Update: The timing for my Channel News Asia segment next Tuesday has been fixed! It’ll be 8:15pm-9:15pm for the live feed on the web and 8:30-9pm for those watching on TV. Read for my announcement post for details.
As I write this, it’s the last week of Dec ’10. It’s now the time of the year where we look back, reflect on how the year has gone by, and get ready for the next year ahead.
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my reflections for this year, and my key goals moving forward. If you haven’t done your year end reflections yet, read my previous post on doing your year end review. Feel free to share your review in the comments area!
Year in Review: 2010
Looking back this year, there have been many things that I’m very proud of. I’m just going to list 8 key highlights:
1. Grew Personal Excellence to over 20,000 subscribers!
If there’s one thing I’m really proud of, it’s having single-handedly grown Personal Excellence from nothing to over 20,000 subscribers today. All this happened in the span of just 2 years, with 90% of the growth happening only in the past 8 months! To me, reaching 10k is the first sign that we’ve hit critical mass, and 20k even more so.
Previously I was not fully focused on the blog’s growth, partly because I was understanding the online landscape, and also because I was working on other projects. During April, I finally gave Personal Excellence my full focus (in addition to coaching and workshops), and subsequently the efforts paid off. I honestly can say that every subscriber has been painstakingly gained through every inch of hard work, and I’m really excited about what’s coming next.
(For those of you who have blogs, I do 1-1 blog coaching. It’s where I share my best knowledge from growing Personal Excellence in the past 2 years, so you can dramatically cut down your learning curve and jump-start your blog’s growth.)
2. Featured on international media as well as other media outlets.
In 2009 I received over 10 media coverages, and it was something I was extremely grateful for. This year, I continue to receive regular media coverage, including Simply Her, Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, and CNN International. The biggest is definitely CNN, since it’s the one of the largest broadcasters in the world, as well as my feature in Simply Her in the July issue, which came with a photoshoot and double page write-up. And next Tuesday, I’ll be live on Channel News Asia (Asia’s largest news broadcaster), which will mark the first time I’m on national TV. I’m very excited about it.
I suspect there are other publications that have featured Personal Excellence that I’m not aware of – I get occasional comments from readers that they saw my site on Guardian (UK), some Indian papers, Huffington Post (US), etc, but I’m not able to get my hands on the original articles. At this point it seems like the media requests have become a normality, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities each time.
The media coverage is very important for the growth of PE, because it helps me reach out to more people with my work. Also, it’s an affirmation that I’m now moving in the right direction. That’s why I’m extremely excited whenever I’m contacted by a journalist. As I wrote in this post in 2009, I’ve no interest in the supposed recognition, “fame” or “popularity” that comes from being on the media.
(For those who are starting out and are interested to be featured in the media, you can read my 2009 guest post at Problogger: How to Get Featured By the Press. I wrote it specific for blogs, though the principles I share can be related to any context.)
3. Invited to regional conference to speak on blogging/social media.
A couple of months ago in October, I was invited to Hong Kong to speak on how to create a top blog. I’ve already been regularly invited to speak in local organizations since I started in 2009, so I saw a regional invitation as the next mark to strive for. Needless to say, I was exuberant when the invitation came this year in October. While I was in Hong Kong, I additionally invited to speak in a few MNCs on social media and building an online presence, so I was extremely excited.There’s also something coming up early next year, though it’s not confirmed at this moment so I’m parking that aside first.
4. Released Personal Excellence Book (July).
I’ve been meaning to release an ebook and I just had to make the first book, Personal Excellence Book. I personally designed the book and did the layout and I really love how it turned out. To date it has sold over 300 copies, and increasing with each day. I’m extremely proud of this book — I see it as like the timeless, collector’s item for all readers of PE, and those who have bought it can attest to it. It represents the 2 years of excellence at PE, containing the best articles on the blog, including 10 bonus never seen before articles.
Update May 2016: I’ve since retired Personal Excellence Book to channel my resources to other products and courses at PE.
5. Wrote and released 30DLBL Program (Nov).
I have extremely strong ownership over my work because I invest so much of my time, energy and love into them, and The 30DLBL Book is no different. Like PEBook, I designed the cover and wrote all the content. It’s really like my baby. I never release anything unless I’m absolutely sure of the value it can deliver, and 30DLBL is one program that I can vouch for its value. I love that it’s versatile – you can do it in your own time and do it together with the 30DLBL community during the live runs (typically June and Dec each year). In the end, the whole 30DLBL program, from the guidebook, the workbook,to the 30DLBL runs, is just the way I want it to be. With over 200 copies in less than 2 weeks of launch and the powerful feedback from the participants, it has affirmed the value of this program.
6. Launched highly successful 30DLBL Challenge (Sep).
With over 1,200 participants that signed up, this makes this the most successful personal development initiative online, ever.The 30DLBL is so successful that lately I’m seeing other personal development sites come up with their 30/31 day challenges too. I think it’s great that others are being inspired to do the same for their communities.
7. Turned my business into a non-location bound business
(i.e. able to operate my business anywhere).
In 2009, I had to be in Singapore due to my local clients and my workshops/speeches. I wanted to be location free, so this year I transitioned my 1-1 coaching to online video conferencing. Today, all my 1-1 coaching is done via Skype or phone. With the exception of my workshops which have to be done in person (not a major problem since it’s just 1-2 times/month), I can now literally work anywhere around the world (as long as there’s an internet connection). I first did this when I was in HK in Oct and it went perfect. I’ve yet to test this extensively and I’m looking forward to do so next year.
8. Designed and successfully ran 17 workshops/speeches.
Unlike full-time trainers who train for a living, I see training/speaking as one aspect of my work, among blogging, writing and coaching. Where I’m invited to train/speak I do so, but otherwise I don’t actively solicit for training engagements. I’m happy to have run 17 workshops/speeches this year, with many of them getting strongly rated testimonials from participants. All my trainings are done under my training business (The School of Personal Excellence).
Deep Gratitude To All Of You
I think beyond quantitative achievements, the biggest thing I’m proud of this year is being able to reach out to even more people and on a more intense level. Just seeing, hearing of the changes in your lives, whether you’re a reader, coachee or workshop participant, is my fuel to do what I do. The kind of feedback I’ve received are astounding, and humbling to say the least.
In one example, I knew of a reader who was terminally ill, and rather than wait to die, he came up with his bucket list (inspired by my bucket list article) and took action to bring all the items on his list to life, accompanied by his partner. Earlier, I received a comment from a reader who was planning to end his life, but somehow didn’t after he came across Personal Excellence on Google. I think things like this are the highest difference I can ever strive to make in anyone’s life, and I don’t think I’d ever be able to make do any of this in my previous career.
On a blog level, 30DLBL was an eye opening experience, not just for participants, but for myself as well. It has allowed me to connect with all of you on an individual level in a way that wasn’t there before. It’s one thing to be writing articles and knowing there are 20k people reading the articles; it’s a totally different thing to personally know the people reading and witness their lives transform in the process. I’m very proud to have be acquainted with all of you from the Sep 30DLBL and Dec 30DLBL – you guys know who you are. This experience really humbled me, and it helped me to realize that this intimate connection is what I want to achieve with my work. This is what I want to pursue moving forward. More on it in the later section of the post.
Key Things I Learned in 2010
I learn new things every day, and if I were to list all my lessons in 2010 the post will never end. Below are 10 lessons I’d like to share with you:
- I learned that I love what I do (on a whole new level)
- I learned the importance of just focusing on the 1 goal that matters and doing it full force. At this moment, my #1 goal is to develop PE. Everything else is important but secondary to this goal.
- I learned I love all of u and I want all of u to be in my life. So moving forward, I want to increase contact with you, to help all of you build better lives. This I aim to accomplish through new initiatives at the blog. More later.
- The world is more beautiful than I can ever imagine
- Everything in our reality represents something inside us. So if we ever see something we don’t like, it’s a cue to look inside ourselves and fix that. (For those who bought the 30BBM Program, this is tied in with the task on Day 22: Mirror an Annoyance)
- Life is what we make it out to be.
- Limits in life are ourselves. Always have been, always will be.
- Expect nothing from others, because they don’t owe us anything.
- As much as there can be things that bother us, it’s also our choice to be bothered by them or not.
- Go for the ideal and you’ll get there.
2011 Vision Moving Forward
Moving forward now, I want Personal Excellence to be the #1 place for all of us who want to grow and achieve excellence in life. I don’t want this to just be a blog/site where I write entries and people just read. There are many blogs out there that do this fine and it’s great for them, but I want Personal Excellence to be more than that. I want this to be our home, where we grow together. This isn’t about me; this is about you and all of us here. This is going to be the place where we face all of life’s obstacles together, walk together in our life’s journey and create our best life ahead. This is going to be the place where we meet other like-minded individuals passionate about growth and grow hand-in-hand with one another. This is where we become our best selves and live our best lives, ever! *dance*
In line with that, I’ll be launching more site-wide activities starting next month, where all of us can engage and grow together. Where the first 2 years of Personal Excellence has been about building the foundation, now moving onward I’ll be working with everyone to apply what we’ve learned into our life. We’re going to explode together as a community! I’m planning a new challenge for January, which I’m bursting to tell all of you, but I’m keeping it under wraps for the moment. I’ll be announcing it at the blog in a couple of days’ time, so stay tuned!
As we move forward, my 2 key objectives which have always been with me since I started this journey will remain to be the same: (1) To give maximum value to others (2) To help others achieve their highest potential and live their best lives.
Thank you for being here with me and I love all of you! I look forward to a fantastic 2011 ahead for all of us!! *dance* Stay tuned for the new challenge in January! I’ll be posting the announcement post in a few days’ time! 😀
Update Jan ’11: The new challenge is up! Read: “Live a Healthier Life in 21 Days” 2011 Challenge