Happy New Year
Happy New Year to all reading this post. I hope you had a wonderful – and SAFE! – time last night as you celebrated the change. And I hope that 2013 will be your best year ever. For me, celebrating the new year is more about reflection on my life, and ways I can improve myself, than it is about partying. I got over the whole party thing early in my musical career, and actually began to look forward to spending the evening at home. I know: Silly me. (smile) But when you spend most of your evenings entertaining others in a bar setting, going out to a bar on NYE is kind of like going to work to party. So, for decades, unless I’ve been booked to perform New Year’s Eve, I stay home and enjoy a quiter form of celebration – as I did last night.
On the other hand, I think it’s very important to look back on the year gone by, reviewing all that happened with a special focus on the good things in my life, and on ways I could have done better. Ancient Babylonians made New Year promises to repay debts and return borrowed tools. Romans began the New Year with promises to the god Janus, after whom the month of January is named. Jews both seek and offer forgiveness for wrongs committed in the previous year. Some Christians do something similar during Lent. Obviously, I’m not the first person to concern myself with a better start to the new year, right? (smile)
2012 was an amazing year for me. After a four year hiatus since my last CD, I struck out on my own again to focus on my upcoming CD, The View From Here. My good friend Polo Jones is producing the project, and is acting as my overall career manager. I had to wait several years for our schedules to mesh, and once they did, I was determined to make this happen. In order to focus as much attention as possible on the project, I set aside most of the rest of my work. While I do miss that work, I am glad I did. The opportunity to record with Polo and move my career to a new, higher level is a gift from God, and I believe the best way I can honor that gift is to give it my very best.
Another wonderful thing this year was that, in late November, Fortuitous Encounters was released. This is the second book edited by Larry Spears in which I have an essay. Actually, Fortuitous Encounters includes a four chapter piece about the many fortuitous encounters that led to my work with Larry. The foremost living authority on servant-leadership, Larry has been my most important business mentor, and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to write with him.
In addition to the two great events above, I’ve also enjoyed moving into a wonderful, new home and building a new life. I’ve got so many wonderful friends, and a great family. I get to make my living doing things that use my God-given talents, and I find deep fulfillment in the service to others my work provides. All in all, I have quite a lot to be thankful for.
At the same time, however, I look back and I see that there are things I could have done better. The best thing I can do about that is to be a better person in the coming year. So this year, I’m going to focus on those shortcomings and do my utmost to be a better version of myself. To that end, here are my New Year’s Resolutions:
1. I will exercise more. I recently began working on an elliptical machine, and will increase the length and difficulty level of my routine. In addition, I will add other forms of exercise such that I am working out every day.
2. I will get back to meditating daily. I know that meditating in the morning is an excellent way to start my day, so I’m going to make sure I do it every day.
3. I will eat healthier. Those who know me well, know that I love food. I love making it; I love eating it. And while I’m never going to be a vegan, I know that I can do better. To that end, I’m going to work on eating more salads for lunch, and continuing my trend of smarter portions and more veggies for dinner. I’ve already cut back on sugar and caffeine, and will continue to work in those areas. I’ve also learned that I don’t need a huge dessert to feel satisfied, and I’m cutting down on junk food.
4. I will focus more energy on treating others well. Because the proper treatment of others is central to my faith, this is something I will always work on doing better.
5. I will renew my work for those in need. In 2010 and 2011, I was on tour (as a musician) for most of the year. In early 2012 I relocated from one coast to the other. All of this has made it difficult to maintain the number of hours I gave in previous years. Now that I am more settled, I’m going to start working to help the hungry, and our children.
6. I will strive to do a little better every day. In the book Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson offer the concept of doing 1% better each week. If you achieve that goal, by the end of a year, you’re doing at least 50% better, which is no small feat. I intend to follow that example and work hard to improve a little bit every day.
7. I will serve my team to the best of my ability. This year I will again focus on my musical career as we begin touring behind the new CD. In addition to Polo serving as producer, there have been more than a dozen musicians involved in the project. There will be at least seven members of the touring band. We are also building a business/management team and a tour support team. All of these people are involved in the project because they believe in me, and in what I’m doing. They are willing to bet their futures on my work, and I owe them no less than being the best possible leader I can be.
So… that’s my list of resolutions. I believe that, if I manage to maintain my commitment in each of these seven areas, I will be better person, and will enjoy a more fulfilling life. I am going to print out my list and keep it close to me. I will also be plastering my home and car with post-it notes to remind me of the core principals. And I will take time every Sunday to review my list and grade my progress, making notes on how I can do better in the week to come.
In closing, I offer each of you the happiest of new years. I hope that 2013 is everything you hope it will be, and that you will enjoy greater fulfillment in your work and personal lives. We all can look forward to a new beginning, and a better year. But we have to do our part. I’m going to do my best to do my part, and I hope you will commit to doing the same. If you do, I can promise you that 2013 will be year to remember.
May God bless you, and keep you in his heart, as you keep him in yours.
Happy New Year!