In the beginning of this year, I went for a week to the island of Gran Canaria. The major purpose of the trip was to do the annual review exercise for 2012, as well as to brainstorm on the plans and the ideas for the new year.
Gran Canaria, with its weather reminiscent of eternal spring, was a perfect place to do this exercise. In my mind I had the image of the island as a destination of countless package tours. However since I stayed in Las Palmas, which is just a normal Spanish city, only with a few palm trees, I felt rather far away from the tourist crowds inundating other parts of the island. Sipping a glass of white wine on the promenade of Las Canteras, looking at the unruly ocean lit by the winter sun of Africa, was a great way to reflect.
I do my annual review exercise according to the principles proposed in one of my favourite blogs, the Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. The idea is rather simple: you look at what went well in the past year and at what did not go well. Then you look at the goals you set for yourself last year and how they got implemented or not. And then you set goals for yourself for the coming year. In general I quite agree with the old adage that 10% of time spent on planning saves 90% of time spent on execution. More than that, I am pretty sure that high-level planning and reflection is a lot more effective than minute day-to-day efficiency management. So I find it very useful to take some time to do the review for the whole year.
Last year was the first time I did this exercise, so this year was the first time I could review the goals I set for myself in an organised way. Here are some flashbacks from the annual review exercise for 2012.
What went well?
The theme of 2012 for me was LEARNING.
It was a very productive year. In my work I got to work for the whole year in the same organisational unit, which meant that I could really apply myself fully. I did a lot of travel for work and got to do some rather challenging missions, including to our most important counterpart. I very much enjoyed the challenge.
Outside of work, I travelled to some amazing places around the world – including Brazil, Myanmar and Japan.
I got to do a lot of learning. In the beginning of the year, I did two film programs in Brussels Raindance, in screenwriting and in directing. In April I went to Myanmar for a photography expedition with a group of photographers. I continued doing my contemporary dance classes in Fred Academy in Brussels. Finally, from September I started participating in regular tennis matches with BGS.
I read a number of amazing books that literally changed my life.
What did not go so well?
Although I celebrated the previous New Year with my brother and his family on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand, overall I did not see my family as much as I would have liked to during this year.
Doing a lot of learning, I did not do as much implementation of learning as I would have liked: I mean the actual photographing and the actual writing.
I met my friends, but I would have liked to meet them more and to organise the events with on my initiative and around some ideas that I have.
Last year I was counting on moving to another flat, but this did not come to pass, as I had too many other activities, including of course a lot of work as well as a lot of business and personal travel that took my focus.
I am still considering what will be the theme of this year. Perhaps it will be CHANGE or DISCOVERY or FIRST ACTIONS.
One of the plans that kind of got into shape during the reflection time in Gran Canaria was to go ahead with this blog. The idea of a blog built around the topic of photography has been simmering in the back of my mind for quite a while already. I hope to write here about the lessons I learn in photography. I will also share my inspiration – be it foreign lands, information resources or my amazing friends and their wisdom.
I also hope that the existence of this blog will kind of push me a bit to look for more unusual experiences, to step out of my comfort zone, and also will inspire me to learn and do new things in photography.