2018 was a bit like A Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. With every bit of joy and progress that 2018 seemed to bring, there was seemingly an equal amount of heartbreak and setback. Let's leave the past in the past, but before 2019 fully commences, join me as I take a look back at a few of the highlights of the past year and some hints at some new things to come.
In 2018, I set a personal record for travel. I spoke at 21 events in 15 states. I added 2 new states to the list of states I have presented in. Thank you Utah and West Virginia! This brings my total up to 38. I also flew over 60,000 miles and 100 individual flights on American Airlines. Thanks to everyone who came out to any of my sessions. I really loved making so many new friends and also getting to see so many of you that I only get to see regularly on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for all of your support and for doing great things for gifted kids.
I am looking for an even bigger and better 2019 and traveling to many new places including Nevada and New Mexico. If you are hosting a conference or in need of professional learning for your school or district, I hope that you will consider me.
Fighting Fake News
On April 1, 2018, my first solo book was published. I can honestly not think of a better release date for a book on Fake News. I presented material from the book throughout the year at various events. You can see the slide deck and some additional resources HERE if you are interested.
Perhaps the most exciting event for me in 2018 was being a part of the NASA Social Team for the landing of InSight on Mars. Those 2 days at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were filled with moments that I will never forget. I am putting together a session and upcoming blog post on what I learned from the experience and how we can embrace and nurture a positive vision for the future for ourselves and our students. More details will be lifting off soon.
Inside Brian's Brain
After hitting the RESET button back in August, I managed to post 16 times to the blog. While this was far less than I had what I originally aimed for, I am reinvesting myself in what I consider to be an important endeavor. I am setting what I hope to be a more realistic goal of twice a week. We will see how that goes. I am also looking into setting up a monthly email newsletter since I talked with several people who had not seen some of the updates and posts.
Gifted Guild Gatherings
During 2018, I teamed up with SUPER Friends Ian Byrd and Lisa Van Gemert for some Gifted Guild Goodness. The first was in March where I stepped in at the last minute in Ohio for Ian while Mary gave birth to Henry. Ian provided honestly what were the "best sub plans" that the world had ever seen. The 3 of us also teamed up for a Pre-Con Session at NAGC and a couple of other "rogue" events including a very special gathering we called REJECTED! These were proposals that were submitted to NAGC but were not accepted due in large part to what I would call a process that is out of touch with its true audience. We sold out 100 seats during the evening event in our own venue not affiliated with the conference. It was honestly the most lively and engaged audience that I have ever presented to. Thanks to everyone who made the event all that it was. A special thank you to Shirley Farrell for labeling us "Trouble Makers" with an official conference badge. What I learned is that when you see something that is broken you have to speak up and do something about it. Otherwise, you will continue to be a part of the problem.
2018 was a year of starts and stops. It seemed like every time I was just starting to get some traction, then there was a major event that came along and provided some pretty major detours. Losing a month due to Hurricane Florence was not something that I was planning for. As I have been reflecting on 2018 and what I could do better in 2019, I have realized that far too often, I was trying to do too many things. It is a problem that many of our gifted kids face. As I have often said, gifted kids are a lot like squirrels. They chase after something with great intensity until they go after the next thing that strikes their fancy. I realized that I was also guilty of this. It is so easy to be distracted and pulled away from doing the Deep Work. As I start a new year, I have committed myself to focus on doing fewer things and doing them really well.
Let's put 2018 behind us, and say hello to a bright and shiny 2019! As Walt Disney said,