New Year – New You – Put it Out There

I have arrogantly written my first law of leadership. In honor of ancient languages like Hebrew and Arabic, my law reads “backwards.” Because to do something backwards requires intention and focus. Thus, Mulhern’s First Law of Leadership:

tfeL oTthgiR morF knihT syawlA

or, for ease:

Always Think From Right to Left.

Our animal instinct is to react to what’s right in front of us on the great timeline of life. But our gift as homo sapiens, is that we can imagine ends.  We can look ahead.  To always Think From Right to Left is to continually jump forward on the timeline: to the end of this meeting, this day, this week, THIS YEAR, and if you’re brave . . . This Life.  What you want THERE ought to determine the direction of your next step HERE.  So, how about this year?

Different people like different verbs for this purpose, but may I plead shamelessly that you pick one (or more) of these verbs and write about it?

I HOPE by the end of the year I will have . . .
I INTEND by the end of the year that I will have . . .
I RESOLVE by the end of the year that I will have . . .
I COMMIT that by the end of the year I will have . . .

At different points in our lives, with the different styles we’re using, different verbs fit best.  But, gosh it’s good to pick one.

That’s all I’ll write, so that you have a few minutes you would usually spend reading the rest of this column, to scribble for yourself or maybe — if you’ve already scribbled — to encourage someone else to do the same, as you

Lead with your best self!


  • First of all, Happy New Year, Dan. The one verb that is not on your list may be the most important, and that is “choose.” One may hope, but that is not enough to generate action and energy towards a desired outcome. Intend, resolve and commit are words charged with a type of will-power mentality that is designed to overcome obstacles. Moshé Feldenkrais wisely pointed out that “people who have great will-power are often people of very little ability.” It is better to learn how to have your simple choices matter, and that when they are made, you have a track record of achieving them. In our work, as you know, there is the primary choice, which is the goal you want to create, and the secondary choice, which are all of the other choices that need to be made to accomplish the goal. Often, we do not want to take the secondary actions in and of themselves. But we do in order to support the higher order primary goal. You may not like to exercise but you may do so to support the higher goal of heath and well-being. To build competence in the creative process, the best approach is the make strategic secondary choices to support your major goals, and to have your choices matter. May 2015 be your best year yet! Robert Fritz

  • I usually enjoy your writings and they come from an informed thought, I was really taken aback that you referred to Arabic and Hebrew writings as being “backward”. They are written from right to left, that does not mean backward. Backward connotes behind, not modern, not in the present. Because it is different from what you do does not mean it is backward. Do something “reverse” order but I do not agree with your word choice.

    • Randi,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I am sorry if you and others took offense by my word choice.
      I hope if you read my comment IN CONTEXT, you will see that I meant to say is that what’s DIFFERENT to us, causes us to stop, to think, and in this case to be more intentional.
      I meant backwards in a literal sense and thus in a metaphoric sense, and not at all in a pejorative way.
      I will try to be more mindful and be careful that others not infer meanings that (I do not intend to imply and that) feel offensive or insensitive.
      I’m grateful that you would point this out.

  • My choice would be intend because it makes the person take the initiative and face the challenge of achieving a set of objectives either in personal life or professional pursuits.

  • Dan,

    By the end of this year,
    I INTEND to be here:
    I will RESOLVE to thrive,
    But HOPE to be alive!

    Oh! And I COMMIT to praying your new year will be the best ever!

    Mick McKellar

    • Love it, Mick. How great that you — and Mayo — have given you such a great chapter. I’m grateful you’re well and keeping the Upper Penninsula hum!

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