Lucky 7 – Year in Review

Whilst I know that the idea that your body regenerates at a cellular level every 7 years is not strictly true (multiple paces depending on your cells), I’ve always found this story fascinating when it comes to the seasons of change.
As I celebrate the end of my 7th year in business, I took a trip down memory lane on previous reflection posts:
Year 6, Year 5, Year 4, Year 3, Year 2, Year 1 seems I did not reflect! And the post I wrote about why I chose June 29th as the date to launch)

I noticed a few things about my cellular level change from reading these reviews

  • My authentic voice is coming through more – less perky, more vulnerable and many more personal stories
  • I’m not trying so hard to prove myself, my value or my contribution. In the early days, there’s a lot of market information and it all feels quite distant.
  • I’m in the transition of counting. Just like Korea is changing the way people calculate age or like when you are a teenager desperate to grow up, I always talked about the next year of business. Not “I’ve been in business for 2 years” but “I’m about to start year 3” – a psychological trick (that probably tricked no one). I guess after 7 years I truly feel like I have arrived in a sustainable way – especially pivoting and thriving through a pandemic

So with that all said, here we go into the “Annual Year in Review” from the Productivity Planner weekly Review

Wins: Big and Small
Not Work Life Balance but Life Design

I’ve always disliked the concept of work life balance (Still alive when I am at work thank you very much!) so I prefer the term “Life Design” to think about how I want to curate the experiences I have with my clients, my family and my interests. I have been able to maintain a 4 day coaching and facilitation work week, spend evenings and weekends with my family and commit time to creative projects and cultural and sporting experiences.

Invested in a Shared Atelier

This was a big step for me to put money into a creative space. I’ve taken “Can Meerkats Swim?” (My third book coming soon) from preliminary sketches to 14 watercolour illustrations. I can take up space with my #100tshirts100stories textile project. Atelier float is in an old factory in the shitamachi and if you are in Tokyo, let me know and we can arrange a studio visit. It’s a bit shabby but also somewhat magical! And I’m reminded of the words of Virginia Woolf, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” (or any creative pursuit). You can check out my #wip on my artist instagram.

ACC recertified and on the road to PCC

Working with three mentor coaches over a few months was incredibly insightful and, as I had suspected, humbling. With any professional skill set, it is easy to get into habits over time and not all of them are useful. The process of recording,receiving feedback against the ICF competency markers and coaching conversations was really useful to sharpen my skills. It was quite gratifying to see the changes and I know it made me more useful in the coaching sessions with my clients. 80 hours to go to 500 hours plus the new Coaching Knowledge exam. One of the markers from the Ikigai 9 assessment is “I would like to learn something new or start something” and I definitely experience that during this process.

Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai podcast about to close out Season 2

Connecting with guests and recording this podcast is truly one of the joys of my life. I feel so thrilled to be able to chat to such interesting and normal people who are living their life in ways which are meaningful to them. In this season we’ve had yet again a wonderfully diverse group of people from sports, fashion, mental health, wellness, activism, community work and even a family. Do check it out on your favourite podcast player or on YouTube and feel free to leave a review and subscribe if you have not already. I’m also researching guests for Season 3 so do let me know your ideas!

Guest Speaker on Ikigai in 3D

I got to have a few more face to face experiences (carefully curated in line with my life design plans as above) A wonderful crowd at FAJ and LVMH in April followed by a 3 day Ikigai and Ikikatta summit hosted by YPO ASEAN United and YPO Zen Pacific Chapters were brilliant experiences where I truly felt イキイキ and a sense that I was making a difference in people’s perspectives on their life.

Tokyo Marathon Fundraising for #outruncancer

I was honoured to support vanessa Oshima and raise NZD2600 approx ¥230,000 for #outruncancer It was my third time to run the Tokyo marathon. I’m no faster than I was in 2011 but I had much more fun than in 2017. Thanks to everyone who liked my FB run updates and to those who sponsored me or came out to cheer me on in March. I was proud of my training consistency this time. It’s rare for me to stick to a plan

Things I didn’t do

Website Renewal… but we are nearly there! You might start to see some peeks of the rebranding knowing around.. It’s bold and energetic and joyful

Sell the “Integrate your Ikigai” book proposal.
Sadly the proposal has not set the publishing world on fire with multiple six figure advances in a bidding war. I’ve learned A LOT about the business side and publishing a niche title with a category killing best seller followed by a number of minor competitors seems to be the biggest challenge. So it is back to the drawing board, on the hunt for a new agent or an independent press who would like to take it on. Currently in research mode, shortlisting potential partners! Let me know if you have connections to agents or small presses in the self help/ non-fiction space.


Family first

One of the things I am most grateful for is the flexibility on my schedule and the ability to work online. I started the business just as my daughter was entering first grade “一年生の壁” (the first grade wall) could be avoided to some degree as I was more accessible. The transition to JHS has not been easy and again I’ve been grateful that I have yoyu in my schedule so that I can be there for her when she needs it. I’ve also been making more time to learn impossibly complex card games with my son. Good for my Japanese and for bonding time!

Alcohol free life is freeing up my life

After realising that I was suffering after 3 glasses of wine in ways that were not sustainable (think talking to God on the great white telephone in the middle of the night or planning my life around hangovers), I decided that as I head into my perimenopause years that alcohol might not be the best thing in my life anymore. As you know, I’m not someone who thrives on moderation, tending to be “all in” so I decided to experiment with sobriety. I used the deadline of the Tokyo Marathon as my first milestone. Needing to wake up at 5:30am to train was not going to be supported by a few drinks the night before.
Now it has been almost 8 months since I had a drink and I plan to keep it that way. I’ve noticed that the times when I thought “Oh, I need a drink” were actually more “Oh, I need room in my mind”
I’m grateful that more places have more interesting non-alcoholic options these days as the ritual of a kanpai and that first sip is still important to me.

Hold self imposed deadlines with a sense perspective

As I looked back at previous versions of this review, I felt a bit of shame. “Oh these things I said I was going to do but I did not. “
Then I realised with a good dollop of humility that no one cares that my website has not been updated in the last year and no one is going to care that much when it is!

Likewise publishing dates, solo exhibitions and launches. It’s better to move at my pace where I don’t burnout, than hustle through my check list and the arbitrary dates I set.Mieko Kamiya describes ikigai as “A sense of happiness and that my life is moving forwards” so I try to experience things more with that intention. Enjoying the process and savouring the learning tis currently more important to me than shipping it.
And I need to recognise that I shipped a LOT last year in multiple fields!

Next 12 months

Summer holidays redux – a new take on this integral part of my life design- I have to admit that I’m a little sad my kids no longer relish the idea of a month in Europe so this time we will be trying a new configuration. A family holiday for a week in Turkey then my son and I will travel on to the UK for 10 days or so. It’s a bit of a logistics puzzle but the tickets are booked so let’s give it a go

Reconnecting with Points of You® – My long awaited (originally booked for May 2020) second time to attend the L3 Turning Point Programme is finally happening in Greece in October.
I’m also getting involved with the project team designing an in-house support system to create a culture of dialogue in corporate settings. So great when your passions come together.

100tshirts100stories project: if all goes to plan it will be featured in an expo in Tokyo in October. Let me know if you would like a studio visit or if you have a run event tshirt you would like to donate.

Reconnecting with rowing…the calling is getting pretty strong after a blissful hour on the river in May. I’m waiting until the temperatures lower a bit and then I’m planning to join a Boat Club – my legs are going to be amazing for Tsukuba marathon in November which I entered on a whim as it is popular with my run club!

The calendar is already getting pretty exciting for Q4 with some really interesting ikigai journey projects, systems coaching for teams and as always beloved and special 1:1 coaching with a wonderfully diverse group of clients.

Well, that’s it for now – strongly recommend this review process on the weekly, monthly and annual basis! Interesting to see the patterns and the evolution. Let’s grab a virtual coffee and you can share your review with me!
Thank you for reading this far and for all your support over the years. Take care!

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