2012 Personal Retrospective: The Year I Realized Two Old Dreams

In 2012 I was fortunate enough to realized two dreams I’ve had for more than twenty years each. Combined with no real setbacks during the past twelve months, 2012 will therefore go down as a very special and memorable year.

My 2012 story actually started in late 2011. As part of my reflections last year I decided to train for an Ironman (3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42.2k run) in August 2012. Completing this ultimate challenge in Triathlon was something I had dreamed about for many years, but it had always seamed completely unrealistic. After reestablishing my running and learning to swim properly in the fall of 2011 and with unbelievable support from my family, I decided to give it a shot. To make a long story short I set a goal of 11 hours and was lucky enough to stay injury free in my training and on August 12th I crossed the finish line at Challenge Copenhagen in 10 hours 54 minutes and 40 second. My kids, my wife and my mom and a lot of friends from my running club were all there to support me and it’s something I will never forget.

The second dream I realized in 2012 was starting my own business. When I was a small kid I often dreamed about being my own boss, not having to report to anyone, earning a lot of money and build a really cool company. Back then my dreams were mainly about inventing some great product and having people help me manufacturer, sell and distribute it. I spend hours trying to come up with a great idea or trying to draw a cool logo including my initials. Back then I didn’t know much about the type of work I do today and for the first 15 years of my working life I put the idea off, but it was always in the back of my mind.

During my seven years at ProActive the company had almost tripled the number of employees and was about to enter a new era. The structures had to change and the company had to run in a different way to be effective. We spend a lot of time in the Senior Management group during the spring of 2012 discussion how to move forward. During the same period I was training for the Ironman and was forced to prioritize every single minute of my time. I did however have plenty of time during the long runs and rides on the bike to think about how I wanted to live my life and as the direction of ProActive became clearer, I realized we had to go our separate ways, if I was to pursue the goals I had set for myself. In September 2012 I therefore made the jump and said goodbye to a company that had meant a lot to me during the past seven years and also a company I in all modesty believe I influenced develop to what it is today. As I’m writing this I no longer have any stake in ProActive, but I still follow how my old colleagues are doing and wish them all the best in the years ahead.

As I was coming to clarity about what direction I wanted my life to take I had lunch with my old friend, fellow Agilist and founder of goAgile Ole Jepsen. Coincidentally Ole and the other great folks at goAgile had just completed a strategy process of their own and were looking to expand. Both Ole and I have joked about joining forces during the past decade and I think we have always known it would happen some day, but never really known how. Now I was ready to make the jump and they had defined a vision I could easily see myself be part of. The timing couldn’t have been better.

To understand how jumping from one company to another realized my dream of being my own boss, you need to understand what type of company goAgile is. In lack of better worlds we call it a modern network company. We are all independent consultants running our own businesses and there is no contracts or other types of paperwork holding us together. We essentially work together because we want to and because we believe we have something to offer each other. As we are expanding the company we might formalize our relationships a bit more, but we will not compromise our individual freedom to do what we are passionate about. “What’s best for the individual is best for the company” is a non-negotiable core value at goAgile.

Looking ahead I’m not planning to change jobs or complete another Ironman anytime soon. I do however have plenty of other dreams to pursue and I have a feeling I will be looking back at another great year in twelve months time.

Before I leave you to explore 2013 I would love for you to use the comments to tell me about your 2012 and your goals for 2013. I hope you have also had a successful year and I wish you and your family all the best in 2013.

Finally I want to thank my wife Gitte for supporting me realize my dreams in 2013. None of the above would have been possible if it wasn’t for her.

The picture above is of me crossing the finish line at Challenge Copenhagen. My shirt was a surprise to my wife – the text reads: “Thanks for the support Gitte”.


  • Abdel-Rahman Awad

    January 13, 2013 at 11:32

    The Happiest moments in this life is when you reach and realize your dreams, specially if they are old and have been leaving with you for a long time, I am so happy for you reaching where you are now … well done and deserved, As for me 4 years ago the world with not enough for my dreams and i have been fortunate as well to realize most of them, however now with a family attached to me i have to do some calculations but one rule in my life … i never give up on my dreams … so i will one day be there with my real dreams … wish you the best of luck martin … pleasure knowing you


    • Martin

      January 13, 2013 at 14:24

      Hi Abdel,

      Thanks for the support and encouragement. I agree with your philosophy – you should never give up on your dreams, not matter how distant they seem. My Ironman is a great example of that, since it took me over 20 years.

      I hope having kids will turn out to be a dream for you too, but I also agree that it does pose some limitations on life right now, if you want to be a responsible parent and I’m sure you will be. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on your other dreams – you might just have to wait a while before realizing them.

      All the best to you and Maha – It was an absolute pleasure working with the both of you and I’m sure you will become dream parents.


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