After a strong 2017, my 2018 got even better. Here’s a review of some of my best accomplishments and favorite moments of the year. You can check out my previous yearly reviews here.
Also new for this year is that I’ve started picking the color of the post banner to reflect some moment from the year. Yellow represents me saying “pineapple” to Sabrina.
Best Achievement: Over 1 Million Views on my TEDx Talk
I’m proud of a lot of the things I was able to accomplish in 2018: I did 100 speaking engagements for the first time, I spoke in 20 states, 6 countries, and 4 continents, I hit six figures in speaking revenue for the first time, and I also started dating someone who I think is pretty swell. But my best achievement of 2018 was actually a speech from 2017 going viral. As of January of this year, my TEDx talk on the skill of humor only had 3,000 views. By the end of the year, it’s now over 1 million. I wish I could say that I created a careful plan to get the video out to more people, but truth be told, I only wrote a couple of articles about it (like the Process of Giving a TEDx Talk)… and I added it to my dating profiles. Who knows, maybe I had Bumbled the promotion of it before and all it needed was a little Tinder to get started. After all, there are Plenty of Fish out there that need humor in their lives, and not just Farmers Only.
Runner-Up: 100 Speaking Engagements
Best Personal Development: Getting Clear on What I’m Looking For
One of my primary goals this year was to find a life partner (see below). In order to do that, I had to take deep look at myself and my past relationships to see what wasn’t working and what I needed to change. While there is plenty for me to work on (being more empathetic, expressing my emotions better, and being willing to share my ice cream to name a few), one of the biggest changes I realized I needed to make was in being clear in what I wanted and/or needed out of a relationship. That led me to creating my own list of “dealbreakers” and “dealmakers” that I could use to help me find someone who I could see myself with long-term (while also leaving enough wiggle room for human-ness in the process).
Runner-Up: Delegating Tasks More
Best Business Decision: Joining the ELEVATE Mastermind
On May 31st, international speaker and wicked smart human, Phil M Jones, sent me an email asking if I was interested in joining a mastermind group he was putting together. If you’re not familiar with what a mastermind group is, it’s not a board game involving plastic pegs, a British game show, or an X-men villain. Rather, it’s a group of smart people getting together to discuss the challenges they’re facing and get perspective from the other members. Phil was bringing together some phenomenal speakers and asked if I would partake, and I was immediately on board. We kicked off the group in September and within one day I already knew I had made an incredibly smart decision. I already have five new strategies to implement in the new year. The best part is that there is even more amazingness to come in 2019, I cannot wait.
Runner-Up: Going to Brazil
Best Personal Decision: Starting Project Partner
Over the last year, I went on 99 first dates. That’s right, I met 99 different women, all in hopes of finding a partner with whom I could build an awesome life with. The goal was never about hitting a certain number of dates, but rather making the decision that finding that “special someone” was a priority in my life and one that I wanted take seriously. It turns out that in order to do that, I had to turn it into a project. Yes, that means a “project charter” of sorts was created, tracking was involved, and ample amounts of status updates and SWOT analyses were done. While some people might think all of that takes the romance out of romance, to me it made the process more fun. And as things stand right now, I think it might have all paid off after meeting Sabrina (she was first date #72, but that’s a different story).
Runner-Up: Ending Project Partner After Meeting Sabrina
Favorite Speaking Engagement: NSA Winter Conference
When Sylvie di Giusto asked me if I’d be interested in possibly presenting at NSA Winter Conference, I was both excited and nervous. Excited because it would be an incredible opportunity to give back to a community of speakers from which I’ve learned so much, and nervous because it’s a community of professional speakers, they know a good speech from a bad one. What I proposed as a topic to Sylvie was a bit outside the box, both for me and for the conference, but she decided to take a chance on me and the idea (I later learned that she nearly said no before deciding that she trusted me to bring the idea to life). But her faith (and her incredible notes before hand) paid off as the speech I gave received a standing ovation and multiple speakers telling me “they’ve never seen anything quite like it” (in a good way… I think…).Â Shout out to Tracy Timm for being the voice of Computer.
Runner-Up: FBI, Phil Jones Audible
Favorite Travel: Germany
I was fortunate to go to some cool places this year, but no trip was quite as unique as my trip to Germany in October. No, it wasn’t for Oktoberfest, which fun fact: takes place almost entirely in September. It’s called Oktoberfest because it was originally a festival to celebrate the Marvel Super Villain Doctor Octavius… I mean because the first one took place in October in 1810. No, I went to Germany for a speaking event. I also just so happened to start dating someone who was originally from Germany (#72), and since it was my first time going to the country, I asked her for some recommendations. She gave me an entire walking guide (complete with map) for what I should do, so I had my own version of a scavenger hunt while in the city. The event was a blast, the food was delicious, and the personalized guide was perfect.
Runner-Up: Speaking in Brazil
Favorite Food Experience: Dominican Republic Wedding
Part of the reason I moved from “Best of” of years’ past for some of these categories to “Favorites” is because of this category: Food Experience (vs “Meal”). I’m not a particularly discerning food critic (as evidenced by 2016 Best Meal going to Eleven Madison Park and the runner-up being a place called Chick N Cone), but I can reflect on memorable, enjoyable experiences. And that’s exactly what the wedding of Vanessa and Freddy brought. The entire wedding reception was one giant party from the starting appetizers to the 2am street cart food they had brought in. Was it Michelin level quality? Probably not. Was it Stay Puft Marshmallow Man levels of fun? Absolutely.
Runner-Up: Pig Beach Bro Night with Pat
Favorite Movie (I Saw): Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Yes, it’s a super hero movie and yes, it’s a cartoon. But Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is way more than a kids’ movie. It may be the best superhero movie ever made balancing a compelling story with lots of humor, incredible animation, and plenty of nerdy references for the comic book fans in the audience. If you wonder how good it is, just look it up on the… web :).
Runner-Up: Hannah Gadsby – Nanette
Favorite TV Show (I Watched): Barry
I’ve always thought Bill Hader was a highlight of SNL (and he’s a great impressionist), but what he’s able to pull off in Barry is phenomenal. He balances humor with a dark side that creates a delightfully weird show. Why wouldn’t a soldier turned contract killer also want to become an actor? It’s just exchanging gun shots for camera shots.
Runner-Up: Doctor Who
Favorite Book (I Read): Same Side Selling by Ian Altman
I’ve never been a great salesperson. I never want to come across as pushy and have always steered clear of anything that seemed too “salesy.” In many ways, I thought of sales as a bad word. But Same Side Selling by Ian Altman and Jack Quarles changed my perspective about what sales can (and should) be. Rather than thinking about sales as a “game” that one person wins, the book suggests that it’s better to think about sales as a puzzle that you work together to solve. That metaphor, and the tips that go along with it, have really helped me think about how sales conversations for Humor That Works should go.
Runner-Up: Unbranding by Scott Stratten
Favorite Tweet: Engineering Emotion
While I already picked my top 25 tweets of 2018, my favorite favorite is this one:
Emotions are just data. Which I've learned is the wrong thing to say when someone is crying.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) August 27, 2018