Monthly Archives: December 2018

Year In Review

As part of my reading “system”, I periodically look through all the things that I have read and saved.  It’s a nice refresher to look back over what I thought was important at one time. Things might have played out differently or my perspective may have evolved.  Regardless, I find it a useful exercise to go back and look through the reads that I have saved.

More on my process for collecting, filtering (Feedly), reading, saving (Evernote) and reviewing my reading list later.  

Here are the top reads from 2018 that influenced my year in some way:

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Holiday Valley Ski Trip

Given that I started a new role less than five months ago, my holiday schedule was up in the air a bit as the year came to a close.  Also, the end of the year is always a bit hectic with budgeting – and this was the first budgeting cycle for this board and management team.  Plus, there are a number of other initiatives underway (more on some of those later).

So we opted for a relatively low stress and flexible holiday plan.  

We had made our first trip as a family up to Holiday Valley at the end of last season for a long weekend.  We were living outside of Cleveland at that time so the drive was under three hours. Even from Columbus it is fairly manageable – under five hours – and almost all highway with little in the way of city traffic.

Driving also makes it much easier to pack gear, food, and for this trip – presents.

Overall, we’ve found the resort to be low-key and family friendly.  The skiing is definitely east coast – but I would argue respectable.  Skiable area is 290 acres including 58 runs and 13 lifts. The longest run, Mardi Gras, comes in at a mile.  Total vertical is 750 feet – again east coast metrics – but on par with Seven Springs or Snowshoe. A plus is that Holiday Valley is in the lake effect snowbelt, so average snowfall comes in at 180 inches.  

Last year, we drove in on the backside of a storm that dropped about 12 inches that made for really great skiing.  And, I have friends who have said they have had full on powder days here. Also, being east coast, they have 95% snow making coverage.

Our favorite trail is Tannebaum, which takes you through a really beautiful pine glade.

Yes, got the golden chair lift.

We stayed in the same condos, Snow Pines, that we did last year.  Nothing fancy for sure, but ski in / ski out and reasonably priced.  Discounted ski passes come with the lodging. We averaged just over $50 per day per adult.  Our daughter skis free.

The town, Ellicottville, has a nice ski town vibe.  The Ellicottville Brewery is definitely worth checking out and I’d recommend their signature Blueberry beer (yes, that is a blueberry floating in our beer).  Growler fills are reasonable too (~$12) so pack that too.

So, nice little break at the end of a pretty long block of work starting back in August.  It was great to disengage a bit – in a way that sticking around town would not have made possible.  But the trip was pretty low-key, so avoided some of the “I need a vacation from my vacation” syndrome that can happen on more involved trips. The saw should be pretty sharp at the start of the New Year.

Most importantly, we got four ski days in to start off our ski season.  We’re looking for 25+ days this season…that’s something to keep the motivation levels up..

Progression

I meant to write this post about nine months ago.  A few things got in the way.

As I watched the Winter Olympics, I kept hearing a word that resonated.  Progression.

It was a word that tended to come up in some of the freestyle events.  Snowboarding. Skiing. Athletes in these sports were focused on progression.  Progressing their skills. Progressing the difficulty of their tricks. Progressing their sport.  So much progression.

At the time, the concept resonated with me.  But not really in a good way. It made me realize that I really hadn’t been progressing on a couple fronts – in particular my career.  I had been working for the same company for over seven years. And, effectively in the same role for at least half that duration.

That’s probably inevitable at some point.  Inevitable in the sense that life happens. Inevitable in that daily routines seem to suddenly turn into years passing by.  And personally, directly related to a series of conscious decisions.

First, the pace of advancement experienced in the early part of one’s career can give way to longer stints in the same or similar roles.  There are just fewer rungs of the ladder to the top.

Second, other parts of your life can take precedence for periods of time (or altogether).  Getting married. Buying a house. Having kids. Unexpected health issues. Loss of a family member.  All things I experienced over the last eight years (2014 really sucked; potentially more on that later).

Third, as you advance in an organization, personal goals may become subservient to broader goals.  I consciously chose to stay with an organization, in a large part, to be part of the team that helped take the business through a transition and provide an exit opportunity for the original investing group.  Personal development and career goals were sacrificed in the process.

All that said, the focus on progression highlighted that I wanted to repriortize some things.

Fortunately, a new opportunity presented itself in the early part of 2018.  Four months into that new role, I am excited to have found a new team and be part of company entering an exciting part of its life.  There were a few things that introduced some chaos into our lives: moving to a new city, selling our house, finding a new school for my daughter, etc.  

And the transition into an executive role at a new company has been more challenging on a couple fronts than I anticipated – but new and good challenges – hopefully leading to some progression.