As you begin to plan for 2013, take time to reflect on the previous year and the many accomplishments you’ve had. Oftentimes, we get consumed by our to do list, or tasks we didn’t accomplish, and forget to celebrate the wonderful things we’ve done. Pausing for reflection helps us to remember that the destination is less important than the journey. Enjoy each step (and misstep) of your life with the understanding that you are being readied for something bigger and better in the coming year.

Now that 2013 is nearly here, consider the following twelve thoughts as you proactively plan for the year.

  1. There are no quick fixes for the fundamental problems in life; they require hard work and the devotion of time.
  2. Instead of telling others what to think, attempt to teach them how to think creatively and to innovate.
  3. You can tell your values by looking at your debit card statement; does it reflect the legacy you want to leave?
  4. Don’t prioritize tasks that provide immediate return over those that require long-term work.
  5. The secret to making mistakes isn’t to avoid them; it’s to realize that they aren’t fatal, they’re the fuel to finding stratospheric success.
  6. The purpose of your life needs to be deliberately conceived, chosen and managed.
  7. You only make the mistakes that you need to make to learn what you are here to learn right now.
  8. Don’t be afraid of dying; be afraid of never having lived up to your potential.
  9. Leadership is about helping to release human possibilities, helping those you serve operate at peak capacity.
  10. Write down your goals for the year and repeatedly consciously visualize already achieving them.
  11. Be authentic, people are attracted to authentic presence and to the unfolding of a future that is full of possibilities.
  12. As you proactively manage your career, your job isn’t to rise to someone else’s goal, it’s to understand and rise to your potential.

As you consider the above, remember that career distinction requires you to not make incremental change, it requires you to make quantum leaps in how you interact with and generate value for those in your circle of influence. A positive paradigm shift is required in that your competitive advantage will be directly correlated to how much more you give in value than take in payment, how you place other people’s interests before yours and how authentically and well you serve others.

I don’t want to simply raise the floor of mediocrity; I want to help you raise the height of excellence in your life.