True confession: I spent last week – between Christmas and New Years – at an “undisclosed location,” with the Shank Clan (12 of us, as I count heads in the Christmas Card picture). I didn’t do much “work,” but what I did with them will have lasting effects in my life column marked “legacy.”

Okay, now we’re all back to it. Some are checking hourly to find out whether schools and offices are open; whether mandatory vaccines are being enforced; whether Zoom accounts need to be renewed. At home, the Christmas décor is a reminder of some special moments; at least, as special as you could navigate with family vax/no-vax differences, canceled flights and every other kind of disruption to what used to be called “normal.”

Someone this week is likely to see you in line waiting for your latte, or grabbing a machine at your six-feet-social-distancing health club – and pose the early-January standard inquiry: “What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2022?”

Better to have an answer without being asked than to find yourself tongue-tied and disassociating from the always-out-to-become-a-better-person leader whom you’ve professed to be, for years. What will you say?

So, buckaroo, how about it? What are you going to do to make 2022 different than 2021? Will you be waiting for the government to design your life based on the covid variants that are destined to be more unrelenting than the immigrant surges at our southern border? You’re the tail-on-the-dog of cultures’ reactions to unrelenting crises, but you are fully in charge of you. How will you use the next 12 months to be sure that the “you” who welcomes 2023 is an even better version than the one who signed-off on 2021?

I’ll allow you a sneak-peak at my answer: Shank’s Resolutions for 2022. I’m going to commit them to memory so that I can offer an instant reaction when asked.

Here’s the list: I’ve already memorized it. Ready? Get a pen; don’t misquote me; get it right. Here goes: #1: Read More.End of list. Read More. Two words. Eight letters. Two syllables. One thought that will change my world. How so?

You’re probably too young to remember Harvey Mackay. He was a business success in his envelope business, but his fame came from distilling wisdom from career life and putting it in print. It was 33 years ago when Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive put him on the NYT bestsellers list; He followed that with Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, and his book hits just kept on coming. Nine books in all; seven hit the NYT’s list. He’s 90 now, but still has a respected voice in the personal development niche.

MacKay’s encouragement makes great sense: in his blog nearly 15 years ago, he gave this timeless advice (I’ve updated his dates to make it contemporary, for us): “If you read just one book each month in ’22, you’ll be in the top 25% of all the intellectuals in the world. If you read five books on one subject, you are one of the world’s foremost leading authorities on the subject (among your peers, at least!). If you read just 15 minutes a day during 2022, you’ll complete 20 books, and that’s enough to make you one of the world’s foremost leading authorities in four subjects!” Mackay is okay in my book; I’ll second his motion. It’s my Resolution for ’22: Read More.

God loves books. His Son is called “the Word.” He wrote 66 books that came together as One. He told us to talk to Him constantly, but to also look for His messages to us, in His book. Leaders are Readers; Christian Leaders are Readers of the Scriptures, and more.

I’m already a big reader. In 2022, I’m going to be a bigger reader. Ask me. Join me. Let’s become the undisputed Foremost Leading Authorities regarding life, on a broad front.                                     

Why? As a leader – whose wisdom qualifies you for distinction and credibility – you can change the world…

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