By Ryan Burke


Great year. I learned so much but distilled it down to a few items. Enjoy!

Play the long game.

I got stuck in the “instant gratification” mindset in 2016. This mindset violates a universal principle: The Law of the Harvest. Farmers shouldn’t expect a harvest in the spring! There is a time for sowing and a time for reaping. I was hoping that both would happen simultaneously, and I was wrong.

In business, focus on the long game. Patiently apply smart goals and strategies with a positive attitude. With this approach I learned that results will come in due time, not on my time.

The Power of Positivity.

My first year of business ownership brought unexpected challenges. I hate to admit this, but my attitude was lousy far too many times in 2016. I viewed challenges as problems instead of opportunities. Most disappointing was that it influenced my ability to lead. Who wants to follow Debbie Downer?

A positive attitude changes everything in my life for the better. The key to developing an ongoing positive attitude is to address perspective. How significant are my problems? Instead of letting small issues affect my serenity, I should be focusing on gratitude. My life is blessed with wonderful relationships and unlimited opportunities. Daily gratitude reminders help me view life’s challenges in a healthy, positive way.

I learned to get organized.

Another disturbing admission. I lived part of 2016 personally disorganized. All things personal went haywire….. my house, car, bills, laundry, etc. the list goes on. I felt like I was living in a fraternity house!

Ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but this issue seriously impacted my effectiveness. My life is busy; I can’t afford to live in physical clutter. Daily maintenance was the key to correcting this problem. I simply committed to doing a daily scan of my possessions and addressed issues right away.

My public speaking skills significantly improved.

Wow was I bad at this a year ago. After an honest evaluation, I have gone from C- to B. How have I improved? Hours and hours of painful critiquing and critical feedback. Also, a “don’t get caught with your pants down” approach works as you prepare presentations. Never present a concept or make statements that you don’t have full ownership over. It’s better to say nothing than to say something that could damage your credibility. Ask yourself all the questions beforehand, look at your presentation from every angle, practice on camera, and then repeat.

I’m tired of ideas.

If abundance of ideas were the key to success, everyone would be billionaires. Success in business comes down to strategy and execution.

If you have a business idea, consider the following:

  • Does it align with your personal passion and goals? Big ideas require a big commitment. Are you willing to sacrifice in other areas of your life? If not, create a smaller more realistic idea that fits in the context of your personal goals.
  • Can you clearly and succinctly explain why your idea should exist? If not refine until you can.
  • Where’s the value? Your idea must add value in this moment in time. Understand your potential customers and their needs. Be brutally honest as you answer this question.

Start with these basic considerations. Once you can clearly answer these (among other) questions, strategy and execution become critical as you work toward your goals.

I learned about my beliefs.

I asked myself, “what do you believe?” and was surprised that I couldn’t clearly answer it. How could I possibly live an intentional, focused life without a belief system?

Look for a blog post soon to read about my core beliefs.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and mantras from 2016:

Progress not Perfection.

Live life one day at a time.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

“Someday somebody will summarize your life in a single sentence. Pick it now!” -John Maxwell

“Knowledge is not power. It is only potential power, the material out of which real power may be developed.” -Napoleon Hill

2016 was filled with many highlights. Here’s one noteworthy professional highlight: