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2013 Annual Review: Getting Back To The Basics

Annual Review 2013

This year was insane.

And to be honest, I’ve been having a little trouble lately receiving all of the goodness in my life.

Two years ago to this day, I parted ways with the corporate world. On Friday, December 23, 2011 I packed up my office and said goodbye to a brief career in human resources. I had no idea what I was going to do then, but somehow I’m still alive and I haven’t run out of money.

I’ve spent the past hour looking back at this year and reading my annual reviews from 2011 and 2012. It’s eerie how accurate they were in foreshadowing the years to come.

When I started this blog I was just trying to live a more adventurous life while working my full-time corporate job. There are blogs that I wrote in 2011 that I totally disagree with now. But that’s the fun part of growth.

Changing, shedding, discovering, exploring, stretching, and growing.

When I say I don’t even recognize myself anymore, it’s true. I’m literally a different person than I was a year ago, much less five years ago. My desires, fears, and motivators are completely different now.

A friend told me recently, “Success is just upgrading your problems.”

And I totally agree. Which is why for this year’s Annual Review I want to share not only what went well this year but what didn’t go so well this year.

Because this entrepreneur life isn’t all tropical islands and dance parties. Despite what some of the lifestyle design bloggers would like you to believe.


What Went Well This Year

1. I Started A Business

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year, but I finally started charging for my services this January. I decided to take 2012 off to be in the service of others, so I spent hundreds of hours doing pro bono coaching and driving across the United States with David doing volunteer work for A Summer To Serve.

Then in January, I took a chance and put out a pay-what-you-can-afford option on my blog for coaching. I billed $3200 in my first month and I’ve been steadily growing my practice since.

I also decided to get serious about my business. With the help of Kyle Durand, I filed for an LLC and put systems in place to create a solid business foundation instead of having one built on a house of cards. I still need a little tweaking here and there, but it feels good to have a solid base under me now.

For more on how I built my coaching practice with simple action steps you can take today read this post.


2. I Launched Everything

If you see a market need, just build it. And they will come.

Ev’Yan and I sold out 80 spots for Authentic Relating Games at World Domination Summit. Maneesh and I sold out 200 spots for our After-After Party.

I launched a $5000 coaching program and sold it in a couple of hours. More on that to come.

I wrote a book in a month and published it. Over a thousand people have read August and I keep getting emails from all over the world on how my book has changed the way that people show up in their lives.

Kyle, Nicky, and I launched EXECUTE, a retreat around getting shit done. We sold six spots at $5000 a piece and next month we will be moving in together with six entrepreneurs in a mansion in Phoenix. It makes me chuckle that at the end of my 2012 Annual Review I said, “2013 will be the year of execution.” How fitting.

Finally, I launched The Conference For Men and built a team to support what will be a life-altering experience for 300 men this April in San Diego. I’ve learned a ton along the way and dozens of friends and colleagues have stepped up to support me.


3. I Kept Speaking My Truth

One of my three goals last year was to “Be Courageously Authentic.” And I kept showing up, even when I really didn’t want to or when I was afraid to press publish.

  • I shared how I didn’t have sex, masturbate, drink booze, or take a warm shower for two months with this post.
  • I shared how David and I hacked an NBC casting call and almost made it on to Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls with this post.
  • I shared how being location independent isn’t as sexy as it seems with this post.
  • I shared my key takeaways from partying for a month straight in Europe with this post.
  • I shared how I was feeling some shame around how amazing my life was with this post.
  • I shared how I became a sex expert with this post.
  • And I shared the details of one of the darkest points of my life with this post.

Now it’s just what I do. I share my takeaways, successes, fears, and failures openly. In public, in private, it doesn’t matter. I know that any time I’m a little nervous to press publish, it’s probably something I need to post.

So I keep moving forward.


4. I Lived Abroad

Another one of my three goals last year was “Live Abroad.” And this year I spent time working, living, and playing in eight foreign countries (Colombia, Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic).

I went salsa dancing in Colombia, drank Hefeweizen in Berlin, saw Armin van Buuren in the Netherlands, ate reindeer in Norway, taught workshops on sex in Costa Rica, and drove all over the entire length of Panama.

And I shared these experiences with people whom I love dearly. Nicky and I have now been roommates in over a dozen cities together.

It’s something that I don’t think about very often anymore, but working and living all over the world has just become the new normal for me. And in this moment, I’m extremely grateful that I’ve set my life up for it.

Because up until five years ago, I had lived in Tucson, AZ all my life. And now I live everywhere.


5. I Went To Burning Man

I had a chance to go to Burning Man in 2012 but it didn’t seem like the right timing. I wasn’t ready for it yet.

So when I found out that five of my closest guy friends where driving from Detroit to Black Rock City, Nevada in an RV this year, I knew this was my time.

I didn’t write much publicly about Burning Man, because it’s just one of those things that you have to experience. But I can honestly say that spending that week in the desert made me a better human being.

I’m more open, I’m more comfortable in new situations, I care even less about what others think about me, I respect the planet even more, and I see all humans as my equal.

I thought Burning Man was just parties and costumes, but it was one of the deepest spiritual experiences of my life. A week of being disconnected from technology and being connected into humanity. Don’t take my word for it though, just buy a ticket next year.


6. I Changed Sam’s Life

I launched The One on a whim. I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to buy it.

But when Samuel Hershberger bought it, I knew I was going to change his life. And I did.

I dragged him all over the country with me and even flew him outside of the United States for the first time for ten days in Panama with Lisa and Charmaine. I helped him launch his blog, which has taken off like crazy. I made important introductions for him, then he just started making them himself.

We threw a party for over 100 people in NYC. We ate meals with brilliant entrepreneurs all over the country. I dragged him to events that put him waaaaay out of his comfort zone. We even watched Marianne Williamson announce she’s running for Congress together.

But most importantly, I saw him learn things in a week that took me years to learn. I watched him handle difficulty after difficulty with ease.

I didn’t realize it when I created it, but The One was an apprenticeship program. And apprenticeship programs work.

For the past four months I did everything in my power to teach Sam everything I know. And in certain areas he surpassed me and managed to teach me a thing or two about life. Not a bad deal for the both of us.


7. People Who I Don’t Know Started Reading My Blog

In the past thirty days over 21,000 people have visited this site. My I Love Women post has gotten over 35,000 views. And The Daily Love just picked me up to be a contributor to their website.

And it sounds silly saying this, but I never had any idea that people who weren’t my friends and family would be reading my blog posts one day. I just started writing and people started paying attention.

The Internet is wild.


8. I Got It Out Of My System

You know when older men or women tell you to enjoy your youth as much as possible because you want to “get it out of your system” before you get married?

Well, I think I got it out of my system.

I took a month off to party with Dan for his 40th birthday. I pushed my limits sexually. I dated amazing women. I destroyed dance floors all over the world.

And I don’t regret a minute of it. And I have no shame about how I’ve been living my life for the past two years. It’s my life.

But as the end of the year is upon us I feel a distinct change in the way that I want to spend my free time. I’m becoming a little more introverted. I’m starting to enjoy being alone more than going out.

Major shifts are happening. Which brings me to what didn’t go so well this year.


What Didn’t Go Well This Year

1. I Forgot To Take Care Of Myself

Health is one of my core values. But for the last couple of months I forgot to take care of one of my most important assets: my body.

I’ve been working so hard on launching all of these projects that I forgot to get out of the house and move. I’ve spent the past two months in New York City, which is amazing for networking, but not so good for getting outside and getting some fresh air. Being someone whose ideal day involves being shirtless with board shorts on, I started withering away a little in the cold.

I’ve been militant about my self-care practices for the past couple of weeks and it’s made a word of difference. But moving into 2014, it’s going to take a lot of self-awareness to create boundaries that help me to keep showing up as my biggest, brightest, and best self.


2. I Lost Some Friends

As I build this business, I don’t have the time that I had in 2012 when I was literally doing everything for free. I can’t just jump on Skype for two hours and chat about the cool places that we’ve been to in the past several months. I can’t be everybody’s pen pal, like I’ve been for the past two years.

And if someone keeps showing up to me in a rude or offensive manner, I’m going to cut them out of my life. I just don’t have the energy to keep these people around.

So over the course of the year, I lost some friends. I unfriended people on Facebook. I blocked some people.

I missed birthday parties, forgot to call people back, and wrote short email responses to 2000 word long diatribes. And some people couldn’t handle that.

And that hurts.


3. I Suffered A Lot Of Heartbreak

I fell in love multiple times this year. I did everything in my power to speak my truth in every moment while traveling the world and running a business.

I suffered rejection multiple times. I met amazing women who I had to say no to. And I had dozens of the hardest conversations of my life this year with women.

I kept coming back to the question, “What are the expectations and agreements of our relationship?” And I kept learning more and more about having courageous conversations with women.

The good news is that I’m able to have deeper levels of conversation on a first date than I ever achieved in some of my three to four year long relationships in my twenties.

The bad news is that it’s taken a ton of heartbreak, failure, feedback, and hurt to get here.


4. I Listened To Too Many People

Being someone who values feedback, I’m always looking for ways to show up better. But towards the end of the year I started listening to too many people.

Especially around The Conference For Men.

Instead of getting the help I needed, I just kept taking on their fears and projections.

Now I’m being more strategic about whom I go to for advice. And I’m ignoring everyone else.


5. I Wasn’t A Good Brother

I spent weeks without calling David this month. Granted, he’s been busy with school and launching a website of his own, but I’m sad that we aren’t as connected as we used to be.

When David and I are together, it’s like 1+1=11. We feed off of each other, make each other laugh and finish each other’s sentences.

And I want more of that in my life again.


6. I Found It Hard To Receive At Times

Have you heard the term “Upper Limit Problem?” It’s when we exceed our internal thermostat for how much love, money, fun, success, or adventure we will allow ourselves to experience. Marie Forleo wrote a great article about it here.

Essentially, you start to sabotage yourself when things get too good, because you aren’t used to the success or you have some belief around not being worthy enough to have all of this success.

And I’m hitting my upper limit for almost everything lately. It’s a little hard to take it all in.

Which leads me to the last thing that hasn’t gone so well this year…


7. My Inner Circle Got Too Big

I’ve always taken pride in having a great memory. Usually I meet someone once and I can remember everything about them a year later. Lately though, I haven’t been as sharp. I feel almost like my brain is at capacity at times.

They say the brain can only handle 150 friends at a time. I’m not sure if that number is accurate, but all I know is I have too many people in my life and I don’t know how to handle it.

It’s literally one of my greatest pain points right now. How do I handle all of these amazing people emailing me, calling me, and sending me text messages with I Love Yous and cute little emoji icons?

Learning to set healthy boundaries is going to be one of my greatest challenges moving forward in 2014. On one hand, I just want to hug the world and help everyone I can. On the other hand, I want to maintain my sanity.

Which brings me to my goals for 2014. They are simple, because getting back to the basics is what’s going to keep me moving forward with my mission.


My goals for next year are:

1. Spend more time with David

2. Develop a deeper relationship with myself

3. Help thousands of men learn how to love

These are the least achievement oriented goals I’ve ever set for myself, but in this moment it’s what is going to maximize the amount of joy in my life.

I miss David, a lot. I’m going to find ways to spend more time with him, even if it means saying No to some good business opportunities.

I’ve spent the past 22 months straight traveling the world, being around other people all the time. Next year I’m going to consciously create times to develop a deeper relationship with myself. More quiet time, more nature, more meditation. Less partying, less events, and less time on the phone.

Finally, I feel really good about where things are headed. The Conference For Men is moving full-speed ahead and people are jumping on board. My writing is getting shared all over the world and people are joining the conversation.

My message is simple….

“Hey men… Love women, Love other men, and Love yourself.”

But there’s a lot of unlearning to do and social norms to battle. But I’m up for the challenge.

In closing, my word for 2014 is Leverage. I’m going to focus on the highest leverage activities that create the most value, the most love, and the most fun in my life. And I’m going to ignore the rest.

So what about you? What are your goals for the year? What’s your word for the year? Share in the comments below.

  • CD

    I’m curious to know if you’ve heard of Alison Armstrong. Very pro-man. Teaches to women most of the things you’ve said.

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Yes, several of my friends have gone through Alison’s programs. And they have helped me greatly in my understanding of men and women. I haven’t done her work, but from the women that I’ve seen who have gone through it, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

  • Amy Pearson

    Love it Mike! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Dr.Raw

    loved this.

  • Sam Dogen

    Sounds like a fun adventure Mike!

    I’m also emboldened there are Man Coaches out there and clients who pay!

    The internet has really changed the way we live forever.

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