8 Lessons I Learned in 2011 (& Will Take into 2012)

This was a very good year. In fact, it was a great year for getting to know who God has made me to be and to get in better position to be that man. New people have come into my life. Some have exited. I survived some challenges that I wasn't sure I could. Altogether this was a year of massive shifts and lessons learned.

1. Be who you are. No question this is the #1 thing I have "learned" and I'm walking in more powerfully than ever. I aim to be even more aggressively "me" in 2012. And understand the distinction I'm making. I'm not overly concerned about being "better" or anything tangible. I know I can have the year I want to have if I am just MYSELF. I am naturally bold, enthusiastic, opinionated, ambitious and a visionary. Not bragging. There are many good things you are naturally, as well, but most of you suppress them or hide them and then in a cloud of frustration over what you should have done. Being who you are will fix most of that and propel you forward in 2012.

2. No matter how much you want things to change, using the same approach will yield the same results. Boy did I learn this the hard way by suffering through months and months of making so little progress that I could still see the dust from my last steps on my feet. I made some forward moves in 2011, but it wasn't until the end of the year that I took some real leaps. What did I do different? I did some things DIFFERENT! This isn't meant to be confusing double-speak. If you think about it for a moment, there are some areas of your life wherein you've not changed your attitude or approach in a long time...but you're not happy about the results you're getting. Try something you've been afraid to try.

3. There is no substitute for good friends. I had to lean on some people in 2011 and call in some humbling favors. For a guy who's been as independent-minded as me, it was tough to look at people and say "I need help." You know what happened? I got the help I needed a number of times. Most of the time, folks were just waiting on me to open my mouth. Humility turned into my salvation more than once and that's the way it's supposed to be! We need each other. The Bible says that a brother is born for the day of adversity. In His foreknowledge, the Lord knew we would need comfort and made provision ahead of time. I learned to stop letting my enemy isolate me.

4. Make decisions. There is so much power in the simple act of getting off the fence. So much so that I believe circumstances conspire to knock us off the fence when we've been stuck too long. It's just like flipping a coin to help you make a decision. There's nothing wrong with doing so when you're feeling genuinely conflicted. When the coin speaks you'll know in your gut whether you're happy with it's decision or not. If not, do the opposite. It's just a quarter. You're not captive its commands.

5. Don't be afraid to let some doors close. Slam some others shut. Allowing yourself to be tied to dead or dying situations, relationships, environments, careers, churches, etc. can kill your life as dead as the carcasses you're linked to. Even if be joined to dying things doesn't kill you, you'll become soaked through with their foul stench. Cut dead things loose and walk free. Look at how much more fruitful you can be in a place that is full of life and don't even look back. Let the dead bury the dead.

6. Peace is valuable. This is one of the most valuable gifts Believers have, but sometimes don't take advantage of. We are taught to plan ahead, be anxious for nothing and not worry about tomorrow meaning we're FREE to THINK instead of STRESS and free to PLAN instead of PRESS! In other words, take full advantage of the peace of God.

7. Open your mouth. Nothing happens until we start talking. NOTHING!!! I'm not really sure what to add here. I've talked and written about the power of words before. Your words shape your life. I do it often on my Live BIG! Die Empty. Facebook page, as well. What else can I say? I've heard back from friends sharing their testimonies of great blessings and favor they've received just because they either opened their mouths to ask or had been bold enough to speak their visions out loud. There's not a lot else to be said. If you want it, speak it!

8. All things. If you look back honestly, the Lord has been faithful to take care of you and the things concerning you. If you needed it, you had it. Stressing about the next day didn't benefit you one bit. In fact, the only thing worry has done for you is ensure that you'd be sleepy the next day at a time you needed to be your sharpest. Since the Lord has been faithful in the past, why should you not trust Him now? Pray yourself to sleep instead of permitting insomnia to gain another victory over you. The Father has already worked out everything concerning those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

9. (Bonus Lesson) Progress doesn't come unless you plan for it. You have to be intentional about the outcomes you want and expect from life. Good things don't happen by accident. Good things happen on purpose. Frankly, most accidents are horrible and shocking. That's not what you want for 2012. You want fruit from your sowing and progress for your pain. Sit down and write. Then plan. Then pray. Then get to work. The time for letting things just "happen" is past. 99% of the things that just happen are horrible. Plan and be diligent. That's what Solomon would advise you to do.

2012 can be your best year ever! I agree with that 100%. One thing I hate about the New Year, however, is all the hype that comes along with it. I can't stand seeing people get whipped up into a frenzy but without the shifts in mindset that will make a true, lasting difference. If you make these nine lessons become nine new habits by continual practice, I can guarantee things will never be the same for you!


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