This year started pretty normal, basic I would say. Every year in January the majority of people start posting on Instagram different quotes like; new me & this year is the best year type of quotes. On the first of January 2017 I posted on Instagram that we should not post quotes about new me(us) or new goals because it’s not a new us, it’s a new year, yes, but we are the same, with our old mentality.
New year, old us.
We all know that usually our new year resolutions last until second week of February, that’s six weeks. That’s why I always write my goals every single morning, check progress every week and revise my strategy every quarter, but that’s another topic.
The reason why 2017 was the best year for me is because a lot of things happened. You might think that I achieved all my goals and that’s why it’s the best year for me. The truth is no, actually I didn’t achieve any of my goals. How is that even possible, I hear you ask.
My year started with a lot of issues at the agency, a couple of them needed to be solved asap. I had to hire a new designer to work with and I had other operational things to do. My year began in the office and my year finished at my new home-office. More on this later.
On Thursday 23rd March I had my first content marketing workshop. It was a great workshop and I had planned to do another 4 to 5 workshops this year. I didn’t. Everything changed for me when I traveled to the Infinite Man Summit in Bulgaria on the 25th of May.
Saying YES to new experiences.
A friend of mine from London, Sam, invited me to this summit. He mentioned that it was organized by Sasha Day Game. I knew the guy because he is well known in the dating arena and I watched couple of his videos.
I looked at their website and saw that they would cover a lot of topics; spirituality, body, health, stress, business, trading and marketing. I thought to myself that it was BS (bullshit) and I didn’t need spirituality or any of their crap.
One of the messages that they communicated was that you can create a lifestyle that you deserve; I didn’t believe it. What triggered me and helped me decide to attend was business and marketing. Back then I was a closed minded dummy; I didn’t look at the bigger picture.
I went for this 3 day summit, you can watch three vlogs from day 1, day 2 and day 3 here. It was life changing. I learned so many things from all the speakers, it was incredible. The bizarre thing is that my expectations for this summit was to learn something new in business or marketing, I got very little from these topics and got everything from other topics.
Discovering The Truth.
After the conference, I understood how I lied to myself for the past 30 years, how I lived a delusional and fake life, how society is f*** up and how closed minded I was in certain areas. I understood that I didn’t forgive my mum for doing certain things when I was young and I didn’t forgive my stepfather as well. The reality is that I didn’t forgive myself, not them. When I came back to Cyprus my mum came to pick me up with my car. She was the first person that saw me and I told her everything; how I felt and how I didn’t forgive her but in reality I didn’t forgive myself. I told her that I apologized for everything that I have done and I’m more aware now.
From March until today I meditate every single day using the Headspace app. Every single day! Okay, I think I might have missed 2 days (one day was when I had the Think Beyond Conference) and the other day when I didn’t wake up on time. The short story with meditation is that I tried meditating in 2016 (with the same app!) but it didn’t work out so I said it was stupid. I said that meditation was stupid and it’s not for me! I said it because I was naïve and I didn’t know how to meditate.
I learned a life lesson from meditation; I said that meditation is stupid and it’s not for me because I made an assumption based on what I knew 12 months ago. It didn’t work out 12 months ago because I didn’t know certain things, I wasn’t ready. I learned never to say that something is stupid or it doesn’t work because I might not know something about it. That’s why I believe we need to try again and see what works and what doesn’t.
Finding calm in chaos.
I’ve become more calm, I don’t get as angry and upset as I used to before. I’m more aware of my thoughts. Meditation I believe is a huge cornerstone of me being aware. This is a bit hard to explain in a blog article so maybe we will discuss it some other time.
Doing the impossible.
When I came from the summit I had an idea to do a conference that I would have helped me. So the decision was made, we would organize the Think Beyond Conference for 14th of October 2017. We had 4 months and 14 days to pull this off. Initially what I planned didn’t work out; I looked for sponsors but didn’t find anybody. I needed more time usually large companies take ages to reply and I was short on time.
Other things that I planned didn’t work but we kept pushing and kept going. The most important lesson that I learned organizing the conference was the power of looking for solutions. Always being focused on the end goal. The conference was one of the most fulfilling things I ever did in my life.
The sleepless nights, the stress, the unknown, the fear, the doubt, the tears, everything paid off in the last minute of my speech. After the conference the messages I received from people that attended, the speakers where amazing.
One of my biggest challenges is that I care about what other people think of me and what I do. I didn’t even know on a conscious level that I cared because if you would ask me if I care, I would have replied and said of course I don’t care. Deep inside I cared without even realizing that I cared. On the summit one of the speakers gave us a task; embarrass yourself in front of people. It sounds very daunting, very embarrassing because it actually is. I did a social freedom challenge for 30 days. You can watch it on YouTube here. Basically I did crazy stupid shit for 30 days in front of strangers. The end result was that I started caring less about what others think of me, I started to develop more empathy towards others and stopped judging others amongst other things.
Moved out of my comfort zone.
One day I was having a coffee with a friend of mine while I was doing the 30 days challenge and I said to him that I have to think of some things to continue doing daily that scare me. The reason why is because I want to move myself out of the comfort zone. At that moment I realized that I’m scared (a bit) of heights. So… what can somebody do if they are scared of heights? Maybe find a tall building and just look down… Well I decided to do skydiving. Jump from 11 thousand feet from a plane.
It was the best experience ever. I can’t describe it. You can watch the whole jump on YouTube by clicking here. It was magical. I believe that every single person should at least do it once. I got so excited that I applied to do a Skydiving AFF Course. Once you do the course you will be able to have a license to do Skydiving on your own. If you want to jump once for the experience you can with an instructor (tandem jump). This is what most people do when they want to try it for the first time.
I can say that the most courageous thing that I did after my 30th birthday was Skydiving. I actually wanted to jump before I turned 30 but unfortunately they were fully booked so I couldn’t. Well the most important change that I did is I finally accepted myself and my age. I used to lie about my age; not tell the truth about my age. This year on 08th of July I turned 30 years old and I didn’t have to lie or hide it from anyone. I’m a step closer to accepting who I’m.
I never fully accepted myself, I always thought that I’m not good enough, my English is not good, my Greek wasn’t excellent, my Russian is not great, my body is not in a great shape and on and on and on.
I created two new workshops this year; passionate hustle. The purpose of this workshop is to help people create a passionate side hustle and do meaningful work. If they hate what they do, they can start and within 27 days they will be able to start having an income. I’m very happy that there are people that attended are already working and launching their ideas to the world.
Sharing Authenticity in Marketing.
I had the privilege to speak at the University of Greenwich in London and meet some awesome people out there. I spoke about authenticity in marketing and content marketing. Some students emailed me and texted me awesome messages that made me feel honored and happy that people got inspired to make a change.
I spoke at the Global Digital Marketing conference as well, it was the first time that I ever did a speech online but it was an amazing experience because I had the opportunity to speak to so many people from different places.
This year I read/listened to some phenomenal books that helped me change a lot. I wrote about two books that I absolutely love in a blog article here. I still have a draft article about Kevin Hart’s Book: I can’t make this up, Life Lessons and I promise I will finish writing it because his book was awesome. Here are some of my favorite books that made a huge impact on me in 2017:
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
- The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins
- Self-Esteem, Fast Proven Treatment for Recover from Low Self-Esteem
- I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart
- The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
- Money: Know More, Make More, Give More by Rob Moore
- The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships by Neil Strauss
- The Untethered soul by Michael A. Singer
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
I’m focused on implementing strategies, ideas and changing my view on certain things. I used to have a bad habit and I read all the time but I didn’t stop to think, to write down what I learned, to go back to truly understand the book so I can make a change in my life.
This year I can say I’m proud of myself that I stopped, wrote things down and I didn’t rush to finish one book and move forward to the next one.
One of the best books that I’m reading right now is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s an awesome book and it’s filled with my notes and underlying sentences everywhere. I’m going to write my 2 cents on what I think about the book so you can subscribe to my newsletter to receive my update as soon as I write it.
Change starts with us not from other people. I believe that I still have a long road to go and a lot of things to learn. I’ve become better at learning to being present with people, if I’m having a cup of tea with somebody I’m training my mind to be 100% there, when I’m writing this article I’m training my mind to be 100% there. It’s a very hard excersice but it’s a very fulfilling thing to do. The other person can sense your presence, your energy is positive and you are living in the moment.
One of the biggest lessons I learned in 2017 was to love the process, to love the struggle more. I tell myself that you can’t achieve greatness and not struggle. It’s just impossible. We all know that to achieve something that we truly want we have to work and build on it every day our bricks. Every day lay one brick at a time, every week, every month just lay down the bricks and do the right thing.
I would like to thank you all for being with me this year, we might have met at a workshop, at the conference, online, anywhere. I appreciate your time, your attention and your feedback. Thank you very much and I hope that we will make 2018 our best year if we put in the effort and do the actual work.