2016: The year in review... / by Benjamin Steele

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Blog #41

2016 has been one of the greatest years of my life. I've worked hard and I've learned a lot. I've made mistakes and have tried to learn from those mistakes.

As the year is coming to a close, I'm writing this blog to reflect on the past and also plan for the future. In this post I'll share some of the highlights of 2016, some of the lessons that I learned in 2016 and also some of my goals for 2017. This blog serves as a journal to me in a way, so yes this is going to be personal.

In 2016 I...

  1. Started my first real entrepreneurial endeavor, Sir Wylde. For those of you who do not know, Sir Wylde is an American-made accessories brand.
  2. Started this blog, BenjaminSteele.us.
  3. Begun using social media for more than just 'social' purposes, but also as a means of growing my personal brand as well as my business.
  4. Finished my Junior year of college. I'm studying Public Relations.
  5. Begun to devote time everyday to learning from other entrepreneurs, bloggers, branding experts and marketers through podcasts, Youtube, ect.
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From 2016 I've learned...

  1. That the best type of learning comes outside of the classroom.
  2. That starting a business is very difficult, but very rewarding.
  3. That social media and the internet are some of the greatest blessings to our generation because they truly do connect the world and allow a single person to reach many people on a global scale.
  4. That life is a marathon not a sprint.
  5. That there are so many things that you can learn from others. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk, Casey Neistat and Pat Flynn have taught me more about life than much of my public education ever has.
  6. That there are 168 hours in a week and that you can accomplish a hell of a lot in those 168 hours.
  7. That if you truly do your best, everything seems to work out.
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Sure some of these lessons I learned through mistakes such as trusting the wrong people to manufacture my first round of neckties, not allocating my company's resources in the most effective way possible or from moving forward without creating a proper plan to do so, but sometimes that's just how life is. I'm grateful that I was willing to take so many risks this past year. That I was willing to max out my credit cards to start a business. That I was willing to put myself out there on social media. That I was willing to cold call and email so many people that I didn't know and ask them for advice.

No matter how good you are, you're going to fail at times. Look at Steve Jobs for example. After the first Macintosh wasn't successful, he got fired from his own company. Later he returned and changed the world.

Sometimes Steve is criticized for his intense, 'get out of the way' type of mentality, but personally, I believe this was one of his greatest strengths. Steve Jobs knew what he wanted and knew what it would take to get there. Even though those around him often didn't understand why he did things the way he did, he always trusted his own judgement and moved forward. Failure wasn't an option for Steve.

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2016 has been a pivotal year. It's been great, but I'm sure that 2017 will be even better. Here are a few of my goals for the year to come...

  1. Read at least one book every month. A few on my list include, "The Richest Man in Babylon", "The Big Short" and "The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge" (all of which I have sitting on my shelf ready for me).
  2. Push myself to new heights physically. I've always been one to exercise daily, however, I've noticed that lately I've been plateauing in my progress. This next year I've dedicated myself to better workouts as well as a regimented healthy eating lifestyle. Saturday will be my 'cheat day', but otherwise I will stick to my brown rice, chicken, eggs, broccoli and protein shakes.
  3. Rededicating myself to dating (I feel a little vulnerable putting this, but I think it's important). This past year I often put my social life to the side in order to focus on my business pursuits. Although I do believe that this is often appropriate and essential to finding entrepreneurial success, I also know that I would like to have a family in the future. I need to remember to keep some type of social balance.
  4. Finding out what I'll do once I graduate. My business partner and I plan to sell Sir Wylde sometime soon after graduating (maybe in a year or two), so I'm still searching for what the next chapter will hold. Eventually I will undoubtably want to start other businesses, but as life is not a sprint, I feel that it would be wise to gain additional life experience in other ways as well before doing so.
  5. Continuing to use those 168 weekly hours wisely.
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Life is a beautiful mystery with limitless opportunities. I write this blog post not to brag, but to hopefully inspire you the reader as well as myself to achieve new heights. Sometimes reflecting is the best way to realize what is possible. Also, I share my goals for 2017 to hopefully keep myself accountable to them.

C.S. Lewis said, "Isn't if funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different..."

I hope that I can live my day by day in a way that I can look back on my life with satisfaction.

Happy holidays and God bless,

Ben