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Awaken the Force: Six Powerful Commitments for 2016

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As December comes to a close, many of us will do a “year in review” (and if we don’t, Facebook will do it for us).  A lot of us will also think about how we can succeed in the year to come.

I have long stopped doing “New Year’s resolutions” since I’ve repeatedly lost and gained back the same 10 pounds I have been resolving to lose since 2001. Instead, I try to look for a handful of key behaviors that I can focus on in the coming year. This year I am committing to 6 actions that I believe are “force” multipliers (tools that amplify effort). The first four were included in a parenting book I wrote in 1998 (long before I first sought to lose those 10 pounds).

Here are my 6 commitments for 2016, I will be asking you to share your targets at the end of this post:

Show-up: Surely, you have run across people who perpetually make excuses or you’ve had interactions with those who seem to be in a constant state of “trying.” By contrast, I am convinced that much success comes to people who just consistently show-up to fulfill their commitments.

Pay Attention:  Even when people do show-up these days, they are often distracted. Sometimes it’s a notification chime signifying the arrival of a text message or maybe it’s a random thought that prompts an internet search but no matter the cause, their body is in one place and their attention is somewhere else. Focused attention directed to the people (not the technology) that surrounds us may be one of the greatest sources of interpersonal power in the year ahead.

Tell the Truth:  Maybe I have just been worn down by the early political season but I have come to learn that half-truths, cover-ups, a lack of transparency, and outright deception robs us of our integrity and a deep-seated sense of trustworthiness. I remember once hearing that the worst thing about lying isn’t that you won’t be believed but that you can’t believe.

Enjoy the Journey:  I have always loved to fish, but when I was younger, the success of a fishing trip was determined by how many fish I caught. Nowadays I can fish in my bathtub, although one has to be careful with the hooks.  If sustained happiness is a matter of “wanting what you have,” joy comes from enthusiastically embracing all elements of the journey – those days of bountiful catch and the ones where you return home with an empty creel.

Practice Gratitude: All of us stand on the shoulders of giants. I look at the buildings, parks, roads, and utilities in my community and I am so grateful for those who created the infrastructure that operates in the background of my everyday life. That gratitude is compounded when I think about those who established our system of government and the ones who have fought for our freedom.  It is easy to get swept into “media-fueled” rants or to get disheartened by pithy, anonymous jabs hurled on social media posts. But the adage, “you are what you eat” can be widened to “you are what you consume” in a broader social context.  If you focus on the negative, your worldview is shaped accordingly. Now gratitude….that is something to feast upon!

Serve Well:  A number of years ago I read an insightful book titled The Rise of Selfishness in America written by James Lincoln Collier. Upon completion, I was compelled all the more to realize that selfishness like righteousness is a dead end in life and in business. What if you are right and the customer is wrong or if you get your needs met but your partner doesn’t?  Does that mean (in the words of Charlie Sheen) you are “winning?” With my advancing age, I’m certain of less and less…but this I know to be true.  It is through “otherness” and service that we matter!

Ok now it’s time for me to post this and read it regularly to stand behind these commitments in 2016…. So have you crafted your commitment targets yet and have you determined where will you post them? How about we revisit ours about this time next year?

By the way, thanks for showing up, paying attention, and looking for the positive in this and my many posts this past year.

May the Force Be With You

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