You are going to be bombarded for the next few days with talk about resolutions. I guess it makes sense to use the turning of a calendar year as a benchmark for resolving to change, but the universal practice of vowing to alter your behavior does little more than set you up for the equally universal feeling of failure that follows in a week or two when you start crafting excuses for why you aren’t sticking with your resolve.

Sticking to a resolution made on January 1st quite often requires you to do things that are counter to your nature; to swim upstream against your native instincts. That’s the problem with resolutions: they generally demand that you to do less of what you love, or more of what you loathe.

You will have far greater success in 2012 if you focus on doing more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
Simple enough, right?
In fact, focusing on your native genius is difficult because it comes so easily. [Read it again]
Allow me to illustrate my point with a personal story:
I was asked this past year to write a four-scene drama to accompany the choral pieces sung by a church choir during their annual Christmas concert. The script was intended to share a subtle message about the simplicity of the original Christmas story. The assignment energized me. Communicating thoughtful ideas through the written word is an activity that makes me feel strong.

George Utley

Tom Poston

One of the characters in the script was a well-meaning but silly man modeled after Tom Poston’s character George Utley on the Newhart television series. Everyone connected with the concert agreed that the part had my name “written on it.” Making people laugh is something I enjoy and being on stage charges my batteries, so I took the role. But, as the performance drew closer I became increasingly anxious, to the point where I considered asking someone else to take my place.
You see, I’m very comfortable being on stage by myself because I have the freedom to deviate from my prepared notes. Interacting with the audience, ad libbing and taking parenthetical side-trips are the norm for me when I’m “on.” But, acting in an ensemble requires me to memorize and stick with the lines, as they’re written. When you are sharing the stage with others, you are not allowed to ”wing it.”
The ah-hah moment came somewhere between dress rehearsal and the first performance. In one of a great many conversations with myself, I realized that I could either rely on my natural talent to merely get me through the night – or – I could intensify my focus and turn a native ability into a strength. I chose the latter, and the results taught me a valuable lesson.
About 15 minutes before my first entrance, I secluded myself backstage and mentally rehearsed my lines, word-for-word, meticulously. I visualized the audience, the stage, the lights, the other actors. I imagined George Utley and his goofy grin. When my cue came, I was hyper-focused on playing the part to the fullest–the exact opposite of winging it.

Focusing on your native genius is difficult because it comes so easily.
When you take your strengths for granted, you miss opportunities for greatness.

You already have what it takes to make 2012 a great year.
Instead of doing less of what you love and more of what you loathe, resolve this year to get a clear picture of your native genius and concentrate on taking it to the limit.
Do this:

  1. On a note pad, write down three specific situations from the past month where you did something that left you feeling energized. Activities you really loved doing.
  2. Talk about your examples (with yourself or in a small group) and come up with a verb and a short phrase describing the activity.  “I felt strong . . . . .”
  3. Brainstorm ways you can fine-tune these natural talents and intentionaly use them to your advantage.

Michelangelo said about sculpting, ”Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
YOU have the masterpiece waiting inside.
Find it, and make 2012 your best year ever.