2018-2023 Sabbath Cycle Vision: Preparing For My Calling

2018-2023 Sabbath Cycle Vision: Preparing For My Calling

This is not only a new year, but it is also the first full year of my next sabbath year cycle. As such, before I define the focus for this year, I also need to define the guiding vision that will serve me for the next approximately six years. Technically my sabbath year started and ended mid-year, so I’ve actually had this guiding vision in place for six months already, since July 2018.

As I reflected on the exemplars I’ve learned about the past three year, and the period of their lives in which they accomplished the great things they are known for, they each had their biggest impact later in life. Franklin negotiated the treaty with France his 70s. Muir founded the Sierra Club in his 60s. Liddell only lived to be 43, but those final years are the reason he is remembered. Each of those people had accomplishments and showed signs of high potential early in life, but in retrospect those early years seem more as preparation. It was during those early years that they set themselves up for future success by; developing their character, becoming experts at topics they were passionate about, demonstrating their ability to execute on a tactical level, building up financial savings, forming key relationships and/or  setting up circumstances that allowed them to flourish later in life.

My guiding vision for these six year is to undertake the preparations that will allow me to, hopefully, have similar success later in life. To write the most meaningful chapters of my life at some future date.

I do not yet know what those chapters contain, but I do know that there are ways I can better prepare myself. That is what I will attempt to do over the next six years.

Some things this might look like:

  • forming relationships with mentors that will help guide me
  • identifying comrades in arms for missions I believe are important
  • investing in key skills that I can leverage later
  • identifying topics I want to specialize in & becoming an expert
  • demonstrating the ability to execute exceptionally on projects of increasing scope
  • building up financial basis that allows me more opportunity later
  • setting up circumstances so I am close to an ideal place for later action
  • building credibility with the types of people I will need support from later, even those I don’t personally know

I mentioned above that I’ve actually had this vision in place for half of the year. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that a few months ago I accepted a job at one of the most well respected and highest paying companies in the world. That was a move that, I hope, will help with all eight of the above to some degree over the coming years.

What this also means is that this is not a period for me to overextend myself. You can not much prepare for something if all of your capacity is already committed to something else. I am already in a period of life where my current p0 (highest priority) commitments are pretty heavy, so the free capacity I have for anything new is fairly low. With those facts in mind I will look to be more conservative with what I take on and spend more energy maintaining the things I already have.

2018 Focus: End Of Year Review

At the beginning of 2018 I wrote about my focus for the year. I’ve posted a few updates throughout the year (quarter year, half year & three quarters) and now is the time to do a final review.

2018 Theme: First Principles Lifestyle

Self Grade: 7/10

In terms of relevance with theme, this year provided plenty of opportunity. I ended up making two major job decisions and we made one where-to-live decision. Each of those provided an opportunity to evaluate our options based on first principles, what we wanted to achieve.

I think we did a good job drilling back into the heart of the matter and figuring out what we wanted and why we did. The difficulty is even knowing those things, the decisions aren’t easy as everything is a trade off.

2018 Challenge: Profile 12 Families (w/ Kids) Living Intentionally Different

Self Grade: 1/10

I failed to make any significant progress here. The only things I achieved were selecting two families, discussing the idea with them, and then conducting one interview. I failed to get anything on paper.

I believe this failure came down to two main issues.

One, this year had a lot more work than I anticipated. One move that took a solid 40-60 hours and a job search this Fall that took 150-200. That was time that was pulled off the table and meant there was less space to complete something like this.

Two, after spending my days working at a computer and in meetings, I just really didn’t feel like having more of that type of work. Though the topic is more enjoyable, the physical nature of the work is similar. I think this is one of the reasons my physical challenges were so great in the past, they were my excuse to exercise. Something to consider in the future.

2018 Habit: Daily Devotions

Self Grade: 8/10

In Q4 I ended up hitting my goal of 4 devotion times per week on 9 of the 13 weeks. This is tied with my highest yet and I was only 6 missed days away from having a perfect record.

In Q1 I was successful on 33 days, in Q4 it was 46, so over the course of the year I increased my frequency of practicing this habit by 40%, which is slightly less than the 50% I was hoping for a quarter ago. If you were to compare Q4 of this year to Q4 of last year though, which unfortunately I don’t have data on, the increase is likely closer to 100%.

I did make an audible mid-year to change my Q4 target from 6 days per week to 4 days per week based on how my successful weeks had been decreasing and my number of days total was staying about the same in Q1 to Q3. This turned out to be a great strategy – having an achievable weekly goal is a great way to make progress.

I had also specified that I wanted >75% of my Q4 devotion times to be in the morning. It ended up being 31 of 46 days, or 67%, so I was a bit short, but still did better than the 50% and 59% of previous quarters.

2018 Exemplar: John Muir

Self Grade: 7/10

Despite failing to read the most popular biography about Muir, I think I did a great job learning about him. I took in enough to produce this exemplar review, which I’m proud of. The only reason I won’t give myself a higher grade is that I failed to put any learnings into practice this year – mostly because I got started too late.

Secret 2018 Goal Review: Ratio of Creation to Consumption

Earlier this year I wrote about a secret goal I had for the year (which I guess makes it a secret only between everyone with internet access).

I was going to track my creative vs consumption time and try to move my ratio from 1:2.5 to closer to 1:1.

For 2018 the results are

Books read: 5
Books listened to: 1
Significant blog posts written: 9
Total Productive: 15

Movies watched: 52
Video Games Played: .25
Graphic Novels Read: 1
TV Show Seasons Watched: 6
Consumptive Total: 59.25

Ratio – 1:3.95

I nearly doubled things in the wrong direction, which is a bummer, but I guess this is why this is a secret goal and not an official one.

I think the best way to get things closer to 1:1 that also seems really healthy is to drop my movie count by a good 20 or so and to use that time to write about 4 more blog posts. That alone would get me towards 1:2.