Year in Review

Personal developmentAwarenessReflectionSelf developmentLife lessons

2014 was a ridiculous year. In my mind it represents the most wild, crazy, stressful, exciting, fun and empowering year I have ever had. When I rung in 2014 last year I was in NYC with my beautiful girlfriend of 5 years. We ended up having a quiet night -- literally, we fell asleep on a couch before it was midnight. (Spoiler Alert: 2015 also involved a couch and grandpa's bed-time) The bright side is that Virginia and DC are both ridiculously beautiful places to spend the holidays.

It's funny that the way we started the year was hardly how we ended up sprinting through the days to come. Looking back on my year, the best parts of 2014 were about...

  • Chasing opportunities abroad.
  • Taking big risks & stepping outside my comfort zone.
  • Practicing leadership & becoming a better operator.
  • Taking my education into my own hands, especially after graduating.
  • Trying to have more fun & love more.
  • Learning. Learning. Learning. About everything, everyone, and myself.
But it wasn't all rosy. I also had some difficult times. In particular, the hardships taught me...
  • Reflect more, listen more, and be more self-aware.
  • Stop being so damn tightly-wound.
  • Good, clear, obvious, and authentic communication is really at the heart of navigating life.
  • Chill out & focus on bringing the best out of others.
  • Execute as best you possibly can on the promises you make others.
  • Leave your ego at the door, and in this case, in 2014.

What colored these lessons from 2014 were the actual experiences I created over the year. This list isn't to "humble-brag", but to give context to the lessons I learned.

2014 Highlights:

  • Graduated from Stanford with dual MS degrees in Engineering.

    *Sidenote: This was probably the most stressful and deeply emotional process I have ever been through. I was juggling 22 units at one point and wasn't fully accepted to the MS&E department until late in May due to some complications with my application. I ended up writing a long letter to the Department Chair stating my case. I couldn't have made any of this happen without the love of my friends and family.

  • Participated in Design for Extreme Affordability & met some of the best people ever.
  • Travelled to Cambodia to conduct user insights for Extreme.
  • Developed research on the quantitative fitness industry with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Kahtleen Eisenhardt.
  • After interviewing with dozens of firms, I accepted a job with Accenture.
  • Graduated and flew to NYC to participate in Dev Bootcamp, a 9 week intensive programming academy to learn dynamic web programming. The best part was creating awesome friendships with super-talented coders.
  • After finishing my last course and wrapping up a summer in the city, I came back to CA and created a new home with Leila in Mountain View.
  • Travelled to India with the TEIS Stanford program to study business & entrepreneurship... and really just had a blast for 2 weeks.
  • Took off to Japan with a friend from Stanford and my best friend in life.
  • While travelling in Japan I accepted a great opportunity to be a Course Assistant at Stanford SCPD.
  • Came home and used October to continue refining my skills as a web-programmer. I built a few cool apps, one of which I use everyday in my job as a course assistant at Stanford.
  • In November, I enjoyed a short trip for training in Chicago, which helped me launch my professional career at Accenture.
  • Continued running, exercising and enjoying the outdoors ... although at this point I have determined I'm much more of a social runner and avid gym-goer than anything else.

Honestly, when I sat down to reflect on 2014, I had trouble processing everything because the year was jam-packed with all of these amazing opportunities, lessons, friendships, and memories.

But...if I had to distill one of the most important take-aways from the year it would be that people really are what make life so great. I think back to my year and its been the people that have made me most happy -- my wonderful family (Mom, Dad & Alexis), my incredible friends (there are literally too many to name). The best memories from the year have been sharing love and laughter with the people I care about. Reflecting has reminded me of this true-ism more than anything else.

So, what does 2015 have in store? I'm not totally sure yet. Up until a few days ago I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by 2014. But no start to the year would be complete without an actionable list of goals. I like to keep things simple and sweet.

2015 Goals

  • Take the time to unwind everyday.
  • Listen, reflect, write, and improve myself.
  • Kill it everyday in my professional role (whether it be at Accenture or elsewhere).
  • Focus more of my attention on my friends and on having fun.

How might I accomplish these goals?
Every list of goals deserves and requires a roadmap to success.

  • Live & breath the attitudes I hope to convey: optimism, happiness, love, openness, determination, drive, & adaptive capacity.
  • Journal every week & write letters to those I love.
  • Yoga & mediation every week.
  • Running every week (not just the gym!)
  • Eating clean, eating happy -- and no more sugar, because I'm actually on my way to being diabetic.
  • Plan awesome adventures with the people that matter most to me.
  • Get back in touch with the ocean (SCUBA time...)

In closing, this year has been pretty epic, but it just scratches the surface of the type of years I hope to be leading in the future. I started to find myself this year by taking risks, exploring new opportunities, failing early and often, but ultimately, bringing it all together to reflect on my journey and grow. That's what a year is supposed to be all-about, right? So, what are you waiting for. Take the dive. Jump into something new this year. Plan an epic adventure for 2015.