Drive. Learn. Commit.

I have so many thoughts running through my head about 2011 right now, it hurts.

First, though, I want to look back and reflect on the 2010 that was, for me, a huge year.

To use Chris Brogan’s three-word approach in hindsight, I could characterize my 2010 with drive, learn and commit.

Drive

I don’t often get personal here, but I thought I’d share a personal story with you:

In June 2003 I moved to Canada (I came here for the first time just over eight years ago). I moved here as a new graduate with one suitcase and almost no money, and spent the first few months working 85-hour weeks for little-to-no money (some days I would literally make nothing) to pay the rent on my small, windowless basement room.

I moved continents for a relationship that lasted only nine months once I was here, and once it ended I found myself, at age 22, with no friends (“mutual” friends turned out not to be so mutual), no real job, no money and no light at the end of the tunnel.

This was, without a doubt, the darkest time in my life so far. So, I set myself a goal. I set myself the target of hitting the leadership level by age 30.

That goal drove me forward – hard – for the last seven years (I’m pretty single-minded when I have my sights set on something).

Fast forward to 2010.

Early in the year I hit my goal, becoming Vice President of Digital Communications at Thornley Fallis.

Then, in August I joined the Toronto office of Edelman, the world’s leading independent global PR firm, as Vice President of Digital, at age 29.

What a contrast from just a few years ago. I still clearly remember that basement room, and the dark times that happened there. It makes the current situation feel all the more satisfying.

Now that I’ve hit my goal before hitting 30, I need a new goal so I don’t find myself on cruise control. That’s step one for me in 2011.

Learn

I don’t draw a line between work and home life. I’m fortunate to have found a career that I enjoy, where work doesn’t feel like work, so a lot of my “personal” growth overlaps with my professional life.

Take my reading challenge, for example. I finished 27 books last year; 17 of them non-fiction and the majority of those work-related. However, as I wrote recently, the knowledge you gain from reading widely will make you better at your job AND more interesting outside work. So, I found that reading project very satisfying in 2010 and plan to continue it in 2011.

Al the while, my job (see: drive, above) has forced me to learn constantly as I’ve been challenged with new tasks that I haven’t encountered before. The part of consulting I enjoy the most is that each situation is unique; even though I may have executed numerous programs of a certain type before, each one brings its own nuances so I’m constantly learning to deal with different combinations of challenges.

This is one of the most satisfying aspects of my work, as if I’m not challenged then I get bored. When I’m bored I look for the next challenge. That rarely happens in the consulting world – especially in the digital communications field as change is pretty much the only constant.

Commit

If I were to summarize my personal life in 2010, “commitment” would undoubtedly be the  definining characteristic. 2010 was the year I got engaged to Caralin and the year that we bought our first house together (if we’re connected on Facebook, you’ll see that I post about little else but the renovations nowadays).

Both of these things will have a huge knock-on effect on my 2011 – the wedding is set for July this year, and we’re currently working 12-hour days gutting and renovating the house.

I derive massive satisfaction from my professional life and my personal life sometimes takes the back seat. However, 2010 was a year when both areas of my life leapt forward.

I’ll look ahead to 2011 in future posts, but one thing I know is that the year will certainly involve dedicating more time to life outside work.

How was your 2010?

My 2010: Drive, learn, commit.

Meanwhile, I’ve watched people around me moving on, moving up and sometimes moving away as they also continue to grow. 2010 seems to have been a good year for many of the people I know.

How would you describe your 2010?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.