2019: Retrospective

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Another year, gosh another decade ends. Looking back at my last end of year article my last line was simply enhance, refine and have fun. Happily this is exactly what happened throughout 2019.

At work my game plan was repeated with two mainstays; credibility and deliver. It was important to keep this consistency. The third was to enhance my relationships. Building relationships for me is a major key to success. Being introverted in nature, it is difficult for me to just “get out there”. My method then was to focus on building deep, quality, meaningful one on one relationships. This is a natural strength as it pulls in emotions, triggers greater knowledge sharing, lets others do the shining for me, gives me a chance to help them and ultimately get the job done and deliver as a team.

As an enhancement, throughout the year I had informal mentoring sessions with various types of mentors, some were mentors to me without them even realising it. Cannot begin to explain how wonderful this was this year and will definitely continue next year.

It was through these relationships that also helped me understand my main takeaways;

Let It Be

Continuing to develop and work on my vision this year, I fell into the trap of spending way too much time thinking. Almost shoving myself into a narrow branch, not realising there’s a whole tree around me. I became obsessed with thinking of what to do and quickly became frustrated. After taking some gold mine of advice; to pull back a little and doing small things with a flow it will naturally happen. This eased my frustration, showed me the beauty of other parts of the tree I was climbing.


I tend to give up very quickly when asking for something. After the second or third time I just say fuck it… whatever. However I realised this is not always the best. It actually ties into the above come to think about it. After witnessing how a close colleague of mine practiced her persistence spoke volumes to me. Apart from the usual purpose and growth mindset, the missing ingredient for me personally was habit. A scheduled disciplined, habit. The key word here is scheduled. Not a to do list. A schedule of items accounting time and priority. Got to focus on developing this habit to truly admire the beauty of the tree I’m climbing and more important the view from the top.

Personal Brand

Meetings were always with coffee. My social media is plastered with me and coffee. Every Friday I post the trigger of the weekend holding a coffee cup. I share articles about the coffee houses I have been to. I ended up creating a persona that triggers an instant connection between me and coffee. I used my genuine passion and love of coffee to associate myself with it, intrinsically linked. As a result, it formed and activated instant connections when building relationships, provided a soft touch to conversations and more importantly it gave me a way to rent space in a persons mind. This analogy of branding was given to me over two years ago over a coffee. Rent space in a persons mind. Coffee is around us everywhere, I wanted the link to be coffee, Ali and a smile. Of course I developed a far more intricate personal brand than just my fat face and coffee! However it was amazing to see it in action. Lookout for an article in the new year on how to set your own personal brand, especially if you are introverted like me.

I wrote my first book, Building Your Bridge: An Introverts Art to Success. It is going through proof reading and formatting now and will be ready early January. I’m super proud of it and the feedback from the draft really gave me validation and inspiration to carry on and write a second book. I attended communications training which gave me invaluable guide on how to execute a personal milestone for me; public “ballroom” talk.

On this blog published 12 articles in total, only one professional but I focussed more on the book. Lower than last year and to be honest i got blocks both physical and mentally. Developed some exercises to overcome but looking at my takeaways made me understand why and a direction to work on.

A friend inspired me to try surfing and it was amazing, read about it here. I also did the beach thing whilst in Greece. So not me but I’m glad I did it. I solo travelled taking advantage of work trips – see travel highlights and ended the year with a trip to Venice with my son which was amazing, city guide coming soon!

Speaking of my son, I tried a social media experiment with him. A live video talking about marvel movies and just general interaction. I love to hear him talk and perform. The feedback was just amazing, and as such enrolled him into performing arts academy and will also work on setting up a regular thing to do something together.

Health is where I really did not follow my own advice from last year, I lost weight and gained weight all in the wrong places. Difficult to convince it’s still baby fat. However I have stopped vaping and using the IQOS more. With my brother suffering from heart attack this year it shook me up personally. Clearly need a different tactic and will explain more in my last article of the year, The Last Word.

This is the last year of my 30s and also the end of a decade. Over the last ten years I have gone through some difficult times personally, career wise all over the place, learned how to be a father, fell in and out of love, caught the travel bug, fell in love with coffee, met so many amazing people that are still in my life now, made a lot of mistakes, spent far to much money, witnessed comic book movies from Marvel I never dreamt would see, performed Umrah (mini pilgrimage) which reset and centred me and had so much fun. All in all an awesome 30s! Why? Because of my mother’s blessing, family’s love, friends who give a shit, colleagues who inspire. As I think about how to adjust my fashion sense for my 40s, let’s shoutout to all those behind the scenes who make us all get out of bed each and everyday to keep this shit going. Thank you! Peace&Love