The Annual Review: 2017
Table of Contents
Every year, I try to do a yearly look back on the good + bad of the year. I’m not perfect, but you can read previous past review below here
2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016
Note: If you prefer podcast form, you can listen to this post here.
2017 had a ton of things happen (many of them very, very good), but first:
The Bad: What Didn’t Go Well
There were a few things I was frustrated with throughout the past year.
I Spent a Lot of 2017 “housekeeping”
Because of everything that went down on the legal side of the business in 2016, I spent a lot of time this year “cleaning up the mess” that 2016 created. That meant I didn’t get to create as much as I’d like and that much of the year felt like I was digging myself out a hole.
Thankfully, I’m out now, but it was quite frustrating at times and a headache to deal with.
The Business Had a “meh” Year
The business this year was “meh.” It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. It was “meh.”
I had several projects I’ve moved to 80% complete, but have farther to go still. I’ve made good legwork on much of it, but due to distractions + housekeeping, I have a lot ready to launch in 2018.
I don’t have a home.
After being on the road for 18 months, the answer to the question “where do you live” has been an interesting one lately. My standard answer is something of a mix between San Diego, Chicago, Boston, and New York.
Vague I know.
It’s led to a lot of interesting experiences when I’m on the road, but always having to figure out my living situation when I’m stateside has been a pain. More on that soon…
- Not having a “base” started bothering months 9-12 more than I thought it would.
- I felt like I was “playing business” more than doing business. I had a come-to-jesus moment and started to change some things for next year.
- I got stuck in Doha for 48 hours. It’s a good story now, but was probably my biggest travel related headache today.
- On an first-world-problems + slightly annoying note, due to the way that American changed their loyalty program, the miles that I flew with them would have counted for 120,000+ miles only counts for some 80,000 odd miles which means despite spending half the year in a plane, I’ll only have Platinum Pro level status. world’s smallest violin
The Good: What Went Well
Despite all the stuff that happened, 2017 was pretty awesome. A few things that stood out:
The 777 Project: Finishing What I Started
The first half of 2017 was all about finishing what I started. I wrote this at the end of last year that I was going to pick up the ball and finished my quest to run 7 ultra marathons on 7 continents and build 7 schools for Pencils of Promise
777. I’m happy to report that I did just that. I finished 5 races in 3 months and visited a ton of countries (as I listed out below). We also raised almost $20k more than our initial goal and I found out that I’m the youngest person to have run an ultra marathon on every continent which was cool.
I was on a mission and focused and it felt good to finally complete what I had set out to do almost 3 years ago. #boom
Making the Discomfort, My Comfort Zone
This year I feel like I fully embraced the world traveler identity. I visited dozens of countries I had never been to before and regularly bought one-way tickets without an exact idea of how I was going to get myself out of it.
I regularly was comfortable in a lot of places that would not be physically comfortable, but I ended up getting really good at it and having a good time.
Despite still not having a base, I found I was able to get back into things on the back half of the year. Whether routine meant finding a workstation popcorn routine or just getting back into lifting heavy weights again – it’s been good to get my feet planted into some routine with some concrete plans going forward.
It’s also been an impetus to get back to writing and creating – which I’ve found is a lot easier when you have a desk you can work at rather than playing Digital Nomad Hunger Games when it comes to finding a desk at a coffee shop.
Relaunching The Podcast
I relaunched the podcast at the beginning of the month and have published an episode every week since. BOOM.
If you want to get inspired with a new interview every week (and occasional intermissions from me), check it out at ImpossiblePodcast.com
Due to the travel and 777, this year had a bunch of highlights. Stuff I’ve found myself looking back on over the last 2 month include:
- Visiting Union Glacier Antarctica and running a 100k
- Running the 66k in Finland and having everything go wrong.
- Running the last race in South Africa with Alan.
- Working with Jesse’s WeDoHardStuff.com group and raising $36,000
- Doing Hell on the Hill
- Running Liechtenstein + Monaco
- Italy + Lake Como Trip
- The Farm
Rang in the New Year with 12 hours on my feet at the Narrabeen All Nighter. 1.5 mile trail. Out and back. As many times as possible. Go. # Finished the race and saw we passed $112k on our fundraiser this morning. Makes all the blisters and muscle cramps worth it knowing we're going to make education possible for 7 communities in 2017. 3 races down. 4 to go! Happy New Year! 🎉 #777project #dosomethingimpossible
3 weeks ago, I ran the Ice Marathon 100k as race #4 for the #777project. . It was the farthest race I've run to date, the coldest one, and did I mention it was in Antarctica? . I had been trying to run this race for 3+ years and now that it's done, I finally took the time to write up the race recap on ImpossibleHq.com (check it out). It was epic. . Oh and if you're keen on helping us build another school with @pencilsofpromise, we're less than $1,000 away from building school #5 and I'm matching every dollar donated – so we're super close! Just hit the link below and I'll double your donation. #boom . http://impossiblehq.com/777 . Reminder: If you want to do something, set your mind on it, expect it to be hard, work your tail off and go after it. The more #impossible it sounds, the better. . . . . #antarctica #icemarathon100k #ultra #ultramarathon #running #pencilsofpromise #pop #impossible #dosomethingimpossible #pushyourlimits #athlete #fitness #instafit #instatravel #travel #racefinish #unionglacier #impossiblemindset #impossiblefitness
Everything is better when you earn it. You can take a 10 minute tram up Harder Kulm or a 2 hour hike straight up the mountain. . Do the hike. You'll enjoy the view that much more. . 📸 by @tbrown30 . . . #pushyourlimits #dosomethingimpossible #wedohardstuff #dohardstuff #impossible #getafterit #rogerthat #switzerland #harderkulm #interlaken #resilient
I visited a whole bunch of places I’d never been before (and got to visit some old favorites) as I mentioned in this post.
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- Indonesia (Bali)
- Kuala Lumpur
- South Africa
If you prefer podcast form, you can listen to this post here.
January 1st, I’ll share some of my goals for 2018 and an outline for you to share yours too.
I thought your legal fights happened between 2014 and 2015, followed by a “fight back” from you which ended at the beginning of 2016. Did stuff continue behind the scenes?
Anyways, you did good to both defend yourself and to fight back. A lot of people would chicken out of this one. You forgot one good thing that happened to you in 2017… You got me as a subscriber 😉
I don’t do cold showers, actually I love my warm baths, I don’t need to start a business and I don’t want to work for myself – all-in-all, I am not your typical follower, but I am listening to what you’re saying from other reasons (NO! not a stalker either).
Happy New Year, Joel! I wish you a 10x better 2018!