Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that really worked? They usually don’t. Resolutions are the attempts to change, devoid of the principle that brings change. They are attached to fear and comfort: fear I won’t accomplish what I say I will, and comfort with the existing patterns that don’t want to budge. In order to change anything, you have to really sign up for the new. The energy of this New Year requires RESOLVE– resolve to learn, resolve to change, and resolve to release sabotaging patterns.

  • RESOLUTIONS bring temporary shifts, with no development of character or principle.
  • RESOLVE bring change. It requires courage and discipline.

RESOLVE requires daily discipline, unshakable faith and relentless focus. It takes discipline when you don’t have it, getting back up after being knocked down, and going the distance when it would be so much easier to give up. I think about Olympic athletes who train for four years in order to compete for 20 seconds on the track. Or both McCain and Obama who had months and years of speeches, hotel rooms and handshakes. I think about me, having to take my business to an entirely new level when my husband’s career change caused a severe drop in income. Resolve takes you into the arena where courage is required and learning awaits. Do you dare go?

When have you been known to have resolve? What did it feel like? What did it equip you to achieve or accomplish? How did it change you?

Those Olympic athletes don’t have an exclusive on resolve, they just activate it regularly. They have daily discipline and focus, even through holidays. They get knocked down, have a bad race, and get right back at it, learning from what happened. They develop a long term willingness to stick it out and go the distance. They focus on what is in front of them and remove the obstacles as they come. They develop heart in the heat of battle. That is resolve.

There is a great scene from ROCKY BALBOA, where Rocky, now retired, is talking to his son who is struggling in the shadow of his dad’s boxing fame. With his cowardice blocking him from facing the challenges in his own life, he begs Rocky not to return to the ring to fight again. Rocky proclaims:
You, me or nobody hits as hard as life. It will beat you to your knees if you let it. But it’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can GET hit and keep moving forward, how much you can TAKE and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you are worth, go out and get it, but you have to be willing to take the hits.”

I am stirred by the truth of these words, particularly at a time when people are confounded, panicked, worried and angry about the changes facing America. We have a victory year ahead. Victory in the opportunity to replace a weak, faulty foundation with solid, strong floorboards around money, discipline, profit, worth and achievement.

Fear and comfort are old approaches. Safety and caution are killers. They drain us and make us old. OLD: Obstructing Learning Daily. Safety and caution cut off the learning. It’s time to reach for the pain and the pure.

It takes resolve to surrender to the job that life asks of you. For example, what if you recognize that it’s upon you to step WAY UP in your leadership at work and home, and be that powerful example for others, galvanizing their courage to DO through your demonstration? That’s the level of leadership that is required for 2009. That’s what is upon leaders now, way beyond any handbook or required course. Can you connect to “I am the one for the job” when there’s no way you want to be the one? It’s time to ride the courage and follow the adventure that work has in store.

Becoming a learning leader is the key. Becoming a learning individual is the key. Answers won’t come through the typical means. They’ll come in new ways, through movies, comedians, your 4-year-old nephew, or your favorite activity. They’ll come through the simple and obvious. They’ll come through the funny and unique. But the messages bring change. It takes RESOLVE to hear, respond and do.

If companies RESOLVE to change, if leaders RESOLVE to strengthen, and if individuals RESOLVE to learn, then that resolve turns into a daily strength of character, a change of heart, and a passion to do greatly.

Your resolve will touch to all around you. You become the example that encourages other to move forward in areas they feared or doubted. You lead by your demonstration. That’s what 2009 is asking of each of us. Do it.