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Outlier’s Path

Happy New Year — Choose Optimism, and Have a Plan

Happy New Year! Good riddance to 2022 and hello to a new beginning. After some rest and quality time with family and friends, hopefully, we feel recharged to tackle the opportunities ahead of us in 2023. This is the time of the year when we feel the most inspired and have the most hope, especially if you happen to have ended the holiday break binge-watching Ted Lasso, which was recommended and loved by so many that there is a dedicated website to Lassoism, but I digress.

With all that inspiration, countless Americans start each new year with a list of resolutions, which looks suspiciously similar to resolutions from previous years. According to an article in Time, “as many as 80% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions by February…only 8% of people stick with them the entire year.” With such a celestial failure rate, are you still with Ted Lasso as he proclaims, “I believe in hope…I believe in belief” or do you simply believe in miracles? We all know the culprit: “hope is not a strategy.” Now, a dark cloud is looming over you and you are about to give up completely.

Hope may not be a strategy, but hope plays an important and central role in any winning strategy. We need to be hopeful to dare to keep even simple resolutions. We especially need to be inspired to accomplish the impossible and achieve greatness. Hope and being inspired are necessary but not sufficient. We also need a plan and mechanisms for accountability. This was a key observation by Founder Tony Xu as he crafted DoorDash’s Mission & Values and one of the company’s values is to “Choose Optimism, and Have a Plan.” DoorDash leaders are asked to construct monthly, quarterly, and yearly plans and then asked to replan each week. There are also overlay backup plans because, as Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

As you return from break hopeful and inspired, remember to be there for each other this coming year by choosing optimism, especially when we hit our inevitable uninspiring days ahead of us. Just as important, put a plan (and a backup plan) in place to keep you on track and accountable for the lofty goals you want to accomplish personally and professionally in 2023. Then, execute!

Today is Day 1 of our next chapter. We have 364 blank pages ahead of us. Will you let this chapter be written for us, or will you take an active role in planning and shaping every day ahead of us? Will you tackle every day with a Day 1 mentality? Will you faithfully execute your plan? I can’t wait to read this chapter at the end of 2023. In the meantime, let’s go!