My yearly reflection: A personal note from 2020 to my future self.

New year. New me. That's what they say. But we all know that even the best thought-out new year resolutions don't really last for more than a few days.

Why should it be different this time?

Although I understand why people say that New Years Resolutions are stupid, the change of the years gives me a mental cut and the needed time to reflect on the past year and re-prioritize the things that matter to me. This year, I'm choosing to do this in the form of a very personal article which marks the beginning of an exciting change for me starting 2021.

Although many things indeed made 2020 a memorable year, not for the better, I still was happy and excited about every single day in the last year.

With lockdowns and contact-restrictions, the pandemic taught me a renewed sense of gratitude for the things and people around me. I learned the undeniable fact that time isn't renewable and we should spend it in the best way possible. Especially the finishing weeks of 2020 enabled me to focus on the things that truly mattered in my life. From spending time more consciously with my family to learning a lot about myself; it truly has been transformational.

With this writing, I want to share my most important thoughts, goals, and plans for the upcoming year. Not to feel entitled or egoistic in any way. I'm doing this to hold myself accountable for what I set out to do and share it with the people that matter to me in my life.

A new year, a new commitment, a path to a better life.

I want to start off with one commitment I made to myself. From this day onwards, I will publish a piece of writing in the form of an article, book note, or thought experiment every week.

Writing is a way to reflect and think much more effectively. Although writing just for yourself is great, I believe in the benefits and transformational power of sharing it with the world. For me it is enough motivation to just consider the following thought: If just one person reading my work takes away one lesson that helps them live a better life, I succeeded. That's what drives me and motivates me to put myself out there (in the form of the written word) and see where this takes me.

Learning a new skill: Machine Learning

I believe in lifelong learning. I think true progress in learning only happens when you challenge yourself just enough to feel incompetent in your actions but not overwhelmed and frustrated by them. A topic that sounded scary and overwhelming to me is machine learning. Although I watched a few videos on it, it still seems quite abstract to me and I don't fully understand how to apply it in the real world.

That's why I set myself the goal to understand, and learn to write, machine learning algorithms in the real-world environment. One step at a time.

Entrepreneurial endeavors: Pushing wespond to the next level

At the beginning of last year, I made the step to kick off another startup project called wespond. Initially, our goal was to help traditionally-minded companies in Germany make continuous feedback part of their everyday life. After raising initial funding and experimenting with different market segments and products, we finally found a promising path ahead of us for the upcoming year. Our mission is to make the workplace more creative, empowering, and inspiring by providing a modern leadership tool to managers that enables them to understand, challenge, and grow their teams.

As of now, we gained an initial user base that is interested in the work we're doing. Together with the team, I'm excited to push our mission to the next level in 2021. More precisely, we want to build out our idea of a modern leadership tool while doubling down on the modern manager that strives for growth and creativity in their teams.

A closing thought: The only constant in life is change.

It is easy to fall into the trap of setting a yearly goal or commitment and just executing on it without regular reflection. In the end, the only reality we live in is the present moment.

Our life doesn't consist of yesterdays or tomorrows. It consists out of todays and nows.

Therefore, it may well be the case that I change my goals. That I learn that something does not play out the way I desired. And with this, I will bring the needed flexibility to reflect regularly and not be too stubborn to not adjust my goals and plans.

With this in mind, I wish all of us an outstanding 2021: Memorable moments with people you love. Determinism for the things you ought to achieve. And most importantly, good mental and physical health by putting yourself above anything else. Let's make this year, the best we ever hard.

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