2013 - A New Beginning

Now that you've entered 2013, do you know where you are in your journey?

As we work to create a clear vision by understanding our values, let us use our renewed vision to add value to our family and friends. During life's journey, sometimes it can seem burdensome; often the passing of time feels meaningless, but life should be a conquest of opportunity and an intentional effort to close the gap in our character. At the beginning of this new year, we should reassess and ask ourselves how we can improve our character? What are our strengths? What are our weaknesses? How can we close the gap between who we are today and who God created us to be?

Over the years, I have come to learn that we aren't defined by our wealth, our jobs, our neighborhood, or our friends, but rather our inner value. We are defined by the quality of our character, and that character helps us to create a unique Personal Professional Brand (PPB). Our character is our brand; if we have good character we have a valuable brand. If we have questionable character, however, our brand becomes worthless and has no value in the marketplace. Over the next twelve months I challenge you to work on refining your personal and professional brand by incrementally improving your character. By following some easy steps you can find out where you are in your journey, how to refine your vision and how to add value to others (as well as yourself) and renew your brand for 2013.

At GapCafe, we have divided the journey of life into 7 Stages or milestones to destiny. These life stages are: 1) Entering In; 2) Learning; 3) Earning; 4) Investing; 5) Legacy; 6) Transition; 7) Destiny.

Entering In - The first stage is Entering In. This is when you are born into the world or at the beginning of a new process or endeavor--when you started college, or grad school, or started a new job or got a promotion.

Learning - The Learning stage is the stage during which fundamentals are learned. Your core values are instilled and developed, or new values are adopted and put into action and exercised. In a work setting the Learning stage is the time it takes you to understand the fundamentals of your job, or career path.

Earning - Earning is the stage when you or your employer assesses your abilities and skills, but most importantly this is a stage when your character is tested. This is the stage when you learn how to create and maximize income by developing the necessary disciplines.

Investing - The Investing stage is the stage during which you invest in relationships, and resources to lead people or resources to a more productive end. As a parent, this is the time that you pour into your children. At work this is the time that you invest in your career, set goals and advance. If you are a manager/leader you invest in and pour into your employees and those with whom you work. At this point, most professionals have developed a level of expertise and have established themselves as an authority in a particular area.

Legacy - The Legacy stage is where you lead people and resources to perpetuate values, character and gifts in an effort to improve value for a people or to aid in humanitarian efforts.

Transition - The Transition stage is is the stage during which you pass on to the next generation the wealth of what you've learned thus far. Transition is the period during which you share your excellent values and character with those who can move the legacy forward to add value to others and aid in humanitarian works.

Destiny - Destiny is the fulfillment of the previous six stages as well as the fulfillment of your purpose so that greater value can be created for others. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's destiny wasn't realized until he died. His death ignited an explosion in the Civil Rights Movement and America, and the world, were forever changed.

As we begin 2013, why don't you spend January thinking about your life's journey and where you are? What stage are you in? How are you preparing today for where you want to be tomorrow, next year, 10, 20, 30 years from now, and so on? Have you thought about the Legacy you want to create? As we approach the MLK Holiday, take some time and think about your character, your life and your Destiny.