January 2, 2017
Will 2017 be another crazy year?
Albert Einstein is commonly given credit for the quip: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Whoever said it, it rings true: if you approach 2017 the way you just finished 2016, don’t expect any positive improvements.
The Great Unwashed (credit: novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton) spend time this week – between football games and parades – coming up with New Years Resolutions. Health Clubs brace for the annual influx of wanna-be shrinkers; Oprah is showing off her 42-pound drop to recruit – and raise the value of her stock holdings – for Weight Watchers. “Losing Weight” is among the top aspirations; Super Bowl Nachos will sink that boat before it gets out of the harbor…
How do you break from the Crazies and take the steps to see 2017 emerge as a breakout year of improvement, for you?
About 25 years ago, I was introduced to Tom Paterson, a master strategist and wisdom voice, creator of the Paterson LifePlan process. Tom facilitated my own LifePlan, which led to the launch of The Master’s Program, and trained me to do the same. Tom’s work with leaders and corporations – helping them to clarify their strategies for positive inflection points – taught him the Right Questions.
As you face 362 days (you’ve already left the starting blocks!) of new opportunity, here are the questions that could refine your approach to the new horizon of life that is inviting your engagement.
- 1. What’s Right? Your greatest achievements give evidence of some efforts that you’ve already refined to the superior level. Peter Drucker – another wisdom voice in my life – advised that we “build on the islands of health and strength.” Too many resolutions are defensive, fix-me- first distractions: Peter knew that a strong offense was Priority #1. Find what you’re doing well, already… and make plans to do even more of that, first.
2. What’s Wrong? We all know self-appointed experts, offering their input on that question. The most reliable voice on that point is the Holy Spirit, whose contribution to our real-life pursuits is conviction: He highlights the chronic miscues that compromise our greatness. It’s more than a nagging sense of self-loathing: conviction is God calling us out to new levels of rightness. The process to eliminate the Wrong: 1) Renounce: disavow the acceptability; 2) Repent: declare your intent to set a new course; and, 3) Restore: demonstrate your commitment by providing resolution for anyone who has been damaged by your words or actions.
3. What’s Confused? Most people have advanced degrees from the University of Uncertainty. Grads of UU populate the pool of the “I can’t move until I’m sure…” players. Befuddled and perplexed, they watch life speed by while idling on the shoulder. In your life right now, where are you stalled because of a lack of clarity or confidence? The alternative to common confusion is uncommon insight: find a source of wisdom and truth – in the face of your confusion – and make their contribution your new clarity.
4. What’s Missing? In our consumer society, marketers convince the gullible that the things they need to enhance life can be delivered tomorrow – by drone – from Amazon Prime. Catalogs don’t offer the solution; “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (1 Peter 1:3) Until you complete your righteous requisition of the ingredients you need for the life He’s promised – knowing the if-then prerequisites He has articulated in His promises – you can’t expect to find the critical enhancements that will round out your resources for a dramatically enhanced future.
My gift to you, this New Years week: shred your resolutions, and replace them with thoughtful consideration of your most strategic issues: What’s Right? What’s Wrong? What’s Confused? What’s Missing? Answer those questions, and then get busy with the pursuits those answers expose.
Or… prove Einstein right: get ready for just another crazy year.