This morning, we will choose to forego discussion of the latest tax legislation, or updates on business planning or the public markets, or election outcomes. Instead, as we start 2021, a few thoughts about choices, and what we have learned along the way.

Choose to be a steward of your time, talent, treasure, and relationships. Choose to see your life as an opportunity to share what you have been given with others, in a way that improves the quality of their lives. A mindset of stewardship helps release us from the tyranny of ownership.

Choose to build trust. My friend Dave says trust is built through character, competence, and caring. Character is who we are, competence is what we know, caring is what we do.

Choose to set goals. Keep the list short. No more than three to five business goals, no more than three to five personal goals. More than that, nothing is a priority because everything is.

Choose personal growth. While goals are important, the process of personal growth is critical. It is the journey of becoming who we were designed to be by our Creator, in order to maximize our impact during our time here.

Choose to take complete responsibility for yourself and all that comes under your domain. And choose to wear the mantle of responsibility with grace and dignity.

Choose to extend grace to yourself as well as to others. We are all on a journey. That word of kindness or encouragement could make all the difference.

Choose to rest. As finite, we must have rest. Our bodies weren’t designed to go non-stop.

Choose to be a lifetime student. Pick a language you want to learn, a culture you want to study, an author whose books you want to read.

Choose to be faithful to those to whom we have committed, and to our calling and purpose. The primary mandate is not to success, or glory, or accomplishment. The primary mandate is faithfulness.

Choose to ask for, listen to, and apply advice. There are no guarantees, no risk-free environments or investments, and no certain futures. Learn from those who are where you want to be in life, through one-on-one time, group learning, or reading what those people have written.

Choose an attitude of gratefulness. Make a list of what you are grateful for. Add to it every day. Your sight allows you to see those you love, and to enjoy the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Your hearing allows you to hear the joy in children singing, and the majesty of Beethoven’s 9th.

Choose to set an example. Never underestimate the power and influence of the decisions you make today on those around you, and on future generations.

Choose always to keep hope alive. Be mindful of where you place your hope. C.S. Lewis said, “if we have longings which cannot be satisfied in this world, it is obvious we were made for another world”. Yes.

Choose to carry on. It takes no talent to quit, criticize, condemn, or complain. My friend Bill died on August 30th, 2020. He was a Marine in Vietnam and trained as an engineer. By profession he was an attorney. Like me, he was a preacher’s kid, which is not something I necessarily recommend. His motto? Suit up, stand up, show up, and never, never, never quit.

Thanks for reading.  And until we see you again, we wish you only the very best.