An Open Heart

What a year... Wow.

Our office is closing at the end of this week and I can’t help but look back on the year and reflect on the good, meaningful work I did, and even look at the failures and smile - thanking them for their lessons.

How was it for you?

I know it’s not over but hey, let’s just celebrate it for a moment. Most of us are winding down for the year and we are thinking of Christmas parties, New Years Eve celebrations and time with family and loved ones.

Let’s just take a moment to savour that.

Every new year’s eve for the last (almost) 20 years, my wife and I have stopped to reflect on the year that passed and talk about the year that we are about to step into. It’s a rhythm I embrace and a moment I look forward to. It’s creates a sense of partnership and resilience between us which is invaluable.

We do this in our business too. We reflect back on the week every Friday afternoon, and we check in on one another, as well as cover our own strengths, needs and weaknesses on Monday mornings.

A weekly lesson in self awareness.

We look back on the year at the end of each year and celebrate each individual’s effort and presence in our business. And we look forward, into the year, at the beginning of each year when one of our team facilitates our annual strategy planning session.

Reflecting has enabled me to look deep at how I feel about the things I feel and has taught me much about what I need to do. A friend of mine calls it ‘self enquiry’ - which is the ability to look at yourself with an open heart.

This week, I’m going to leave you with a few things that I'm proud of, from the 2018 working year. It has been a big year for my family, my team at work and myself personally.

The Strategy Masterclass course and library were updated a few times this year, I received amazing reviews of The Mentorship eBook and I stalled in writing my book. Then I found my second wind and split the book into two! Call me crazy but I like learning and trying new things — even if some of them fail.

I was heavily injured during Crossfit at the beginning of they year. I got back into recovery training almost immediately and managed some personal bests later this year, on the way through to my current almost 90% recovery. They say if you rupture muscles, you'll always feel the rupture and I can vouch for that!

My team made babies, and my own first baby graduated primary school last night. I made new friends and let some old friends drift away to run their own race. I forged some relationships with a deeper level of trust, and I removed others for the lack of it. I tried, so hard, to connect with my children and be present with them at every moment. I tried as hard as a father should try and I realise that I need to try harder. This is something I will focus on.

Last week I did my first meditation workshop and it was wonderful! Who would've thought that a metal-head like me would enjoy peaceful, quiet and mindful time?

A month ago, the same friend who taught me about self enquiry, and I, sat down and began to experiment with podcasting. Even though our first few efforts were rough and raw, we felt good about the fact that we stumbled forward, into conversations that meant something profound and personal to us.

Check out Fearless Conversations - it’s not for everyone, but you can take a lesson in leadership from our interview with a former Australian Special Forces Commander and our conversation on values. Be warned, this is not, yet another ‘design industry podcast’. I was also interviewedby Digital Noir who are absolute legends.

In the middle of this year, my team launched The 2018 Mental Health & Creativity Report and if my inbox was the gauge of its success, the industry world-wide, applauded. Karina and Marita will be running it again next year and it will only be bigger and better with the support we’ve been given by some amazing people.

Writing my weekly journal and sharing these articles with you has been the highlight of my career. Each week I receive a wealth of responses from people around the world who receive these exclusive emails - they share kind words, but they also expand on the themes that I write about and help me better understand the topics through their point of view. I am so grateful for this. This year, the article titled I Am Nobody saw just under 100 in my inbox within the first few days. By far it was the most popular article of the year.

I was blown away.

In June this year I wrote about a moment where I struggled to walk into my office to face the more than 20 people that worked with me. A moment where I realised that my business had to change. A moment where I chose to walk to the beach instead and wrote quietly about the things that I wanted from my life and the work I did. I wrote about it I an article titled I’m The Asshole And That’s OK.

A few months ago we moved into the beautiful George’s Building in Melbourne and it is amazing.

What does this have to do with the article above?

The last thing on my list that day was: “Move into a CBD office filled with natural light and positivity.”

I hope you have a moment to reflect back on the year and pick out the moments that you would like to celebrate.

For me, there were many meaningful moments at work, and even more with my children who I look forward to spending a few weeks with over the holiday season (we are closing our office for 3 weeks!). When I say that these articles and your responses have been the highlight of my career, I’m not kidding you. They have.

Be safe, be well, rattle the cage, laugh with a full belly when you see a clique, tell them to go fuck themselves if they ask you to work for free, do the same with unpaid internships, surround yourself with good people, tell yourself that you are wonderful and special, no dickheads and don’t take shit from anyone, ever.

My StoryJim Antonopoulos