2011: The Year of Creativity

Most of us set bold resolutions at this time each year. Unfortunately, most of us will fall short. Losing those pesky ten pounds, landing your dream relationship or getting that raise are too often based on wishful thinking instead of actually being resolved. We don't miss the mark due to lack of good intentions ... we miss the mark because we pursue our goals with the same-old, same-old approach.

2011 will bring many challenges. You can count on fierce competition, blinding speed, and increasing complexity. The question you need to ask yourself--how will you react?

Choice #1: Do what you've done in the past, and end up with similar (or worse) results. Relying on platitudes and pure hope is like banking your career on winning the lotto. Sure, it may work. But the likelihood of being satisfied is frightfully thin.

Choice #2: Make this your year. The year where you move into the driver's seat. The year you use your creativity and imagination to do something remarkable instead of following the pack. The year where you become the architect of your ideal future and stop empowering bosses, society, parents, social norms, or arbitrary obligations to hold you back.

In the new era of business (and life), creativity has become the most important competitive advantage. There's no operating manual that can be blindly followed in order to reach your highest potential. Instead, your career advancement and even your quality of life will hinge upon your ability to forge new ground. To innovate. To boldly do the never-been-done-before.

As you set your New Year's resolutions this year, think about how you'll actually accomplish them. How can you attack your goals in a non-traditional way? How can you take a fresh approach to the problem? Whether you hope to look great in a new pair of jeans or bring a new product to market, creativity will be the difference-maker. Be courageous and let your imagination soar.

This year, companies will win or lose based on their level of creativity. People will get promoted or get passed by based on their level of creativity. Fortunes will be made or missed based on individual and team levels of creativity.

This year, you have a choice. Embrace creativity--your most important skill--and have a shot at reaching your highest potential. Or do the same-old thing and get the same-old results.

Yes, this year you have a choice. So what's it gonna be?