Inspiration to Catapult You Into Creating An Amazing Year!

“It’s no accident that you and I sat together. It’s been a very serendipitous, 20 minutes for me,” my new friend said to me in the hospital waiting room.

I had been waiting to see my nephew who had just been born. He was saying last goodbyes to his grandmother.

It just began with a sincere “How are you doing?” from me when I saw him sit down near me with tears in his eyes. 

I immediately felt compassion for him when he said, “I just don’t know how to say goodbye to my Mamaw. She’s my whole world.”

I leaned in a bit closer to him, and said, “I know what you mean, because my grandmother was my Mamaw, too. And she was my whole world.”

We talked about his childhood, and how she had raised him most of his life. I was honored to hear some priceless moments that he shared with me.

I had my laptop on my lap, so he asked what I was working on, and I told him I was working on my weekly blog. When he asked what it was about, I responded: “I just try to share things every week that will help and/our inspire people.”

I didn’t expect his bold and vulnerable question: “So what would you say to inspire someone like me to have an amazing year after losing the most important person in my life?” 

Little did he know that the question would change the direction of my blog this week. In moments like these, I am aware that my response could deeply affect someone’s life.

So quietly, I said a prayer, and this is the summary of what came out of nowhere from my heart to him.

I assumed that the moment was serendipitous, not just for him, not just for me… But for you too.

Regardless of how or where you are ending your year, I hope these three things I shared with my new friend will also be inspiring and encouraging to you, catapulting you into an amazing year.

1. Dream big dreams.

Why did I suggest that he dream big dreams? Because I think it’s what keeps us all going. It keeps us in the game. It keeps us reaching for more.

I think he was surprised when I suggested it, but then he said… “You know, my Mamaw didn’t use those words, but she used to tell me that someday I would probably find a way to fly to the moon.”

“She was telling me to dream big, wasn’t she?” he asked with little boy innocence.

“With the big warm smile, I responded “She sure was! She believed in you!”

Whether anyone is talking to you about dreaming big or not, I sure hope you will. I hope you will not only dream, but that you will find the great purpose in your dream. 

Research has shown that when we dream big, and couple it with purpose … amazing things occur. I’ve seen evidence of that for many years.

I do a workshop called “The Power of purpose” where overr two days I lead people to finding their purpose and set their lives courses in that direction. I still receive emails from around the world about the life changes that have occurred when people hitch their dreams to their purpose. 

My new friend shared with me what he believed to be his purpose… To coach young people in unfavorable living conditions to become outstanding athletes.

I encouraged him as I’m encouraging you … to do something to move you closer to that dream every day. No matter what! He beamed when I suggested that.

I just sat and admired what I saw in him. The beam began to fade, and he said, “But my dad always reminds me that I just need to get a job and make a good living …” I could see the tears begin to accumulate again.

“He never helped my Mamaw raise me, so I don’t know if he’s just trying to make me better than he was or what…”

With compassion, I said “Well, whatever is going on with him … Don’t allow him to steal your dreams. Listen respectfully, and thank him for his feedback when you can! We all have to learn to respectfully avoid the dream busters in our lives.”

He nodded with understanding.

“I’m not suggesting that you cut him off. There’s a very wise old saying about ‘guarding your heart’. I often tell my clients that I think that means guarding your dreams.”

“I guess I just want him to acknowledge my dream,” he commented wistfully. I nodded and smiled and said, in a very quiet voice, “Sometimes our dreams scare others, and they are unable to cheer us on. Don’t become angry. Just allow that to propel you towards your dream, because sometimes dream busters have to see it to believe it.”

If you have any dream busters in your life, guard your heart/guard your dreams.  And someday the evidence of your dreams coming true will speak loudly to them.

And perhaps encourage them to dream again.

2. Raise your standards.

“I have a feeling I’m in trouble on this one,” my new friend said. “You would tell me all the things that my Mamaw has been saying for years.”

I had to laugh, and said… “Maybe your Mamaw prayed that we would have this moment together!”

He smiled, and then as the smile faded, he added: “She would tell me to be a better, husband, a better dad, and to cut back on my Saturday 12 pack!”

“It sounds like she was always encouraging you in the right direction!” I remarked.

With tears in his eyes, he said with quiet determination, “I will raise my standards for her.”

What does it mean to raise our standards?

It means to expect more and believe for more. 

On what you expect from yourself.

On what you expect from life.

On what you have faith or believe is possible.

It’s so much easier to raise standards on what we expect from others than it is to raise the standards on what we expect from ourselves.

Raise the Standards on What You Expect from Yourself

What does it mean to raise the standards on what we expect from ourselves? When I’m speaking to people about raising standards I start with these three things:

  • Be a person of your word don’t commit to things that you’re not going to do. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you do make commitments and/or promises that you cannot fulfill, don’t leave people dangling. Communicate that you were not able to. Or that you forgot. Or if you just didn’t want to, admit that. Raise your standards in expecting yourself to be a person of integrity around your commitments and promises. Brene Brown uses the acronym “BRAVING” as a way to build trust. The “R” in BRAVING is for Reliability. Doing what you say you will do again and again and again!
  • Raise your standards on how you expect yourself to treat others. Recently, I heard someone recount a story about how Jesus loved. Shortly after that, I saw the same person, go into a funk, treating their spouse, and others with contempt. Raise your standards to treating every human with kindness.  Not dependent on them doing what you prefer or behaving as you’d like in order for you to treat them that way. You can even have a conversation that is difficult with great kindness.
  • The third thing I encourage people to raise their standards of what they expect from themselves on is to expect more growth, gratitude, and grace of themselves.  When we’re always growing, we are always becoming better. When we are grateful, we see the world differently. When we practice grace, we make the world a better place. 

Raise the standards on what you expect from life.

We can all raise our expectations of what we expect from life. Tony Robbins says we will get what we expect from life and/or what we are willing to settle for.

I was working with a couple recently and was suggesting (as I always do with all of my couples), that they take time do some repair/healing work to make their relationship stronger. The husband proclaimed: “That sounds like a lot of work, and I just didn’t think it would work.”

I resisted my urge to say, “According to your faith be it unto you!” Instead, I suggested, “if you’re never willing to try, how will you know whether it works or not?

As he has shrugged, I added: “And if you expect a poor result, or no results, you might get that too. But what do you have to lose?” I asked with a grin.

He responded: “Touché!”

We did the exercise, and it was beautiful. What about you? What great things will you expect from life?

Raise the Standards on Your Faith for What You Believe Is Possible.

Each year, I raise my standards for my faith and belief, and what is possible. Literally I see miracles all around me.

Can you raise your faith in belief in what you believe as possible? I believe you can!

Raising our standards influences others to do the same! 

3. Live intentionally from a place of gratitude.

“Once again, that sounds like my Mamaw. At every meal, we always had to share what we were grateful for. She said it made us healthier, and gave us more opportunities in life!” my new friend shared.

I exclaimed: “Then this one will be easy for you!” He nodded.

What about you? Can you begin to live intentionally from a place of gratitude? What does that look like?

  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Instead of just spouting out words, be intentional with your words. If you say what you mean, people will want to connect with you. Not to mention admire, respect, and trust you. So many times we just spew words without giving thought to their impact.
  • Living intentionally to me, also means making every moment count. For me, it’s very important that my life is intentional. Does that mean I never take breaks? Of course not! But I’m intentional about those breaks.
  • Does that mean I never have fun? Heaven no! But I’m very intentional about that. I know that making every moment count makes my life richer and more purposeful.
  • Finally, living intentionally to me is a decision to refuse to drift. And to be the master of your destiny (along with God’s guidance).

(If you missed it, I recently wrote a series about drifting. You can find it by clicking here:

I hope you will spend the upcoming year living intentionally from a place of gratitude. That’s a rich life! An abundant life!


I shared these three thoughts with my new friend about how he could turn the upcoming year into something wonderful, despite the loss of his Mamaw.

This morning, I received this email from him: “Dr. Neecie, Thank you for your time in the waiting room yesterday. I got to go in and see my Mamaw shortly after you left. I realized that you shared EXACTLY who she is. Somehow you knew! I told her what you shared with me … and she said: ‘I prayed for that meeting, son! Now you go and do all of those things she said. Make me proud!’ I promised her I would. But I wanted to promise you too. Thank you sincerely.”

I am pretty sure his Mamaw would suggest that all of you do the same.

Make this your best year ever!

“Intentional living is about living your best story.”

Dr. John Maxwell