2021 Retrospective

  • Jeff Gibbard
  • 6 min read

As part of my commitment to growth and belief in the importance of self-reflection, I’m adding a new component to this blog, newsletter, and podcast: retrospectives.

The purpose of the retrospective is pulled directly from Agile Methodology. As stated in the Principles from the Agile Manifesto:

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

I’m adopting the retrospective to look back on what worked, what didn’t, and collect some thoughts on future actions.

Starting with this post, the retrospective will be my last post each year. Now, every year my blog, newsletter, and podcast for Becoming Superhuman will start with My Three Words and conclude with the Retrospective.

I encourage you to do this retrospective exercise for yourself either in private, or in public on your own blog or newsletter. If you don’t have a blog or newsletter and would still like to publish your retrospective, feel free to leave it in the comments. I’m always interested to learn more about my audience.

This is the last post of 2021, it’s primarily an exercise that I’m doing for myself, but I’m doing it publicly to share my process. I hope you enjoy it.

What I did well

My second full year of solopreneurship has been a resounding success. Here are a few things I’m particular proud of.

I’ve maintained a 4-day work week schedule. I use Monday as a planning and content day, Tuesday through Thursday to work with clients, and I take every Friday off to be with my daughter, reading books, watching cartoons, playing with blocks, dolls, and various singing and musical toys. I’m proud of the consulting and coaching I’ve done to help clients work through challenges in Brand strategy, marketing, sales, and productivity.

This year also marked the start of really getting back into public speaking. Something I’m extremely proud of was delivering my Becoming Superhuman Keynote as the opening for a conference on Heroic Leadership to 500 high school students.

2021 has also been the year where my greatest professional accomplishment was realized. I began working with Page Two publishing to bring my book, ***The Lovable Leader***, into the world. Having gone through the entire editing, proofing and design process, I can honestly say that I’m unreservedly proud of the final product. The book will be released January 25, 2022. You can join the waitlist for the pre-order here.

I read 27 books so far this year, which a new record for me.

Finally, this has been an excellent year for content. My blog became both a newsletter and a podcast as I muddled through a few different email marketing solutions and finally pulled the trigger on an audio version. I’m proud of what my content platform has become. I’m also very proud of the content that I put out this year and think it represents some of my most useful and thoughtful insights and explorations.

Overall, this year was a good mix. I’m proud of the work, the content, and (mostly) how I showed up.

What I can do better

I take on way too many projects and I put an unnecessary and overwhelming amount of pressure on myself to be impactful and perfect.

  • I started another newsletter this year called Thematic, and almost started a Linkedin newletter, too.
  • I say yes far too often, even though I don’t always have the time to do what I’ve agreed to. As a result, I wasn’t always present when spending time with family and friends.
  • I don’t ask for help enough.
  • I don’t do enough to promote myself.
  • I don’t celebrate my wins nearly enough…which is why I tried really hard to do it in this post.
  • I take up too much space. As a big personality, I can dominate or control most conversations, and talk-over or steamroll others.
  • I didn’t do nearly enough to change the world or support movements for equity and justice. It’s a big project.
  • I’ve let the two years of isolation get to me and I’ve grown too comfortable being home alone rather than reaching out to friends.
  • I stopped tracking my habits closely, I need to get back to that.


  • I’m sunsetting Thematic in 2022. I have 5 more issues planned and then I’m calling it quits on that.
  • I have to better manage my schedule given all of the things I’m trying to do and that might mean some projects have got to be scaled back or abandoned.
  • I’m going to leverage the people I’ve hired to help me in order to accomplish the work that is most important to me.
  • I’m going to promote what I’m working on, because I’m proud of my work.
  • I’m going to try to step back in conversations and support others more.
  • I’m going to find people to celebrate my wins with.
  • I’m going to connect with more people who can help me get involved in movements for justice and equity.
  • I’m going to disconnect from work and take time to truly unwind with a clear mind.
  • I’m going to proactively reach out to friends.

My Three Words: A Review

My three words for 2021 were Movement, Pace, Preparation.

In short, I wanted to remain active and build and contribute to social movements. I wanted to ensure that I took things at a reasonable pace to avoid burnout and engaged in habits that lead to a healthier and more successful life. Finally, I wanted to temper my enthusiasm for any project by being prepared for potential setbacks.

I honored my three words reasonably well.

I’ve been vocal about superheroism and what that means, bringing it up in my content and in my work in service of the movement. I’ve turned away work that didn’t align with my values. I went to the gym 2-4 times per week and kept myself moving. I contributed my time, money and energy toward helping several causes that are meaningful to me. I kept a reasonable pace and took time to engage in leisure and relaxation. I was very smart with my money and kept myself prepared for most contingencies.

Overall, this has been a reasonably successful year.

This has been the last post of 2021. See you in 2022.

Becoming Superhuman
Becoming Superhuman
2021 Retrospective

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