Awesome Bucket 2014: Status Update

A domination progress report for my 2014 goals

a bucket full of cloudy sky by Ermolaos

Nine months ago, with an overflowing passion bucket, I laid out my second annual Awesome Bucket – a brimming list of goals I hoped to accomplish in 2014.

Posting those goals publicly and revisiting them throughout the year is a big part of the process. It helps me stay accountable, and see the whole board.

This year has been a whirlwind of goal domination so far, with eight of the 13 goals not only accomplished – but accomplished with authority.

Read on for a complete breakdown and status update to see which ones were crossed off the list, and how the rest of the year is looking for the ones that remain.

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Radiolab: 9-Volt Nirvana

Takeaways from Radiolab’s fascinating episode: 9-Volt Nirvana

The Radiolab podcast episode 9-Volt Nirvana grabbed my attention immediately:

“Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe…”

Sign me up!

I pressed play, expecting an entertaining analysis of some new technology, drug or medical operation that could instantly make you think and do stuff better – like a get rich quick scheme for the brain.

The 25-minute episode did all that, and sparked a much deeper discussion, calling into question concepts of self, entitlement, ethics and the learning process.

I recommend you set aside about half an hour to listen to the show, and stew on it for a bit after it’s over. Then, read on to see how your reactions and takeaways compare to mine.

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The real MVP

In a world smothered by scripted interviews, entitled stars and vanilla soundbites, Kevin Durant – the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player – delivers a slam dunk speech that pulls back the curtain, transcends sports and inspires leadership, humility and perspective.

Kevin_Durant_Feb_2014

These days, I don’t expect much from post-game press conferences, sideline reports, superstar interviews and other sports speeches. Why? Because we rarely get more than a quick thank you to God, followed by a litany of canned sports cliches.

If we expand the scope, the same low expectations can often be applied to other arenas, with force-fed agendas, rhetoric and scripted remarks clouding our glimpses at the true character and opinions of our leaders, influencers and role models.

But every now and then, we’re treated to something genuine, something thoughtful, something inspirational.

Kevin Durant’s exceptional acceptance speech for the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player Award was one of those times.

Judged in a vacuum (in my amateur opinion), the speech stands strong as an organized address with a heartfelt and well-delivered story.

However, in the vanilla, lay-up context we’ve grown accustomed to in sports speeches, Durant’s MVP remarks deliver a posterizing slam dunk.

In this post, I’m going to break down why the speech is so special, and list a some of the lessons I took away after watching it a few times.

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Navigating the social media seas at #SMMW14

Top takeaways from Social Media Marketing World

Attending a conference is a lot like managing a business’s social media initiative:

You need to have a content strategy by planning which sessions to attend, engage your audience by chatting with other attendees, and gather feedback by asking the speakers specific questions that will add value to the conversation.

I kept these principles in mind when I attended Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW14), presented by Social Media Examiner in San Diego, March 27-28.

On the plane to San Diego, I highlighted the top three sessions from each time slot to help me manage my time efficiently and give me quick-reference safety valves should I need to switch day-of. I also talked with as many other attendees as possible, and joined in the the #SMMW14 Twitter conversations to share my notes and get an idea of what was going on in the sessions I didn’t attend.

Most importantly, I outlined in advance the main topics to investigate at the conference: corporate blog strategies, social media customer service training examples, trends in the creep factor and the declining News Feed reach for Facebook pages.

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Road to the MBA

Lessons learned from the application process.

Last time we chatted – back in January – you learned about my Awesome Bucket 2014 and the big plans I lined up to take down this year.

As excited as I was (and am) about those goals, there was something glaringly absent from that list: my one thing. It’s the most important goal of the year and takes priority over pretty much everything else on the plate.

Last year my one thing was to become an Ironman, and I sacrificed sleeping in, Filibertos, nearly all my free time outside of work and many a happy hour to make that dream a reality. (Read all about that glorious day in my IMAZ race report.)

When you get to the top of a mountain you have two options: head back down satisfied and keep reliving the moment; or quickly celebrate, learn from the experience and start looking for the next peak.

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Awesome Bucket 2014

My list of goals for 2014, broken down into the categories of Creative, Fitness, Travel and Awesome.

“Chemistry is, well technically, chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change.” — Walter H. White

As we launch into a new year, change takes the spotlight for many of us.

We reflect on the year that was, look for areas to improve upon and dream about the changes we’d like to make in the future.

I’ve developed into somewhat of an obsessive, merciless, fanatical goal hoarder. As you’d imagine, New Year’s resolution season is an exciting time for yours truly.

Not only am I still riding the high from last year’s Awesome Bucket performance – a dominating 7/9 performance that left 2013’s head spinning – but I’m even more jacked up to keep the Awesome going in 2014.

Brace yourself: the word Awesome is used another nine times in this article.

What’s the point of the Awesome Bucket?

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Awesome Bucket v2013: Results

Analysis of my goals and accomplishments of 2013

Sand_bucket

This has been one of the most exciting, educational and beneficial years of my life.

And the main reason I was able to accomplish so much, is because I took the time to write down my Awesome Bucket goals at the beginning of 2013, and committed to following through in the 12 months that followed.

Setting the course early and posting them online not only set me on the right course, but it also helped me stay organized and accountable.

And for the most part, I was able to keep my eyes on the prize throughout the year. In June, I checked in with a mid-year report card, and now I’m following up with a final recap.

Read on to see my goals, the results and how much of my Awesome Bucket v2013 was accomplished this year.

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Ironman Arizona: Conquered!

140.6 miles, 13.5 hours and one of the best days of my life

Adam Fuller, You are an Ironman!

“Adam Fuller, you are an Ironman!”

I had been working hard – training, stretching, studying and strategizing – for a year to hear that phrase announced over the loudspeakers at Ironman Arizona on Nov. 17, 2013.

As I plowed through the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, there were many times when I heard it pop-up in my head to keep me moving and motivated.

But when I turned down the final straightaway chute and sprinted to the finish line, I was in such an ecstatic frenzy to finish strong that I didn’t even hear Mike Reilly – the voice of Ironman – yell out my name as the latest member of the exclusive club.

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Tri for Les: Idiot infected

Walking boot 2.0

My left foot.

In March 2012 it stepped on a rock and suffered a stress fracture. A couple weeks later it trudged through the Lavaman triathlon – which made matters worse.

In February 2013 it collapsed after running over 20 miles in the Ragnar del Sol Relay.

Now, after recovering from those two setbacks, going strong into these last two months before Ironman AZ in November, the problem dog is at it again.

Read about the latest development in the foot fight in my Tri for Les article: Idiot infected.

You’ll see how it was a part of a series of miscues by yours truly, and learn a few good lessons from my bad examples.

While you’re over on Tri for Les, check out another one of my recent posts: Running unplugged: Why I don’t wear headphones when I exercise, and how I still hear the music.