Reflecting on the past year #reverb10

I have been seeing a bunch of links on Twitter and Facebook about #reverb10 (257 people recently on Twitter).

From the #Reverb10 website:

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we’ll do both.

Since the Journey to A Better man consists of looking at yourself and trying to define what it is that makes you better, how you can improve, and where you are in life – we really like the ideas that reverb10 has.

So, a challenge is in order:  Get over to the Reverb10 website, check out The Prompts and share them with us!  We will do a big recap of our favorites here on Journey.


Dec 1 – One Word


My one word: Busy.

I feel like all year I have been “busy”, trying to keep up with what is going on around me. Next year I am hoping my word is “content” or “profitable”.



This year has been a year of commitment for me since I’ve committed to my WIFE (yes, we got married this year).  I committed to a new business that Matt and I started in February (Spotted Koi LLC <– shameless plug).  My wife and I committed to a new house that we bought.  My wife committed to a new job.  And finally I committed to try every day to become a better man.

Next year I’d like my word to be “success” or “follow-through” (I hyphenated it so it would be one word-ish )

Dec 2 – Writing


Today is about writing. I often have “busy work”, which seems to be a theme.  As a programmer, I see writing in two contexts. The first being for sites like Journey, where I actually write posts; and second to write code. My busy work gets in the way of my writing, and to change this I am getting more organized, hiring people who can help and planning things more effectively.


I do plenty of things each day that DON’T contribute to writing – mainly any time I’m not actually writing.  I’m pretty pleased about how much of my day inspires writing but I don’t actually write – if I had to say it was one single thing that prevented it would be will-power because I always get distracted and do something else instead.  Of course, this is no-one’s fault but my own.

Dec 3 – Moment


The moment when I felt most alive this past year was when I was riding my bike down the backside of Cottonwood Pass. The guys I was with, claim I hit around 40mph. I have no idea. I got going, tucked into my handlebars and just rode the hill out. It was amazing.


It was about 12:30 on September 17th – the day of my wedding.  I was out playing indoor soccer because that’s what I did every Friday at noon.  Being the day of my wedding I was just trying to let go of some of my stress that had built up from work and last minute wedding plans.

For some reason, that day, I was able to let everything go and JUST play – I had been in a good mood all morning because I was excited about the upcoming wedding so maybe that contributed to it but for whatever reason during that game nothing else mattered and I wasn’t thinking about the past or worrying about the future but living completely in the moment and it was thrilling experience.

Dec 4 – Wonder


I cultivated a sense of wonder in my life by both working on this site and creating Spotted Koi with Tony Kimberly. Together, we have both been students of ourselves and our business, trying to figure it all out as we worked and wrote. It has been a rewarding year so far, with many speed bumps along the way.  Somehow, Tony and I are still in business and we are still really good friends.


Since I was a little boy I loved to examine the world around me and just think about how things work and how things could be made better.  I often enjoyed my sense of wonder the most when I was lost in thought.  I’ve cultivated a sense of wonder by making an effort to take some time alone, particularly when driving, and consider life and what it can be.

Dec 5 – Let Go


I actually let go of my full time job and my sense of security.  Even though I have been working there part time since, in order to replace myself with the new guy, who has yet to be hired, I still gave up $85,000/year and a $30,000 bonus. I did this for many reason, unofficially for my sanity and health, officially because I was not happy and very much wanted to build Spotted Koi as a business.  It has been amazing starting my own business and learning what its like to have fear as a motivator.


I let go of my old life this year.  I used to work long hours as a mechanic.  Now, there were a lot of things about that job that I really enjoyed but one of the things I hated was working for someone else.  All of their follies were so blatantly obvious to me that it pained me to watch it all play out.  Instead I started at Spotted Koi full-time and (I believe) I sealed my future as an employer instead of an employee. I’m proud to tell people I’m a small business owner and I’m glad I let go of my old life.

Dec 6 – Make


My wife and I recently bought a house and we have been making a home for ourselves, much like birds bringing sticks and trash together for their nest, we have made about 1000 trips to Home Depot and Lowes to gather materials to make our house truly ours.  So far, this journey of remodeling our house has been tough, fun, and exciting. We both have lists of things we want to do, and we are both fully aware that if we don’t get them done now, they might never get done. I am proud of what we have created, knowing that everything else we do is just polish on this amazing thing that we have done.


The last thing I made was a small wooden burr puzzle.  Every year my immediate family has a policy that the gifts we exchange must be homemade so I made some wooden puzzles to give out!  (Similar to the one shown below)

Dec 7 – Community


2010 taught me to pay more attention to the people who I spend time with and the people I want to spend time with.  It made me think in more detail about who my true friends are, whether I spend tons of time with them or not.

I have also learned that I really want to spend more time with my family, that my family is extremely important to me even though it has not been all that important or present to me in the past.


In 2010 I found the Twitter community!  I’d known it was there but hadn’t gotten involved and I’ve found the twitter community to be extremely intelligent, diverse and open.  I love all three of these traits and I hadn’t been getting enough of them!

In 2011 I’d like to grow the community here at Journey to a Better Man because I’ve been passionate about self-improvement and I love the input I get from others about what they’re doing to improve themselves.

Dec 8 – Beautifully Different


I am a joker, a trouble maker, and an idea person (sometimes called a shit-disturber). The problem with thinking about what makes me different is that I often think about those things that make me the same as well. I am unable to follow through, or complete things. A creator with no follow-through is not really a creator.

I am working on these things, in the hopes that I can improve upon what I have, what I have planned, and what I leave sitting on the table constantly.


I’m different from most in that my jokes are laaaaame!  My jokes are so lame that my friend call bad jokes Tony Jokes.  My jokes are so bad that I often have to cue people by laughing first so they actually realize I was joking.  My jokes are (hopefully) so bad they actually make people laugh.  I think people actually enjoy this because they associate these jokes with dad-jokes.  The show How I Met Your Mother actually did a piece on dad-jokes this season.  Maybe I should give you an example of the kind of joke I tell.

Sometimes people call me T.  I said “Oh well atleast that’s better than calling me coffee.” ( If you don’t get it then say it out loud, that usually helps.  If you still don’t laugh then ask someone nearby to laugh to help get you started)

Dec 9 – Party


I absolutely loved the Movember events that I participated in this year. We got together with the intention of raising money, we did that, but we had great parties around these efforts. I loved seeing so many people getting together for a common cause and having so much fun.


My favorite Party in 2010 was, by far, my wedding.  There was no other party that had the perfect mix of people I love, food I love and reason to celebrate.  As far as I’ve heard plenty of shenanigans ensued.  Fortunately I was left out of most of it.  With the exception of the traditional serenading of the bride with You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling straight out of Top Gun. (requisite picture below)

Dec 10 – Wisdom


The wisest decision that I made this year, this is an interesting question that I am not sure I can put a finger on. I believe that this would be a question best asked of someone who looks towards me and watches me, rather than by myself.


I kind of have to agree with Matt on this but I’ll take a stab at it…. I think the wisest decision I made was to stop fighting my personality and work around it.  For instance, I hate getting up in the morning so, instead of getting up in the morning and hating myself I decided to shift my work schedule.  Another example would be that I hate working out in the traditional way but I LOVE to play soccer, so I stopped trying to run, lift weights or do any of that other crap and just play soccer regularly to stay in shape.

Dec 11 – 11 things


1. Hard work with little to no return – This one and number 6,7,8 all go together. I spend a lot of time on things, getting nowhere.

2. Stress for the sake of stress – My life is stressful, not because it is too hard or there are too many unreasonable expectations on me. It is stressful, because I am not getting what I want out of it and I am not enjoying the things I am working on.

3. Feelings of having “missed out” – What comes with the feelings of wasted time, come the realizations of all the things missed.

4. Feeling disappointed in decisions and situations – This is a reflection of #3, whereby I feel I am missing out on things, causing me to think about the decisions and situations that got me to the place where I missed out on things I very much wanted to be a part of.

5. Not knowing my family as well as I should – I very much realized how very little I know my own family over this holiday season, and this has focused me towards taking steps that will bring me closer to my family and allowing me to spend more time with them as well.

6. Wondering where all my time went – I spend so much time doing “stuff” but very little of it gets me anywhere. I am working to be more productive and to spend my time on things that benefit me in greater ways.

7. Not being prepared – too many times this year, I have fallen behind or allowed surprises that I knew were coming but failed to prepare myself for.

8. Not taking enough time to relax, play, and enjoy my life.

9. Being out of shape – exercise. I said that I would do this last year, I don’t know how yet, but I will be in better shape this year.

10. Being uninformed – I want to read more, and be more informed of what is going on in the world around me, both locally and nationally.

11. Having unreachable goals – many of my goals were not well thought out, well planned for, or executed in any manner resembling reality. It is frustrating to say the least.


1. Stress – F that stuff, who needs it anyway?

2. Too Much Work – I work too much!  It really isn’t bad because I love my job but I don’t spend enough time with my wife or out doing things in the REAL world (I work on a computer all day).

3. Half-Used Time – I spend too much of my time half working and not really getting anything accomplished and not even enjoying some relaxation.  I’m committing to being more productive when I’m working and taking more time relaxing when I’m not working.

4. Not Committing – All too often I dive into projects half-assed instead of going full steam ahead.  As the saying goes “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing”

5. Wasted Time – I spend WAAAY too much time doing nothing – I remind myself that every day (week, month, year) I don’t get something done is another day lost but I need to remind myself more often because too many days go by where I still don’t get any closer to my goals.

6. Negativity – I don’t exercise enough control over my mental state, I try to remind myself that it’s all in my head but some days I let my environment control how I feel.  In the coming years I’d like to be more diligent about controlling my mental state especially when I’m out of my comfort zone.

7. Lack of Follow through – This has been trouble when it comes to projects at work but it has been getting better.  Matt and I have been working on this together but there is a ways to go.

8 through 11.  Ok my life must be pretty good because I can’t come up with anything else.

Dec 12 – Body Integration


I do not have a single recognition of something like this happening over the last year.


Dec 13 – Action


Ahh, exactly the thing I have been working at. I am very good at having ideas, knowing what things should look like. But my problem is two-fold. I am no good with the connecting between the idea and what should happen, and then as a result, I am not able to finish. I believe that what I need are the “right people” who are good at making these connections, and who know how to take an idea somewhere.


Dec 14 – Appreciate


The thing that I have come to appreciate the most in the past year is my wife. She is the person who keeps me going, she is the motivation for everything I do, and she is often the person who is neglected as a result. She stands by me, believes in me, and understands what I am doing and why.  I love my wife and I want very much to show her how much I appreciate everything she does for me.


Dec 15 – 5 minutes


Matt – you have lost your memory and these are the high points of what you have done in 2010:

- You purchased a house with your wife Melissa, replaced every floor, and painted every wall.

- You have created a successful company with your friend Tony, the company is a web development and business consulting firm called Spotted Koi. You are currently in the middle of monetizing a few sites, as well as building a a few sites.

- Your desires for 2011 are to free yourself from the day-to-day work that you currently perform, as well as produce more profit and better returns from Spotted Koi, so that you can spend more time with your wife and extended family.


Dec 16 – Friendship


Sometimes it is hard to realize what has been taught to you, until much later. I feel that this is the case in this situation.


Dec 17 – Lesson Learned


I am writing this on Dec 24th, but the thought still applies.

While I was sitting in the hospital with my family, hoping that my step-grandmother would get better and recover from what seemed like a recoverable hiccup in her health (she did not), I met a man who started talking to me.  He needed to talk to someone about what was going on for him, and informed me that he brought his wife to the hospital two days prior because she was having flu-like symptoms.  The night I talked with him, he had found out that cancer was currently ravaging her internal organs and she would not make it through the night. He had 5 small children.

This lesson smacked me upside the head to tell me that I needed to do everything I could to spend more time with my wife, and with my extended family. I have never in my life had such a draw towards spending time with my family and getting to know them better that I already do.


Dec 18 – Try


I would really like to try trusting people more often to do the things they have been asked to do, and then being clear and forthright with them when these things do not get completed.  This will allow me to read my goals of autonomy from my business while creating the environment that we need from that business.


Dec 19 – Healing


I have no idea.


Dec 20 – Beyond Avoidance


I should have quit my job completely and dedicated myself to my business 100%. Instead I was afraid of not having enough money to keep my house.

Update: I finally stopped contracting in Feb.



Dec 21 – Future Self


Focus on the parts of work that make you happy. Focus on your wife and making sure that she is happy. Focus on doing things that make your life better, not just things you should or have to do.


Dec 22 – Travel


I traveled to China this past year, a place that I never thought I would ever get to go. Just being in Asia was such a treat, but being in Beijing, China was amazing. I absolutely loved the food, I enjoyed all of the people I met, and got to see some absolutely amazing things that I had only heard of.


Dec 23 – New Name


I wouldn’t introduce myself as someone else. I am happy as I am, with who I am, and with how people see me.  I have earned these thoughts and feelings about me through my actions.  If I am being seen in a way that I don’t like, I need to get off my butt and do something about it.


Dec 24 – Everything’s OK


Waking up every morning next to my wife and knowing that she is there with me and beside me gives me the feeling that everything’s OK.  Without her, I would be extremely lost.


Dec 25 – Photo


There is a photo of me floating around, licking the top of a table in Beijing. The table was hundreds of years old, and it was in one of the best restaurants we visited while in Beijing. I licked the table because I said I would lick a table when I was there. I try to be a man of my word, silly or not.


Dec 26 – Soul Food


The best and most amazing food that I ate was in Beijing. Not only did I have my choice of new foods to enjoy, but I was able to almost completely eradicate my GERD while I was there. I didn’t have to take my meds and it made a huge difference for me.


Dec 27 – Ordinary Joy


Sitting on the side of the mountain at Copper, looking out at the view. This is my favorite, preparing to hit the run as fast as I can, hitting jumps and just enjoying the outdoors and the sunlight.


Dec 28 – Achieve


I want to be completely self-sufficient with my company, in such a way that I am comfortable knowing that we will be OK with our bills and our house.


Dec 29 – Defining Moment


The day I put in my two weeks and realized that I was able to survive outside of a real job allowed me to define the rest of my year. It allowed me opportunities to explore ideas and systems for my company that I would not have been able to explore had I been working there.


This isn’t really a series of events so much as it has been a building over the last 10 months.  The biggest change for me has been the building of our business Spotted Koi – it’s an outlet for most of my creative ideas and a constant challenge to stay on top of an entire business.


Dec 30 – Gift


The best gift that my wife and I gave ourselves this year was our house. We no longer live in the oppression of an apartment and we finally have the thing that we both worked so hard to save for.  We replaced every floor and re-painted every wall.  It was a chore for sure, but it was totally worth it. We have a house that we love and that we will live in for some time.


This is such an easy one that I almost feel bad I didn’t have to work for it!  The best gift I got this year was my wedding ring.  I wear it every day and it is a consistent reminder that no matter how things are going my loving wife is there for me.  I’ve never been a jewelry person but I’ve found that I really enjoy that I (almost) always have it with me, it’s almost like she’s with me.


Dec 31 – Core Story


I am not sure what story would be at the core of me, but there are for sure values. I value honesty, humor, and diligence. I am a man of my word and I do my best in the things I take on.  Without these values, there would be nothing left of me.


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Article by Matt

Matt is a web developer and entrepreneur who grew up in Kansas City and went to school with Tony since Middle School. After college, Matt moved to Denver with his wife Melissa to start out their lives in a new city. Read 10 articles by
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