A New Decade

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash.

Welcome to 2020, the beginning of a new decade. I always enjoy reflecting on achievements and failures of the previous year and making plans for the coming one this time of year. This time I decided to reflect on an entire decade of growth, learning, and momentum both won and lost.

The 2010s were a tumultuous and challenging decade for me. There were several very high highs, and there were several very low lows. I’m sure this is the same for everyone else as well – we can all reflect on 10 years of experience and find a complete rainbow of moments that range from the best to the worst.

Some of the highlights of the 2010s for me include:

  • Completing my MBA
  • Starting two venture-funded startup companies
  • Being selected to Techstars and nailing the Demo Day pitch
  • Moving twice (once from Atlanta to St. Louis and then back to Atlanta)
  • Completing a Half-Ironman and a Marathon as well as several century rides, triathlons, and half-marathons
  • Taking my sons to Germany, Australia, Mexico and other overseas destinations

The decade came with its share of low-lights for me as well. Most notably, both of my startups ended poorly for me. While my first company is still in existence and actually thriving with new leadership, my second one blew up in flames when my terrible choice for a cofounder torpedoed the whole thing and left me without an engineering team that could build the technology we promised to our investors.

With the 2010s safely in the rear view mirror, I’m turning my attention to this next decade, the 2020s. The 1920s were referred to as “the roaring ’20s” based on a bull market and the exuberance of popular culture back then. I’m excited to see what this decade brings for all of us, including the first manned flight to the moon in 50 years, possibly a manned trip to Mars, ever-improving economic and social conditions for the poorest third of the world, and hopefully some answers to climate change.

But I’m most excited to see if I can make a clean break with the traits and habits that kept me from being as successful as I would have like to have been in the 2010s. I created the conditions that led to the failures I experienced. The good news is I’ve learned several hard-taught lessons for the next time.

I’ve decided to make a clean break with the old decade and embrace the new one as a new version of myself. This blog is part of that. I don’t journal as much as I’d like to, and that’s one of the changes I intend to make. I’m excited to look back on this blog entry and cringe at how poorly it compares to the content I will be writing in 10 years.

Other changes are coming for me, too. I’ve given up alcohol, I’m changing the way I eat, I’m exercising, I’m working with a therapist and an executive coach to improve myself, and I’m working on being more present with my family. This coming decade will see both of our sons go off into the world on their own, and I want to cherish what little time we have left together.

I wish for you to recognize and make a clean break with the thoughts and habits that held you back this past decade, much as I am trying to do myself.

Take this opportunity to really think about what held you back, and ask yourself how you manifested the conditions that led to those setbacks and failures. I’ve learned to look deep enough to see my own part in each failure, and recognize what was my fault (and what wasn’t). The parts that I can change I will, and the parts that I can’t change I will learn to accept.

Happy 2020 y’all. Let’s make it the best decade of our lives.