies, and adventures. I moved to Melbourne in the first quarter of 2017 to be closer to my extended family and to begin studying a Bachelor of Computer Science. Prior to the move, I planned a much tighter budget that granted me better financial security and allowed me to live independently. Because of the time management skills I’ve learnt last year in 2016, I’ve been able to exercise on a schedule and have time to properly prepare my food. Because of this, I’ve recently lost 15kg with plans to lose that again! I’m feeling so much better for it.
In my spare time, I like to go on adventures. I’ve recently been on a camping trip with my cousin where we proved once and for all who was Nanna’s Favourite Grandchild. This was achieved by catching the most fish whilst camping.
I’ve made many new friends in Melbourne in 2017, and developed as a person. I am more patient and disciplined. I have also started writing more frequently online in the form of my blog and on other websites.
I’ve started learning a new language – Mandarin – and become more familiar with the coding languages of HTML, Swift, and Python.
Goals from Bio
Reading the bio above, I’ve incorporated many goals that I’ll have for 2017.
- Turn 21
- Move to Melbourne in Q1 2017
- Studying Bachelor of Computer Science
- Better budget – better financial state
- Living independently (away from family)
- Exercise schedule
- Food preparation – healthier eating
- Lost 15kg
- Socialising more
- Writing online blog – building better habits
- Learning Mandarin
- More familiar with HTML, Swift, and Python
I plan to keep track of these goals through 2017, and would love to be held accountable to them. If you see me starting to slip, please gently point it out to me so I can realign myself.
I would encourage you to write your own Bio for the end of 2017. Writing down what you want your life to be can often help concrete it and encourage you to take ownership. This is your life, make it truly yours!
One More Thing…
Steve Jobs – one of my idols.
This year I was kindly invited to attend the Future of Leadership conference in Brisbane by the company I work for. Among many brilliant intellectuals, one stood out to me – the quirky Dr Jason Fox. I won’t go into heavy detail about who he is, but I will highly recommend reading his material.
Something he’s done in recent years is the concept of “choosing One Word”. Long story short, this word will live with you through the year and remind you of your goals at the outset. This word should be a role, something you can visualise and something that holds value to you and your goals. Your word will, ideally, hold you accountable to yourself. You’ll think, “what would a (your word) do?” Or “am I being (your word)ly?”
I’m deciding on a word for 2017. This word will be what I refer to when things get hard. This is what I will refer to when I lose focus. This is what I will refer to when making plans or decisions. This word will help to direct my future in 2017.
My word will not be something I take lightly. For this reason, I’ve not 100% decided on it yet, and I don’t intend to give myself a timeframe or due date to do so. This word must be something I am sure of – it is a quest, not a mission. I must FIND my word, not PICK it.
I would encourage you to read this article by Dr Jason Fox, and begin searching for your word for the year ahead.
Let’s make 2017 our year.