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Annual Review 2016

January 1, 2017 — Leave a comment

 

annual-review-2016

In the Lean/Continuous Improvement world we carry out ‘Hansei’ which is Japanese for ‘self reflection’. Hansei (反射) allows us to review goals set and reflect on how they went to see what worked so we can build on the successes and see what didn’t work so we can adjust and change direction.

I started publishing my annual review on my blog 3 years ago. See annual reviews from past years below,

Annual Review 2013    Annual Review 2014    Annual Review 2015

Like many other bloggers and writer’s whose annual reviews I have read over the past few days, I am struggling to write this year’s review. 2016 in some ways felt like planet earth had been tilted off her axis!

Personally 2016 got off to a rocky start. I was unemployed (due to redundancy) and my beloved Dad was facing his second open heart surgery in January. Thankfully as the year went on it took a more positive direction for me as my Dad’s health continued to go from strength to strength and I started work with an exciting company committed to growth and committed to the change required to sustain that growth – #daa (Dublin Airport Authority).

 I don’t think this positive change of direction was reflected globally as throughout 2016 we, as a planet and a race, struggled with the loss of many of our gifted stars from various genres, war, poverty, terrorism on a larger scale than I can ever remember, various forms of inequality and the results of the American election. Globally as personally there is much work to do in 2017.

A part of me would prefer to forget the annual review for 2016, move into 2017 and hope the global challenges faced by our planet and fellow human beings do not follow us into 2017. However, if life has taught me anything, it is that when we are faced with challenges it is then that we need to take a firm stand and plough on through!

So here goes, in no particular order, my annual review for 2016.

 

TRAVEL

Destinations Mike and I visited this year include Abu Dhabi, Lanzerote and Cardiff. We also spent a few long weekends away around Ireland most notably enjoying a heatwave on Inis Mor during the hottest weekend in Ireland in years. Part of my goals for 2016 was to write more travel blog posts and so here are 2 blog posts I wrote on 2 interesting destinations with contrasting beauty – Abu Dhabi and Inis Mor.

The Top 5 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi

The Top 5 Things To Do On The Aran Islands

Travel continues to be one of my passions in life, however time away from long haul travel has allowed me to focus on building my second website – more about that below! #Lean

 

PHOTO

Taking time to focus on building my new website also meant I didn’t do as much photography as previous years.  Part of this focus was learning more about and growing my online presence. 

Thanks to Michael Hyatt’s amazing book Platform, I learned more about growing a social media presence this year than I have learned in the previous many years since launching this blog.

If you are a blogger, writer or any type of a business owner and want to know more about growing your blog, readership and business through social media, I highly recommend this book. It’s easy to read and the wisdom shared is easy to implement.

I worked with some friends on personal photo shoots this year which I enjoyed immensely and also was photographer on my very first fashion shoot with my friend Fiona Hayes from FHStyle and stunning model Becky Costelloe.  Check out one of the many newspaper articles that covered images from our shoot. Watch this space 🙂 

 

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This year one of my goals was to understand more about personal finance.  In this quest, I read Tony Robbins book ‘Money Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom’ 

Tony is a master when it comes to finance and in this book he not only shares his own wisdom but also leverages the wisdom of many of the world’s finest financial advisors to share their advice, insights and experience. Tony’s book is written in an easy to understand format for all levels of wealth which is why I liked it so much. 

I have always known this but 2016 made me more acutely aware that no matter how much you earn or how much is in your bank account it doesn’t make you happy, make you a good person or heal you when you are ill.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 In 2016 I continued to learn about social media platforms that I have been using for a long time and also started using new social media platforms  – each new social media platform brings a new learning curve.

Like most things in life, the more I learn about social media and digital marketing the more I realise I don’t know.

Throughout most of 2016 I posted daily inspirational quotes to various social media platforms teaching me much about posting, scheduling and outsourcing on social media platforms – here is a 4 part blog series I wrote on these subjects last year. Social media changes each and every day and so there is always much to learn.

 

LEAN

 

As mentioned above I started the year unemployed having been made redundant by a company that neither valued me or my skills. Professionally there are very few things worse than getting up every morning and going to a job where your skills, experience and contribution are not valued. From personal experience I can tell you it is soul destroying. This is the antithesis of a Lean culture where not only is every single employee respected and valued but they are developed, mentored and empowered to become the very best they can be.

I have been interested in and have been studying Lean for many years and my experience of being made redundant has made me even more committed to sharing the positive benefits of a Lean culture which I will do through my new website. Launch date yet to be confirmed, I am aiming for early January! Watch this space!

I am now blessed, lucky and grateful to be working for an exciting and growing company that not only understand that they need to change to grow and sustain growth but take focused and prioritised action to do so. This commitment to sustainable growth is what separates companies that change from those that don’t. #daa #GreatPlaceToWork

 

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In 2016 I have become more aware than ever that so many people in our world struggle in circumstances that make no sense in such an abundant world – homelessness, refugeeism, inequality in all shapes and forms and politics driven by greed and power.

It’s nice to give back. I have been supporting various charities for many years and year on year I try to give more to each charity whether this is monetary support or volunteering my time. I continued to support these charities in 2016 but didn’t give as much in donations or time as I would have hoped. This is something I certainly need to work on in the coming year.

 

MIND BODY SPIRIT

 

In January 2016 my beloved Dad faced open heart surgery for the 2nd and was by far the most significant event of my life in 2016. Everything else that happened in 2016 paled in comparison and significance.

There is no greater pain than watching someone you love and adore battling an illness. My Dad’s surgery and subsequent recovery has made me intensely aware of and grateful for every breath and every day my family and I spend illness free

For me, it is nurturing Mind, Body and Spirit that keeps everything else in good health.

‘Health is Wealth’ is a well known saying that is so so true. If you or one of your loved ones are sick there is no money in the world can give you or your loved ones back the health once enjoyed. I have always been aware of this saying and seem to hear it many times but it has never made more sense to me than it has in the past few years as I have watched family and family friends battling illnesses.

 

METRICS

Just like the world of Lean and Continuous Improvement, the only way to definitively know if you are improving is to have ‘fact based’ metrics. I currently track 20 metrics across 7 social media platforms. Each one of these metrics increased in 2016 which means I’m moving in the right direction!!! In saying that, growth is slow –  slow but steady!

I also track metrics for each area of my life as in the sections above. This may sound like a lot of work but just like metrics in business, when you get used to setting, tracking and using valuable information from them, they can become quiet addictive! #Lean

 

That’s it, 2016 was like most years, full of ups and downs.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

May 2017 be a transformational year for you all.

Always remember small consistent changes will lead to huge transformations.

 

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A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who shares this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive impact on my life. A special and heartfelt THANK YOU to my boyfriend Mike, my family and my friends for making each year better than the last, you are the reason for it all.

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

x x x

Note: The system I use for my annual review is still a work in progress and evolves year on year as my own life evolves. When I first carried out my annual review I started with a template shared and used by Chris Guillebeau. If you are interested in starting your own annual review, here is Chris Guillebeau’s How To Conduct your own Annual Review. This is a great read and highlights how powerful planning and reviewing can be.

Chris’s updated annual review template can be found here – Annual Review Template, I used this initially then changed and modified it over the years.  Chris’s 2016 annual review can be found here which will give you an insight into why I follow him and why I travelled all the way to Oslo a few years ago to attend his celebration for visiting every country in the world, he is a very inspirational guy!

 

 

book

Photo Credit – Ben White (Unsplash)

Following on from my 2016 Annual Review, here are my favourite 10 books for 2016. Reading is one of my favourite things to do and one of my goals for 2016 was to read/listen to a book every 2 weeks – 26 books in total for the year.  I didn’t reach this goal but came close enough and enjoyed each and every book.

 

MindSet – Carol Dwecke

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 This was one of the best books I read this year. A simple yet effective explanation of the two types of mindset – one being a fixed mindset and one being a growth mindset. From decades of research in her field of psychology, Carol explains the different outcomes of having the different types of mindset. Guy Kawasaki’s review sums this book up – “If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset.”—Guy Kawasaki (author of The Art of the Start 2.0). 

Michael Hyatt also loved this book and included it in his top 5 business books of 2016 as outlined in his blog post – The Best Business Books I Read In 2016.

Here is an excellent article that summaries the highlights of this book, thanks to Brain Pickings.

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up (The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) – Marie Kondo

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This book has been on my ‘to read’ list for quiet a while. One of my favourite Lean tools is 5S which is implementation of Workplace Organisation. I have read many articles about Marie Kondo’s best selling book and was curious to see if and how the ‘KonMari method’ was different/similar to 5S. This book did not disappoint. It was as interesting as it was informative. It does indeed reflect some of the techniques of 5S but is also immensely different. A wonderful read for anyone who wants to banish clutter from their home for good and spend less time tidying and organising! 

Andy and Me (Crisis & Transformation on the Lean Journey) – Pascal Dennis

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This was my favourite book of 2015 and makes it into my top 10 for 2016.  I am a big fan of Pascal Dennis and he ensures ‘Andy and Me’ is an easy read with a really big message that simplifies the complexity of Lean through storytelling – genius! For anyone who is starting out on the Lean journey or wants an insight into the power of Lean then this book is for you. I have read this book many times and find new wisdom and learning on each reading.

Andy and Me And The Hospital (Further Adventures On The Lean Journey) – Pascal Dennis

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The third part of the trilogy of ‘Andy and Me’ books by Pascal Dennis. Andy Saito and Tom Pappas are reunited to evaluate the operations of a New York hospital. Pascal’s brilliant storytelling ability ensures this book delivers a compelling story infused with Lean wisdom on every page. It highlights the fact that Lean and the transformational benefits it delivers can be applied to any industry. Oh how I wish the Irish healthcare system would take note and learn from Andy Saito and Tom Pappas.

Platform (Get Noticed In A Noisy World) – Michael Hyatt

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 Platform is an extremely well written book on building and sustaining an audience online. It is jam packed with excellent advice from a man who really knows what he is talking about. Michael Hyatt has spent most of his career in the publishing world and now runs his highly successful blog where he shares his knowledge and wisdom generously.

If you are a blogger, writer or any type of business owner and want to know more about growing your blog, readership and business through social media, I highly recommend this book. It’s easy to read and the wisdom shared is easy to implement. 

Money Master the Game – Tony Robbins

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Tony is a master when it comes to finance and in this book he not only shares his own wisdom but also leverages the wisdom of many of the world’s finest financial advisors to share their advice, insights and experience. Tony’s book is written in an easy to understand format for all levels of wealth which is why I liked it so much.  The spectrum of financial guidance goes from the simple advice of ‘spend less, save more’ to investment advice in stocks and shares and hiring a fiduciary to help you with same. For anyone like me who doesn’t know much about stocks and shares, the steps to assist with ‘spending less and saving more’ are reason enough to buy and read this book.

The Soul Of Leadership – Deepak Chopra

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A beautiful book by an incredible teacher, this book enables the reader to identify and develop their core values which in turn enables them to lead others to greatness through creativity, intelligence and organising power. This is a really easy to read book jam packed with amazing insights. Everyone is a leader, whether you are leading yourself, your family as a parent or a company as a CEO and everything in between this is a brilliant read. Deepak spells out the elements required to be an effective leader as follows, L = Look and Listen, E = Emotional Bonding, A = Awareness, D = Doing, E = Empowerment, R = Responsibility and S = Synchronicity.

The 7 Spiritual Laws Of Success – Deepak Chopra

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Another beautiful book by Deepak, easy to read and a book you will want to visit again and again. Deepak’s insights and advice for success are so simple yet so powerful. Here are the 7 laws outlined in Deepak’s book – like all good advice from books, living the advice is the challenging part. The Law of Pure Potentiality, The Law of Giving, The Law of Karma, 
The Law of Least Effort, The Law of Intention and Desire, The Law of Detachment and The Law of Dharma

 You can read more about these 7 laws here on Deepak’s website.

Wishes Fulfilled – Wayne Dyer (RIP)

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I am a huge fan of the late great Wayne Dyer and every single one of his books are as enjoyable as they are unique. In this book, Wayne highlights that the greatest gift you have been given is the gift of your imagination and that everything that currently exists in the world started in someone’s imagination. Wayne guides the reader through steps to manifesting what lies in the imagination into the physical world. As deep and insightful as all of Wayne’s writings and teachings.

The Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle

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 I have lost count of the number of times I have read ‘The Power Of Now’. The first time I read this book I didn’t really understand it, however what I did understand was that there was a very powerful message in the book. Each subsequent reading has brought a deeper understanding of the simple principle that Eckhart teaches. There is only the ‘Now’, there never was and never will be anything other than the ‘Now’. A deep and powerful book – if this book sounds interesting to you, be prepared to give it the time it deserves. One of the best and most powerful books I have ever read.

 

 

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Other books I read/listened to and thoroughly enjoyed in 2016 are,

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

The Power Of Intention – Wayne Dyer (RIP)

 Gemba Walks – Jim Womack

The Psychology Of High Self Esteem – Nathaniel Branden

Cultivating An Unshakable Character – Jim Rohn

 The Power Of Ambition – Jim Rohn

Blind Spots – Madeleine L.Van Hecke

 

What was your favourite book of 2016?

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

x x x

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This time of year is for reflection before the planning starts in the New Year. Thanks to the wisdom in Michael Hyatt’s book ‘Platform’, looking back on the year my focus for this blog was on writing posts that were more resourceful than informational. This change of strategy in my writing proved to be popular with my readers as I saw a notable increase in traffic for each of my blog posts. As always blogging and social media is a steep and never ending learning curve.

Here are my most viewed posts of 2016.

 

4 Reasons To Back Up Your Photos and Videos

In this digital world most people own some sort of a camera whether it’s an SLR, digicam or smartphone camera. No matter what you use to shoot images or videos it’s a must to regularly back up your images.

Here are 4 reasons why. Continue reading

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Ideas On Backing Up

Following on from my previous blog post ‘4 reasons to back up your photos and videos’ here are my thoughts on backing up your valuable images and videos.

I’m sure there are many other file storage/sharing websites available, however Dropbox is my site of choice and seems to be popular among photographers and non photographers alike. Dropbox.com is an excellent online file storage and sharing website that’s easy to use and navigate around.

A free Dropbox account allows a very generous 2GB of storage. This may not sound a lot of storage for anyone who shoots in RAW however if you just use it as temporary storage it can suit just fine. For anyone not shooting in RAW, this is plenty of space for jpegs etc.  I don’t use Dropbox for permanent storage/back up, however it is great for temporary back up when I’m traveling and for file sharing with family, friends and clients. Continue reading

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The Top 5 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital city and the second most populated city of the United Arab Emirates, the most populated being Dubai. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical, arid climate with sunny blue skies and high temperatures expected most of the year. The climate is one of the reasons it has become a very popular tourist destination. Mike and I recently spent 8 days there, it was sunny every day and we didn’t see  a drop of rain – bliss!!!

Here are my 5 top things to do if you visit Abu Dhabi, there is so much to do there that the below is really a fraction of what is on offer in this fabulous city. Continue reading

 

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 8 Steps To Creating Your Blurb Book

There are many online websites where you can create photo books. My favourite and the one I have been using for many years is Blurb.

Blurb books are easy to create, easy to order, are very reasonably priced. I am a big fan of Blurb books and have used them to create 8 Travel Photography Books (6 pictured below) and 4 Wedding Books. Continue reading

 

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How To Create Inspirational Quote Images

I wrote this blog post in early 2015, however on reposting it this year it made the top 5 most viewed posts of 2016.

Following on from my blog post  ‘Are you getting your dose of daily inspiration?, here is information on how to create what I now refer to as inspirational ‘quote images’ that I post daily on social media.

To create ‘quote images’, you will need two things.

1. A source of quotes that resonate with you

2. An online tool/ website where you can turn these quotes into ‘quote images’

Continue reading

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To each and every one of my readers, thank you for being here. Without you, it’s just words on a computer screen!

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

x x x

Annual Review 2015

January 3, 2016 — 3 Comments

 

ANNUAL REVIEW (1)

 

It’s hard to believe yet another year has gone by. Time really does go by very fast which makes it so important to spend your precious time with people you love and doing work that you love!!

In the Lean/Continuous Improvement world we carry out ‘Hansei’ which is Japanese for ‘reflection’. Hansei allows us to look back at what has been achieved so we can use lessons learned to determine future direction for improvement and growth. Every year I carry out an Annual Review which is a personal ‘Hansei’ on my life so I can continue to improve and grow.

An annual review is a great way of reviewing goals set at the beginning of the year and reflecting on how the year went to see what worked so you can build on the successes and see what didn’t work so you can adjust and change direction.

I find an annual review helps me to plan better which in turn enables me to focus more and get more done so I can continue to improve my life and the life of those around me.

An annual review is also hugely beneficial when setting goals for the coming year.

I have been carrying out an annual review for a few years now and started publishing my annual review on my blog 2 years ago. See annual reviews from 2104 and 2013 linked below,

Annual Review 2013

Annual Review 2014

The system I use for my annual review is still a work in progress and evolves year on year as my own life evolves. When I first carried out my annual review I started with a template shared and used by Chris Guillebeau. If you are interested in starting your own annual review, here is Chris Guillebeau’s How To Conduct your own Annual Review. This is a great read and highlights how powerful planning and reviewing can be.

Chris’s updated annual review template can be found here – Annual Review Template, I used this initially then changed and modified it over the years.  Chris’s 2015 annual review can be found here which will give you an insight into why I follow him and why I travelled all the way to Oslo a few years ago to attend his celebration for visiting every country in the world, he is a very inspirational guy!

To say carrying out an annual review has transformed how I plan and achieve goals would be a huge understatement. Last year it took me quiet a while to compile the annual review – this year, learning from that lesson, I carried out mini monthly reviews as well as the larger quarterly reviews outlined in the template linked above. This has made the annual review process much more streamlined and has ensured I changed direction when required and not a moment too soon. These mini reviews also helped me track metrics much more closely. I’m not sure if this is a result of planning more, being more organised or the fact that my passion for Lean has also awoken a passion for metrics of all sorts! More about metrics below!

Similar to most years I met some of my goals, exceeded a few, dropped some during the year and did not do as well as I would have hoped in others –  my goals like life itself are a work in progress!

As always, Mike, my family and my friends are my reason for everything.

So here goes, in no particular order, my annual review for 2015.

 

TRAVEL

This year, long haul travel was put on hold to help me learn more about and improve my finances. In saying this I still seemed to be packing a suitcase often enough to keep me sane but my travels this year were mostly around my beautiful home of Ireland (North and South) instead of long haul.

My first trip of the year took my Mom and I back to Belfast to bring my Travel Photography exhibition home. My Travel Photography exhibition was displayed in the arrivals hall of George Best Belfast City airport from August 2014 to March 2015.

I am immensely grateful to all 4 airports (Cork, Dublin, Shannon and George Best Belfast City) for hosting my Travel Photography exhibition over the past few years. Following my exhibition in George Best Belfast City airport I wrote a blog post on how I created my Travel Photography Exhibition that can be viewed here – How to create a Travel Photography exhibition.

As always big thanks to Tony from RightBrain Fine Art printing studio – Cork City for my Fine Art prints, Donie and Denis in Thomas Street Framing gallery – Limerick City for mounting my prints and Barbara in Barbara Hubert Bookbindery –  Cork City for my gorgeous custom made comments books.

Northern Ireland has the most amazing scenery, from the scenic walk to Carrick-a-Rede bridge, across the bridge itself (which is not for those with a fear of heights) to the unique and breathtaking Giants Causeway…..Northern Ireland is a must see.

Belfast is a fascinating city with so much to do. Beautiful shops, markets, restaurants and architecture make this city an excellent city break. Belfast is home to one of the most fascinating museums I have ever been in – The Titanic Museum. A trip to Belfast with Mike later in the year became the 3rd time I have visited the Titanic Museum and it most certainly won’t be the last. If you are looking for a city break with lots to do I cannot recommend Belfast highly enough.

Mike and I spent a relaxing week in Lanzerote in June and took many city breaks around Ireland throughout the year. One of my favourite places in Ireland is Killarney and I was lucky enough to spend many weekends down there during the summer including a fabulous weekend with my entire family.

I admit I did miss long haul travel this year, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings travel wise.

My Travel Photography Exhibition – George Best Belfast City airport

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As mentioned above I took a break from long haul travel to learn more about and improve my finances. Travel and Photography are both pretty expensive hobbies and when you join them together they become one that can drive your Visa card or any other card you use into overdrive! I’m happy to say this year saw me pay off the final payment on my ‘Travel Photography’ loan and become much more stable in relation to finances. This is a huge achievement for me as I don’t make an active income from Travel Photography and so it is still very much supplemented by my full time job (when I had one – I was made redundant in November – more about that later).

Life and the lessons life teaches me has changed my financial views, habits and outlook over the years. My financial views, habits and outlook did not change by themselves, I have my boyfriend Mike and my family (esp. my Mom) to thank for their help and also the professional help, support and advice from the following wonderful people.

Patricia O’Donnell is a financial advisor I met over 6 years ago who has become not only a force for positive change in my life but also a much trusted friend. If you are local and looking for financial advice of any sort and want to speak with someone who has a passion for helping people to find financial freedom then Patricia is your lady.

At Chris Guillebeau’s party in Oslo (mentioned above), as well as meeting Chris I met loads more inspirational people. One of these inspirational people was JD Roth. JD founded the hugely successful finance blog ‘Get Rich Slowly’ which he subsequently sold and can now be found at ‘Money Boss’ where he shares excellent financial advice. In 2014 in conjunction with Chris, JD launched his ‘Get Rich Slowly’ Unconventional Guide which he calls ‘everything I’ve learned about saving and investing during a decade as a money writer. It’s like the entire Money Boss website condensed into one tidy little package’.

I bought the basic package and this was by far the best investment I have ever made in relation to financial freedom. JD’s year long e-mails and ‘Be Your Own CFO’ guide introduced me to information and tips n’ tricks that I never knew existed and have totally changed how I view and treat finance. If you are looking for financial advice it’s absolutely worth following JD’s blog ‘Money Boss’.

Like all goals, some financial goals I met, some I didn’t and some I just need to work much harder on!

PHOTO

As mentioned above my fourth Travel Photography airport exhibition was hosted by George Best Belfast City airport until March 2015.

One of my goals this year was to find a stockist for my Fine Art prints where people can view and purchase them as framed prints. Where best to showcase my prints than in the Framing Gallery where I get all of my prints framed/mounted in my home city of Limerick.

A selection of my Cuba Fine Art prints are now displayed in Thomas Street Framing Gallery in Limerick City. I am very proud to have my images displayed in this gallery as Donie and Denis have been framing prints/images for me for many years and framed/mounted all of the images used in my airport exhibitions. If you are looking for local, professional mounting or framing this is the place to go.

This year I created a Fine Art catalogue using Blurb where you can view the images available on my website as well as a few new ones. This Fine Art catalogue can be viewed here – Siobhain Danaher Travel Photography Fine Art Catalogue . This brings the number of Blurb Travel Books I have published to eight, these books are also available on Amazon.

Thanks to Art Cards Ireland, there are now 8 different types of greeting cards available to match my Fine Art prints. I’m currently researching where the best place to sell these is. If you are looking for a company to create professional customised greeting cards, I cannot recommend Art Cards Ireland highly enough. Their cards are beautiful and they are a dream to work with.

This year I completed 7 ‘non travel’ photography projects. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these. Most projects were for friends and family with a few high profile clients thrown in!

 

LEAN

 

Anyone who knows me well or has worked with me knows I love Lean.

I love Lean culture, Lean tools, Lean methodology –  basically I love everything about Lean. I have seen first hand how Lean tools, systems and approach can transform how people work, increase productivity (and in turn increase profit), allow creativity and innovation to fluorish and increase employee/customer satisfaction and engagement.

Last year I wrote in my annual review of my delight in starting my new job as Continuous Improvement Manager. Just over a year into my new role I was made redundant. Yes you read correctly – redundant!! I really loved the work, learned so much during the year, made fabulous friends to whom I am very grateful to for making me feel so welcome and embracing positive change. However, when the time came to move on I was actually happy to leave. Professionally there are very few things worse than getting up every morning and going to a job where your skills, experience and contribution are not valued. From personal experience I can tell you it is soul destroying. This is the antithesis of a Lean culture where not only is every single employee respected and valued but they are developed, mentored and empowered to become the very best they can be.

Every cloud has a silver lining and over the past few weeks the time off work has afforded me the luxury to be able to spend quality time with my family and dedicate time to build my own Lean website/blog where I will share information and thoughts on Lean in business and life. My experience of being made redundant makes me even more committed to sharing the positive benefits of Lean which I will do through my new website/blog. Launch date yet to be confirmed! Watch this space!

Lean is traditionally used in business to remove waste and create value, however in 2015 I used Lean principles to ‘Lean’ all areas of my personal life – I implemented 5S in some areas of our home, created kanbans for certain household consumables and removed items in my life that no longer serve me. I will continue to ‘Lean’ my life and am looking forward to sharing more about how Lean can help to streamline your business and life in my new website/blog.

SOCIAL MEDIA

An absolute must for any business in this digital age is internet marketing.

Like most things in life, the more I learn about social media the more I realise I don’t know. Also the more I learn about social media the more I realise it is essential to a thriving business in todays global market. Finally the more I learn about social media the more I love it. I love how it provides a platform for ideas to be shared, voices to be heard and how it allows global connections to be created at the click of a mouse.

My interest in internet marking has grown steadily over the years since I set up this blog in and started using social media to share my Travel Photography journey. Combining my love of Lean and social media, the majority of my blog posts this year were about social media and online resources available to increase efficiency using automation, outsourcing and various online tools and sites. The following posts were the most popular from 2015

How to schedule inspirational quote images

How online outsourcing can help you build a global team

In 2014 I started using Upwork (formally O-Desk) to create a global team. In terms of business this was one of the best decisions I ever made. It has freed me up to be more creative and do more with my time. #Lean. Thanks to Upwork and the amazing people I work with I managed to create hundreds of inspirational quote images and post these daily to numerous social media sites. Towards the end of Q3 I started to post a travel image every day from my 1000’s of travel images to numerous social media sites.

Visits to and views of this blog have steadily increased since my first blog post in 2012. In 2015 I published the very same number of blog posts as I did in 2014, however the views to my blog posts doubled as did the number of visitors to my blog. This was due to the fact that I learned more about internet marketing and how social media, traffic and blogging actually works.

As I mentioned above, the more I learn about internet marketing the less I think I know as it changes and evolves so fast.

Just like the Lean world and the world of Continuous Improvement, the only way to definitively know if you are improving is to have ‘fact based’ metrics. I currently track 16 metrics across 6 social media platforms. Each one of these metrics increased in 2015 which means I’m moving in the right direction!!! In saying that, growth is slow –  slow but steady!

I have many people to thank for sharing their wisdom with me through their blogs and books in relation to all things social media/internet marketing/entrepreneurship –  Chris Guillebeau, Natalie Sisson, Greg CantyRobin SharmaBrendon Burchard, Michael Hyatt, Kim Garst, Dale Partridge to name a few.

Charity 1

It’s nice to give back. I have been supporting various charities for many years and year on year I try to give more to each charity whether this is monetary support or volunteering my time. I continued to support these charities in 2015 but didn’t give as much in donations or time as I would have hoped. This is something I certainly need to work on in the coming year.

MIND BODY SPIRIT

For me, it is nurturing Mind, Body and Spirit that keeps everything else in good health.

Mind – I keep my mind healthy, grounded and nurtured by reading, meditating and journalling. The human mind is so fragile and complex and it doesn’t take much for the stresses and strains of the world to overwhelm the mind. That is why it is as important to feed and nurture your mind as it is to feed and nurture your body.

I absolutely love reading and this year I discovered the joy of audio books. In 2015 I read and listened to so many books I wrote a separate blog post on ‘My Top 20 Books Of 2015

Body – ‘Health is Wealth’ is a well known saying that is so so true. If you or one of your loved ones is sick there is no money in the world can give you or your loved ones back the health once enjoyed. I have always been aware of this saying and seem to hear it many times but it has never made more sense to me than it has in the past few years as I have watched family and family friends battling illnesses.

For many years I made ‘New Year Resolutions’ in relation to health such as be more healthy, exercise more, stop smoking (when I smoked), drink less alcohol (when I drank alcohol). Year after year I found I was making the same ‘New Year Resolutions’ which would suggest things weren’t going quite as planned!

Now as the New Year rings in and I set my goals for the year I make lifestyle changes instead of New Year’s Resolutions. In 2015 I made a lifestyle decision to stop drinking alcohol, coffee and diet coke. Those who know me best know I have more than a fondness for all three of these drinks. I thought I would find it hard to stop drinking alcohol as being Irish it is pretty much part of our heritage but not drinking coffee turned out be the most challenging of the three!

Every year I say I will commit to exercising more and being more healthy, I have a roller coaster relationship with this goal. I signed up for personal training and yoga at work which I enjoyed immensely but could have attended more and pushed myself harder. I continue to enjoy my favourite sport swimming but could also be pushing myself a bit harder in the pool. I’d love to be a runner – when I see my boyfriend Mike, family and friends competing in 5k, 7k, 10k runs and marathons I am more than impressed with their dedication and ability however I don’t think I’m suited to being a runner! This year I ran the Great Limerick Run 10k which I enjoyed but couldn’t walk right for a week afterwards!! Note to self – l’m more of a fish than a cheetah!

My diet is healthy but could be better.

Spirit – Spirituality is a huge part of my life. For me spirituality is about nurturing my inner world so I can function optimally in the outer world. Spirituality for me is where Mind, Body and Spirit all merge together, I ensure that what nurtures my mind and body (mentioned above) also nurtures my soul.

Two spiritual teachers who have been a huge influence in my life are Dr Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle. In 2015 two of my goals were to meet/attend talks by Dr Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle.

I had planned to travel to London in October to attend a talk by Dr Wayne Dyer, however this was not meant to be as sadly and unexpectedly Wayne passed away on August 30th at the age of 75. He leaves a legacy of positivity with his books and teachings. the world lost a great teacher this year.

Eckhart Tolle came to Belfast in September and I attended his talk in the Belfast Waterfront Hall. It was, as expected, a joyful, inspirational and insightful talk. Just as he does in his books, Eckhart shared his wisdom and knowledge with immense humour and humility. I very much look forward to attending more of his talks as he tours around the world.

METRICS

My goals set for the past few years have been a little vague, non measurable and were open to a little more than a bit of interpretation.

Metrics are a huge part of Lean/Continuous Improvement teachings and so last year I set metric based goals which gives me much more clarity and accountability than before. Metric based goals allow me to narrow my focus to areas that need more attention. As metrics are documented in real time this ensures I don’t travel down the wrong road for too long and and can change direction with ease.

If you are unfamiliar with metric based goals what I mean by them and the difference between non metric based goals is explained below.

Non metric based goals – I will read more books, I will give more to charity, I will increase traffic to my blog

Metric based goals – I will read 10 books each quarter, I will give 5% of my salary to charity, I will publish 1 blog post every week and increase my blog views by 10% each month

As mentioned above (in the internet marketing section) I track 16 metrics across 6 social media platforms. I also track metrics for each area of my life as in the sections above. This may sound like a lot of work but just like metrics in business, when you get used to setting, tracking and using valuable information from metrics they can become quiet addictive! #Lean

THE END

That’s it, 2015 was like most years, full of ups and downs.

Now that the annual review is complete it’s time for goal setting for 2016 – my goals for 2016 will be similar to those for 2015 and will be all about the loves in my life –  my boyfriend Mike, my family, my friends, travel, photography, Lean, internet marketing and creating more time, space and abundance (using Lean principles of course!) to live the life I love.

I hope you had a wonderful 2015 and that you are setting stretch goals for 2016.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. May 2016 be a transformational year for you all. Always remember small consistent changes will lead to huge transformations.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has shared this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive impact on my life. A special and heartfelt THANK YOU to my boyfriend Mike, my family and my friends for making each year better than the last, you are the reason for it all.

THANK YOU

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

x x x

How did your 2015 go?
Did you reach your goals?
What did you learn from reaching/not reaching your goals?

 

New Year

My Top 20 Books For 2015

January 3, 2016 — 2 Comments

READING 2

 

Following on from my 2015 Annual Review, here are my top 20 books for 2015. One of my goals for 2015 was to read/listen to a book every 2 weeks – 26 books in total for the year.  Reaching and exceeding this goal was thanks to audiobooks which enabled me to listen to far more books than I would ever be able to read.

MIND BODY SPIRIT

 

The Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle  –  After previously reading this book twice, this year I listened to ‘The Power of Now’ four times, for those of you who have read or listened to this book you will understand why. For anyone who has not read this book I suggest you read it, study it and live the teachings, it will transform your life.

 

A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle  – This book expands on the teachings and lessons from ‘The Power of Now’. Just like ‘The Power Of Now’, it is a deep book, full to the brim with immense learnings and a message so powerful you will have no choice but to be transformed by it.

 

I Can See Clearly Now – Dr Wayne Dyer (RIP) – I love this book as it gives an immense insight into the man’s life whose teachings have had such a positive impact on my life. I read this book before Wayne passed away on August 30th and again after Wayne’s passing. Each time I read it, a new light on Wayne’s amazing life and how he dedicated all he was to others. He was an amazing teacher and his legacy lives on in through his books and his family.

 

The Power Of IntentionReal Magic, There’s A Spiritual Solution To Every Problem  and Excuses Begone – Dr Wayne Dyer (RIP) –  I have yet to find a book by Wayne that I do not find fascinating, all of the above are totally worth a read.

 

The Soul Of Leadership – Deepak Chopra – A beautiful book by an incredible teacher, this book enables the reader to identify and develop their core values which in turn enables them to lead others to greatness through creativity, intelligence and organising power. This is a really easy to read book jam packed with amazing insights.

 

The 7 Spiritual Laws Of Success – Deepak Chopra – Another beautiful book by Deepak, easy to read and a book you will want to visit again and again.

 

What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey – This pocket sized book by Oprah is divided into the following themes with accompanying essays  – joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. It is an absolute joy to read and a huge source of positivity and inspiration.

 

Social Intelligence – Daniel Goleman – The author of Emotional Intelligence brings us through a new level of intelligence –  Social intelligence. This book took me ages to finish as it is pretty deep but it was well worth it and I look forward to reading it again. A must read for anyone interested in human relationships and psychology.

Here is what amazon has to say about this remarkable book,

‘Far more than we are consciously aware, our daily encounters with parents, spouses, bosses, and even strangers shape our brains and affect cells throughout our bodies—down to the level of our genes—for good or ill. In Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explores an emerging new science with startling implications for our interpersonal world. Its most fundamental discovery: we are designed for sociability, constantly engaged in a “neural ballet” that connects us brain to brain with those around us.

Our reactions to others, and theirs to us, have a far-reaching biological impact, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate everything from our hearts to our immune systems, making good relationships act like vitamins—and bad relationships like poisons. We can “catch” other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold, and the consequences of isolation or relentless social stress can be life-shortening. Goleman explains the surprising accuracy of first impressions, the basis of charisma and emotional power, the complexity of sexual attraction, and how we detect lies.’

 

10% Happier – Dan Harris – This is an insightful, uplifting and really funny book. In this book Dan Harris takes us through his journey to the top of his game which culminated in a nationally televised panic attack. The lifestyle changes Dan makes after this panic attack take him on a different journey, a more inward journey that leads him to a much happier place. Dan’s upbeat, honest and humorous personality is what makes this book such a pleasure to read.

 

LEAN

 

 

Andy and Me – Pascal Dennis – This was my favourite book of 2015. This book was chosen by my team at work to read and review and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a big fan of Pascal Dennis and he ensures Andy and Me is an easy read with a really big message that simplifies the complexity of Lean through storytelling – genius!

 

The Lean Start Up – Eric Ries – This is a super book on how Lean methodology can be used to remove waste in Start Ups – a most excellent read. Eric explains how Lean tools and methodology that have been around for more than thirty years can be used to transform how we create products and sustain start up business’s in the digital age.

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Platform – Michael Hyatt – Platform is an extremely well written book on building and sustaining an audience online. It is jam packed with excellent advice from a man who really knows what he is talking about. Michael Hyatt spent years in the publishing world and now runs his highly successful blog where he shares his knowledge and wisdom generously. If you have an interest in social media or internet marketing then this is the book for you.

 

Will The Real You Please Stand Up – Kim Garst  – Another great book on social media and internet marketing by someone who knows what they are talking about. Kim Garst is a highly successful business woman who knows the world of social media and internet marketing inside out. This book is a great read.

 

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People and  The 3rd Alternative – Steven Covey – Steven Covey is a literary genius and anything written by him should be taken very seriously.

 

Linchpin – Seth Godin and All Marketers Tell Stories – Seth Godin – another genius writer, storyteller, marketer and businessman,  I find anything that Seth Godin writes fascinating. These 2 books are no exception.

 

How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie – What a great book. This book was first published in 1936 and has sold over 15 millions copies. The advice and learnings in this book have stood the test of time and are as relevant today as they were in 1936.

 

 

 

READING

 

Other books I read/listened to and thoroughly enjoyed in 2015 are,

The Salmon Who Dared To Leap Higher – AhnDo-hyun

Book Yourself Solid – Michael Porter

Thrive – Arriana Huffington

To Sell Is Human – Daniel Pink

Drive – Daniel Pink

Every Day Is A Friday – Joel Osteen

A Whole New Mind – Daniel Pink

 

That’s it, my top 20 + books of 2015, I cannot recommend the above books highly enough.

What was your favourite book of 2015?

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

 

READING 1

Annual Review 2014

January 11, 2015 — 6 Comments

An annual review is a great way of reflecting on the year gone by to see what worked so you can do more and what didn’t work so you can adjust and change.

I have been carrying out an annual review for a few years and started publishing it on my blog last year.

I find it helps me focus more which enables me to plan more and in turn enables me to achieve more so I can live the life I love.

An annual review is also hugely helpful when setting goals for the coming year.

 

Change

My goals for 2014 included most of those from 2013 and some more new ones – spend more time with my family and friends, give more to charity, exercise more, read more books, learn more, work full time in a Lean/Continuous Improvement role, continue to exhibit my Travel Photography Exhibition in airports, spend less, meditate more, have more of a presence on and learn more about social media/internet marketing, meet people/authors whom I admire and who inspire me, attend amazing workshops.

Basically do everything that adds to my happiness and wellbeing and remove everything from my life that doesn’t!!!

Some goals I met surprisingly well and some I did not, my goals like life itself are a work in progress!!!!

One of the goals I did surprisingly well on was to work full time in a Lean/Continuous Improvement role.

As well as Travel Photography I have a huge passion for Lean and Continuous Improvement which I have been learning over the past few years through my full time role as an Analytical Chemist. My passion for Lean has slowly taken over my love of Analytical Chemistry and so it was time to change role.

With a little help from ‘The Law Of Attraction’ and ‘The Universe’ and alot of hard work on my part it happened!!!!

On 13th October 2014 I started my new and current job as Continuous Improvement Manager, now I do Lean all day every day which is blissful…..I’m currently building a website where I will share my thoughts and learnings and will let you know when it is ready to launch. #ILOVELEAN

 

Passion

 

With this career change came a move home to my home County of Limerick where I am closer to family, friends and living with the love of my life Mike. There are no words to describe how grateful I am for all of these blessings.

CHANGE 16

On returning from Malaysia in February, my 40th birthday was just around the corner and I took the opportunity to celebrate my 40 years by raising money for the Irish Heart Foundation, a charity I owe alot to and that is very close to my heart (excuse the pun).

Thanks to my friends and family, we raised over €400 for the IHF.

Thanks also to all my loved ones for an amazing party, I look forward to the next 40+ years with your support and love.

 

Special thanks to Elaine Henebry for my gorgeous poster below

Birthday

 

February also saw the end of my Travel Photography exhibition in Shannon Airport.

I am so grateful to Shannon Airport especially Dorothy Quinn for allowing to to exhibit my work in such an amazing space for such a long time. As always big thanks also to Tony from RightBrain Fine Art printing studio – Cork City, Donie and Denis in Thomas Street Framing gallery – Limerick City and Barbara in Barbara Hubert Bookbindery –  Cork City

So many people left comments in my guestbook that I required 2 guestbooks!!!

The comments left were amazing and so inspirational to me as a Travel Photographer, I collated my favourite ones into an album that can be seen here in Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Shannon 1

           Shannon 1

 

From my exhibition in Shannon Airport I am delighted to say I made my first sales!!!

These sales were made through e-mail with customers and also which was the most exciting of all through my website which is my very first online sale!!!! I cannot tell you how exciting this is and not for monetary reasons but because it shows hard work, perseverance and dedication does eventually pay off.

It was also very exciting that the person who made my first online sale possible was a person I have immense respect for and who was also responsible for the majority of my formal education, the past principle of my secondary school – synchronicity or The Universe working it’s magic, I like to think it’s a bit of both!!!!

As this was a realisation of one of my dreams, to sell my Travel Photography Fine Art prints online I wrote a blog post on it called ‘Dreams’.

I was honoured and humbled to be recognised by our President Michael D. Higgins for my contribution to ‘The Gathering 2013’ through my Travel Photography Exhibitions.

President

 

In August, my Travel Photography exhibition moved to George Best Belfast City Airport where it can currently be seen.

Again I am  grateful to George Best Belfast City Airport especially Louise Mc Cutcheon and Paula Johnson for allowing to to exhibit my work in such an amazing space for looking after my exhibition so well.

If you are flying through George Best Belfast City Airport, please stop by and leave a comment in my guestbook, I always love to hear from fellow travellers. George Best Belfast City Airport wrote this great blog post on our exhibition.

Following that I wrote a post outlining exactly what it takes to ‘Create a Travel Photography Exhibition’

Belfast Airport 2

Belfast 1

2014 saw me become an author on Amazon – yes you read correctly – an author on Amazon!!!

I published 5 of my Travel Photography books on Amazon. These include ‘The Photographer’s Guide to Cuba, India, Bhutan, New York and Vietnam.

 

Cuba

 

2014 was a year of immense learning for me, learning about myself, learning about what I want from life and learning about what interests me. As well as a passion for Travel, Photography and Lean methodology I have a huge interest in social media and internet marketing.

I find social media fascinating and the learning curve with social media is always steep as it changes every minute of every day. There is always something new to discover, something new to trial. It has made what used to be a very large world into a very small world with communication of and sharing information easier than ever before.

This year I learned so much about social media and internet marketing, however I am only scratching the surface as there is so much to learn and social media is ever changing and evolving.

MailChimp  allowed me to compile and  send my very first mail campaign to my mailing list, you can see the e-mail hand subscribe here – My first MailChimp mail

Anyone who follows me on social media will know I love quotes, – travel quotes, positivity quotes, inspirational quotes, quotes of all kinds!

This year I created quotes images using different internet tools and scheduled these quotes to my social media sites using Hootsuite which is a social media management tool that enables you to do so much more in much less time.

 

snap-1

 

I heard of outsourcing from Natalie Sisson whom I follow and used Natalie’s blog posts on outsourcing to hire my first freelancer!

I started with some basic admin work and it was one of the best things I have done this year and will continue to outsource next year which frees me up to do more creative work.

One of my goals for 2014 was to read more books as I love reading and find books a great source of learning and relaxation. This is one of my goals that went extremely well. Reading 10 books in a year took a conscious effort  on my part of which I will build on next year. Books I enjoyed this year include

‘The Suitcase Entrepreneur’ – Natalie Sisson

‘Steve Jobs – the man who thought different’ – Karen Blumenthal

‘The Leader Who Had No Title’ – Robin Sharma

‘Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success’ – Deepak Chopra

‘The Soul Of Leadership’ – Deepak Chopra

‘The Lean Turnaround’ – Art Byrne

‘Getting The Right Things Done’ – Pascal Dennis

‘Body Of Work’ – Pam Slim

‘Platform’ – Michael Hyatt

‘Social Intelligence’ – Daniel Goleman

 

Mark Twain

 

As busy as 2014, I still found some time for one of my greatest loves, travel…..

This year my travels brought me to Malaysia, Paris, Lanzerote and Belfast among many other cities and destinations in Ireland.

In Malaysia Mike and I travelled to Kuala Lumpar, the Cameron Highlands and the island of Penang and had an amazing time. Malaysia is as diverse as it is beautiful and I highly recommend it as a place to put on your ‘to visit’ list!

Mike and I take a selfie while trekking through the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Malaysia

Another selfie while discovering Paris in the Summer, the top of the Eiffel Tower is still very cold!!!!

 

Paris

 

My goals for 2015 will be about my loves in life, my boyfriend, my family, my friends and creating more time (using Lean) to live the life I love.

I hope you are setting your goals and plans for 2015 and that 2015 is your best year yet.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has shared this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive difference to my life.

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

x x x

How did your 2014 go?
Did you set out a plan with goals at the beginning of the year?
Did you reach your goals?
What did you learn from reaching/not reaching your goals?

 

CHANGE 24

2013….an amazing year!!!

January 17, 2014 — 5 Comments

For me 2013 was in a word…..Amazing!!!!

Since the end of 2010 I have been focusing on becoming a Travel Photographer, a pretty ambitious goal when I already have a full time job in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to achieve this goal 2011 and 2012 were spent traveling around the world camera in hand, learning and building my portfolio and presence on the internet. Along the way I met incredible people who taught, inspired and motivated me, from the amazing group I shared time with in Cuba to the travel experts and enthusiasts I had the pleasure to mingle with at Book Passage, every single person added a different dimension to my journey. At the beginning when I decided I wanted to be a Travel Photographer I was slow to tell people what I was doing, afraid people may laugh at me (which of course some people did!), fearful that I would not be a good enough photographer, unsure if I could follow through with such an ambitious goal. 3 years later and you really have to stop me telling everyone that I am a Travel Photographer; I’m proud of my accomplishments, proud of my work and proud of the journey it took me to get here.

My most ambitious goal for 2013 and what took most of my time and energy was showcasing my Travel Photography Exhibition in all 3 major airports in Ireland, Cork, Dublin and Shannon (where it is currently being hosted).

And so early in 2013 I set my sights on this goal, decided what I needed to do to acheive it, planned how I would do this and I went ahead and did it!

This shows the power of planning. Of course executing your plans is also crucial to success but if you do not have plans in the first place best of luck with that execution!!

BLOG-1

My Travel Photography Exhibition – Cork Airport

These exhibitions would not have been possible without the help and support of the following people whom I am ever grateful to.

Kevin Cullinane (Cork Airport), Ciara Carroll (Dublin Airport) and Dorothy Quinn (Shannon Airport).

A very big THANK YOU to Kevin and Cork Airport for not only hosting but also sponsoring my exhibition.
Thanks also to RightBrain fine art printing studio, Cork City, Thomas Street Framing gallery, Limerick City and Barbara Hubert Bookbindery, Cork City.

Dublin Exhibition 2

My Travel Photography Exhibition – Dublin Airport

Shannon 1

My Travel Photography Exhibition – Shannon Airport

As well as Photography goals (portraits, wedding, commercial and press work) my plan included the following goals,

Spend more time with my family and friends,
Give more to charity
Exercise more
Read more books
Learn more
Spend less
Meditate more
Have more of a presence on and learn more about Social Media
Meet people/authors whom I admire and who inspire me
Attend amazing workshops
Basically do everything that adds to my happiness and wellbeing and remove everything from my life that doesn’t!!!

I completed almost all of my ‘non travel’ photography projects and enjoyed working with and grateful to those who chose me as their photographer.

FIONA-3

The grand opening of ‘Raspberry Red’ boutique with Fiona Hayes of FHStyle, owner Marge Kenny and Marge’s husband Jon Kenny.

SHANNON AIRPORT-5

Sharon Shannon at the Shannon Airport charity Christmas concert

IRISH SUMMER-41

Samhradh ‘Irish Summer’ from my friend Yvonne Twomey’s perfume range ‘YVE Perfume‘, launched in 2013.

My other goals were a bit hit and miss, some I completed, some I did not, I was happy with how some went, I was less than happy with how others went.

Ironically one of my goals for 2013 was to travel less, giving me more time to dedicate to my Airport Exhibitions and also giving me a chance to pay back some of the finance it has taken for me to become a Travel Photographer. However I did manage to leave the country a few times this year and rediscovered the immense beauty of Ireland by taking weekends away in my homeland.

Combining my love of travel with my plan to meet inspirational people I travelled to Oslo for Chris Guillebeau’s End Of World party in April. I have been following Chris on social media for a few years now and it was an honour to meet him and celebrate his amazing achievement of visiting every country in the world. Chris is as nice and kind as he is inspirational. It was an amazing gift to meet him and share a weekend with people who are also following his path.

IMG_8575

Me, Chris Guillebeau and Angela Petersen

A much shorter journey to London to attend the Lean Academy Lean Summit helped me combine my love of travel, meeting inspirational people all things Lean. At this Summit I was lucky enough to meet Art Bryne (author of The Lean Turnaround). He is a wise man with a motivating opinion on Lean and Leadership and a great sense of humour. Knowing I am Irish he signed my book saying ‘Kaizen is good for you’ imitating the popular marketing phrase from Guinness!!

PDCA

A shorter journey again to Dublin took me to my first ever TBEX….I had heard of TBEX from fellow travel enthusiasts that I met at Book Passage in 2012. This was a super few days immersed in all things travel. I was so delighted to again meet up with the legend that is Don George (author of Lonely Planet’s guide to Travel Writing) and fellow Book Passage friends Candace Rose Rardon and Gary Arndt as well as many more amazing speakers and attendees. As with all good conferences I learned that I have a lot to learn!!!

Join me at TBEX

There are a few charities I have been sponsoring for years and some I have been involved with for a short time. In 2013 I raised money for and gave my time to these charities, I could have done more and this will be more of a focus area for me in 2014. The Hope Foundation is a charity I thoroughly enjoy working with, not only because they have amazing people working with them but also because the work they do is most crucial to the well being of so many children in Kolkata.

I was delighted to exhibit my Hope Foundation images from Kolkata in my airport exhibitions and also at the 2013 Rose Of Tralee festival as The Hope Foundation are sponsors of The Rose Of Tralee.

ROT-1

Me with the winning Rose – the Texas Rose Hayley O’Sullivan (next to my Hope Foundation exhibition)

There are so many books on my bookshelf that I wanted to read but didn’t read as many as I would have liked. Again this will be more of a focus area for me on 2014. One of the books I did read was ‘The Power Of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. If you read one book in 2014 let it be this book. It is a life changing, perspective altering book. It’s not easy reading but anything worthwhile is never easy eh!!

The Power Of Now

I fell in love, hadn’t planned on that one but I had spent so much time working on myself when someone special turned up I was more than ready to welcome them into my life!!

Love

There are many reasons why some of my goals were not reached but my best guess would be I underestimated the time it would take to carry out all of my goals. It’s one thing setting goals and another thing executing them in a defined timeline. One of the key lessons I have learned this year is to be a little more realistic about what one person can achieve.

My goals for 2014 will be more realistic but every bit as ambitious.

I hope you are setting your goals and plans for 2014 and that it is your best year yet

Robin Sharma

Thanks to everyone who has shared this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a difference to my life.

Mark Twain

Safe Travels,

Siobhain

x x x

How did your 2013 go?
Did you set out a plan with goals at the beginning of the year?
Did you reach your goals?
What did you learn from reaching/not reaching your goals?