Well, it’s almost over…my 60th year of life.

My three daughters, three sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren threw a weekend-long birthday party for me at a church camp the girls attended when they were young.  What a joy-filled celebration!

The Olympic-themed event opened with its own torch – a burning marshmallow on a stick carried by a fleet footed runner.  It ended with gold foil-wrapped chocolate medals for the event winners.

Business gurus write much about the unifying power of a rallying cry or a particular theme for your company’s next quarter.  Perhaps you have encountered this.  Having worked on political campaigns, I have experienced the power of the rallying cry.

I wanted to see if the principle would work in an ordinary life.  Since I was turning 60 this year, last January I decided to apply this principle in my personal life in an effort to intentionally focus and drive my behavior.

I wanted my 60th year to stand out.  I decided to call 2016 “A Year of Impact and Adventure.”

At the beginning of the year, I wrote down some goals I wanted to accomplish across several domains of life: personal, family, work, church/faith, and community.  Beyond those intentional goals, I intended to look at requests that came my way through a filter of its impact in the lives of others or an adventure for me.  To monitor my progress, I kept a pen and blue highlighter near our family kitchen calendar.

As I near the end of the year, I have 65 specifically identified events which were driven by this process.  Here are a few:


  • Facilitated nine individual two-day strategic life plans and have four couples’ life plans scheduled in the coming weeks.
  • Co-led a day-long healthy marriage conference.
  • Coached several clients who are overcoming addictions and building healthy relationships.
  • Facilitated a “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” seminar for the leadership team of a 250 bed juvenile residential treatment facility.
  • Facilitated a company core values identification retreat.
  • On behalf of a local non-profit corporation, I helped acquire 80 acres of real estate with a lovely small lake and local river access, making wildlife viewing, walking, picnicking, river floating, and canoeing  publicly accessible for our community youth.
  • Shared some grave-side reflections at my uncle’s internment.
  • With my wife, spent over 4 weeks hosting or babysitting our out-of-town grandkids.
  • Spent some quality time with the young people in the high school Sunday school class we co-lead.


  • Swam 45.5 miles of a 50 mile swim goal.  (Alas, travel and holidays have slowed me down.)
  • Helped decorate three Rose Parade floats and watched the Iowa Hawks get blown away by the Stanford Cardinals in the 2016 Rose Bowl.
  • Found success on my first solo turkey hunt.
  • Obtained the American Sailing Association Basic Coastal Cruising and Bareboat Charter ratings.
  • Survived a husband/wife Rocky Mountain backpacking trip and a Texas kayak trip.

I feel pretty good about the intentionality behind these things and what I accomplished.

Having a 60th year theme helped me identify and complete certain goals and priorities.

This year, rather than making a list of New Year’s Resolutions, why don’t you take some time to identify a personal or family rallying cry that will define and drive your priorities?  Doing so will energize your daily responsibilities and keep you moving toward what may be your best year yet.

Don’t just survive the coming year.  Thrive.