2022 Year in Review (draft)

This year did not turn out the way I had planned.

2022 was going to be special for a couple of reasons. The birth of my second daughter and after 7 years as Bean Ninjas CEO, I stepped down and was taking a sabbatical.

During my sabbatical I planned to focus on learning about things that interested me including:

  • health / fitness
  • parenting
  • investing
  • Web3
  • improving my writing skills

Here are my 2021 and 2022 focus areas

These days I pick focus areas rather than creating super specific SMART goals. I find it easier to stay on track if I do this rather than choosing an arbitrary number for something so I can measure it.

2021 Focus Areas

  1. Health and Fitness: Prevent neck and back pain by improving mobility.
  2. Family: Be a great wife and mother and go on at least 2 family adventures during 2021
  3. Career: Transition out of the CEO role at Bean Ninjas
  4. Writing: Build a writing habit
  5. Finances: Replace wages with dividends

2022 Focus Areas

  1. Health and Fitness: Fit as F*ck 40s
  2. Family: Be a great mother and supportive partner and take at least 2 trips away. Go on an annual adventure with my Dad and brother.
  3. Career: Take a sabbatical and learn new skills
  4. Writing: Build a writing habit
  5. Finances: Build my skills as an investor and learn more about crypto

A surprise diagnosis

In March 2022 my business partner Tracey was diagnosed with DCIS, a type of early-stage breast cancer.

We reacted quickly so that Tracey could focus on her health away from the stress of running a business. We transitioned Tracey’s clients and most of her team across to our friends at businessDEPOT prior to Tracey’s surgery.

I’m pleased to say that Tracey’s treatment was a success. She is cancer free and looking as fit and healthy as ever.

A 2nd surprise diagnosis

Tracey’s health issues prompted me to visit the GP and get up to date on all of my health checks.

This lead to a series of follow-up tests and in May 2022, I was also diagnosed with DCIS (early stage breast cancer). What are the chances that two business partners both have breast cancer?!

In August 2022 I had a mastectomy and was in hospital for 10 days. Usually cancer patients are treated immediately, but I wanted to have genetic testing completed as it is unusual for someone under 40 to have breast cancer. If I did have the BRCA gene then I would probably have a double mastectomy rather than a single.

My treatment was also delayed as I decided to get a second opinion and ultimately change breast surgeons. My new breast surgeon understood my need to understand the big picture and the associated pros / cons of each of the different treatment paths. She sent me research papers to help with my decision-making process.

I joined Facebook groups, spoke to other breast cancer survivors.

My surgery was a success. I was in hospital for 10 days and it took 6 weeks until I could lift more than 2kgs. It took another few months until I could run.

Lessons:

  • Get a second opinion.
  • Take ownership of understanding your health journey (no one will care as much as you)

My cancer diagnosis through my 2022 plans out the window.

Here are some highlights from 2022

Health

My 2022 health goals were pretty simple. Stay on top of regular health checks and focus on 4 main areas:

  • Sleep: 8 hours per night
  • Eating healthy unprocessed food, limited alcohol and max 1 coffee per day
  • Daily exercise
  • Low stress levels

Having young kids made getting 8 hours sleep per night challenging. This is turn made it hard to get up and exercise. I would score myself a 7/10 for daily exercise.

I’m pleased to say that my kids are now mostly sleeping through the night so 2023 should be much better on both the sleep and exercise front.

Fitness

My original goal for 2022 was Fit as F*ck 40s (I turn 40 soon). That did not go to plan, but here is how the year panned out.

What went well

  • Playing indoor soccer with a group of friends
  • Regularly going to the gym until my surgery

What didn’t go so well

  • Weight training: I stopped seeing my Personal Trainer at the end of 2021 as too hard to fit in with young kids.
  • Surfing and Mountain Biking: these activities both take longer than a 45-minute gym workout. I still surfed and rode every month or two, but not as often as I would like.

Observations:

I found it hard not being able to exercise properly after my surgery.

My lower body is fine, but I still can’t do a push-up or chin-up due to my pectoral muscle being stretched as part of the breast reconstruction.

I realised that part of my identity comes from both feeling and looking fit. Regular exercise is also what helps me to think clearly.

The goal for 2023: Get back into the best shape of my life.

Family and friends

With the arrival of my second daughter my focus for 2022 was more on family than friends.

I’m hoping to make friends more of a focus for 2023.

We were so excited to Imogen
We were so excited to Imogen

A few highlights with family / friends

  • Easter camping trip at Tallebudgera Creek with a group of other families
  • Our family reunion at Sandstone Point Holiday Park with 17 members of our extended family
  • Meeting up with my cousin for a few days in Colorada
  • Staycations in Coolangatta, Broadbeach and Brisbane
  • Christmas at my brother’s house in Melbourne
  • Family holiday in Marysville with another family

Learning

I dived into the Web3 space and also worked on a few different startups.

  • Zero to Done: a business to help founders stop procrastinating and Get Shit Done
  • Mention Media: a Web3 media business focused on TikTok. We were selected for the Google News Incubator program. When the focus moved from Web3 to side-hustle content I moved on from the team.
  • Quorum: A Web3 podcast and newsletter focused on DAOs. I did some freelance marketing work but have finished up.
  • BanklessDAO: I contributed to the Podcast Hatchery team (operations and product) and was Operations Manager of the team for a few months.

These were all fun experiments, but I won’t be continuing on with any of those projects in 2023.

My main lessons from these different projects are:

  • building something from 0-1 is hard!
  • I really enjoy the team culture at Bean Ninjas (some time away working on other projects helped me to realise this)
  • I love the accounting industry
  • I believe in Media Companies as a business model

I have a new project I’m excited about for 2023 … more to be revealed soon!

Adventure

Going on adventures and getting out of my comfort zone is a favourite thing to do.

3 Capes Hike in Tasmania

This trip had been scheduled and then rescheduled due to COVID. It ended up being less than 2 months after my surgery, so my Dad and brother kindly carried the contents of my pack.

It rained for most of the trip and I haven’t laughed so much in a long time!

Hiking the 3 Capes Trail in Tasmania with my Dad and brother
Hiking the 3 Capes Trail in Tasmania with my Dad and brother

Skiing in Colorado

I managed to combine a work trip to Denver with a few days skiing at Keystone. I haven’t skied much over the last few years, but it came back quickly. It was early season but we were lucky enough to have fresh powder every morning.

Career

In December 2021 I stepped down as Bean Ninjas CEO and moved to a part-time advisor role. Bean Ninjas had a great year in 2022 and ran smoothly without me in the CEO role.

It was nice to spend some time in-person with key team members (see photos below).

At our 2022 Christmas Party I also announced we will be holding a team retreat in the Philippines in 2023 for all team members.

Quickbooks Connect conference in Vegas with my business partner Wayne
Quickbooks Connect conference in Vegas with my business partner Wayne

Meeting Bean Ninjas - Director of Service Delivery for the first time
Meeting Bean Ninjas - Director of Service Delivery for the first time

Biggest lesson in 2022.

Life is short!

My identify was tied up with being a founder and CEO. When I stepped down as CEO I felt lost for a while. I had to ask myself, who am I?

I realised my identify is also tied up with exercise and being an athlete. My health issues and having lower energy levels this year also forced me to reconsider that.

Focus areas for 2023

Personal

  • Fitness: Get the fittest I’ve ever been through daily exercise and weight training. Surf or mountain bike at least once a week
  • Health: Stay on top of health checks, get 8 hours sleep, daily exercise and eat nutritious food
  • Family: Home by 4pm on weekdays to spend time with my girls. Go on at least two family holidays for the year with my family and at least two with extended family
  • Friends: Have more time with friends doing fun activities and laughing.
  • Adventure: At least 2 adventure trips during the year (surfing, mountain biking, hiking)
  • Learning: Be more consistent with a daily writing habit (do another Ship30for30 cohort)
  • Personal finances: Execute on the same plan and continue with monthly personal finance reviews
  • Mental Health: A personal retreat every six months to help me focus, review strategy and plan

Career

  • Enjoy my role as an advisor at Bean Ninjas
  • Run special projects for Bean Ninjas
  • Watch this space for something new kicking off in 2023!