2009 Reflections: 2 Biggest Things I Learned, 15 Key Highlights and A Big Thank You To You

Foot Print in SnowMy first snowprint :). Taken when I was in China, Jiu Zhai Guo last year


What a year.


2009 marks the first year whereby I’m full fledgedly pursuing my passion to help others achieve excellence and live their best life. Subsequently, 2009 marks the first year where I’m in a total state of “flow” in every single moment I live. Everything feels so natural and surreal. It seems as if first Jan 2009 was light years ago, as if I’ve been doing what I’m doing now for the longest time ever. I don’t remember when’s the last time I ever felt this way about anything. It feels… like I’m living in a dream. It’s so amazing that it’s indescribable.

I learned many things for myself this year. Some of these have been documented in my articles throughout the year. Many have been duly recorded in my life handbook as part of my personal journey of growth. All the lessons I have gotten – I intend to share on the blog in the future, in its own time and place.

Rather than flood this post with a tsunami of realizations and lessons, I decided to share the two biggest things I have learned for myself this year.

Two Biggest Things I Learned in 2009

1. I realized helping others is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

If you have read my personal story of how I discovered my life purpose, you might have noticed a large part of how I arrived at my life purpose was through logical deduction. In 2006, I realized the pursuit of monetary, material possessions and recognition as ends in themselves was meaningless, because these were impermanent and would disappear one day. From there, I concluded I would focus on personal growth as my life mission – developing consciousness of myself and others, since it is the only thing that is permanent in the world.

Today, 1 year after pursuing this passion/mission/purpose, I can now conclusively say that apart from mental resonance, I’m now in full emotional resonance with my desire to help others grow. I don’t just know it. I feel it in my heart, fully and wholly now. There’s nothing in the world I would ever trade for to stop doing this.

The continuous, heartwarming feedback from readers, 1-1 coaching clients and workshop participants have affirmed my realization. Since the start of the blog, readers have continuously told me how the articles have empowered them in their journey of personal growth, such as taking action on their dreams, getting over life’s setbacks, loving themselves, making bold & necessary changes in their lives and quitting their full-time jobs to do what they love. Clients have told me how amazing they felt after the coaching sessions, how they discovered more about themselves through the sessions compared to all their life so far, how they have created changes they never thought possible before. All these are the best rewards I can ever get for what I do today.

2. I realized the reason why I do what I do every day is because of you.

This realization really came as a result of a serendipitous and spontaneous question that popped in my mind a month ago or so. “What if one day, there is nobody else in this world but me? Would I still be as driven toward life and personal growth as I am now?”


The answer that came back was a quiet, yet resounding, “No.”.

It then struck me that the primary thing that drives me every day is really, you. In the past 2 years since discovering my life purpose, I had been equally driven toward my personal growth and growth of others, with slight inclination toward the latter. Today, it’s clear that it’s the love for all of you out there and the desire to help you live your best life that drives me. As I shared last week, the reason why I openly share about myself and my life to the media and the world is because of you. If none of you exist, I wouldn’t be as driven or passionate toward my own growth as I am right now. The real reason why I strive to grow and be my best self every day is so I can better help you and others grow and live your best life.

15 Key Highlights of 2009


1. Decided not to return to corporate work and fully embrace my passion now (March).

  • From there, turned my passion into my full-time career 🙂

2. Started my training business, The School of Personal Excellence (TSOPE), in September

  • TSOPE is the first school to help you achieve your goals and dreams. If there is only 1 thing I have to single out as my key achievement for this year, this will be the one 🙂

    (Update Oct 2011: I’ve since the blog and my training business as 1 entity – “Personal Excellence”, and I now focus on driving the message of growing and helping others grow via online, as it is a high leverage medium where I can reach out to many people at one go (vs. physical workshops, where I can only train X number of people in 1 session). In the future, I intend to tap on other high leverage mediums, including traditional TV at some point.)

3. Built and established Personal Excellence, reaching out and touching the lives of people around the world

  • To date, we have over 140 350 free, quality personal excellence articles (as of Oct ’11) , almost 2k over 20k unique readers every day and 1.7k 26k subscribers! (as of Oct ’11)
  • Started Facebook Fanpage, with over 2.7k 3.5k 8.8k fans (as of Dec ’12) currently! Do join us if you haven’t already!

4. Became a full fledged life coach and established myself in the profession

  • Equipped myself with coaching skills through self-learning and experience and became a better coach through the year. Developed my own robust coaching system based on my lessons in life and personal philosophy.
  • Gave personal 1-1 coaching to nearly 50 clients this year, helping them transform their lives and achieve results in their personal goals and dreams
  • Since I started coaching in Apr, 1-1 coaching rates have increased by over ten-fold due to the overdemand. The 1-1 coaching continues to be overbooked today, though I plan to remove the waiting list in 2010 due to urgency behind some clients’ requests

5. Started officially speaking and training in the area of personal excellence


  • Gave speeches, trainings and workshops in various schools and organizations
  • Spoke to an audience of almost 1,000 people
  • Became a better speaker through self-learning and direct speaking experience. Look forward to more developments in this area in 2010 🙂

6. Interviewed and featured in local and regional media 12 times

  • It first started with My Paper in late March, then everything rolled on from there 🙂 To date, I’ve been covered by almost every media outlet locally and it’s something I’m extremely grateful for.
  • Check media section for a full list of media coverage and the clippings/recordings of the interviews 🙂

Health / Fitness

7. Experimented with raw veganism for 21 days (May-June)

  • Decided to return to cooked food for now since it’s too hard to upkeep a raw diet in modern society

8. (Almost) achieved my desired weight / look


9. Improved my relationships with my parents!

  • Hugged my parents for the first time since I was a kid! 😀 Also gave my family members each a personal card expressing love and gratitude for everything they have done for me. This was a huge deviation from the norm since we hardly ever talk, especially between me and my brother. I think they must have thought I was popping pills.

10. Initiated and re-established contact with people from my past

  • Most of these were people whom I had negative encounters with previously and didn’t continue contact afterward. Figured that as I’m going to be coaching others to release personal blocks, I needed to first walk the talk

11. Established and fostered strong friendships in the personal development industry

  • I’m very thankful for the work I do, because it enables me to become acquainted with such incredible people. Moving forward in this journey, I look forward to meeting even more of such people.

12. Got to know over 2k new readers and friends on both Facebook and Twitter, thanks to the blog


  • If you have FB and/or Twitter but haven’t added me yet, please feel free to do so

13. Mutually parted with my best friend of 10 years

  • Our friendship had served its role in the earlier years, and it had come to a point where it was preventing us from living in full alignment with purpose and our highest selves. In the end we mutually parted to progress in our life journey. Read: Why I Parted Ways With My Best Friend of 10 Years

14. Forgave and finally completely let go of someone who had been in my heart for the past 4 years

  • I never did realize this was preventing me from receiving new people into my life. When I finally realized that, I consciously let him go from my heart, and what resulted was a feeling of liberation I had never felt before. Read: How I Moved On From a Heartbreak (Series)


15. Strengthened my connection with my higher self (subconsciousness)

  • While I had not actively worked on my spirituality this year (deprioritized for now as I want to solidify the foundations of my personal growth first), my intuitive connection has definitely strengthened over the year. This becomes especially apparent through my 1-1 coaching and new people I meet. This actually doesn’t come as a surprise, since everything I’m doing now is directly aligns myself with my higher self and hence strengthens my connection with my subconsciousness.

A Huge Thank You to All of You

Thank you so much to all of you who have reached out to me at one point or another to send me your well wishes, feedback and appreciation, whether through email, facebook, twitter or in person. Thank you to all of you who have helped spread the word about Personal Excellence and/or my message to others around you, be it your friends, your family and other people. Thank you to all the personal development bloggers and many others who have in one way or another helped drive awareness of this blog to many others.

Thank you. 🙂 Thank you to all of you for your continuous support. Thank you for giving me the chance to do what I do today. Without any of you, I wouldn’t be who I am or what I am today. Because of you, I’ve become a better person than before. Because of you, I’m living the best life I’ve ever lived. You guys are my strength, my pillar and my life. Thank you for being who you are and for being alive. Because of you, I will go on to create even bigger things, things I never thought I would achieve.

Reflecting on Your 2009

Just like I have been doing 2009 reflection with my coachees the past couple of weeks, I would like to invite you to do the same. There’s always something to learn from everything, and what’s most important is to crystallize the lessons so you take something valuable from all the past experiences. Reflecting enables you to bring these lessons forward and improve your experience of life. It’s all about living your best life! :).

Take out your pen and paper and think about the following in the context of 2009:


  1. What are your major achievements and notable events this year?
  2. What have you learned for yourself this year?
  3. What are your key goals for 2010 to make it a huge blast?

Many readers and clients have told me they found 58 Noteworthy Resolutions For The New Year very helpful for them as they set their resolutions/goals for 2010, so you might want to check that out too as you set your 2010 goals.

Comments are open if you would like to share your reflections with the rest! 🙂

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010! 🙂 Let’s work together to make 2010 a BIG BANG! I’m feeling so excited about 2010 ahead – I have absolutely no doubt this is going to be the best year ever for all of us 😀

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