January 2, 2012
Dear Marketplace Friend,
Welcome to 2012! According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Recession began in December of 2007; the same 90-year-old, independent, non-profit, non-partisan group declared the Recession “over” in June of 2009. So, here we are, 30 months into the recovery; feeling better, yet?
I’ve decided to opt-out of the national funk (“a state of depression”) that will be agitated and aggravated during the next 11 months of presidential campaigning. Do you feel the longing to recover from the recovery?
In my lifetime, I’ve become more and more drawn to trend lines to understand current conditions. Status reports are of limited value, in my view: the greater analysis is the tracking of the trajectory. Beyond “where are we now” stats, I need to know whether we’re on our way up, or on our way down… and, in either case, what is the current pace of change?
National macro views aside: how are you doing today, one day into a brand new year? If you gave an objective look at the quality of life issues – which are, potentially, very different than the spread sheet stories – that define your life, where were you at the start of the Great Recession, where are you now… and, where will you be when we swear-in the winner from the Presidential Derby in 54 weeks?
My claim: we have limited power over the hard numbers, but significant control over the more meaningful life stories that are underway in our personal dramas.
While we listen to the amped-up articulations of primary candidates who are drifting from early-primary state to state, what are your proposals – for your life – to raise the quality of personal experience in a frightenly-fractured society that is searching for a Savior? What are you planning to do in 2012 to enable the “life to the full” (John 10:10) that Jesus said He came to enable?
Scrap the anemic New Year’s Resolutions; that 10 pounds isn’t going anywhere, and your fantasy about taking a year off to travel with Anthony Bourdain – or, Bill Gates – isn’t going to happen. Why not think like the leader you are, and outline some initiatives that will point your trend line in a north-bound trajectory?
Initiative (n): “a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem; the power or opportunity to win an advantage; the ability to use your judgment to make decisions and do things without needing to be told what to do.” As my Master’s Program colleagues hear me say, so often: initiatives are the primary mark of leadership: no initiatives, no leadership. Without initiatives, you are left to manage today’s plateau. With initiatives, you climb to higher ground. Yesterday’s initiatives led to today’s reality; tomorrow’s reality will be a lesser version of today… or, an initiated future, undertaken today. Your trend line for tomorrow is set by today’s initiatives!
Let me give you some seasoned counsel, on the threshold of a new year: give yourself the gift of some individualized leadership in the four key Realms of Life. Ponder a new pursuit – just one – in each of your crucial environments: Personal (your body, mind, soul and spirit), Family (that’s spouse and kids), Professional (your career and the stewardship of your resources) and Kingdom (your influence with believers, and your influence with not-yet-believers). What “new, to you” achievement would you be ready to give strategic energy and engagement in 2012, with the intent to shift your personal trend line upwards… at an accelerated rate?
Dream it; plan it; do it: that’s the way accomplishment finds its way into your story. You have it in you to pull it off. Here’s an offer: give me the 10-words-or-less description of each of the four initiatives you have – one in each Realm – and I’ll initiate follow-up with you every 90 days to see how it’s going. Are you ready to invite God into your life to the full initiatives, for His glory?