Thursday 27 September 2012

My 2011 10Q answers

In 2010 I started doing an annual exercise in personal reflection guided by 10Q. I published my answers here on my blog this time last year and got some nice reactions from people. So I'm going to do the same again this year. Here are the results from 2011:

Day 1:
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My answer:
My role has changed at work. I've gradually morphed from being a project manager into a search engine marketing executive. I now deal with pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization. I'm really grateful because I enjoy this kind of work more. I've got a better chance of keeping my job and providing more value to the company. I'm earning a reputation as an expert within the company. I love running Google Grants for clients and optimizing their campaigns because I can see the results and report back on them.

Day 2:
Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you're especially proud of from this past year?

My answer:
No regrets spring to mind. Or maybe one: not completing my Touch Europe Level 3 referee's exam sooner so that I could have been a Level 3 referee at the World Cup and would have been eligible for upgrade to Level 4. I had the take-home exam last September, but I didn't complete it until the eve of the tournament. I'd been so busy with work and social life that I just didn't have the time or the energy to fit it in. I meant to do it in my week off at the beginning of December (the deadline was supposed to be early December), but I was so exhausted, I spent most of that week in bed.

I'm proud of how well I did at the World Cup. I think I finished in the top 40 referees, if the appointments to the final games meant anything (I'm not sure they do). That's a great achievement considering I had the lowest badge level.

I also wish I went to bed earlier. I've got a terrible late-night habit, which makes getting up in the morning difficult. I find the habit hard to break because I get a second wind about this time at night (currently 21:47) and spend so much time on the internet.

Day 3:
Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?

My answer:
I can't remember if it was this past year, but my big brother has been kicked out of my parents' house. He was becoming obnoxious. He came round one time and smashed a whole load of things up. The sad thing is, so many things have happened with him that this sort of thing doesn't seem like a major milestone anymore, just one in a list of many bad incidents over the past 12 years. I can't even remember their chronology, which is partly because I've been so distant from them and never directly affected (thank goodness).

Day 4:
Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My answer:
I'm afraid I'm not much affected by world events. I don't know if Michael Moore's view has impacted me: that stuff about the news being full of fear. Compassion fatigue is part of it, too, and the fact that my news consumption is passive and largely through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, which is where I often hear about events first. I do listen to the Today programme on Radio 4.

I suppose the riots affected me more than anything. There was one day I was working from home when I was just mesmerized by the videos and news about the riots. Didn't get much work done that day (Tuesday).

Day 5:
Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? "Spiritual" can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.

My answer:
Nothing springs to mind. I guess playing maracatu at Notting Hill Carnival again, although I didn't hear angels this year. I really enjoyed the rehearsal on the Saturday before. We sounded great right from the beginning. I just couldn't stop smiling. Probably the purest form of joy I felt this year has been when playing music like that.

There were also some pretty special moments when playing and singing with my uke group: a beautiful harmony, inspiration to improvise some new lyrics. A lot of musical inspiration ("inspiration" in the sense of being filled with breath: the breath of creation).

Of course: it's come to me now, after I first submitted my answer. It was at the Touch World Cup on the last day when we were having a referees' presentation in our referees' room. Tammy Clark announced she was retiring from the game. Then all the Kiwi refs did a haka, some of them bare-chested. It was really moving. Very powerful. Tammy had tears in her eyes and so did I. I was also moved every time I saw big Tony (a white guy) do the Kiwi greeting of touching noses and foreheads with another person, often with his hand on the back of the other person's head, looking into their eyes. So dignified.

Day 6:
Describe one thing you'd like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?

My answer:
I'd like to be promoted to the South-West Group as a rugby union referee. It's important to me because I've been working towards it for the past year and a half. I feel I'm making progress and, from what I've seen from referees already on the Group, I'm not that far off their level.

It's important to me because I want to referee at the highest level possible. Moving up through the ranks steadily will keep me motivated.

Day 7:
How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?

My answer:
Go to bed earlier (he writes at 23:53 on a Tuesday night)! I'd like to be able to wake up in the mornings and get out of bed on the first alarm - much as I like (or need) snoozing until the latest possible moment before I have to get up. I think I'd function better at work with more sleep. I may referee better and I might get more stuff done early in the day rather than doing it late at night, which is when I seem to get my second wind at the moment.

The last time I told my doctor about my sleeping habits he told me off and said I'd be at risk of losing my job if I let it continue.

Day 8:
Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2012?

My answer:
Can't really think of anything at the moment. I'd like to get to know a few of my friends and acquaintances better - if they'll let me in. I'm also keen to continue studying drumming - especially maracatu. I said that last year, too.

Day 9:
What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?

My answer:
I don't really fear many things, although I am sometimes a bit scared of my boss at work. I don't always react well to criticism. It makes me go in my shell, I take it personally, and feel awful. I need to learn to develop a thicker skin, like I use when I'm refereeing. Listen to everyone's feedback, consider it, and take from it what I can use to get better at something. Not all feedback is accurate or useful. I need to prove to my boss that I can do what he wants me to do: take the initiative, win some business, make better use of my time. I feel better now that I've given a good account of myself sometimes and produced some good work. I'm no longer afraid every time he asks to speak to me.

Day 10:
When September 2012 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you'll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you're at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?

My answer:
I think I'll feel slightly disappointed that my answers were a bit boring. I'd like to have a full-time contract by then, maybe even have hired a minion to work under me. I don't think answering these questions will have any major impact on my life or its direction.

Day 11:
What are your predictions for 2012?

My answer:
Another love interest. This time reciprocated?

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