How will you make sure this next year matters?

When we toast our glasses on New Years Eve, we either celebrate the success and significance we achieved, or we are drowning our sorrows and regret because of moments or opportunities missed. For years, I’ve wrestled with the haunting questions of if I’m using my time, treasure, and talent wisely. Life gets kicked into high gear right out of High School and before you know it society is dangling the carrot of the “American Dream” in front of you. Grow up, get a job, get a family, gather all you can, and coast your way to death on a golf course or white sandy beach. It got me thinking…. 

Most people find any career they can that will allow them to make the most money possible. They are led by their pocketbook and possessions more than their dreams and their unique calling. Our culture advertises success as having the most money and material possessions you can acquire. If you’re lucky, you’ll even have a financial planner and someone to tell you what you should do with your money.

Let me be honest. I lived this way for many years. My company and business are where I found my identity. My craft was my facade, and I lived a life of faking it until I made it. I was super busy, but wasn’t producing results. Life was on life support. Then my life received what I called a rouge wave. The recession hit, we lost a family member to cancer, our son was diagnosed with autism, and we lost real-estate we worked years on to manage and take care of. This happened to a lot of folks. What did this do to me? Did it take me out? Was it devastating? Did it break our marriage and family? No. It was the best thing that ever happened to us. It refined us, restored us, and helped us realize what truly matters.

As a result, I’ve created a filter that I use to plan, calculate, and measure as I face a new year. I thought I would share it with you:

Mentors: I can’t follow myself. The more mentors I can have in my life, the greater the success rate of hitting the bulls-eye I have. Whether it’s financial mentors, parenting, leadership, or professional. I can’t be trying or guessing my path if I want a dynamic life of significance. The key is to follow a leader who has what you want. There are also mentors who are driven by charging you a fee. Here’s the key: Find wise people who are living the life you desire and surround yourself with them. Soak up every bit of knowledge you can in real time with them.

Have a Plan: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As I head into 2015, it’s pretty much already spoken for. It leaves 2014 in the dust as far as goals, dreams, and ambitions. Remember, goals without deadlines remain dreams.

Keep Discovering: One of the healthiest fears that keep me in check is the mistake of the status quo; not by the world’s standard, but my own. I don’t want any one of my years to be a rinse and repeat of the previous year. This past year held more impact and significance than I’ve ever had as an individual, in my marriage, and connection with the kids. In order for this to keep happening, I have to keep discovering with my mentors and thinking outside the box. I have to break my own rules, blow up the limits, and grant myself permission to color outside the lines of my comfort zone. The moment we stop learning, we start dying. We become a human existing, but not a human being. One of the key strategies for me is to hang around those like-minded people that are in the business of leaning in on life and on purpose.

Have a Dream Bigger than Yourself: I live by this saying, “If your dreams aren’t intimidating to you, they are most likely insulting to God.” If I don’t want to repeat the year prior, then it means being intentional by sitting down to plan a year of executing on the dream. Otherwise, why am I doing what I am doing? I don’t suggest doing this alone. If you want to go fast in life, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Get a mentor to plan with you.

Live Upward and Outward: After 43 years of being on this earth, doing business for 27 years, married for 13 years, and raising a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, I’ve learned the key is this: Discover your identity in the way God has designed you. Use that identity to change the world around you and to point others to God’s love for them. Do this by using your passions and gifts/talents. This is what I call living in the sweet spot. Don’t know how to do this? I’ll help you. Once I had these realizations, I had to help others get free and live with purpose. This became I didn’t want to do life alone, and I wanted to be around other people who desired to stay accountable as they are doing what they love the most, and working the least amount possible while making the most revenue they could. More importantly, they gained more time in life allowing for the “best stuff” to arrive as opportunity because they were off the hamster wheel.

The new year is a few days away. What if this was the year you designed, built, and launched the life you’ve always wanted? What if you had way more time with your family because you made some strategic decisions to guard the precious time you have? What if you fit work around life, not life around work?

My goal has been refined to the core: To love God with all I am and have, to use my life as an act of worship back to Him for what He has done for me, and to use my gifts and platform to show others how to get free. God is the director of my life; I am the producer. I spent a majority of my life kicking Him out of his director’s chair as I tried to do things my way. I just became a busy guy building hamster wheels that I would run on.

How would you like this year to be? I’d love to hear from you with a comment below and please feel free to hit the social icons to share this post with others. I’m glad you’re here!

17 thoughts on “How will you make sure this next year matters?

  1. Dave Michal says:

    Life will keep kicking us in the head and gut until each of us figure out the key ingredient to our calling. I hope everyone reading this post enters the New Year with clarity as described your testimony above. Thanks Noah for putting yourself out there and being completely transparent. You are able now in life to get out of the Director’s way and put your focus on impacting as many people as possible. God’s plan is the most effective way to accomplishing your goals and leading a purpose driven life. I am excited to see what 2015 brings to your circle and the Elias family and NoahU family. I see big things on the horizon, this could only result in maximizing the greatest happiness for you,your family, and everyone you touch in some way.

    My family and I will set the target to accomplish a similar result by the model you have described in this post. Thanks again for your contribution to the community

  2. Susan T. says:

    Thanks for sharing. For me I see much change in 2015. In the world and within me, for the better. I have some things, goals that I want to do in the coming year.

    • Noah says:

      Casey, you got this! You have what it takes. Let the dreams stretch you not to what can be seen but that which is beyond the horizon. It’s in the unknown of the dream that we get out of the control and predictability. So glad you’re here.

  3. Kellie Boda says:

    I actually read this at 2:30 am this morning and came back and read it again. Love the photograph. Nothing better then when your kid fully trusts you and you make them giggle like that. “Live Upward and Outward” LOVE that quote.
    My goal this year is redefine our entire life structure, Remove hindrances and things that only bring stress to our marriage, kids and home. If it no longer bares fruit or never did, it needs to go. Plain and simple, as you’ve said, to live a life with intention and purpose! Thank you for sharing this with us Noah 🙂

  4. John Knell says:


    As always your posts are perfectly timed and themed to what I’ve got happening in my life.

    Go big or go home is my theme for 2015 and I’m felling totally stoked for what is to come in the new year…especially with you and Noah U providing the inspiration, feedback and soundtrack to my plans & goals.

    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs.

  5. Robin Galindo says:

    Great article Noah! This whole year has been such a great transition into a whole different way of viewing Life. These last 2 months in particular have been a real kick in the pants! Thanks for your encouragement, thanks for your voice. I’m excited for this next year… my husband and I are pearing down the things we do not need – physically, emotionally, etc. – and moving toward a more minimalist life with less distractions and more moments. Thank you for the example…
    Also, I love this picture…. the Joy on little Noah’s face is unmistakeable. 🙂

  6. Rosemary says:

    You say it well Noah…building hamsters wheels that we run on. Enough of that! I’m looking forward to a NEW new year with new adventures and accomplishments, with heart and mind open to God’s will and feet stepping into His path and purpose by the power of his Holy Spirit and guiding light, in Jesus precious name. Thanks NU for spiritual support as well as encouragement.

  7. Isidoro Monje says:

    Hola, el día de ayer buscando en la red me encontré con tu trabajo ya que comparto la pasión por la aerografía, pero con forme fui leyendo e investigando un poco mas he llegado aquí, cosa de la cual estoy muy contento, y agradecido con Dios por esta respuesta y dirección, ya que he encontrado en ti un ejemplo que había estado buscando un”hermano mayor”
    Un gran abrazo.

    Hello, yesterday I searching the net I came across your work and I share a passion for airbrushing, but forme I was reading and researching a bit more I got here, something of which I am very happy and thankful to God for that answer and address, since I’ve found in you an example that had been looking for a “big brother”
    A big hug.

  8. Jo says:

    Wow, what a message! I just stopped by your site after watching you on Lou Mongello’s podcast. Creativity and art has always been a huge part of my life so I thought I would check out your beautiful artwork. Little did I know I would find such an inspirational blog. Thanks for sharing the secret to true success.

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