Annual Review 2020

This Annual Review is the first edition I'm making public. I've taken key questions from sources such as books, other reviews, and thought leaders. I've kept the questions in the review, so you, too, can do the same thing! 

👋 Introduction

2020 has been wildly different for many people, but is that any different to other years? I say different because I refrain from saying it's automatically been a tragic year. It depends on who. 

I'm not taking away from the deaths but there have been things that have improved due to this pandemic.

Our air pollution has dropped, and it has shown how fast nature can recover if we slow down. The speeding up of remote work. The focus on what is essential. The slowing down of life, the appreciation of what we have. The focus on exploring our own countries and towns instead of always looking for an escape across the world. 

Many things have changed outside our control, but it's the ones that have responded with a cool and calm head that have made huge strides this year. 

I want to point out that I feel extremely fortunate. Covid hasn't been a disaster for me like it has for many. While I could mope about thinking that a golden year of my 20s has been taken away from me, I decided to double down on the things that help me develop instead. 

I've read more than ever, taught more than ever, I've built more than ever. It's the first time I've felt the world and my environment slow down in a long time, and that's not a bad thing. Fomo has disappeared. Living in London is a major head fuck most of the time. Millions are ALWAYS doing something and if you aren't, guess what? YOU'RE A LOSER! (but not this year)

And with this review, I've made a conscious effort to ensure what I say is authentic to me and not what I want people to think/read. Most reviews or highlights are there to show-off. My aim with this is to deep-dive into 2020 and review it authentically. 

🌟🌟🌟 Highlights from 2020

    • 3x Live Like Louise challenges for over 2000 people that has changed many lives (their words not mine!)
    • Verbier - learned to Ski!
    • Setting up the small business support group once lockdown hit, 2000 businesses joined. Donated over £6000 to help people with costs. 
    • Free live workouts for NHS. The Pay What You Can plan - sold over 30,000 of them!
    • First expert Q&A with Lyle Mcdonald, then Donald Robertson. People I admire. World-leading experts. My younger self would have been mind-blown by this. 
    • I supercharged my reading. I created my own reading corner and set-up a "Second brain" system to save my notes and move them all online, so I can connect thoughts and ideas. 
    • Joined YesCymru. (Welsh independence movement).
    • Launched the monthly membership for LLL called "Turtle."
    • I started a book club with members!
    • Started a Youtube Channel and created 20 videos
    • Relaunched my website (scottflear.com)
    • Rugby warfare relaunch (revival series)
    • Become Pn1 certified. Precision Nutrition is the world's leading nutrition coach training qualification. I knew the information anyway but wanted to exchange my knowledge of coaching and how to help people. Knowledge is pointless if it can't be applied! 
    • Helped my mother quit a part-time job she hated by sending her money monthly. Something I've wanted to do since I left school. Major life goal. The government has made her generation retire at 66 when it should have been 60. She should be retired right now. I hope to help her quit within the next 12 months. 

P.S. No mention of financial goals as I don't want money to be leading my reflection and future direction. 2020 has been profitable for both RW and LLL, which has enabled us to hire more people and grow a team. This is all that matters because it allows for a collection of people to impact others' lives. Profit matters and will always be focused on, but the bigger picture needs to focus once attained, not how much money can be made. 

 

🔋 What are the events, habits, or tasks that I look back fondly on or energized me the most?

  • Reading - built a reading only corner to help with reading focus (one time habit builder from Atomic Habits)
  • Teaching - distilling wisdom and knowledge from experts into videos, Q&As and comments. 
  • Solo time - Spent many days/hours alone thinking, writing, walking. Hugely beneficial. 
  • Walking - Active learning with walking is one of the best habits you can form. It's also a form of meditation. 
  • Running - Intermittently. Always felt best when running fit. 
  • Good conversation - chatting to likeminded people about plans, ideas, execution and the world. 
  • Meeting new people - online mainly, huge advances in many areas due to this. Mainly met via online learning courses and 'masterminds'. 
  • Taking courses - I spend a lot of my income on online courses. Only one or two have been a let down, the rest have been life changing. 

❌ What are the events, habits, or tasks that I dreaded or drained me the most?

  • Spending too much time with people (draining). I am potentially an intovert/extrovert. 
  • Using a phone in morning/eve, this actually pisses me off. 
  • Phone calls/zooms that are pointless, nothing worse than wasting time. 
  • Home workouts (function way better when I can train at another location)
  • Weekly check-ins are very draining when doing challenges. 

📈 How did I grow as a person?

  • I gained new skills, improved my knowledge and experience. That's a given for anyone with a growth mindset, But if I were to dig deeper than that, I believe this year was the year I realised I could lead or become a leader in a way. 
  • I don't mean I am superior or should lead but only that I have the confidence, experience, knowledge, and desire to do so. 
  • I'm not sure when this clicked for me, but it was definitely around the time of lockdown 1. I read an article that showed most top companies in the U.S. started during a recession, and after it was over, new leaders emerged. Recessions forge new leaders. I felt that 2020 was a year to emerge as a leader (not sure in what sense at the time). It was a time of radical change for many, and I was determined to make it radical for me too. Starting the small business support group lit a fire inside me. I was donating money, posting content, and trying to help in the best way I can. I was full of adrenaline every single day, and it was crazy. That was definitely a few days of monumental change. 

📚 What were my favorite books, podcasts, articles, videos, and how did they shape my thinking?

  • Leadership in War by Andrew Roberts drew me to Napoleon. I then read the Napoleon biography by the same author. I was fascinated by him. I learned a lot about him, myself, and what it takes mindset wise to do great things. Those 2 books led me down a certain path in 2020. I also re-read the Steve Jobs biographies. He has had a big impact on my thinking and vision too. 

  • Reading Donald Robertson's books also changed my thinking. After reading "how to think like a Roman emperor" (and listening to it twice on audiobook), I had a far greater understanding of Marcus Aurelius, his philosophy, and the world of ancient Rome. After that, I read Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday, which further gave me an understanding of Stoicism, the Stoics, and the philosophy as a whole. 

  • Business-wise I would say the 22 immutable marketing laws and 'Positioning' definitely changed the way I looked at Rugby Warfare, Live Like Louise, and 'me'. Understanding that reality is perception is one of the most important lessons you can learn. 

  • My perception of your life is the reality of it (for me). But you know too well that your reality doesn't match the perception. However, most people are happy to know people believe in their perception rather than be happy themselves. This is the reason so much internal turmoil is happening. On social media, everyone is happy, rich, fulfilled, and in amazing relationships. 

    Inside, at home, alone, they are ruined. They can't spend 5 minutes alone with their own thoughts. Living in perception is more important. 

    But in business, this is true about brands. Some brands are full of shit, no ethics, and sell terrible products, but their perception online is what keeps customers coming back. Use this information how you want but understand
    perception is reality

  • Other books that have influenced me a lot this year are
    • Bruce Lee: Be Water, My Friend - Shannon Lee
    • Man's Search For Meaning - Viktor Frankl
    • The Art of Being - Erich Fromm
    • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers - Robert Sapoksly
    • Maybe you should talk to someone - Lori Gottlieb. 
    • How to live on 24 hours a day - Arnold Bennett 

🤔 How could I have been better as a person? Friend? Manager? Parent etc?

  • As a friend, I could invest more time, energy, and focus. Work can take over one's life. The work I do is play to me, and it seems like a lot of 'work' to others. Realising this is so important, though, as I could just 'work' to death. Scheduling in time for friends/family is key. 
  • As a manager/business owner, I've made strides to improve. Louise described me as a 'bulldozer' on a call once, and I think it is partly true. Not in a sense I destroy things, but I come in, head-on, strong, direct. Understanding how people react to that way of management is essential. Some people love it, and they get direct info. Others will feel attacked or insulted, which isn't good for team morale. Festina Lente is my motto, make haste, slowly. Each day needs to be done to the best of my ability, but I should also take time. Lower the intensity without lowering ability.

🤗 What am I most grateful for in 2020?

I got this from Donald Robertson but to realise what you are grateful for properly you need to think right now how would you feel if you LOST one of your current 'things'. So if you lost your car right now, how would you feel? Don't just name things you're happy about in your life have a hard think how you would feel if you JUST lost something you currently have.  

For me, the first thing that I'd hate to lose right now is both businesses. Both have given me many opportunities in life and have helped build the lifestyle I lead now. If both of those were to be gone, would my life be stable? Would it be fulfilling? I'd say no. I've managed to manifest my true passions into businesses, which I will forever be grateful for.

The businesses give me my time; it's not about the money at all. Cliche, I know, but I've managed to detach myself from money and materialistic things in recent years.

You could say to the extreme level. I do not care to own a house. I will die one day, and so will this earth. I do not care to own designer products; they are for others to be impressed, not me. I do not care for cars; as nice as they are, they bring me no joy. I do not care for expensive holidays; instead, I would go to places with historical significance from the people I'm interested in. This isn't to say I will be saying no to all luxuries, but they don't drive me. 

Losing my mother and father would also be devastating for sure. I've spent the last 11 days at home in Wales with my mother, and nothing has given me much more joy than reading on the chair next to her while she's watching T.V. with the dog Lottie. It's a calm, blissful experience. It will be gone one day, I should make the most of it and be 100% aware. 

⛰️ What were the lessons adversity and life taught me?

  • Normal doesn't exist. There is always opportunity, even in the worse of times. Things have been way worse.

😡 What is currently stressing me out the most?

  • The realisation there I do not know hardly any loyal and true team players. It is human nature, but everyone is greedy, self-absorbed, and selfish. Dealing with that and being self-aware myself is minor stress at the moment. 

⬇️ Where You Are Now

What is my typical daily routine in 2020?

  • Wake up 
  • Read for 1-2 hours
  • Walk
  • Admin / Social Media
  • One big task of the day 
  • Read 
  • Walk/train
  • Additional tasks for the day (not always completing)
  • Read
  • Sleep

What Do You Want?

Bucket all areas of your life to be able to focus on each one. If I had to rank the following in terms of priority right now, what would they be?

Physical health, mental health, spirituality, creativity, relationships, travel, fun, finances, work, or any other self-defined category.

  1. Mental health
  2. Physical Health
  3. Relationships
  4. Creativity
  5. Work
  6. Fun
  7. Travel
  8. Spirituality 

Top 3 work priorities:

  • Live Like Louise - Build the monthly membership to be the best health, fitness, and mindset program on the market
  • Rugby Warfare - Launch a women's/kids and more for men. Start doing team-wear and move into a new warehouse with a storefront
  • Life Sensei - LLL but for men. Working with men on mental health, fitness, work, and balance 
  • Personal brand - start a podcast, write more for my website.

💹 Do I currently live in alignment with my values and priorities? If not, where am I most out of alignment? 

  • I would say I'm in alignment apart relationships, but this is up and down. I need to make it more consistent. 

💪 Physical health 

To maintain muscle mass but change my physical training to be performance-based only. Leaving the physical "aesthetic" side to look after itself with nutrition. Strength, power, and speed. I am going back to my roots in Rugby / Martial Arts. 

🧠 Mental health

Daily runs and walks 

30-minute meditation - self-awareness of thoughts sense not the ums and aaas. 

Daily journal with an evening reflection

🕉️ Spirituality

Read more into Zen Buddhism. Apply things daily. Be more present. 

🖊️ Creativity

Keep showing my work.

Post more content

Write more articles

Come up with more ideas.

Execute on more creative ideas

🧝 Relationships

Maintain current social network. 

Improve current r'ships 

Strengthen weakened ones

Let go of ones that bring me down.

👪 Family

Spend more time in Wales with my mother, father, sister, brother etc. 

Make them more inclusive in my life.

Stop thinking of myself as 'different' from my family. Different paths but not different people. 

✈️ Travel

Travel to more places where I have an interest in historical people. For example, reading about Napoleon made me appreciate France more. I now want to go back to visit Paris. Napoleon made me appreciate Nice more and realise what the Massena Museum was (his main general) it had also made me fascinated with Lake Grada as he won many battles there (I went to where he had a big battle and won, I never would have driven to the small town without this knowledge). Rome was also WAAAY better because of my fascination with the Stoics and Marcus Aurelius. I want to go to more places like Nicopolis due to Epictetus. 

👻 Fun

More time with friends such as city breaks, weekend plans and events. 

More trips away in general. 

More time doing martial arts or sports like five a side 

💰 Finances 

  • Save more money as a % of my income. 
  • Buy food in bulk vs daily trips to the shop
  • Invest in my personal development again while avoiding getting involved in the stock game 

🤯 Stretch Goals

  • Be in the middle/leading in some way the Welsh Independence movement. Something I truly believe Wales needs. 
  • Write a book (or books) that get read by millions of people
  • Build a health/fitness business that can scale and impact millions of lives. Revolutionise how we go about it. 

✅ 2021 Action and Plan

What is my system going to be to make sure you stick to these goals/habits/inputs?

  • One day at a time philosophy. Empty glass & Bruce Lee's 'Be Water' philosophy. Always be learning. Always be open. Always be focusing on the present. Doing this puts success into a high % bracket. 

🤔 Thought Experiments:

Here are some miscellaneous questions to ask to get the juices flowing.

🧔 Personal

How would I spend my time if I knew I was going to die in 30 days?

  • I would stay in Wales. I would put everything in order so that the businesses would run and provide for my mother. I would make sure that everything is transferred into her name and get a support system in place for her to keep living. Once I've done that and got the agreements in place, I'd invite everyone I care about to Wales to spend a week in nature. Doing fun stuff and reminiscing over the past. I'd then send maybe 2-3 hours each day writing and potentially putting it into a book. Something that would last beyond me. Maybe letters, not sure. I would definitely write letters to everyone that has impacted my life and would give them a task to do for me, which would be for the greater good. I'd plan my funeral to be FUN, get the playlist going, hook people up with an after-party and maybe create a final video for the peeps. Grim question really, but if I only had 30 days, I'd do that. 

What if I saw my work, social media, website, etc., as someone I admire? Would I be proud or embarrassed?

  • Yeah, I would be proud. I think it's good. More can be done, of course, as with anything, but I would definitely be proud and believe that the person is on the right path. 

👨‍💻 Work

What would I do if I could only work 2 hours per day?

  • Just focus on one key thing to do each day. One main task. Likely creative split with delegation. 

What would I do if I could only work 2 hours per week?

  • Plan, delegate, put things into motion without me. 

What would I do if I had to take six months off with no communication from the team starting one week from today?

  • Plan the entire year out. Provide everyone with tasks to do. Put all key people into communication. Write out step-by-step guides. Put my most trusted person in charge and explain the vision. Give them full responsibility to execute. 

How would I know the health of my business if I could only use one number?

  • For LLL - results from members (how many happy people each challenge or monthly turtle review)
  • R.W. - Monthly revenue 
  • S.F. - email subscribers 

 

🏴 CONCLUSION

2020 has been a great year for me in every area. I feel it has been a year I have...dare I say it... 'found myself' more than any other year. 

My focus on 2021 is clear, my standards are high and I'm looking forward to taking things one day at a time but with big action. 

I will always be a life-long learner, something I've realised only a small % of this world is dedicated to doing. 

If there's one thing to do in 2021 is to become curious about everything, go for depth, not width, and see where that depth takes you. 

If you are going in many directions at once you'll find you don't move at all. 

And I would like to stress that you should not compare your own year to others. You'll see many 2020 review posts on Instagram over the next few days and remember it is a highlight reel and not real life. Like I touched upon in this review, perception is reality. The beauty of this is that reality can change quite easily with your change in perception. Don't look at them with the "oh their life is amazing, I'm sad" (the most damaging perception to have) but see it as "That's their very best highlights and moments, it doesn't mean their year was good at all, it's just photos and videos". Think about when you've posted a nice photo or video in the past, got the likes but deep down weren't happy at that moment in time. X that across the entire globe. That's reality. 

But to finish on a lighter note I do recommend you create an annual review. I have made this one public mainly to hold myself accountable next year but also as a template or guide on how you can do one too. 

I am excited about creating more content at the intersection of my unique skill-set. As per below! 

See you all in 2021

Twitter @scottflear

Want a daily kick-up-the-ass?

Join my "Weekday Wisdom" daily email list below