6 Ways I’m Closing Out 2019 and Preparing for 2020

The quiet time between Christmas and New Year has been a special time for me to bring closure to the previous year and intentionally prepare for the next.  I often find that my days are so full throughout the year that I lose myself in the grind and neglect to recognize how much I have accomplished and grown in a given year and what major events and memories have helped shape who I am.

This tradition started five years ago when I went through some painful events that, frankly, I found difficult to process, bring closure to, and pick myself up from. It was during this time that I borrowed a workbook my father had purchased from the Michael Hyatt Company on bringing year-end closure.  While initially I was skeptical that this would help, I found that I loved the process that Michael had outlined, the clarity and perspective his questions provided, the way I was able to see the good and lessons learned in the midst of pain, and ultimately the way I was able to tangibly see and track my own personal growth.

Over the years, I have refined my annual review process and have experimented with additional methodologies/questions that I have added to the core list that Michael outlined.  I’m always tweaking to adapt to my needs in a particular year, but here’s a look at how I’m currently closing out 2019:


Four lessons I learned from working at Disney

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Receiving my one-year pin at the Rotunda restaurant on the Studio Lot

In May, 2017 I embarked on new stage of my career as a Customer Success Manager and more recently, a Service Manager, for The Walt Disney Company.  This was really a dream come true!  My family is a big Disney fan and I’ve always dreamed of working for the company that brought so many wonderful memories, stories, lessons, and adventures to me and millions more around the world.

It’s been a whirlwind 2+ years at Disney and I’ve learned a lot through my time.  As I reflect back on the journey, I decided to share a few lessons I’ve learned on the journey. Through the course of getting my thoughts in writing, I decided to split this post into a mini-series to keep it at a reasonable length.

Look for the “Pixie Dusting” moments

Gearing up with fellow cast members for Mickey’s 90th Birthday Spectacular

If you attended one of the orientation days for new employees, you might hear the term “Pixie Dusting” referenced.  “Pixie Dusting” means those magical (pardon the pun) experiences that you can only get as a Disney cast member.  In essence, it’s when the fact hits you that “Oh wow, I actually work for Disney!!!”.

The reality is that no matter how good the company is, some days on the job can be harder than others and it can be easy to be bogged down by the technical details.  When I started at the company, a dear family friend who also works at Disney encouraged me  to take advantage of every opportunity I can to keep myself inspired and remind myself how special it is to work here.


5 Observations to Improve Discipline

“Discipline equals freedom” – Jocko Willink

That bold statement by Jocko Willink on the Tribe of Mentors podcast resonated deeply with me and sent me on what is becoming a year-long journey to understand the meaning of discipline and better apply those principles in all areas of my life (not just productivity). Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier I set “Discipline” as my one-word theme of the year.

Throughout the past six months, I’ve been struck by five observations about discipline:

Discipline needs a positive reward

Discipline is inherently hard.  It’s the act of denying ourselves something now for future benefit.  Charles Duhigg shares that every habit has a reward that reinforces that habit in our brains. We can effectively change our habits and be more disciplined by being intentional with how we use those rewards.  My favorite example of this is the jar of chocolates Duhigg has on his desk that he can only eat from once he’s finished a weekly review.


5 Ingredients to Maximize Your Rest

Ove-Kennith Nilson, GTD Summit

Have you ever thought through your philosophy of rest?  Is rest something to be achieved after the work is done or equally as important as the work itself?  Are you intentional about deciding how to rest? These are some of the thoughts that have been swirling through my head in the aftermath of the GTD Summit.  I mentioned in a previous post that one of the quotes that hit me hard during the Summit was:


Reflections on the 2019 GTD Summit

GTD for the family panel discussion with Eric Mack, Wendy Haddad, Mike Williams, and David Allen

Last week I had the incredible privilege of attending and participating on a panel at the 2019 GTD (Getting Things Done) Summit in Amsterdam.  This was a special opportunity for me as I have grown up with the GTD methodology my whole life and was able to participate on a panel in the first GTD Summit in San Francisco ten years prior. David and Kathryn Allen are dear friends of my family and it was wonderful to see them again and hear how the productivity techniques they developed have helped so many people. 


4 Reasons Why You Should Consider Starting a Blog

Photo credit Damon Duncan, Creative Commons

I have been blogging ever since I was nine years old.  Yes that’s right, nine years old!  We setup a blog for our robotics team, the LEGO Imagineers and I became a regular contributor there and for our family blog. 

Initially I was skeptical of the value of blogging and it felt like a chore, but over the years I’ve become convinced of the value of blogging.  I often see posts that promise incredible financial benefits from blogging, but I want to share five other reasons why I found blogging to be invaluable:


Tips for the Church Pianist: Part 2 – The How-To’s of Functional Improvisation

This is the second post in a mini-series on practical tips for the church pianist.  Many of these notes were taken during a seminar with John Martin at the Grace Music Collective hosted by Grace Baptist Church and are shared with permission.

Piano Keys

In the previous post, I discussed the heart of the church musician and the importance of keeping the role of a pianist in perspective.  But once we have the right view of our role and the right heart of service, how do we practically apply that?  The piano is probably the most versatile instrument in the band.  We have the power to completely obliterate the band, but we must control ourselves and our instrument and determine the best ways we can contribute to congregational worship.

John shared that there are various areas we should consider and gave us suggestions of tools in each area we can use in any song.  These areas include:


Tips for the Church Pianist Part 1

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the first Grace Music Collective, an instrumental workshop designed to train musicians how to better serve in the church.  The seminar was hosted at Grace Baptist Church, and sessions included acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keyboard.

I was so excited to be able to attend the “Keyboard in Worship” session by John Martin!  While piano was my primary instrument in college, my training was primarily classically focused and, for the most part, did not prepare me to play in a modern worship setting.  I’ve been trying to teach myself, but as playing by ear doesn’t come naturally to me, the task has been daunting.