I feel like I say this every year – but I truly believe 2022 has been the best yet.
And I’m extremely grateful for that.
2022 has been filled with a ton of change, challenge, growth, and optimism.
I will start by mentioning that this year started off on the right foot with the purchase of 2022 pocket-sized weekly planner, and setting clear goals for the year. This sounds insignificant, but for someone who has never tracked each week on paper nor reviewed my goals monthly, these two things drastically worked in my favor.
On the night of New Year’s Eve, I took a generous amount of time to truly dwell on where I was at in my life and where I wanted to be – and created goals accordingly. I revisited these goals monthly, or in some cases weekly. I added more goals as new ideas arose.
To be honest, the end of 2021 was a difficult time for me and I knew my life was not being lived in the way that I was called. My greatest hope for this year was to feel excited again.
Ministry & Work
A strong call towards ministry kicked off the first few months of this year. I had been looking for a “career change” for a while, but didn’t know exactly what that looked like for me. The feeling of being pushed towards ministry continued through the first few months of the year, which led to an opportunity arising at a ministry in Florida.
Before we knew it, we were hopping on a plane to meet some leaders, tour the area, and learn more. It was awesome getting out of our comfort zone to seek this opportunity. We met some amazing people and saw the Lord at work in amazing ways in the community.
We were given the opportunity to surf for the FIRST TIME EVER, which was a dream come true. Although I quickly learned that my lifelong pipe dream of being a “surfer dude” didn’t come naturally. Meanwhile Lizzy caught her first wave on her first try, and continued to show me up the rest of the day!
Arriving back home after the visit was a strange feeling as we contemplated if this was the next step in our journey. We thought about it often and prayed hard. After a few weeks, we couldn’t help but notice the continued need for ministry right here in our hometown, and recognized new ways that we could be a light right where we were at all along. So, that’s what we did.
Before we made this decision final, I put in my resignation at the agency I had been working at for just shy of five years. It was bittersweet, but a necessary next step. The nagging call to move on was far too obvious – so off I went into the frightening unknown. This was mid-May, which allowed for the greatest summer of all time! 🙂
This allowed for me to focus on growing my freelance photography work, as well as a couple other side hustles I’ve picked up over the past year. Although unconventional, being self-employed for the first time was an amazing feeling.
Fitness & Adventure
Shortly after entering into this new-found freedom, my brother Jake decided we were going to ride RAGBRAI (a week-long bike ride across the state of Iowa) again this year, whether we liked it or not. We only had around a month to train for the 450+ mile ride, which meant it was time to dust off the old road bike for the first time this year and get some miles in.
Many summer morning rides followed as we packed up our bikes and rode into the sunrise week after week. I truly cherished this time riding with my brother and dad.
Just like that – the last week of July arrived and we were in a crowded bus making our way to the other side of the state. I could write an entire novel about every year that I’ve ridden RAGBRAI, but I’ll save that for another time. Needless to say, it was another incredible week pushing myself mentally and physically, all the while eating amazing food, enjoying the endless beauty Iowa has to offer, and relishing the incredible people that make up the cycling community. If you’ve never ridden RAGBRAI, it is truly an unmatched experience that everyone must be involved in at least once.
After completing the 450+ mile journey on my bike, I was motivated to keep it up. I continued to ride fairly regularly throughout the rest of the summer. This motivation continued into the gym, where I found myself regularly for the first time in nearly 10 years! Fortunately for me, my wife Lizzy is a fitness guru and pushed me to get out of bed and get my bum in the gym!
I can’t express how much this routine has benefitted my mental and physical health. In the gym is where the ideas flow, where motivation builds, confidence is gained, and challenges are overcome. Very excited to continue this in 2023.
In addition to riding RAGBRAI, I decided to walk for 11 hours in one day at the beginning of October, after learning about the challenge from an adventure athlete named Colin O’Brady. The walk was an amazing journey that taught me a lot of life lessons and was a pivotal part of clarifying my mission moving forward. It was easily the most physically challenging thing I’ve done in my life! You can read my recap of the walk here.
A huge focus of mine for the summer was learning about real estate. This is something I never, ever thought I would enjoy doing… but there’s a first for everything. Hundreds of hours were spent reading, listening to podcasts, and chatting with people with experience in investing, which led us to the point of knowing what we wanted to do for our “next step.” So – in November, we purchased a small house that we will be living in the basement after we build it out, and will be offering the upstairs as a short-term rental in the spring!
We’re stoked for this next chapter, and are excited for the project that will bring us through the first few months of 2023. I am also extremely grateful for the many people who have shared their experience and knowledge with us in this field!
Writing & Personal Brand
The end of this year has been summed up into an exciting transition of self-discovery.
For some reason it has taken me until now to finally realize my love for writing. Through writing, I can express myself, encourage others, give advice, document, tell stories, and describe experiences in great detail.
All of these I tried to do through other mediums in the past, but have never succeeded in doing so consistently.
Being an educator, encourager, and inspiration through writing is the culmination of my wild journey of 2022. Ultimately, this website is the platform for these things to happen, and I’m super excited to create and share weekly this year.
Growth & Mindset
All in all, 2022 has provided an incredible amount of growth and excitement. Ending this year with clarity of where I’m headed and the drive to make it happen is something I’ve been seeking for years. That stoke about life that I’ve rediscovered was exactly what I was missing the past few years.
The greatest difference from this time last year to present day is undoubtedly my mindset and outlook on life.
When you’re in a spot of discontent complacency, it can be difficult to approach each day with zeal.
I began to get down on myself for not being excited about what I was doing, until I realized I was trying to get excited about things that no longer inspired me. I was trying to find purpose in what I could personally achieve, rather than finding purpose in how I could serve others.
Finding the ability to make a shift to this positive mindset was possible because of a few key things:
- Changing my environment
- Getting out of my comfort zone
- Consuming wisely
- Monitoring who/what I see on social media
- Listening to podcasts regularly
- Challenging myself often
- Getting in the gym
- Trying new things
- Challenging my identity and goals
- Seeking new opportunities
- Allowing necessary change to happen
It’s not an easy thing to move on from what you’re familiar with, but it allows for a breath of fresh air in every aspect of life. If what you’re doing is no longer serving you, don’t be afraid or ashamed of making a change.
Your life could be one small decision away from major breakthrough.
Limiting the negativity you surround yourself with will bring forth positive change. Put good in, get good out. It’s the same for your body and for your mind. This goes for what you see on TV, who you follow on social media, and who you surround yourself with. All of it affects your mood, how you think, and in turn, how you act. Choose wisely!
Deciding that I wanted to change “careers” also greatly benefitted the limiting beliefs I had for myself. Realizing that there are many ways to make income, serve people, and encourage others has entirely changed my outlook. I no longer feel confined to the box I had put myself in.
It’s never too late to change “what you do.” Try new things. Learn what you like and dislike. Your identity should not be wrapped up into what you do for a job.
I’m so grateful for my amazing wife and her willingness to support me in whatever wild ideas I present her with. She has always been down for the ride.
Goals for 2023
Here are a few things I have planned for 2023:
- Continue to create every day
- Post weekly on my newsletter, The Stoke Seminar
- Launch a podcast (more on that later)
- Build a community of people pursuing purpose in their lives
- Get better at public speaking, and do it more often
If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading! To follow along with my weekly newsletter, you can subscribe here.
The most important goal I have for 2023 is to equip and encourage people like you to find purpose in your everyday pursuits. Let’s chase dreams together in 2023!