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Not my best year, but many valuable lessons.

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2016 annual review

Time for my annual review.

In this post, I’ll do my best to answer these three questions1:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working toward?

Here we go:

1. What Went Well this Year?

Cision PR Influencer Award. After being nominated for five years, I got the Cision Scandinavia’s PR Influencer Award. It’s always debatable whether the right person or not won, but the big thing with winning this award was the feeling of gratitude for being recognized.

My first TEDx talk. I talked about stupid majorities in Östersund, Sweden. In retrospect, I’m don’t feel that I gave the best talk I could do. My slideshow had been switched up to an older version, so I had to improvise most of the talk. And right before going up, I was struck with nervousness (public speaking usually don’t make me nervous), so I messed up my English. On top of this, I had a severe eye infection and high fever. Lots of excuses right there, but that’s not the point; I’m still proud of being allowed to be part of the TEDx tradition — and I want to go at it again, and better!

Better seminars. Before this year, I set out to focus a bit more on giving better seminars. I’ve always seen myself as a practitioner who sometimes talks to people about what I do and how they can do it. This year, I wanted to take my public speaking a bit more seriously and prepare more adequately for each talk. In 2016, I averaged more than one talk per month, and I think I did well (always above 4.3/5).

Photography. I’ve enjoyed exploring photography this year. My wife is a keen amateur photographer, and her passion finally rubbed off on me. In trying to get better and learn more about the craft, I found that I, too, really enjoy both the creativity and the gear involved.

Hard reset (part one). At the end of the year, I got sick (a severe eye infection). I was unable to put in any screentime for almost two months, but that was almost enough to crash my solo business. As a result, I almost burnt myself out while trying to keep up in spite of not being well. So, I resigned from ALL my client projects and focused on getting well. It was a difficult step to take, but I’m happy that I did and I have no regrets.

2. What Didn’t Go So Well this Year?

Hard reset (part two). Even if I’m happy about how I ended up handling the “crash,” it could’ve been avoided altogether. I mismanaged my sleep, my exercise routine, and my diet throughout the year. And I had no backup plan for how to handle business in case of getting sick for longer than a week.

“Life as usual.” Looking back, I didn’t do much this year to explore life. I just woke up every day to tackle whatever was in front of me. To manage my time and energy in some way, I unconsciously avoided creative ‘outside-the-box’ endeavors, social events, traveling with the family, and having fun for the sake of having a good time. In this reactive state, the year just flew by.

3. What am I Working Toward?

Energy management. If you don’t manage your own life, it will manage you. In 2017, I’ll strive to explore various ways of putting myself back into the driver’s seat. And this calls for a change of strategy! In my case, I don’t think do more stuff is the answer; instead, I’ll make sure to tackle whatever puts me in that dreadful, energy-draining reactive state.

Multiple streams of revenue. Up until this point, I’ve been consulting and doing public speaking as my only sources of income. In 2017, I want to explore whether or not it’s possible to diversify, for example:

  • Start writing books.
  • Create online courses.
  • Explore brand collaborations.
  • Do sponsored articles.
  • Bring back PR of Sweden to life?


  1. The format is inspired by James Clear’s annual reviews.


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Jerry Silfwer is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

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