As this year winds to a close and we spend time with our loved ones and celebrate the season, I can’t help but think about the year ahead. Call it a New Year’s resolution, call it a goal, call it a challenge – we are just a few short weeks away from the renewal of our annual cycle. How will we approach it? What will we change? What will we accomplish in the coming year?
Each year represents a new challenge, and for me the challenge next year is huge. So I do what I always do – I go in search of direction, inspiration, and resources. This time the inspiration found me. This week I have stumbled across 3 or 4 different articles about Richard Branson, and the timing could not be better.
Richard Branson founded Virgin Records and became a multi-millionaire. A lot of people would have been satisfied with the success of their early endeavors. Not Branson. Did he get complacent, drink too many margaritas, and absolve himself of productivity? Absolutely not. Instead of basking in the warm glow of success, he throws himself on the fire. He risks it all and starts an airline. It too is successful. Does he sit back and smile? Maybe a little – and then he starts a mobile technology company. Why stop there? How about an innovative digital publication? Still not satisfied?? Virgin Galactic – oh yeah – flights into space.
So why keep going? What’s the point? When will this insatiable Branson finally rest?!?!
There is a phrase that says something to the effect that “satisfaction is the death of desire.” My paraphrased version is “comfort kills.” The best musicians, artists, and poets are usually somehow tortured. The best fighters are often the most hungry. In a world where everyone works for a bigger piece of the pie, you must improve to compete. You cannot become complacent, lazy, comfortable. You must find a way to stay hungry.
I’m no Richard Branson – I do not own an airline, so I have a long way to go. Therefore I am throwing myself on the fire. The coming year will challenge me greatly. I will be doubted and questioned – by others and by myself. Announcements will be made, and I will be criticized as much as I will be applauded. Discomfort will find me – and I will embrace it. I will not look back and I will not apologize. Great things come from chaos. May we all find a way to make ourselves uncomfortable in the coming year.