Reviewing Failure (And Success)

This morning for the first time in a LONG time I was able to genuinely wake up at 5:00 AM. For some people I know that seems outrageous, but frankly, I like that time of the morning because I can be totally along in our small apartment.  It’s quiet. I can listen to music softly and focus on writing and thinking. I did a small bit of file review and sorting, but the main thing I did when I got up was start writing up a review of last year’s Focus Project. The review was primarily to examine the failures, but as I typed it up, I realized that a big part of it, if not all of it, was successful.  There were definitely some failures, to say the least. The successes were many, though, and some of those were big. I did learn a few things, though.

Have future goals and projects to look forward to when you achieve a goal or complete a project.
This probably sounds obvious to more mature goal setters and project pursuers. But It had been so long since I had really achieve a lot of personal goals that I forgot about the gigantic let down that follows achieving a very large personal goal.

Beer is a double-edge sword for me to enjoy.
This is something I really learned last year at the beginning of the year when I gave up buying beer for myself. Removing it as a daily habit really adds a lot of energy and positivity back to my psyche. That makes sense. Alcohol depletes resources, makes it harder to sleep, and is a depressant. Having beer as a daily habit creates a terrible feedback loop for my body.  I plan on enjoying beer still in the future, but more as a goal itself to work toward, as a reward for big achievements in projects, but not a daily relaxation technique.

Focusing on achieving something works.
I ended the year on very down psyche because of the first bullet point up there. I achieve my goal to attend BNAT, and post-BNAT blues (which are normal) were worse than just blues. They were devastating and almost hopeless feeling. But sitting down to think through my successes this year I realized that, in fact, focusing on achieving something really works for me. I had gigantic successes this year, and the post-BNAT period made it all feel inconsequential and minimized. Only sitting down today to examine it with less emotion and a little more distance did I really start to be amazing at the achievements for 2012. There were failures, sure, and the end of the year being closer than the beginning and middle, made me dwell on the failures since the successes were further away.

There aren’t always clear lessons to be learned.
This one is the hardest. I had a lot of goals regarding my job and work and other professional goals, and while some were achieved, many were not. And there are some things to be learned, but there doesn’t seem to be any clear singular lesson to be learned from my professional failures this year. Accepting failure is one thing. Accepting that there’s not much to be learned from that failure is another thing altogether. Acceptance of that is tough.

Follow my instincts.
There are good and bad things about this, of course. I followed my instincts to come back to San Francisco and pursue a PMP certification, only to have my work life thrown into an uproar with a restructuring that forced my into not having an idea about my financial future, so investing the money into the PMP certification had to be put on hold. That feels like a failure of following my instincts, but I have to look at whether or not my wife and kid were ready for us to pack up and move across the country in three weeks in what was a lateral job move (for a contract job no less) and a gigantic salary reduction in a city that we would still end up struggling in that we may not like struggling in. The instinct now says that it might be time to move, but I am waiting to see what happens over the next week. The real need to follow my instincts, though, came from my failed Photography component of my Focus project. Partially just time, yes, but also the tools I use for photography are all wrong for me. I bought a camera in 2011 that I deeply regret owning now and have little joy in using and little interest in learning. My computer is fine, but my photo management tool, which I am entrenched in using, is slow and buggy and failing me, and I feel a lot of chagrined resentment toward investing so many years into it at this point. So there are two big points of failure that crushed the Photography component of my Focus project. I felt like I should have gone with a micro 4/3 systems and I went with a standard DSLR and it was the wrong decision that I am working hard to overcome emotionally and confidence-wise. Same with investing all of my current photo collection with iPhoto ’11 and it being so incredibly, terribly slow and messed up and not knowing really where to go for a new photo library management tool for the massive photo library I have. More lessons will be learned this year, for sure.

That’s not really all, but those are my highlights that I’m writing here to have open to look at and write about and think about. I want to make this coming year better, and tomorrow when I write here that’s what I’m going to focus on writing and think about. Making this year’s Focus project work better than last years and to really focus on changing our lives and transforming it for the better and the positive.

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