Over the past few years, we have seen the demise of many of the previously viewed “pillars of society” – politics, the church, media …all failing to provide positive leadership in these challenging times.

Accepting this, people need to wrestle back control of their destinies, take responsibility for where they are at today, and lead by example. Is there any other viable alternative?

Here are four actions for 2013 that can have a huge impact on outcomes:

1. Dare to dream again! Yes! Set a compelling vision – one underpinned by values. The proverb says “without a vision, a man shall perish,” logic tells us you can’t reach a destination if you don’t know where you are going; yet the majority of us don’t know or maybe couldn’t care about where we are going in life, and end up nowhere as a result. The important thing is that the vision is underpinned by your most important values.

For an insight into your values answer the following:
What would you like to see written on your gravestone? When you have experienced emotional peaks in the past, what values were being violated or satisfied? When your vision is underpinned by values, you will never have motivation challenges.

2. Commit to becoming the best you can be in a chosen discipline
Don’t try to be good at everything and a master at nothing!

Regardless of whether you are unemployed, or looking for a promotion; a commitment must be made to ongoing learning. Now at your fingertips you have a virtual encyclopedia of every topic available for free – from blogs to Google alerts/ youtube – the information is out there. The question is- are you willing to invest the time?

Research claims that you can achieve expert status if you are willing to invest 10,000 hours – that is equivalent to three hours a day for ten years. My instincts tell me that even if you invested half the time, you would become an expert in your field. Expert status will have an obvious knock on effect on your job prospects, entrepreneurial potential and future earnings.

Today if you have a talent in a given area, you can now showcase to the world at minimal cost. Your target market isn’t 4.5m it could be billions!

Furthermore be open – teachers are everywhere that can act as signposts/facilitators to your vision. Only your ego stops you from tapping into these teachers. In the real world zero degrees of separation exist between you and a potential teacher.

3. Become the gatekeeper to your mind

Switch off radio / tv programmes and stop reading papers that carry an “M” rating the– yes Moan lines and the likes. Switch onto the only thing that can help at this moment, positive empowering how to advice. Our minds work similar to computers – garbage in, garbage out. There is a proliferation of garbage out there, and we need to delete it at source. Similarly surround yourself with an empowering reference group – if this isn’t possible, be careful who you listen to!

4. Pay it forward
Look beyond yourself – see how you can contribute to your community in a positive meaningful way. Based on 23 years of research, you can expect a positive outcome in other aspects of your life as you pay it forward. Indeed link in to the power of Meitheal – where people at a community level work together to make things in happen. In my own community here in Galway we have just got all the subcontractors and tradespeople together at zero cost to work on building a much needed Youth Venue for the area. There is an opportunity in every community to cash in on this goodwill for the common good.

If people start looking at what they can do to improve their lives and those of their community as opposed to waiting for the “Usual suspects” to make things happen, they will notice a measurable change in their outcomes for the better.
Have a great 2013!