Roman Malanke

Thank You, Year 2012

All the preparations for the New Year’s party have been done now. In a few hours my wife and I will meet our friends and we’ll go to a sauna to start our celebration program there. Then before midnight we’ll gather in our place around the table full of homemade delicacies to meet 2013. In the time that’s left I will continue my good tradition to close each year on this blog with a small record of the good things that happened in my life during the year as well as the wishes I have for the next one.

The biggest change that happened in my life this year was marriage. Although when friends ask what actually changed after the wedding day, it’s difficult to tell. What I know is that I became a happier man by creating a family with the woman I love. It feels nice and comfortable to be married. The warmth of family home and feeling of care by a loved one is probably the biggest source of inspiration in the world. Still, when I answer friends’ questions I say that there was one difficult thing caused by marriage. It’s the new terminology of “husband” and “wife”. I’ve found myself many times saying: “I’ll ask my girlfr… I mean, my wife”. But now we’re past that and we proudly use our new titles on every occasion.

The second good change in personal life was our move to a new apartment. It’s roomier and more comfortable than the last one, plus it’s located in a nice new housing complex in a good part of town. It’s easy commute to the center and one of the city’s biggest parks is just 5 minutes away. We take advantage of that and regularly go there for a run, a bike ride, or a simple walk to feed small local inhabitants.

On the career front I was able to make good progress this year and received my first real management role. In that role I get a chance to lead a team of professionals located across three continents, practicing not only English but also Spanish on a regular basis. There are now much more serious but at the same time more exciting challenges ahead of me as a manager.

Speaking about management, this discipline was my most important self-development direction this year. The single best source of educational value was the podcast called Manager Tools. In my usual manner after discovering it and realizing its usefulness I started to consume the content in massive quantities and during one year caught up with 7 years worth of shows, which made it 45 minutes of listening per average day. I’m enormously thankful to Mark and Mike who host the show for sharing their great experience and advices with the world for free. The behavioral profiling framework DISC they use is the most impactful concept I learned in 2012 and their recommendation “The Effective Executive” by Drucker shares the title of my book of the year with Thoreau’s “Walden”.

This year I enriched my traveller’s experience not only by visiting many new places, but also by trying a new mode of travel — couchsurfing. First, there was a regular work trip to Washington, D.C., followed by an unforgettable 12-days journey through northern Spain, where we stayed at different people’s homes experiencing local culture and traditions of 7 different autonomous communities on a deeper level. Later in summer during Euro 2012 matches we had a chance to host couchsurfers in our home in Kyiv, including guests from Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and Iran. Also this year I redefined my signature travel reporting method — photographing sewer hatches, which I now do with my feet on them.

Besides all these changes for the better and new experiences, I’m happy to have continued throughout the year practicing and developing the good habits I already had. I kept treating healthy sleep and nutrition as most important things. I kept regularly attending swimming pool, opening yet deeper levels of understanding of this wonderful sport. I kept practicing Spanish and English by reading, listening, applying at work, and regularly blogging both at and Malanke aprende español.

There was one sad event this year. My parents’ pet, little Pekingese named Topic died after 17 years with the family. He had a long and happy dog’s life and I’m sure he’s now resting in peace in dog’s heaven.

Looking forward to the year 2013 ahead I’m setting up two main priorities for myself. The first one is to step up in professional role, achieving measureable impact for the company that trusted me with more responsibilities. The second one is growing and developing social skills, which includes conversational abilities, persuasion, and public speaking. I’ve read and learned a lot on these subjects over the last couple of years, so now it’s time to go out there and practice. Thank you all for reading this and Happy New Year to you and your families!