Every year, I conduct a review of my year to look back, celebrate what I achieved, see what didn’t go to plan and what I learnt. I do this by focusing on a simple set of 3 questions: What did I learn? What did I apply? What do I want to learn/apply next?
Welcome to my review of 2018 🙂
Warning: Long post ahead! Mad thanks if you stick the course.
This year I learned to narrow down & focus on my one thing, trust myself more & stick to that no matter what. I set up my own personal brand separate to Revolution Hive, and released Inner Compass: a 6 week online course for 18-40 year olds who feel lost, stuck & confused in life & want a proven way to find their purpose.
This has been a year of regaining my voice. Of drowning out external noise and distraction, and pumping up the volume to my own inner wisdom once again.
I’ve realised the things I care most about, and as a consequence – what I really do not care about.
2018 was the year of life beating me down, until I learned the power of choosing what not to do. Or as Mark Manson taught me, what to allocate my fucks to. The power of learning to simplify, hack away the inessentials, and following my deepest purpose in all things. And most of all, using the feedback loops & systems I’ve built, to guide my next step.
It sounds so very simple & basic but giving absolute faith & certainty to that?
Damn. That’s powerful.
Conviction is really important as it sustains you to last the course on your path.
The path I want to walk is long, narrow & full of potholes in many places. To stay on it for a long time requires working in a fun sustainable way. The further & deeper I go, the more I’m developing this skill.
For a few years, I’ve at times built up a sense of frustration at not being further ahead.
In the quest to correct that, I’ve been the most eager & committed student I could possibly be. Cos that’s what you need to do right? I’ve hustled, self analysed, taken risks, invested, sought feedback, and tried so many different options, and things.
I’ve often asked — why is it taking me so long? Longer than others? Why isn’t my work getting the credit or reward I want? But again here I’ve learned that’s OK:It’s not about how fast you learn. It’s about how deep the roots of your understanding go.Click To Tweet
Stay patient. Stay focused. And keep learning.
On reflection, I also realise I’ve subconsciously given outside voices too much of a say or influence at the cost of this wisdom.
Whilst it’s not the time to abandon the hunger to listen, improve or learn. It is time to prioritise.
So my goal in 2019 & beyond is simple: hold on tight to the wise little whisper that beats inside me.
Section One: Education & Writing
I read 30 books this year & created personal study notes for each one. I let go of the need to read for an outcome, and focused on taking my time, and learning all round vs reading (which is one component of my education).
Here too, I’ve learned to trust my own gut more by sticking to books I choose vs other people ask/suggest/recommend. I look at some of those books on the left, and they were a waste of my time.
For example, Awaken Your Alpha, Superteams, Influence were all decent but didn’t really impact what my area of focus was. It was just more repetition of things I’d heard many times before. I’d have been better off re-reading Second Bounce or DotCom Secrets & applying their insights.
Outside of reading goals, I had the privilege to take part in another university level course on inequality — which was awesome. I like to learn about society & self development side by side, as this critical thinking empowers my coaching work even more. Two highlights were studying the history of racism in America & feminism in the UK, which I plan to delve deeper into on my learning adventure.
The big takeaway for me from the course was understanding the extent to which:Many of our ideas of gender & race are not our own, but imprints of historical tropes set in place by an oppressorClick To Tweet
It’s made me reflect a lot on how this affects people’s identities & behaviours in life. It’s also something that has come up a lot in my private 1:1 coaching sessions – how being a female in the workplace affects productivity & influence. So learning about these things is essential – not enough life coaches do it.
Lastly, I published some more “Dead Roots” videos — including my favourite story of One Bronze Coin. They weren’t big hits or anything, but I really like them. I have two more remaining (Force of Nature & Empty Bottles) to make videos for and I’m also working on some more projects in this area.
Making the Dead Roots mixtape, is an example of creativity I’ve had to find the right focus for as:
(A) it’s not always a money maker
(B) but long term it provides the highest value & impact
Creating content for free is hard, can take a long time/resource to produce real quality and may still fail to get noticed. It’s something I’ve battled for 6 years+ now and there can be days (no matter how solution focused you are) it takes its toll on you.You can know that being unnoticed & relatively unknown is part of the process but it can still be frustrating. Especially when you look around and see other people get massive success & plaudits.Click To Tweet
What’s the solution?
Well… It’s what you & I already know. Continue working, stop comparing yourself to others & do what you can with what you have. The only thing I have control over is what I do, and how much work I put into developing my craft.
Nobody has a right to succeed or win, and my stuff may suck or be average or ignored. It very often is. Ultimately however, you either stick or shift.
A great idea is worth nothing without excellent execution. Learn, adjust, improve. Try again.
That’s how growth works I’m afraid. There are secrets, guarantees or shortcuts.
And watch out, because people will still try to sell this to you.
- Starting a book summary series on my channel focusing on one big idea from each of the 100+ books I’ve read in the last few years. (Dec 2018)
- Turn my notes from the Inequality lectures into a YouTube series. Probably won’t get mad views or anything but I just wanna share what I learned. It’s important & there’s no many people online sharing that perspective.
- Release FOA (Dec 2019)
- Reading wise. I have 8 books planned to re-read next year as part of the private Inner Compass book club I’ll be running for members. Besides that I’m aiming for 1–2 books per month based on the main areas of focus. I keep my Goodreads ‘to read’ very full so there’s never a lack of things to learn there. (Ongoing)
Section Two: Health & Fitness
There’s 5 elements to my fitness routine right now — weights, flexibility, steps, diet & cardio, so I’ll review them in that order for this section.
My goal this year was to learn to improve my training consistency to above 75% and I have reached that with a month to spare. Obviously the work doesn’t stop but it’s another target hit & an important lesson to maintain.
I worked out a total of 155 times so far (of a possible 192) and generally got in an average of 12 per month. My main lifts currently stand lower than last year, as I had a lot of time off this quarter with holidays in Oct/distractions/lack of commitment on my part/injury.
Box DL: 110kg
Clean & Jerk: (removed)
It’s an achievement to stay here, but no excuses — next year I’m keeping up work on the fundamentals & will see those bump up.
- Continue 75–80% total workouts over the year, must be min 14 per month. Be the guy that never misses a workout. Also pick a more regular pattern of days/time to go. I expect the first few months to see a dip in strength due to my cut, but I’ll re-gain that in Q2 no problem as I start upping calories again. Fat loss first, strength gains second.
- Always always always safety first. In September I injured my back in the silliest way possible. I was moving 120kg onto the rack for shrugs, and had no safety clips on. It leaned to one side as it was unevenly distributed and I leaned over with it. All because I wanted to avoid having to unload & re-load my plates after deadlifts. It ruined my progress and could easily be avoided. Learning from this, I’ve taken a few steps to avoid injury – (1) cut out all risky exercises. There’s little reward and I’m not trying to be a pro bodybuilder/lifter and (2) just take your time & don’t take shortcuts
- As strange as it sounds, I’ve changed my workouts to incorporate more chest, ab & arm exercises. My back & legs are the strongest areas so like my conclusion stated – follow & adapt according to your own path.
I’ve been consistently reaching 6 – 8k steps per day, which is decent. It could be higher, but amongst everything else going on, I’m happy with this for now.
There’s currently no knots or issues I have and that’s great. Again, gotta maintain the stretches to keep that up, as I spend a lot of time sitting.
Diet wise, since my mid review, I’ve successfully got 3-4 kg lighter & leaner and done this without access to a kitchen whilst work is going on at home.
From here, I’m going to drop lower till I see the definition I want. I expect it to be ~60–62kg. Since November I’ve already dropped from 67.8kg to ~65kg. This has been a plateau for a while now, so my next step is to learn to break past it. Sometimes the final third is the hardest.
- Get average steps up to 8–10k (only needs an extra 15–20 min walk per day – after dinner)
- Continue to lower my bodyfat %. Cut to ~60, then leangains. Using MFP is a non negotiable (keeps margin of error lower than not using it). I think doing 1-2 classes will help.
- Also lots of easy to eat, simple meals. I don’t care who hates on them. They make life easy. I’m not trying to be a pro cook right now. Just eat my macros, cut a little, and build my business. I can make it fancy later.
- Eat your veggies. You can never eat too much, and it’s massively filling. I’ve developed some good habits of late of making brocolli etc a snack. Once the new kitchen is fitted, I wanna try making crispy kale, brocolli etc as good snacks.
Section Three: Entrepreneurship
I now run two separate companies so there’s separate sections here for both.
Revolution Hive took some more positive steps forward in 2018. Last year we taught 1,498 young people around the UK about things they don’t learn in school. And this year (at time of writing) the number was 1,993. A small but meaningful increase – reaching this number isn’t straightforward.
In 2018, updated our branding, structure & few other elements so the model is more streamlined around how we work & who we work for. All a business really is, is a system of operations to keep providing the same product/service to a unique group of people. And the more efficient you make this process – the more you can scale & make profits. The challenge is not losing the quality as you do that. For us, we’ve been able to improve it whilst slowly scaling it up a notch.
It’s amazing how the picture can change so much in a short period. In my mid year review I wasn’t sure we’d reach our impact goals, or how we were going to even look as an organisation going forwards. There were a lot of existential questions to find answers to. Thanks to a lot of help, getting in front of the right people & dedication from our volunteers – we were able to do this though. And best of all, I know what to do to create more of the same.
As CEO, I learned to trust my gut more & get faster at making decisions. Speed is important & despite having consulted with the best experts and advisors on branding, strategy, impact etc, only the person who is leading can truly know the best way forwards.Being a leader is hard, you have to know when to listen & when to decide. Even with the right team of people around you, the responsibility still lies with you. It's important to learn when not to question yourself & trust your instincts.Click To Tweet
For example, as we grow, the number of people who want to offer their advice & opinions & ideas keeps increasing. It’s so easy to get distracted by all these competing agendas. I can’t tell you how many pointless meetings, conferences, coffees & catch ups I’ve had, and avoided. My time is very limited, so staying focused & maintaining a firm conviction in that path is essential along the way. I’m definitely going to keep doing that in 2019.
Anyway, in terms of my immediate next steps. It is to develop a new 3 year plan & hack away at 1–2 funding bids per month. It’s definitely not the instant gratification of delivering workshops & being in a room with young people I love most, but who cares? I’ll do whatever my team & mission needs me to do.
I avoided creating an all out personal brand for the last 6+ years cos I didn’t wanna be another 20-something life coach with a personal brand. There’s too many of them, and 99% are trying to be another GaryEricThomasJayShettyVee.
Once I dig deeper though, I realise that’s just a a limiting belief/ego trap of playing small & comparing myself to others/worrying about how I’m ‘seen’. I quickly rock bottom/people’s elbowed that idea mid way through the year and set about doing the work. It was an important time to do this, as I was conflating my coaching programmes & YouTube vids with Rev Hive work. Both serve different goals, people & purposes.
Instead of doing it all myself & getting more of the same. I learned to hire a team, and keep investing to grow – this time at a higher level than ever before. I took the money I’d patiently saved over years, and invested ~£19k on Kavit Haria’s Automated Business System. It wasn’t an easy investment to make, and it’s yet to see a return but I decided to take a punt.
What is it? Basically a bunch of experts help you create your first online course, and £100k in revenue in the first year of launch. If you don’t you get your money back. Provided you do the work etc etc.
The first few months were spent doing research, strategy & biz planning. All of which + my experience in 6 years of coaching thousands of people, I created a 6 step online course & system called Inner Compass. It’s an incredible programme for 18-40 year olds feeling, lost, stuck & directionless in life who want to find a way to live more meaningfully. For those people who want to escape the purposeless monotony they ‘ended up’ in, before they end up wasting their best years without having contributed something of value to the world.
I’m very proud of the course — it’s amazing value, for an amazing price & the early adopters have loved it so far. It’s literally taken me thousands of hours over the last 5 years to put together and encompasses stuff that works, stuff most people don’t cover in similar courses & a lot of my own unique methods.
I’ve learned a lot from the process. Much of it hasn’t been anything new as such, in fact a lot I knew already. Instead it’s helped me refine & pick what to execute on. There’s definitely a better & more automated structure to my online business now.
That said, my course has launched and it’s kinda.. crickets? So yes, I’ve put £19k into the magic slot machine, but £54 has come back out. Lots of work to put in yet to promote the course.
Making an online course is just level 1. Marketing & selling it is levels 3 – 10.
I believe I can hit the targets, it’s just going to require good planning & work. I’ve also learned these things:
- The fundamentals don’t change. You just have to apply them consistently. Don’t know why but I thought I was missing something & that’s why I hadn’t been more prosperous yet — I wasn’t. No idea, or magic pill or tactic. Just a case of taking massive action, consistently & continuing to iterate with speed.
- Maybe I could have done this cheaper & faster. Or spent it on FB ads. or an assistant. Or a number of things. I still wonder about those things. But if you never try, you never know. Just gotta build, test & learn, don’t you? This could yet be a £19k failure. Or a £100k success. Or something in between. Regardless, I’ll definitely be wiser for it & do better the next time.
- I need to give myself 10x more credit cos I know more than I give myself credit for. Keep trusting that. You have everything you need KB. In 2019, I’m going to market, share & develop Inner Compass the KB way.
- When people build things for you, make absolutely certain you have full control & access if you need to make changes later. Because you will. Right now I want to build pages/features that I can’t, unless I pay. No good. It creates unnecessary blocks in the system & zaps momentum.
- Risk. When you make a big investment into something, make sure you can do it without it bringing unwanted stress or pressure. I went big & put my savings & salary into this. But actually, I could have benefited from waiting until that level of investment was not much of a burden/source of stress.
- Spend less time developing & more time testing straight away. I really believe it’s better to build small prototypes fast, test, learn & improve. The creation/development process was painfully slow at times, and it cost me thousands of pounds because of delays. No one else worries about that, so next time I’m going to be 10x more forceful about hitting deadlines.
- There’s some elements I look back on & think, actually the experts advice was wrong & my instincts were far better. But because they are the ‘expert’ in the process, I gave too much weight to it. The advice is based on their own experiences, projected onto me. When the only expert in this area, is me. Trust that. No excuses or explaining needed.
Once I finish the programme, I’ll definitely share my honest review of everything. So be sure to subscribe to my social media/this blog etc to hear about it.
- 2019 = I’ve I turned my room into a studio so there’s zero excuses & it’s 10x easier to make content. This will help me to build what I have so far on YouTube, and slowly monetise. Last time I did this in 2016, I grew fast (but as my review mentions) I changed paths instead of doubling down on consistency. I’m going to start with a buffer (Q1 weekly) so I have a minimum to fall back on, then aim up from there. Secondly, ABS & I have talked about how to crack to 300-400 view count I’m getting….
- If you want to go from 5 figures to 6 figures, you need an advertising budget. I’ve bootstrapped my way so far without ever spending on ads & relying on organic growth. To go that level I have to master those things, and create as much of an ad budget as I can. This means hacking away at inessential costs so I can divert that money elsewhere. For example, I spent a few thousand on being featured as a speaker on a popular YouTube channel for promo, which now I realise was nice, but ineffective. I could have used this as funds for testing ads.
- Go 80/20 with promotion & content. Decide the topics & videos in advance. (done)
Section Four – Life, Leisure & Relationships
I had a few months of an existential crisis in 2018 where I was trying to understand who I was & wanted to be. That’s always fun. What I learned was:
- If I want to be understood better, it’s up to me to communicate who I am better. I can literally decide whatever I want & if I take the time to articulate it & share this. It’s going to be reflected externally too.
- I learned other people always have priorities for me, that compete with my priorities for me. It might be uncomfortable at times, but sticking to my own agenda is really important. And that there’s no burden or need for me to explain, justify or persuade anyone of that. The right people will always understand.
- I learned to improve my Chess skills to ~1400, and then to stop playing for a bit to focus on other things.
- I learned to play the piano this year & performed in my first ‘concert’ (aka in front of loads of kids at my piano teachers house)
- I learned to surf green waves, and start turning too. Also had a few go’s at surfing on a hard board vs a foam board.
- In Piano, finish Book 2 & upgrade my piano to one with weighted keys.
- Go back to Birmingham at least 1x month. Schedule it in my diary in advance.
- This year I collected everyone in my family’s birthdays into a nice spreadsheet (hard to remember them all). I’m going to share it & see how I can plan better for each individuals birthday
- Even if I don’t go abroad, plan my holidays now. I know I’ll go to India in November 2019 which leaves maybe 1 or 2 more. One of which I definitely want to be a surf trip. If your work is creative & complex, the need for rest increases. I had 10x better clarity after Morocco.
What You Should Do Now:
- If you want to sign up for my Inner Compass programme – you can do so here. As a reader, you get 40% off with the code “INNER40”
- Take my free quiz to find out if you’re living at your highest potential here
- Write your own yearly review. And share it with me here
- Since you read ALL of this – WOW! Please comment, I really would love to hear what you felt reading this. See you in 2019!