2010 Annual Review: Looking Back


After a great time with a fun group in Seattle last night, I drove down through Washington and crossed over the Columbia river … hello, Oregon—also known as state #50 on the 50-state book tour.

States #1-49 are now complete, and tonight is the grand finale at Powell’s in Portland.


Since time is short and the year is long, I started thinking ahead on the Annual Review even though I don’t leave for the actual trip until tomorrow. As explained in previous posts, the review focuses on looking ahead to the next year, but I first spend at least a day looking back on the year that’s ending. I start with two simple questions:

What went well in 2010?

What did not go well in 2010?

Answering these questions is an easy way to begin the process of being intentional about your choices in the forthcoming year. In case you’re curious, here are some of my answers.

What Went Well (A Long List!)

Last year I identified 2010 as the year of scale and reach. In previous years I had the Year of Convergence, the Year of the Revolution, and the Year of the Cantaloupe (long story). In 2008 I started AONC and built it to a respectable level in the blogging community. 2009 was also a good year… I wrote the book and transitioned to working on AONC full-time. With 2010, I wanted to take what was working and make it better—thus the theme of scale and reach.

This theme held true from start to finish. In the first half of the year I focused on international travel and growing the side business to a more sustainable level. The launch of the Empire Building Kit, first on an epic train ride with my friend J.D., and then a month later with 40 affiliate partners, was a big stepping stone in this process.

During the second half of the year, I focused on the book launch and related 53-city book tour to every U.S. state and a few bonus stops (to be followed by a Canada tour in January). Both of these projects have taken the community to a whole other level, and I’m thrilled that they have been received well. I’ve wanted to write a book for at least five years; to hold it in my hands and (even better) hear from people who have enjoyed reading it is extremely rewarding.

The other interesting thing is seeing that when you take the time to build a strong platform, as I did in 2008 and 2009, the platform eventually becomes self-sustaining and one thing tends to feed into another. (I’ll explain more about this in the Business Lessons post, coming next week.)

I also met my goal of visiting at least 20 new countries before September. I try to make it to at least 20 new countries every year, but this year was especially challenging due to losing an entire quarter from September—December. (I’ll have a whole post about travel lessons and where I’ve been this year after the Business Lessons one.)

Other Good Things

Our Ethiopia project has raised more than $70,000 so far, including a big donation of $24,000 that came from one blog post a couple of weeks ago.

I hosted the $100 Business Forum with my good friend Pam Slim four times. Our Facebook community grew to more than 17,000 awesome people. Everywhere I went, I tried to meet with friends from Twitter and elsewhere.

I gave talks at TedX Carnegie Mellon and several colleges. I feel like I’m improving in my speaking (it helps to give 53 talks in a row and 50 radio interviews in a month) and am looking forward to doing it more next year.

I formed an action team for next year’s World Domination Summit and opened registration. More than 375 people are now registered from 13 countries—I expect we’ll sell out of the remaining tickets in the next 30 days, nearly six months in advance of the event.

Last but not least, as I was writing these notes, Jolie reminded me that I’ve become much more relaxed about big things than I used to be. I used to feel stressed and need several days to prepare for a major activity or event—this year, I didn’t have that luxury, and ironically I think it helped me to feel more comfortable in overcoming my fears. If you’re nervous about speaking, it helps to give 53 talks in a row. Forced deadlines also help—I had only one big day in April to launch the Empire Building Kit, and I know if I had more time, I would have taken it and it might never have happened.

What Did Not Go Well

Overall, the year was fantastic. I’m extremely grateful, and the notes above are just a small selection of highlights. I can trace “what did not go well” to a few things: health, more back-and-forth travel than usual, and a growing tension between conflicting interests.

Because of the travel, and especially the 53-city tour, my diet and exercise definitely saw a significant decline. I used to run marathons; now I run six miles and consider that a major workout. Early in the year I had planned to attend a weekly yoga class; I stopped going after a few months. There were a number of evenings on book tour where I had only vodka and almonds for dinner, usually around midnight back in my hotel room (and then I often had to get up at 6am or earlier to shuttle to the airport—I was definitely one tired non-conformist at a few stops on the tour).

By comparison’s sake, I’m still relatively healthy. I’ve been vegetarian for more than three years, I don’t smoke, and if I fail to exercise for more than a couple of days, I start feeling anxious. But comparison is the key word—if I compare myself now to myself a couple years ago, I know I was in better shape then.

I spent a lot of time away from home in 2010, which was good for my adventures and career, but wasn’t always easy for Jolie or even my own emotional well-being. I don’t travel as much as some people think; I’m actually in Portland more often than I’m wandering around the world. But it’s true that I was away more than usual this year, and I don’t want to pretend that it is without consequence.

Challenge for the Future

I’ve also begun to experience some minor tension between conflicting interests that I’m not sure how to resolve. I sometimes say that I’m a “maximalist” who wants to do everything. My strategy in growing AONC has been “say yes to everything,” and this strategy has served me well for the most part. But try as I have, I’ve learned that sleeping only 4-5 hours a night on a regular basis doesn’t work well for me.

Perhaps a story will help to illustrate this dilemma. Last week I was in Alaska and Hawaii for the tour stops, and I flew home to Portland for the weekend before heading out again. The next stop was in San Francisco, but before going there, I went to Milwaukee to give a talk at an author summit hosted by the great team at 800-CEO-Read.

During my weekend at home before heading out, I heard about a concert I really wanted to attend. I thought the concert was happening while I was still home, but alas, when I checked further I discovered it was on the Monday I had to fly to Milwaukee. I felt sad to miss the concert, I knew I would likely be even more sleep-deprived than usual by the time I made it to San Fran, and a big part of me really wished I could skip the extra trip—but I had already made the commitment, so of course I went.

The interesting thing—and therefore the challenge—is that I really liked the group I met in Milwaukee. They were fun people, I learned a lot from them, and I felt like I was able to contribute something as well. That’s why I know the answer to this dilemma isn’t simply “take on fewer work commitments”—because I greatly enjoy the work I do. I had a meaningful day at the author summit and was glad I had made the trip. I was still sad about missing the concert, but also happy to meet other authors and be a part of the event.

In other words, I didn’t want one or the other; I wanted both. This dilemma caused me to think more about this post I wrote earlier this year. Some people can answer the dilemma by saying “eliminate what’s not important”—but what if you’ve already done that? I went to San Fran and was sleep-deprived for a couple days, but I got to talk at Google and then had another fun event that night in the city. I don’t regret the trip at all, but I wonder if next year I should try to go to a couple more concerts.

At any rate, this isn’t a settled issue, so I’ll be thinking about it more as I plan my next year during the review. But first, to Powell’s tonight for stop #53 of the 53-city U.S. tour. We made it, everyone! Every single state, and a few bonus stops along the way. Thanks so much for being a big part of this.

Now, over to you… How was your 2010?

Feel free to share a few highlights or lessons learned.


Image: NRG

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  • MD says:

    Have you considered trying to squeeze in the occasional power nap in your daily routine? That can do wonders for you when feeling sleep deprived.

    Perhaps you can also use your book tour as a valid excuse for missed workouts. I know that excuses are not good, but this is something that you to do.

    My lessons learned from 2010:

    1. The human body/mind can do amazing things. From pushing yourself through the toughest workout ever to learning to forgive, we truly are powerful.

    2. Diversification is dangerous. We think that the more we do, the better our lives/resume will be. At the end of the day I realized that I was picking up too many projects. Between attending college fulltime, working full time, working out, picking up a new sport, trying to run a blog, and wanting to go out 3 nights a week, you really start to dilute yourself.

  • Joel says:

    Cool to think back through everything you’ve done in the last couple months.

    I enjoyed it thoroughly [especially the part where I got to meet you a couple times].

    Keep up the great work Chris.

  • Catherine Morgan says:

    What a wild year you have had, Chris! Congratulations on your great book and successful book tour. I am thrilled with my year. I escaped from Cubicle Nation and launched my dream business. I love every aspect of running my business and working with my amazing clients. Originally I left to have more work/life balance but I find that I love what I am doing so much that I am OK being in crunch/launch mode for now. It has been crazy but a lot of fun. Thank you so much for the EBK series, Chris. I love it and feel like you have been helping me on my journey.

  • Brett Kelly says:

    2010 was insane.

    Published my first ebook (which got me an awesome new job) and quickly made enough money to allow my wife to stop working. Quickly grew a respectable(-ish) blog that’s growing in popularity every day. Thanks to many generous people (CG being near the top of that list), 2010 has been a year of explosive growth for me — instead of clawing my to the top, I feel like I’ve been propelled in that direction from a circus cannon.

    Mistakes abounded, though. The success I’ve enjoyed led me to (incorrectly) believe that I could pursue any idea that came to me and that they’d all be successful. I’ve learned that budgeting my time and being realistic with my projects are going to be key to my success going forward. Hard work and thought, not excitement or adrenaline, are what get projects out the door.

  • Natasha Papousek says:

    You had a very packed year! Wow! I am exhausted just reading about it. My cats and I highly advocate “cat naps” (naps with cats). It’s quality time AND sleep at the same time.

    2010 was an interesting year for me. And I learned a lot about my physical boundaries. Your will can only push you so far; in the end, you must take care of your body because it’s really in control.

    I had 2 hip replacements this year, so my year has been structured around the limitations and chronic pain pre-surgery, and the recovery, limitations and new-found energy post-surgery. The time spent in recovery and away from work gave me time to reflect on what’s important: family, friends, and creative work. Oh, and “cat naps.”

  • Nick Laborde says:

    Wow, it’s really been a kick ass year even though it didn’t start out that way.

    The most life changing thing for me this year is the realization that I was going to shift my life in a major way. Not that I didn’t already know that, just didn’t listen to myself… I’m stubborn like that.

    Bummed that I was out of town when you were in Atlanta but pumped that I’ll be at WDS.

    Keep rockin’ it Chris!

  • ben capozzi says:

    congratulations, chris!

    about to undertake my own annual review inspired by your example and informed now by your book, almost 3 weeks into the empire building kit, and a year where i had many opportunities to learn (i.e. many things that did not go well).


  • Theun says:

    My year can be divided in two. One part going well in the beginning, but where I realized I put too much pressure on myself, which lead to me failing a course in university, which meant that I couldn’t continue with the graduate program next year right away. That’s when I decided to go to Shanghai, do an internship in a Chinese company and improve my Chinese in the process, the second half of the year. And until now that has been awesome!

    Overall, I learned to be more realistic and less naive, but still positive. Positivity has helped me to get to where I am now. And while learning Chinese I’ve come to understand more and more how to enjoy the process of achieving your goals. With regards to my goals, I’ve found that it’s important to keep the energy burning by reviewing them frequently.

  • Matt Coffman says:

    That four burners post gives me nightmares.

    Here’s to believing in and fighting for the possibility of doing many great things full-bore with tons of heart. Thanks for the incredible example, Chris.

  • Amanda says:

    Congratulations Chris! It’s such an accomplishment – your book tour and of course, writing the book. As I mentioned before to you, I am using you as my inspiration as I begin my own tour.

    What I have learned in 2010 is that tenacity is a really good trait to have 🙂 I love this quote (sorry, I forget who said it) “It’s never crowded in the last mile.”

  • Chris in South Korea says:

    2010 was a good year – a couple of unsolicited local media appearances, finishing an e-book, and traveling more around South Korea than almost any other waygookin, or foreigner. I’ve also started a new, related project called the Gyeonggi-do Explorer – talking all about the area surrounding Seoul.

    The bad? Sort of feeling like I’ve hit a plateau – there’s only so much growth in a niche blogging area. Or is there?

  • Roy says:

    Wow Chris, you certainly are an over-achiever! Awesome 🙂

  • Laurel says:

    Thank you for your insightful year in review. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you in your posts and appreciate the honesty. You have made me remember that I want to live life on purpose and not merely by accident.

    I hope the next year is a happy one for you!

  • GutsyWriter says:

    Chris, we all need exercise, sleep, love and healthy food. I often wonder how you can keep going and then I say, “You’re 32, and super-motivated, that’s why.”
    I was going to ask you how you can stay so lean when you’re traveling from state to state, but now it makes sense. You don’t have time to eat.
    Anyway, I thank you for being you; for letting us know your challenges. Once you’ve traveled around the world, done the most important groundwork, you’ll slow down and enjoy family life. Or maybe I’m wrong, but I believe you will.
    I am grateful to have met you and the wonderful followers you have. I’ve already made new friends thanks to you. Sonia.

  • Maia says:

    Hey Chris and all,

    Thanks for the invitation to share in this Annual Review process. As I did mine, I remembered that at the end of 2009, I made a very clear statement to myself that 2010 was going to be a “Brilliant year!” (Yes, with the exclamation point!) In part, that happened because the end of 2009 was so mediocre, for reasons I won’t go into.

    Having that clarity set the stage for a certain kind of energy to come in. Now looking back on the year I can say it has indeed been Brilliant! The lesson learned is how much power an intention (backed up with goals and objectives) can have.

    A few highlights —
    * Exceeded my goal of getting 2 new clients for my consulting business. I actually got 4.
    * My blog The Jizo Chronicles won “Blog of the Year” in the Blogisattva Awards
    * Signed up for the Empire Building Kit
    * Launched a new blog, The Liberated Life Project, based on what I’ve learned via the Empire Building Kit

    Looking forward to 2011!

  • Maia says:

    p.s. Just another thought about lessons learned.

    When I reflected on the “What didn’t work so well” question, one thing I noticed was that I didn’t meet my goal for saving money. I realized this was because I made choices at a number of points during the year to invest in myself and my business (joining a gym, signing up for EBK and another business training program, and more).

    While it would have been great to meet my savings goal, I also feel that it has been worth it to make those investments and I strongly believe the payoff will come in this next year. As the saying goes, sometimes we need to spend money to make money, and I don’t want to begrudge myself that.

  • Brooke says:

    It was awesome meeting you last night in Seattle, and as expected, I met some great optimistic people who have big plans to do big things. Very refreshing!

    While the year fizzled out early on for me (problems post-surgery, femoral nerve injury), I’ve made lemonade. I’ve used my Pilates knowledge, even though I haven’t been able to teach, to rehab myself about 85% so far. My success has led me to start scripting videos to help rehab others with lower limb injuries, that I hope to film over the next few months. I thought I’d lost my livelihood, not to mention my ability to stay active… and instead, I hope to be able to use my experience to improve the lives of others.

    Best of luck to you and everyone in the coming year… and Chris, I wish you a happy No-L. 😀

  • Rosie says:

    Hi all. At the beginning of this year, I threw 3 balls in the air at once. One had a green card on it, the other, a scholarship opportunity and the third, a new job. I’d say I caught one and a half balls. I’m starting at a new, more challenging job next year and my essays are almost ready for next year’s intake (the qstns are standard).

    Another thing I’ll say is that thinking back, I realize I’ve grown, changed. About 2 years ago, I won 2 return tickets to South Africa. I gave them away to a friend and his sister who study there. Future me wants to kick past me because I really can’t see why I didn’t take my best friend and myself on a holiday!!! I have more belief in what I want now, and that makes me happy.

  • Anna says:

    One thing I’ve learned this year was that “all the world a stage” and we can choose to be actors and directors and or to watch from the back row. I began to deliberately practice being in each of these positions during specific situations, and my life has become a lot less stressful and complicated. I doubled my income, enjoy my vodka and almonds a lot more and sleep way better …

  • Lily M says:

    Reading your annual review/reflection was helpful. It was honest and brimming with self-awareness.

    The dilemma you mentioned made me think of a simple creative exercise Dan Pink recommended in one of his books. I think it’s called ‘ “but” out’, that’s when I replace the ‘but’ in ‘I need to do A but I need to be at B’ with ‘… and.. so…’ which becomes ‘ I need to do A and I need to be at B, so…’ it opens up all kinds of possibilities for me.

    Just coming to your WDS involved, and will still need, a few ‘..and.. so…’ for me to make it work. Not giving up though!

    Thanks for including us in your learning journey.

  • Melissa Dinwiddie says:

    Wow, what a year, Chris! I resonate only too much with the dilemma of having too many good choices. I’m finally learning that sometimes I have to say no–even to things I really want to do–if I’m going to stay healthy and sane!

    As for my year, it’s been a wild ride. I started 2010 in an emotional black hole (financial straits; unexpected end of a relationship), but used those “smacks upside the head by the Universe” to finally make some changes and go after the life I really, really want!

    (As you know, you were a big part of the inspiration for this!)

    – I started blogging.
    – I got back to teaching calligraphy (one of my passions) after years away.
    – I got back to making art (also after years away).
    – I created an online course and community for artists and creatives who want to make a living from their creative thing – the Thriving Artists Project – the launch of which surpassed my expectations!

    May 2011 bring even more goodness & success!

  • Kate says:

    Thanks for your honesty here Chris, very brave to share so much about your limitiations too; sometimes that can be even more inspiring than all the other stuff you do ! Sleep is soooo important > I loved the cat naps comments from Natasha too, so true!

    2010 was a transition year for me (and a launchpad for 2011 I hope!!) – took a few positive actions to resolve what wasn’t working in my life….
    > notably an operation to sort out long standing health issues; so far so good 🙂
    > an MBA which I completed just yesterday (yeah!);
    > started a blog which I’m really enjoying, learning how to grow it & which will hopefully develop into a fully fledged website in early 2011 (to encourage lots of people to enjoy their travelling and at the same time do this in a sustainable way, being kind to the planet, respect local cultures & traditions and support local businesses too)

  • NATHAN says:

    Great post! 2010 for me was a HUGE year: had the biggest successes of my acting career, lived in Seattle for 12 weeks and created a blog, then came back to my home and decided to sell everything and buy a one-way ticket to create my own non-conformist, location independent lifestyle (a dream that had been building greatly recently). All of which has helped me develop my new philosophy on life (and the new blog): Nonstop Awesomeness!

    Some lessons: anything is possible, you just need to take the plunge. Whether it’s a conversation, creating your art, or moving to a new city – it’s all about having faith that it will all work out as it’s supposed to. Also: consistency vs. intensity – learning what the core fundamentals of my life are and committing to them fully. Oh, and BABY STEPS are keys to any wonderful, long-term success.

  • Kasia Kedzia says:

    Great Summary Chris!

    Main lesson learned this year, as I embarked on transitioning from the convectional to non, was that one cannot switch gears going 80mph. I learned I had to be patient and not give into fear of possible failure. It was a slow start but by the end of the year I had 4 fantastic clients that opened doors for even more possibilities in the coming year. I also met a personal goal of traveling to a new continent: Asia, only one left to go 🙂

    Happy Holidays to all and may the new year only bring you all more success and growth.

  • Matthew P. Block says:

    Perhaps for your future challenge the questions, “Which of these is more unique?” might serve you well in helping to make those difficult decisions. If you have to miss an experience that is important & exciting, it might make sense to miss the one that you’re most likely to be able to “make up for” or replicate in some way later.
    This annual review is a great tool for bettering oneself that I plan to follow you in using. Thanks for a great post & I hope “Which of these is more unique?” becomes a useful tool for you as well.

  • Pheaney says:

    But you can’t do it all. It’s impossible to do all the good things in life (and maybe even all the things that are great!)

    I’m really interested to read how you resolve this, because to me, the only answer is do less.

    (Save of course inventing a time machine or cloning yourself.)

  • Bruce says:

    Great stuff! I am taking on the challenge and look forward to the results of my first Annual review.

    Almonds and Vodka, and no fitness. Look after the temple my friend.
    It has been great following you virtually across the U.S. Looking forward to you spreading the word North of the border.

    Say the word and a home cooked meal can be yours when you visit our slice of the world.

  • Heather says:

    Congratulations on a fantastic year!

    It’s interesting that you’re having the “great things” conflict. I know exactly how you’re feeling! I’m having the same issue. Let us know how you resolve it. My week of reflection and forward thinking starts soon. If the Universe grants me any pearls of wisdom, I’ll pass them on.

  • Andi says:

    2010 was my best year yet! I don’t want it to end LOL. I didn’t know you were a veggie too, nice!!! I can’t wait to see what happens for you in 2011. 🙂

  • Emily Chaplin says:

    Hi Chris,

    From a fellow overachiever who tries to do too much, some words of advice I’ve read recently and am trying to (figure out how to) follow, which is not easy:

    “…pursuing our passion is not an excuse to burn ourselves out. We are of no use to anyone when we get ourselves over-tired and cranky. It is those times when we’re tired that we turn inward and become selfish. Honoring our vocation includes a responsibility for maintaining our general well-being. It is not blindly chasing our passion down the road with reckless abandon; rather, it is cultivating our passion for a lifetime of useful service.”
    – Dr. Rebecca Johnson, American University

    Again, how one manages to find this balance when you are so passionate and there are endless things you want to do? That, is a never ending challenge.

  • Kevin M says:

    Your last story about the concert reminds me of JD Roth’s posts from a year or so ago when he was working long hours on GRS. I think you’re getting a little burned out and cutting back a bit would probably help…as it clearly did for JD. Just my 2 cents.

  • Contrarian says:

    Chris –

    When you have a major definite purpose, mission statement, or whatever you call the “one big thing” (like World Domination), it’s important that you use that as your plumb line against which you measure and evaluate all your meaningful decisions. Ask, “Is this going to bring closer to, or pull me away from, my purpose”?

    Chris, undoubtedly, you’re pulled in a thousand different directions by a million different people, but it’s important to acknowledge that most request and demands on the time of influential leaders (such as yourself) do not move them closer to “their” mission …as such, they must establish boundaries and cultivate the habit of saying “NO” …which is hard, but necessary. You cannot personally help everybody.

    Evaluating every demand on your time against your single major definite purpose helps cut through and clarify what IS, and what is NOT important, so you don’t get lost confusing motion with progress.

    Food for thought …

    Merry Christmas, my friend

  • darryl whalen says:

    I am 50 years old, and although i have not quite lived the life that i feel is exactly what i have wanted; i know that each and every day i have an opportunity to work towards that place. You are beautiful and perfect just where you are. Your honesty and openness is tremendously inspiring and beautiful. I trust that you will do nothing more than learn to be as positive, productive and capable as you have been, along with providing the best care for yourself and all those you love. I missed you in Seattle, yet feel blessed to learn of its’ success. I just bought your book on Amazon, and the reviews were really pouring out the love and appreciation. Thank you ahead of time for a great 2011!

  • Kris Boesch says:

    Chris you truly are a rockstar 🙂 And I appreciate hearing all of your successes along with your struggles because they do come hand in hand and often lead to one another.

    2010 top 3
    1) Marriage better than ever (BIG deal)
    2) Launch of Choose People
    3) Year round Bikram yoga (usually bail in the summer)
    (want to include our amazing kids – but they were amazing this year and last year – the comparison factor)

    2010 top struggles
    1) Marriage “moments” (not like “precious moments” :))
    2) Learning sales
    3) Lack of creating experiences with kids

    Looking forward to taking some time this week to put together the full lists. I really like how you name your year – definitely need to think about that.

  • Bill says:

    Since stumbling upon your website last April, I have since become a fan, bought several of your products, including your book, started my own blog and have been inspired to challenge myself like never before in the upcoming year, including international travel and finalizing a lifelong goal. (My 2011 Change Project on my blog, outlines this and more) You were the final kick in the rear to get me out of neutral and back into gear. I look forward to following you in the new year. Keep challenging all of us toward nonconformity.

  • Karen Talavera says:

    2010 seems to have been a year of stepping into self-realization for many with plenty of birthing/growing pains – at least is has for me. But like being born, it’s worth it or we wouldn’t have come, right?

    I empathize with the “I want both” challenge but unlike you I have some hard limits in my designed life – a child and a husband who travels more than you. That means certain parenting responsibilities are requirements even during times they compete with really important or fulfilling things I wish I could do. These responsibilities and commitments ground me and force me to choose what’s *genuinely* necessary AND fulfilling given the limited time remaining for all I want to do.

    I know you’ll find the same, life is a continuous weeding-out process until hopefully we’re left doing just our great work and delegating or having built systems and support for all the rest. Still, you can’t delegate the feeding of your body, spirit and mind. Give that priority so you can stay great!

  • Karen Talavera says:

    Hey I also wanted you to know I took your annual review process, combined it with some cool goal-setting/word-of-the-year/planning stuff Chris Brogan wrote about, and came up with a very thorough Annual Review & Goal Setting process and Goal Dashboard of my own that worked gangbusters for me in 2010 and I’m doing again for 2011. I’m thinking of turning this into a paid product – maybe we should JV? Let me know if interested. This would definitely be a fit in your product set.

    I echo Bruce’s offer for a home cooked meal if you’re in my neck of the woods (Miami and surrounding). And skip the vodka – we’ll be having caipirinhas, mojitos or margaritas – take your pick!

    Shine on Chris, hope to meet you at your event in 2011.

  • Micki McNie says:

    I love Annual Review time, I’m working on mine right now. last year I had 11 categories and ended up dropping a lot of projects. But that was in line with my theme of giving 100% to everything and letting go of things not getting or deserving of that. My two top categories of spirituality/relationships definitely took priority and I am thrilled with growth and change in those areas. Overall I met the spirit of my goals without worrying about the letter so to speak. 2011’s theme is still being determined but I have learned to narrow my focus and go hard in a few areas rather than try to do everything. Thank you as always for your inspiration.

  • Darby says:

    Looks like you had a great year and came a long way! Two great products in a year with the tour and going forward on your over-arching all countries project? One word: wow!

    I still yet to do my annual review (next week!) Today is my last value providing day for 2010. Tomorrow and onward is all about 2011 (well and some holidays too)! Wow! I’ll tell you how 2011 is going tomorrow =)

  • Wyman says:

    Wow Chris,

    Your tour was an awesome goal. Sorry Reno got you instead of Las Vegas. I will meet you in Portland and may have a few of my 2011 goals achieved by then.

    I think having too many ideas and interests is part of being an entrepreneur. I want to help families start their own businesses for real income security. I think I will start some of my ideas as a business in a box and let others finish the projects. My passion is in starting not finishing. I can make money and have the fun of starting projects too.

    Today’s walk was the start of my goal setting for 2011. As I mentioned before I have to rest every few blocks so I write as I sit on the walker. I am going to put these sessions on a new audio or video blog. Not a very fast typist. Thank God for spell check or you writers would think I was a real idiot. Only one word needed correcting, getting a little better.

    Love the inspiration In EBK and the year end review. Thanks.

  • Yuri says:

    Chris, thanks for the work you do.

    As for my 2010, it was a mostly a mess. Because of my day job I managed to get a lot less done than I had hoped, and for 2011 I took course for leaving the day job behind. In fact, the year doesn’t look so bad while you’re living it, but in December it all breaks into pieces. Next year I’ll monitor my plans all the time to not stray away from the road.

    For 2011 I’ve outlined big plans, and I’m intent on completing most of the tasks. This year I’ve read a high pile of important books, and now my assumptions on what’s possible and what’s not are considerably shaken. The word “impossible”, if you get down to it, is just a word, right?

  • Kirsten says:

    I totally want to hear about the Year of the Cantaloupe. Was it sweet and refreshing? Filled with slimy seeds that needed to be scooped out? The dream dictionary says cantaloupes symbolize prosperity and peace, but if you dream of eating them it symbolizes minor physical upset.

    Sounds like you definitely achieved scale and reach this year. Congratulations! 2010 was my year of starting, and I’m declaring 2011 to be my year of growth. Or perhaps I should term it escape velocity. Regardless, what I do now will affect 2011, so I should stop procrastinating and get to writing the e-book chapter I have scheduled for today. 🙂

  • Seth M. Baker says:

    Hey Chris,
    Glad you had a wonderful year. The tour was one staggeringly ambitious project (among many). I’m glad you pulled it off. You made a positive impact on thousands of lives, mine included.

    But from one musician to another, I think you should definitely go to more concerts 🙂

    The highlight of my year was earning enough freelance writing income to cover a month’s rent. Or finishing a novel I’d spent a year on. Or living in Thailand for two months. Or making my wife a happy girl.

    What did I learn?
    -That I can’t do everything myself.
    -That some projects aren’t worth doing.

    Finally, I really like this: “take what was working and make it better.” I think I’m going to make use of this. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, this is like the definition of sanity.

  • Hudson says:

    Thank you Chris for a wonderful website, the Travel Ninja and FFM courses. I just received your Christmas card in the mail. It will be put to good use (Empire Building Kit)

  • Pascal says:

    Interesting year Chris. I know you like to take on interesting and fun challenges and man you did accomplish a lot. Honestly, its great for us all here because we like to read you and hear what you have to say.

    You kicked in your new book, (which is great after reading it, i could feel myself in it too), you travelled a lot. However, you should ask yourself is that life is sustainable on the long run. I think you deserve some holidays!

    As MD said in his comment, watch out for too much diversification, it can be dangerous. Think and focus on your Hedgehog concept (In reference to Jim Collins book “Good to Great”).



  • Brett Henley says:

    Congrats Chris on a truly epic year. It was a pleasure to be a part of the event out at the Sanctuary in Franklin, TN.

    I’m looking forward to a 2011 with more meaningful action, less reaction and hopefully tons of personal growth. Kudos.

  • Dave says:

    Thanks for sharing Chris. You’ve not only provided me with inspiration but also introduced me to a wonderful community of people. I’m excited about 2011 as I plan on it being a “Year of Excitement” as I head in a different direction with my life. Actually your travel stories inspired me to kick it off with a month in New Zealand so I’m already “excited” ! Have a great holiday with your loved ones.

  • Maria says:

    Hi Chris, do you ever do New Year’s Resolutions? I realize it sounds a bit juvenile and that an Annual Report is much more comprehensive and responsible. But, it would be great to read about your views on things like New Year’s Resolutions.


  • Dane says:

    Awesome exercise.

    I’ve just spent a couple hours going thru my own version and I’m thankful I did. It’ll really help when my planning for 2011 with mindfulness about how this last banger went down.

    As for my year: crazy. crazy good tho.

    biggest accomplishments were the development of [site] and diving into real estate in a bigger way trying to take advantage of the ‘current economic climate.’

    All the best to you and your readers in the coming year!

  • Matt Stewart says:


    Started with a stumble onto AONC site “a Google search, and my god what a fortunate one”. Plan a wedding, get married. Within 3 months quit my teaching job where I was running two departments. The pedals were going round really fast but not a lot of forward motion. Overworked and undervalued. After I quit was offered a management role to stay(!). Turn it down.

    Decide to move from NZ to the States (Where shall we go? Umm, not sure. I guess we could try New York). Quit my clinic and business. Decide on a ridiculous timetable for moving. Pack up all worldly goods (still packing 2 minutes before leaving for the airport) leaving an apartment with a million view. There ensues enough adventures, mistakes, minor bureaucratic victories and successes in the relocation process to spark an idea. I realize I’ve done this 5 times before and I’ve – mostly – got the process worked out.


    Perhaps there’s a blog in that…

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