035: 2016 Year in Review


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Looking back on the biggest learnings, fears and episodes of 2016.

What an amazing year 2016 has been. A year full of growth, learning and expansion for everyone. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned this year and lost track of the times I smashed through my comfort zones.

This is the episode where I take a look back at the year that was 2016 and share my biggest learnings, my biggest fears and the most powerful episodes I produced this year.

Grab your listening ears and hit play on the last episode of 2016.

Highlights and Takeaways

  • Flow comes before structure. When we rigidly hold plans without regard for how we are actually feeling it’s easy to treat yourself like a robot and burnout.
  • Structure is there to compliment flow, but no to take greater importance than it.
  • What I create can never reflect who I am, only how I am.
  • Realising that I am not my work makes it easier to create and share what I make with others.
  • I was overcompensating with fancy words and phrases because I didn’t believe I was offering genuine value with the podcast.
  • Just sharing an experience you’ve had and how you came through it is a valuable source of information others can learn from.

Show Notes

An Overview

I started this year by producing episode 011: How to Live Authentically. It’s a juicy episode which encapsulates my understanding of the key factors of living an authentic life and unblocking your authentic energy flow.

I produced 7 episodes of the podcast before taking an unexpected 4 month hiatus from April until early August (more about that later).

This year I produced 34 episodes and wrote more than 34,000 words of show notes.

I also started the Free Flow Fridays Series. I had always planned to record 12 episodes to explore my unrehearsed authentic expression with a camera pointed at my face. This was a big comfort zone challenge for me.

I also moved house 3 times this year. This wasn’t planned, it was just how it worked out.

Biggest Learnings of This Year

A big part of this episode is sharing the things I’ve learned which have changed the way I create, see the world, or connect with other people.

1. Flow then Structure

The natural rhythm and pacing of our energy is primary to any structuring process.

Flow comes before structure. I realised this because things were the other way around for me. I was trying to structure things without regard for my current energy level, my rhythms and the pace I like working at. By doing this I placed more importance on my plans, schedules and outcomes then how I was actually feeling.

The plans became primary to the present moment reality of how I was actually doing (our energy flow).

note: I grew up with rules which were enforced very rigidly and definitely. I learned that I needed to follow the rules for everything to run smoothly. So I followed these rules (structure) without actually knowing where they had come from. I thought, ok rules dictate your actions. You have rules and you follow them. It doesn’t matter how you’re feeling – if the rules are there then you follow them.

This resulted in me scheduling many big tasks to be completed in one day, no food breaks, and no scheduled breaks from work. I was basically treating myself like a robot and using the plan to dictate my actions (my flow).

I realised this wasn’t the way things should be working because I was feeling crap. I wasn’t having fun making episodes and I got to a point where I didn’t feel like making any more. At this point I realised that my flow comes first (what I feel like doing) and then the structure is there to compliment the flow which is already there.

I tried a new scheduling approach which prioritised my current state and the undpredictableness of life. I came to see my plans as something that could and would change depending on what was actually going on that day (how I’m feeling, how much sleep I had, etc.)

So instead of rigidly trying to complete tasks it’s about tuning into the moment and seeing how I feel. From that point I will change my plan if I need something (like food) to accommodate my present moment needs.

By tuning into the present moment and asking myself, how am I feeling? that is me touching base with the currently flow of energy that is within me, and then honouring it by adapting the structure to the actual flow of energy.

Using this process, I’m making the flow more important than the structure.

Since doing this, I’m noticing I get more work done in less time because I’m having fun and I know I have the freedom to adapt to anything which comes up (within in me or with someone else.)

This dynamic comes up in many different areas of life. In music, first there is the creative energy and then you can bring in the structure of melody and counterpoint (musical theories) to guide the initial creative energy.

2. Overcompensating Because I Believed I Wasn’t Offering Genuine Value

I’ve written introductions for every episode of the podcast. I started to noticed that I was using words and phrases which I don’t normally use. I was using them to sound more official and authoritative, just like the other websites I follow.

It got to a point where this really didn’t feel good. It felt really fake to me and it was grinding against me. I was thinking, Really? Is this how I’m meant to feel after writing an intro?

I realised I was overcompensating because I didn’t believe I had any real value to offer with the episode.

Looking back on the episodes I produced I can see this just isn’t true. There are valuable nuggets of information in each one.

So I asked myself, why do I feel I need to use these fancy words?

I realised that I wasn’t trusting that my experiences and my reflections of how I’ve come through those experiences, was enough for people. I produced an episode all about this – 026: Trusting I am Enough, it’s all about this time of realisation.

I’m still realising that sharing simply and openly can help someone.

I saw that my favourite podcasters and vloggers all had a quality of genuine, authentic sharing to them and they are not trying to make things seem more amazing than they are. They are just sharing a story that happened to them and reflecting on it. That’s it.

Having access to other people’s experiences and their reflections broadens our own learning and knowledge. And that is what engages people, because there’s pieces of wisdom to be gained from them just sharing their experience.

So I changed how I write to be simpler and very matter of fact instead of overusing adjectives or using fancy phrases you would read in a magazine. Because, really, at the end of the day, I just want to be me here because that is the journey I’m on.

When I look back at the simpler writing it reads very smoothly and it’s easier to digest the information.

3. I Will Always Be a Work in Progress

I am a continuously evolving being and what I create in this moment represents how I am and not who I am.

If you look back at any one of the past episodes I’ve produced, that episode doesn’t represent who I am, fixed in stone. It represents how I am at the time I created it.

Just by making a podcast every week I saw firsthand that I’m different every day of every week and never the same from day to day.

After each week of completing an episode I saw the natural development of my speaking and writing skills. I am changing with every episode I create. The very next episode I create I am creating from a new version of myself because of the journey I went through creating the previous episode.

I realised that nothing I make is who I am because as soon as I make it I’m different.

Once I realised this it felt easier to just create and express myself because I don’t care as much about getting everything perfect as I know that this is only a reflection of how I am right now and that I will already be different by the time you’ve listened to this episode.

Nothing I share is an ultimate reflection of who I am.

This realisation was a big part of the Free Flow Series. I was very raw and vulnerable, pointing a camera at myself and doing stuff. I saw that even though I was awkward and nervous in the videos I knew it wasn’t a reflection of who I am but a reflection of how I was, in that moment, on that day.

The Most Popular Episodes of This Year

These are the most popular episodes of the podcast so far.

Funnest Episode to Make

At the start of the year I took a trip to Rottnest Island, off the west-coast of Western Australia. While I was there I recorded the first Adventure Episode riding my bike around the island with a microphone strapped to my chin so I could ride and talk at the same time.

The Heavy Hitters

I created a few episodes this year which are full of rich information which can be used to transform parts of your life, or offer a perspective change at the very least.

I feel these episodes pack the most punch in terms of how long the episodes are and the information I’m sharing in them.

The Biggest Moments of Fear and Doubt

This year hasn’t always been full of clarity and creativity. As I mentioned earlier I had a 4 month break from April until August. This was completely unexpected. I didn’t have the motivation or drive to make anything for B is for Being.

I became really worried and feared that this was the end of the motivation I had for B is for Being. Because in the past this has meant that I just stop working on a project and never return to it; after that I would feel crap for a while and then start another project which I would eventually abandon as well.

Looking back at that time I realise that I was going through huge changes during that time and didn’t have a solid home-base established.

This has been the first year back in Perth since I returned from living in Berlin. I returned to Perth in November (2015) and moved to Fremantle, Western Australia in February (2016).

As soon as I got to Fremantle, I had whole bunch of different experiences. By the time it got to April I had just moved to another house in Fremantle and I felt the drive to do many different things but creating podcasts wasn’t one of them.

I felt more socially active. I needed to go out and meet as many people as I could, and that’s what I did.

I trusted that if I don’t feel like creating for B is for Being right now, I’m not going to force it. Because that would be inauthentic.

I listened to the energy within me and went out and made all these new friends and started to feel more grounded in Fremantle. This process took about 4 months. At that point I felt the drive to create return and start creating for B is for Being again.

When this energy came back it came back full-force. This told me that I needed to have a solid and energising home foundation in order to feel like creating.

I’m really proud of myself for listening what was the more authentic option for me at that time.

Again this comes back to Flow then Structure. I was listening to what my current motivation was and listening to that; not letting the structure of producing a podcast every week dictate how my energy flow should or shouldn’t be.

The Things I’ve Feared Away From This Year

Releasing The Pocket Guide of Gentle Reminders

There’s a few things which I haven’t done this year because they felt uncomfortable.

I still haven’t released The Pocket Guide of Gentle Reminders. This is a guide I’ve been working on to help us through the moments of life when we feel overwhelm, confusion, anger, etc. It’s aimed a providing relief in those difficult moments.

I was overcompensating again. This is the first guide I’ve ever produced and I want it to be good. I was treating it as if it was a reflection of who I am. So everything needed to be perfect otherwise people would look at it and think, this Ben guy is ridiculous!

So I went through these different stages and then I stopped, what am I trying to do here? Let’s make it really simple. I came to the point where I realised that this guide is just the reminders that I remind myself of; the reminders that have been the most helpful in giving me relief from these situations where I’m overwhelmed, or fearful, or jealous – whatever it is.

I started re-writing the guide from that perspective. Just sharing these reminders as if I’m reminding myself of the things I already know. So that’s where I’m at right now with the guide.

Connecting with Other Communities and Industry Leaders

I wanted more feedback for what I’ve been making on B is for Being and I knew I needed to go out and connect with other people but I found it very hard.

I would often have a To Do item on my list which said connect with this person or send this industry leader and email, and I wouldn’t do it because I was afraid of being rejected by them and feeling like what I’m doing isn’t that important because they don’t want to be on my show.

Things became easier when I realised that if they don’t want to be on the podcast it isn’t a reflection of who I am but more a reflection of how they are in that moment – and this has nothing to do with me.

Now I feel freer to connect with these people because now there’s less importance riding on their yes or no.

Coming in 2017

  • The Pocket Guide of Gentle Reminders
  • Design changes to the website for new visitors of the site to easily understand the journey I’m on to uncover my authentic self and live that full-time.
  • More interviews with people who have wisdom to share and continuing to share my own journey.

Closing Thoughts on 2016

  1. What the heck.

It’s been a huge year for everyone, so many adventures, hardships, confusing moments, euphoric moments, connection and disconnection with people.

I’m taking a month off to rest and reflect on everything that’s happened this year. I’ll be back on January 22nd, 2017 with a new episode for you.

One Last Thing

I’m trying to reach the people who will benefit the most from what I’m sharing.

If you have gotten some benefit out of the podcast this year, please consider writing a short review for the podcast.

If you have an iTunes account you can do that on the iTunes Store. These reviews really help other people find the podcast.

If you don’t have an iTunes account (if you don’t own an Apple device) feel free to leave a comment on the Facebook page or ‘Like’ it if you haven’t done that already.

Your review really does help, because when people land on the iTunes Store page for the podcast, that can see that there’s value inside and that there’s something worth their time.

So if you have found something worth your time in the podcast this year, please take the time to write a review or share it on your Facebook page.

Have a Great Holiday Break!

That’s it! This is the final episode of B is for Being this year and looking forward to my month off.

I wish you a happy healthy Christmas break – or Holiday break if you don’t actually celebrate Christmas – just a break from work to rest and reflect.

I will see you in the New Year.

Mentioned in This Episode

The Podcast

The B is for Being Podcast is a collection of conversations with friends, psychologists, and thought-leaders on the most effective tools for uncovering authentic expression and navigating the obstacles we may encounter on the way to discovering ourselves.

About Benjamin

Hi, I’m Benjamin. I podcast and blog about authentic expression and self-discovery. I also make slow-videos for rest and reflection. You can read more about me here.

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