I think the thing that's so great about a new year is that we can convince ourselves that a fresh start is in order. That the simple ticking of a clock and the turning of a page can somehow signal a clean slate. I've always been fascinated by this, by the mental sleight of hand that tricks us into thinking that this midnight, the 365th midnight of the year, is so very different from the rest.
But it is. If only because it's a time to look inward and be brutally honest with ourselves, to take stock of where you're at in your life and where you want to go – a point I'll come back to in a moment.
If you're like me, most of the year goes by in a blur. Right now most of us are sick of winter and anticipating spring. Then pretty soon it's summer and the kids are out of school and vacations are come and gone and then the year's half over. I could keep going, but you get the picture: Time flies, goals suffer.
I was talking to a friend over the holidays who's in sales. He had a banner year, second in his company in gross revenue nationwide. We talked about lots of things, but noticed he was distracted and that whatever was on his mind wasn't going to go away. So I asked him to tell me about it. Here was his answer: "Just trying to figure out what I need to do differently next year."
I don't want to say that a lightbulb shone brightly and instantly overhead, but my friend's words stayed with me for the next several days as my wife and I geared up for a new year. Because here's a guy who's, for all intents and purposes, killing it in his job. And yet, he's making changes. Big ones. So it got me to thinking about all of you.
What would have happened if Steve Jobs had introduced the iPod back in 2001 and then stopped? What if he would have been satisfied, would have put things in cruise control and just enjoyed being rich beyond his wildest dreams? To return to what I was saying earlier, the most successful brands out there treat every day like it's January 1st. Perhaps there's nothing more important than being brutally honest with yourself, than taking an honest account of your goals and how close you are to achieving them. But more than that, it's about taking stock of those goals, and then doing something different to achieve them.
Because really, I'd love to meet a successful person whose resolution said, "Keep doing what I did last year."
For those of you with existing brands, ones that are in the works, ones that exist solely in your head: Start today. And do something different than you did last year. Were you successful last year? Great. Do something different. Did you wildly surpass all expectations for your brand? Great. Do something different. Because here's the thing about having a brand today: No one will care six months from now – especially not Millennials. Only those brands who are constantly innovating, constantly evolving, constantly pushing the world forward – only those brands will remain a key talking point in our cultural discourse.
There's simply too much stuff out there to pay attention to. If you're not doing something new and different and interesting, you'll get lost. So, to all of you, I'm going to try and do this here at HypeLife every day, and I urge all of you to join me. Today is January 8th. Let's treat it like the first day of 2014.
Here's to a great year, all.