Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye!

The year 2009 reminded me of Tiger Woods: No matter how much faith you had in him, he just kept screwing around on you.

He took away our 401-k’s, brought back furloughs and made us pay for everyday conveniences like checking luggage. He cost us our vacations, our insurance and, in many cases, our jobs. He was a bad ride. And I, for one, am glad he’s gone.

I welcome 2010 with all the hope and optimism of George Baily in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I love this movie because George always does the right thing. Even when things go bad, he takes the high road – and the blame. This is the same reason I love Howard Roark from Ayn Rand’s classic “The Fountain Head.” His belief in himself never wavers. His integrity is forever uncompromised.

I haven’t re-read “The Fountain Head” in 20 years because I fear (and my mother says) that I will find it less inspiring now than I did when I was in school. And I don’t want to lessen my love for Howard Roark’s determination and idealism. Nor do I want to lessen my own.

So I look forward to 2010 as the idealist that I am. It’s a year to make something out of nothing. It is a year to face change — and to MAKE change. For the first time ever, if you believe Seth Godin’s “TRIBES,” we, as individuals, have the tools to inspire change.

We don’t have to own a company. We don’t have to have power. We just have to have the vision and the guts to do it. (Initiative is a rare quality in the business world.) So take some initiative.

What’s the worst that can happen? You fail? The biggest failure is not having tried. Ask anyone over the age of 80 and you’ll find that people seldom regret the risks they took, but often regret the risks not taken.

As for me, I’m going to risk more.

I’m going to write more.

I’m going to go out more.

I’m going to turn down unprofitable jobs more.

I’m going to delegate more.

I’m going to draw and paint more.

I’m going to travel more.

I’m going to work out — even more.

And I’m going to worry . . . less.

After all, what have I got to worry about? The only certainty in life is death.

So take up that hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Start that business you’ve dreamed about. Fire that employee that isn’t working out. And ask out that girl instead of just thinking about it. But don’t just stand there, waiting for things to get better all by themselves.

Like “Cheetah” Woods, the year 2009 did not behave like a gentleman. He was mean and thoughtless and cost us too much. But one bad year doesn’t spoil them all. So let’s give 2010 the benefit of the doubt. Let 2010 be the year of change for the better. And make a few positive changes of your own.