How was your 2017?

I didn’t know where to go with the 2017 review. As I’m typing the beginning, I’m not sure this is even the way. But I’m sticking with this one and going for it.

Here’s the November review
Here’s the October review
Here’s the September review
Here’s the August review
Here’s the July review
Here’s the June review
Here’s the May review
Here’s the April review
Here’s the March review
Here’s the February review
Here’s the January review
Here’s the 2016 review
There was a day during the middle of December that had me really down, bummed out, wondering why I was even doing everything I was doing. The day came right after I had been rejected a second time to speak at a conference.

It really made me wonder whether 2017 was a good year. I was feeling that down on myself and everything. Didn’t help that I was just rejected to speak at a couple of conferences. I don’t care what anyone says, yes you need to accept rejection as part of life, but it still sucks to get the no.

It took a 25-mile bike ride to calm my mind but the emotions still lingered. It was there that I started thinking about all of 2017. The task: pick five great things that happened this year.

And it was tough to pick five out of everything that happened during the year, which made me feel a lot better.

There were a lot of highs, some extreme lows and a lot of in the middle moments that all made me a better person. Some goals were accomplished and a lot of goals failed.

But if I had to pick five great things that happened this year in order …

5. Most of what I did during the year built into something bigger.

This is, in a way, cheating because I’m going to point out a few positives here.

My current job, where I use Excel frequently for online stores and finances and inventory, wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t get certified in Excel, which wouldn’t have happened had I not focused on learning something new every day, which wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t achieve my first goal of getting to 100 words per minute typing, which wouldn’t have happened had I not tweaked a sort-of OK javascript typing game, which wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t join a couple of tech meetups. Oh, and getting the job wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t know about dropshipping.

The lesson learned here is that everything can be connected. It’s about trusting the unknown road ahead (July review). When I ask myself why things haven’t happened yet, I tell myself it’s not time. Maybe it’ll eventually happen or perhaps it’s not meant to happen.

4. When times got tough, I fought

The worst thing to happen this year was losing the car (June review). It was such a shock, I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out after that. However, I asked myself a few things as time went on and the ‘need’ to have a car because SOCAL U NEED CARZ TH3R3 R LOLHIGHWAYZ

How often did I need to drive everywhere?
Not much.

How much did I drive for stuff that mattered?
Not much.

How much was I putting into the car every month considering everything?
About $700.

Was there someone who needed me to drive to their place consistently?
Only my jobs or gigs but that’s it. No one specific person.

I found myself more free by not having a car. And even if I needed to go places, there are a lot of options, some cheap and others expensive. But there are options.

Losing the car made me re-evaluate what was necessary and what I was truly doing.

It also made me see who had my back when times got tough. In the first few days there were a lot of people I interacted with who did not have my back, and that shocked me. But I separated myself from those people as soon as possible. I’ve carried that as the year went on, to be more aware of my surroundings and more aware of who was supporting me.

I’m grateful to the many people who supported me with a thanks or words of encouragement be it out of the blue or when times got tough. It’s tough for me to show it, but please please please, if you’re reading this and have supported me through words of encouragement, please know I appreciate it 100.

The fight went beyond the car as well. When I quit the tutoring service, a byproduct of losing the car (remember how I talked about people not having my back?) I could have given up and went back home.

But I fought, applying to as many places as possible to get that next job. In a span of 3 weeks I probably sent my resume or a feeler to about 200 places. The 2007 me would have hoped for something to happen, waiting for the golden moment to go 1-for-1. I knew today the only way to get things done is by taking action. Thankfully, three companies called to ask about what I do, and one said yes (July review).

There was a day before I got hired that my mom called and she asked if I was worried. I told her no but she wanted me to express confidence in that no. Worst case scenario I take a restaurant job for a month or two. I was going to fight to get something.

3. I was active in some form.

At the beginning of the year, it was running. It seemed to be the easy way to get out and get some exercise.

Once I got my current job, I moved toward a gym membership.

The option was going home after work and doing nothing on the computer after working on a computer for 8 hours. No. I needed something to take my mind off of it and being in the gym has helped.

That hour or two in the gym actually gets me more fired up to go home and work on projects where I might have been less motivated after just coming off of work.

Right now I have no set workout plan other than one cardio session of at least 30 minutes and four lifting exercises. Plan for 2018 is to do a free weights routine.

Bike riding also has become a big part of what I do. Getting a bike and going 20-25 miles around the area is some of the most fulfilling exercise sessions I do. It allows me to think, reflect and enjoy the scenery.

Bike riding will definitely be part of my 2018 goals as you’ll see later.

2. My coding skills went from nothing to something and opened up a new world I hadn’t experienced.

For years I told myself I would learn how to code. That followed with no action. Then I got serious and now I have my own stats program and database.

Let me rewind for a moment.

Late 2016, in searching for Meetup groups to learn from, I found one in Orange County and immediately was shunned by these tech people for having no skills or abilities. Hipsters, brogrammers, whatever you want to call them … it didn’t feel good to get the cold shoulder and to be told to come back when you’re ready.

“So it was gonna be like that?” I thought to myself.

But I tried to find another group hoping I wouldn’t get treated the same way, lest give up on it all because I don’t need that negativity. I eventually found a group, Learn Teach Code L.A. who had people of all skills trying to get better. I think had I not met people who were at level zero I might have given up and not tried.

I later found out about Codesmith, which was more a next level class than an actual Meetup. But I went anyway just trying to absorb any information I could.

There also was Uncoded Long Beach, a group trying to better their skills. The group was based in downtown.

I’ve attended other meetups, some good and some meh, but I’m grateful to those three groups for helping me get better this whole year. They helped turn a nobody like me into someone who could create basic programs. When I started, I had no aspirations of building a Facebook or major program used by millions. I just wanted to learn and see what would come of it.

And look, today I have certification in Excel, I know some JavaScript and MySQL, there’s a database with thousands of rows of esports data, and my ability to code is 10000 times better than a year ago. Plus, I’ve given a talk about my (lack of LOL) skills, attended major events and been to places I never thought I would ever visit (Google Venice/SM, are you kidding me?).

That’s not to say everything is sunshine. There are still many days when I get the feeling I’m not supposed to be in these groups for whatever reasons. The impostor syndrome hits me very hard at every event I attend, even if it’s coffee/juice and socializing. There are times when I get the feeling, true or not, that I’m just not wanted around and times people won’t give me the same oxygen because I’m an Excel guy or know no other languages.

That will be a challenge for me in the coming year. I have to get past the impostor syndrome and prove to people that I belong.

Had a chat with a friend during Christmas and he brought up something that I’ve kept in my mind since. There are times when we do have to brag about our accomplishments. Yes, be humble stay humble blah blah, but don’t be afraid to let people know you have accomplished things and that you do belong.

2018 is the year I prove I belong.

1. I got off of energy drinks and limited my soft drink intake.

Kind of crazy that this is 1, right? There were only a few days of the year where I wasn’t learning some sort of coding language.

But before I got serious, this was my first major goal of myself in the year. I had to stop having energy drinks and soda everyday. So I went water only for 31 days and my habits changed.

I had 18 cans/cups of soda the rest of the year.

I’m proud of myself for not reverting back because it was easy to hop into peer pressure and drink something.

Had previously talked about the challenges, the benefits and the advantages I had in doing this challenge but I want to reiterate something here. A task might seem impossible, but if you keep at it, it’s going to work out.

= = =

During the Capcom Cup, two notable veterans in the fighting game scene made a deep run in the tournament. Being an old man myself it was inspiring to see these guys continue to have their run of success. It also struck me that these guys are up in age when it comes to gaming and still chasing the gold.

I thought to myself, if these guys are my age and achieving greatness, it’s not too late to achieve something great in whatever I want to pursue. So I wrote this tweet …

I didn’t expect it to take off but hundreds of people saw the tweet and either liked it or retweeted it.

But then came the excuses. People were coming up with any reason to down play their success. So I wrote a follow-up and decided not to go after everyone (There was one person who was lame and I muted that person but whatever).

This really sums up a lot of this past year for me. It isn’t too late to accomplish the things you want. I wanted to learn how to code. Done. Run more? Done. Bike long distance with my bad knees? Yep. Get fit? Getting there. It’s all about going for it.

= = =

A look back at the 2017 goals and whether they got done or not done and some thoughts.

Work

— Reach at least $2000/monthly combined in the online and content marketing businesses by February (not close now but making progress). From there, grow by at least 5 percent each month.

Result: I did not accomplish this.

What happened: In the beginning of the year, I had no gigs, no jobs, and I thought I was gaining traction in the dropshipping business, but I was not. In the best month, I almost reached $2,000 in sales for a lot of items that weren’t available.

What struck me was that I was getting hit with fees that I was not expecting, and then money got tight to the point where I had to use Paypal Credit, which was fine then, but I’m still paying for that now.

Overall, I lost a few hundred dollars, and then my account got blocked because my seller status was below standard.

I think the moment I realized I had to pay the fees I lost the hype for it.

Now, do not get me wrong, dropshipping does work. My friends have successful dropshipping business. However, they’ve been in the game for much longer than I have. To replicate their success in a short amount of time was a bad objective to ask of myself.

What would have worked better for me is doing it for all of 2016 before I moved when I had income to offset the fees, and then build from there. Then again, I never knew about dropshipping until just before I moved.

Not bummed that this didn’t work out. Again, I have my current job because of this.

— Begin reaching out to companies looking for copy editors and get to freelancing.

Result: I accomplished this.

When I did not have a job, I reached out to as many people as possible to do writing gigs and such. I’m still doing some today, and it’s a lot of fun.

But freelancing as my main thing is still a long way off and I’m not sure whether it will be the thing. Losing the car really hurt my options, given that a few newspapers asked me to cover events outside of town. Taking a Lyft to an event basically kills any money gained.

I’m fine doing a few gigs here and there while I have my main job.

— Have the draft of 1 esports book complete (going to talk to the person about the subject in a few days, crossing my fingers)

Result: I accomplished this.

There’s a big HOWEVER attached to this goal.

The book I initially was going to write was about my friend Champ and his tournament series. The plan was to go to every event, log the progression and then do enough interviews to complete the book. I have quite a few interviews done and logged the progress of the first few majors.

When I lost the car, that hampered my plans to travel, and I missed the last few events, save the finals.

Plus, there were a few key interviews I hadn’t done that are crucial to the completion of the book. I mean, it’s not going to be Game of Shadows.

As the year went on and I kept compiling stats of each CPT event, there was an itch to blog about it. Then I thought … write a book about it. After doing some small writing, I realized it was a possibility. It doesn’t need to be a massive book, but just enough to share what happened during the year.

Within a month, I was about 60 percent done with the draft. When this post goes live, it should be 95 percent done. There will be minor revisions and such, but I will have a book published in January. It will be about 10,000-12,000 words.

As for the other book, I am still planning to do that. It might take another year to get done but I am going to continue working on it.

— Start a new podcast and break listener records of the previous shows

Result: I did not accomplish this.

This was an idea but nothing ever serious. As I was playing Gwent, I thought maybe it would be that, but I had second thoughts because I know how much of a commitment it takes.

Not that I should have ever wrote down the idea, but I knew probably after a month this was not going to happen.

— Be the official statistician for one major esports event

Result: I did not accomplish this.

But I had the stats! A major massive database! How did I fail?

The answer was simple: I waited too long to try.

It seems like this was the theme for a lot of my ‘failures’ in 2017, that I had a chance but waited too long.

There were more than 70 events this year, and I only asked one streamer if I could be the official stats guy and it was the last event of the year. ONE! And I waited until the end, when I had no proof it was necessary to have what I had, and thus it was a terrible pitch.

If I had tried earlier in the year, maybe someone says yes, but even if it is a no, I could have crafted my pitch to be better for future attempts later in the year.

The lesson is to not be afraid to try. There are a lot of things I waited too long to try so I didn’t go for it and now I am wondering what if.

If I asked earlier in the year, I don’t think it would have led to a yes at any point because it’s not a need to have. Not for 2017. Very few esports events implement data that is easy to consume for viewers. But by planting the seed this year, it could have opened up opportunities in 2018. Now I have to plant the seed in 2018 for possibilities in 2019. So, one more year of no’s before possibly getting the yes. A year lost because I didn’t try earlier.

Workout

— Get up to 10 miles running per session (currently at 5)

Result: I did not accomplish this.

I’m content with not accomplishing this because it made me see what I really enjoy, which is bike riding.

At the start of the year, I was at 5 miles and ultimately got to 8.5 miles consistency. In getting a new bike and going to the gym, running became an afterthought.

I found running more of a task and less of having fun. With bike riding, I have a lot of fun while also getting the benefit of exercise.

So I’m not down on myself for not accomplishing this goal. In a way it made me see what I really enjoy.

Personal

— Post on social media less and stay away from getting the Twitter/Facebook dopamine. I noticed the more I was on social media, the lonelier and less happier I felt. This is going to be a key for me in 2017. I remember the days when it was easy to tweet my thoughts 100 times without blinking. Let’s get it to once a day, if that.

Result: I’m going to say yes.

Beginning of the year, I definitely took a break from social media, posting far less than I had. But once the CPT season began I was posting like normal.

I think the difference was what I was posting. Yes it is fun to be a meme shitposter but what was I learning? What value was I bringing? At least the CPT season gave me a purpose. I did find that I didn’t post as much if it wasn’t related to stats.

In 2018, as I come up with a blogging calendar, I will be on social media less, using automation instead.

— Get partnered on Twitch. Probably the toughest of all the tasks, given I barely have any traction and a decision by me resulted in a huge drop when I was gaining traction the past month. But I’m willing to grind for it.

Result: I did not accomplish this.

This was sort of like the podcast goal, where it looked to be a good idea and just wasn’t at the start. Yes I know how much work needs to be done to get partnered but I wasn’t willing to dedicate the time. I had no game to focus on.

Then came the affiliate program which was an avenue of possibility. However, again I wasn’t willing to take time away from coding or the database to stream.

I will admit that seeing others who barely streamed twice a month or just started streaming get affiliate and I was still waiting did feel like a downer.

A few weeks ago I had the itch to play Smash TV because it’s a great game, one of my favorites. I thought about possibly trying to get the record back and also do a deathless run. I streamed it and a few people hopped on to watch a derust run. Hey, maybe I could put this as part of my 2018 goals.

About 10 minutes after the stream ended … I’m not going to say what specific stream I went to, but I was so pissed off from what the streamer said that I decided against streaming Smash TV.

So if I stream, I’ll be a casual scrub just having fun, not someone trying to turn it into a side gig and definitely not to try for the Smash TV record.

— Create a new niche site specific to a game (not Gwent, it’ll be something else)

Result: I guess I accomplished this?

I knew this was going to be about the Capcom Pro Tour. But then again, I know from past failures how tough and time consuming blogging can be. You have to be committed. So I waited until the end of the year to write something.

— Post analysis of my games 3 times a week

Result: I did not accomplish this.

The plan was to keep playing Gwent and break down my games, showing what went right and wrong and what I could have done better.

But the game felt too rigid for me. You had to play a certain way with certain cards. There was no room for freelancing ideas. You had to play the game’s way or else you were going to lose every time. And I just didn’t want to conform. I liked my defensive style and I wasn’t going to be told not to do it.

— Attend one out-of-state tournament that I haven’t been to before

Result: I did not accomplish this.

Easy thing is to say the car getting destroyed killed any chances. That is factually correct.

However, what tournament was I aiming to go to? CEO? Northwest Majors? I didn’t pick one! So it was a nice idea, but I never plotted out a path or even a destination to making it happen. And then when I lost the car, I had a built-in excuse ready. That’s bad.

— Read at least 10 books. My book reading in 2016 dropped BIG TIME from the previous two years, and I need to get this back up.

Result: I accomplished this.

It ended up being 15 books and it really didn’t get into high gear until the summer. I enjoyed most of the books I read and I’m glad this goal was achieved.

As I kept reading I remembered the power a book can have on someone’s life. The San Francisco Fallacy was one of those books I’ll never forget because the lessons were so relatable and powerful. It was another reason why I wanted to write a book in 2017.

= = =

2018 goals

I don’t want to have too many goals, not because I failed at a lot of the 2017 ones, but because I know where my hell yeahs are going into this year.

— Publish two books

The first book might be delayed until February but I’m fine with that. It’s the other book that will be the challenge. Let’s see how that goes.

— Build up the database website with more than just Capcom Pro Tour and Gfinity.

I know one event that I can add, but let’s find as many as possible. I’ve set up my database entry sheets much more efficiently which will save hours and allow me to process more tournaments and events. This can give us greater and more accurate insights into the players who compete.

— Complete a 50-mile bike ride session

My best is 29, and I’ve done several 25s, so that would mean gradual improvement over the next 12 months. Doable? Absolutely. It will probably require getting a new bike, though.

— Build up the website, come up with a blog plan and turn it into a community.

I’m willing to try this again after failing several times. It’s all about the blog plan. I want to make sure this time around is much different than all of the others.

— Read 15 books

It was books where I found a lot of ideas, and that really helped me advance in 2017. I don’t want to make it a one-year thing.

= = =

Word of the year

Last year’s word was Interaction. It came off of a end of 2016 where I felt really lonely and made it a point to talk to people.

That happened when I went to meetups and attended events just trying to get to know people. There are days when I still feel lonely, so I can’t say it was a complete success, but it was much better than where I was previously.

The 2018 word for me?

Everyday

When I was feeling great in whatever I was doing, it was because I was doing it everyday. Reading, bike riding, running, coding.

When I was working on the dropshipping business, progress was made when I was working on it daily. When I didn’t have a job or a freelancing gig, I sent out feelers consistently.

Everyday is a day to make progress. When I was stuck mentally, financially or emotionally, this is what I tell myself. Everyday is a day to get better. If you don’t do something everyday, you won’t advance.

= = =

Have a good 2018, everyone. To those who believe 2017 was bad and you want 2018 to be better, be sure to go for it. Don’t wait for things to happen. Make things happen.