2012: Year in Review

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I’ve been writing my year end reviews for 3 years now so I guess it has become customary of sorts. In addition to being an easy way of recording all the things I didn’t manage to write about this past year, it’s also a great opportunity to pause and reflect. This year I began my year in review by reading my 2009, 2010 and 2011 reviews.

God has been gracious and continued to bless me, so 2012 was another great year. I feel like I’ve successfully built a foundation in life and have now hit my stride for the next several years (or decades). That being said there are a few things I need to watch out for so that I don’t trip up and allow what has been built up to become undone.

I’m mixing the format up this year so let’s just jump into the highlights, in no particular order.

Vacation time again

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Finally Zack is at an age where we can travel more again! 2012 began with a vacation to Langkawi. It was our first experience on vacation with Zack alone. He enjoyed splashing around in the pool but was afraid of the beach (sand and sound of the waves).

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The Langkawi vacation prepared us for our longer, overseas vacation to Melbourne. Pei Chyi had to work a few days in Melbourne, and we took the opportunity to extend the trip and stayed with our good pals Joanie and Gavin. That was a fun trip! I had to watch Zack all by myself for several days which was pretty challenging but they gave me some great memories with Zack.

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We also travelled to Bangkok in August, this time with my parents and sister. Oh gosh how grandpa doted over Zack. We also met up with some old friends whom we haven’t seen for 10 years and are now firmly re-connected via Facebook

There was also a short trip to Singapore in June and Zack travelled even more than me when he tagged along with Pei Chyi to her cousin’s wedding in Hong Kong.

Pei Chyi says goodbye to The Man

In May, Pei Chyi left her job of 5 years to join her parents’ business. The plan is that she takes the reigns when my in-laws retire, but in the meantime the company workforce grew by 50% (there’s just the 3 Leongs).

Transitioning to a self-employed career has been exciting, challenging, frustrating and rewarding for Pei Chyi. And working with your own parents is a whole other can of worms too. I try to offer advice wherever I can but there are lots of things that she needs to simply experience and learn herself.

The upshot is that Pei Chyi and I have even more in common. I always felt there was a small but distinct gap between my self-employed career and her own employment. Now that gap is gone. And we can now both go out on weekdays at a whim, no need to wait for the weekend :)

My new MacBook Pro

Just have to say, my new retina MacBook Pro is awesome.

ClickWP takes off

clickwp-tagline-logoIn 2011 I realized that I enjoy working with WordPress much more than the marketing consulting and training services I provided with Buzzmedia. I launched ClickWP in November 2011 and in 2012 I practically shut Buzzmedia down.

This allowed me to focus fully on ClickWP and I’m happy to report that it’s been more successful than I had initially anticipated. The mission of ClickWP is to enable small businesses and bloggers to focus on their most important activities while we take care of the technical stuff that causes headaches and frustrations.

ClickWP’s success tells me that the business idea is valid and I think that I’m doing a good enough job that it took off so quickly. Thanks also to Bernadette and Alexx who have been my biggest cheerleaders in 2012.

I’m blogging again

Publishing high quality articles is the primary marketing strategy for ClickWP, and thanks to being an IKEA ambassador I have been blogging more here as well.

ProBlogger Training Event

In October I joined 300 other bloggers in Melbourne for the ProBlogger Training Event. It was a conference all about the business of blogging, and it was inspiring for me because I got some good ideas for ClickWP and this ol’ blog as well. It was also really great to meet people I’ve been following online in person. Read my #pbevent experience here.

My fitness journey

After my birthday I decided I needed to get into shape. After some procrastination I finally got started on my fitness journey. I bought a Nike+ FuelBand to help stay motivated and it’s gone beyond my expectations. Since starting in September, I’ve already lost 3kg and dropped 1-2 pants sizes. I look forward to reporting that I was fit enough to run a half-marathon next year. If your new years resolution is to get into shape, read my Nike+ FuelBand review to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Focus

2012 was a year of focus for me. I reduced my non-essential commitments and poured my energy into my family, ClickWP and my fitness journey. The results I see from ClickWP and my fitness journey tell me that it was a good strategy.

Merlin Mann has been harping on about priorities for a while now, and he repeated it on an episode of the Back to Work podcast I was listening to. His point was that “a priority is observed, not manufactured or assigned. Otherwise, it’s necessarily not a priority.” You decide what is a priority and you can’t have multiple priorities.

My strategy to reduce my commitments has resulted in me taking a back seat at Level5, no more Third Tribe, Social Media Club and other industry meet ups at all this year, and the LOLshow podcast came to an end as well.

I’m also using social media differently now. I no longer try to put myself out there and engage with influencers. And I completely stopped paying attention to my follower count and Klout score. At some point I realized these weren’t “metrics” to improve my use of social media, this was just a way to stroke my ego. I just use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ as quick distractions when I need them.

I’m a terrible friend

I might have gotten carried away with reducing commitments. Looking back on the year, I find that I spent very little time with friends. I haven’t done a good job of keeping up my relationships at all. I didn’t attend any of my friend’s Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or Christmas open house.

I guess I might be more than a little introverted. Being among crowds of people is a little stressful for me. I admit – I feel more comfortable interacting with my friends through Facebook. Also, I can’t help but wonder if working from home starves me of social contact and makes me more of a recluse. The Oatmeal’s comic on why working form home is both awesome and horrible comes to mind…

That being said, I’m blessed to have some extremely awesome friends. I’m going to make an effort to be a better friend in 2013.

Miscellaneous

I’m extremely grateful for WordPress. This awesome piece of software is what puts food on the table and a roof over my family’s head now. I could not be where I am today without WordPress.

Eric the brother bought an apartment! So happy for him

Yvonne the sister finally found a great job! And I’m so grateful to her for keeping a handle on things back home ♥

Lilia, our helper from Philippines, has grown to be part of our family. I feel very fortunate to have her and she’s the secret to being able to manage everything that goes on in our lives. Earlier this year we found a tumor in her kidney and doctors suspected that it was potentially cancerous. We prayed over it, brought her to doctors and were prepared to help her financially. It was a miracle then when we brought her for a follow up treatment and discovered that the tumor had disappeared. God is great and amazing! We were all very happy of course and I look forward to having Lilia with us for many more years

I’m also thankful for Mieke, JC, Joel, Justin and Wai Yee who have helped me out with ClickWP throughout the year. I’m very proud of ClickWP but it wouldn’t be where it is without your help.

It’s not all roses…

Along with the highs come the lows. I believe every family is dysfunctional to a degree but in my case, issues in the extended family have deteriorated to become a major source of stress this year. Not gonna air dirty laundry in public but here’s to hoping this thing sorts itself out… because I hate to have to deal with it directly.

Reflections & Goals for 2013

Best things that happened this year

  1. ClickWP takes off
  2. ProBlogger Training Event
  3. Starting on my Fitness Journey

Lessons learnt this year

  1. I’m blessed, and not to take it for granted. I realize that I’m doing better than some and taking my blessings for granted is not cool. I also realize that I didn’t get here by myself and if I don’t treasure what I have, I’m not appreciating the contributions of the people who helped me get where I am.
  2. My biggest responsibility: guiding Zack. 2012 was the year we had to begin disciplining Zack. He’s developing his own personality and values, and it’s our responsibility to mould Zack into an obedient, respectful and self-directed human being. It’s going to be a long journey…

Goals for 2013

  1. Streamline ClickWP’s objectives and processes. ClickWP is going to be my bread and butter for the long run, and I have to set it up that way.
  2. Set specific financial targets for each quarter and actively pursue them, instead of just sitting back and taking whatever comes my way.
  3. Actively participate in the WordPress community. I’m going to start by dedicating some time to answering questions on the WordPress forum and see how things go from there.
  4. Run a road race. I’m going to participate in at least one 10K race, and seriously consider completing a half marathon in 2013.
  5. Meet up with friends at least once a month. If I call and invite you to lunch, it’s because I love you.

Happy new year everyone! Here’s to 2013!

4 Comments on "2012: Year in Review"

  • suanie says

    You’re awesome and I’ve always looked up to you, admired you for taking this route. All the best for 2013!

    • david says

      Thanks Suanie! You mean you admire the year in review post? You can write one too

  • Sounds like it was a good 2012 for you and the family.

    Happy New Year 2013 David!

    • david says

      Thanks Nigel, happy new year to you and Kel Li too!