Personal Reflections on 2021

As I reflect on this year, I feel grateful that I have my health, my partnership, my family and friends. Whew, deeply grateful. I’m also grateful that I get to serve humanity with a clear mission about evolving culture through relationship. I’m grateful for my fans, readers, followers, and listeners for giving a shit about the subject of relationship. 

It’s been another intense year for me, and likely everyone, right? It seems like we are in some kind of new reality that feels very abnormal. I’m still trying to get used to it. 


I learned many lessons this past year, too many to list here. But below I will highlight some wins and losses, as I do at the end of every year. I hope this serves you in some way. 




First the losses… I came up very short in a few of my lofty business goals. 


The silver lining is always, what did I learn, if anything from this ‘failure’? I know that if I don’t learn, I will likely repeat mistakes. And, I learned a ton that is making me into a smarter, more confident business owner. Even with my failures, I never think about quitting or throwing in the towel. The Relationship School is my life’s work and until it’s where I want it to be. I will stop at nothing in reaching my goals, or I will certainly die trying. 


  • I learned that my business plan needs to be way more robust to reach the bigger goals. It’s okay to set big goals and dream huge, but without a clear, detailed plan, and buy-in, the goal won’t happen. It’s a fantasy. Doah! I know this, but apparently had to learn it again.
  • As a result, my wealth plan came up short too. While I still had a good year relative to what I hear out there in the marketplace, I didn’t reach my money or wealth-building goals. This can be deflating for me depending on the day. 


  • I learned that it’s still hard for me to prioritize myself, given how large my mission is and how much I want to do in the world. And, I wonder if it will always be this way. Sometimes, I come last. The good news is that I have “burnout” as a helpful reminder in case I’m over-doing things and over-efforting solo. All this said, I did make small improvements in this area.
  • Book numbers. Selling books is hard. Even though my book got a few very important acknowledgements (see below), it’s still limping along compared to what I want it to be doing. My agent tells me I’m doing great for a first time author. Hmmmm. Overall, it’s doing well, but I want it to be in more people’s hands. (Have you purchased yours?) 


  • Health: While I’m a very healthy dude overall, I still have some low grade inflammation in my gut that I can’t get under. At this point I’m pausing on my effort here until I am more clear what I want to do.
  • Poetry. I wrote a stellar spoken word poem this year, but only one and I didn’t get to perform it and still don’t have it memorized. 🙁
  • Leadership. I’m a good leader, working to be a great leader. And in that process, I kept seeing how much room I have to grow, particularly with my team. I’m not who I want to be here and I’m working on it. 




On the “wins” side of things, there are too many to count. It’s funny, writing this whole thing out helped me see that I have made way more progress than I think I had. It’s so easy for me to focus on the negative and feel like I’m always coming up short. Wow, enlightening. I recommend you do this exercise just for this!!!


  • Partnership. My wife and I are stronger than ever. COVID was tricky for us and put more strain on our relationship. COVID exposes weaknesses. We had one that wasn’t as clear until we put more stress into our partnership. Then it was there. We eventually reached out to a very skilled relationship coach to help us navigate our dynamic. And, after a few sessions, something clicked and we are able to move through things even better than before. 


  • Family. My wife and I are a dream team parenting our kids. She is an inspiration to me as a parent. Each year, I’m blown away that I get to raise two humans the way we are doing it. We took some epic trips and have deepened through so many memories as a family. Wow. 


  • Probably the biggest personal win is that my book Getting to Zero – How to work through conflict in your high stakes relationships is out in the world! Fuck yes! I’m an official author! This is a big step coming from a negative memory where a high school, and college teacher, who both told me I couldn’t write very well. Feels damn good to overcome that.
  • My book also got picked as best non-fiction in October and Editors pick for all of 2021 as best business and leadership books (along with Brene Brown!) for the entire year of 2021. That’s huge! Humbling. Plus, I received amazing book endorsements from some of my mentors and the world’s leading experts in neuroscience, attachment, and relationships. When Dan Siegel endorsed my book, I was in tears.
  • I hired really solid people to help me reach my business goals and made one hire that’s making all the difference. My team has never been better and we’re looking to uplevel big time this next year.
  • I have saved more money in one year than I ever have.
  • Started another business called “My relationship Coach” to help our coaches grow their businesses and help serve more people.
  • Certified 50 +  new relationship coaches


  • Planned hard and strategized well for 2022. And this time I didn’t do it alone! 🙂
  • Hired a diversity equity inclusion coach privately and studied the race/privilege conversation more than I ever have. Did my own self-study by listening to dozens of podcasts and reading several books.
  • Became a better leader (still a ways to go here). Another post on leadership coming soon. I feel like my life is a giant class in leadership and often I’m getting schooled.
  • Health- I did yoga consistently 5-6 days a week for the entire year. A big accomplishment and I’m closer to my goal of being more integrated in my body while being able to do a handstand.
  • My men’s group started meeting in person again! YES
  • I grew like a weed
  • And many more!

Growth Experiences:

I hired many coaches and therapists in 2021 and did many psychedelic healing sessions. As per usual, personal growth and development are a very high value of mine.

Lessons learned: 

The big lessons in 2021 are wherever I fell down are either 1) opportunities to double down and get more clear and robust plan, or 2) a time to accept my limitations and shift my focus. 


When you set goals, don’t be afraid to set BIG goals. But then watch your behavior to see if it aligns to your big goals. If it doesn’t, you likely won’t reach them. 


Whatever I don’t prioritize won’t get done. When I don’t have a plan and stick to it, I’m at the whims of how I feel, which often doesn’t help me get results. 


Leadership. Stop pretending you know how to be a leader and keep learning, always learning. Think you’re a good leader? Ask your followers, team, family, or staff to be really honest. Then listen. 


Books I read in 2021:


Books I started but didn’t finish:



What about you?


What are your reflections on your year? What was your biggest lesson or takeaway? Biggest failure? Success? Did your relational life improve? 


Partner up with someone you love, read this, get a few ideas, and create your own personal reflection for the year as you set goals for 2022. 


As always, I’ll report back at the end of next year with some wins and losses and lessons.

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