Catch the Window Before it Closes

Within the next 2 WEEKS it’s critical that you design your goals for the year. The window is closing. You can do it yourself, do it with an online program such as the one we offer, or do a live event, which we offer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What’s important, necessary and critical is that you DO it.

It’s time to clear out the cobwebs, get INSPIRED and get MOTIVATED about your life and the direction you’re going.

It’s time to get a FRESH perspective as to where you want to be down the road, take all the useful learnings from last year and craft some powerful business-growth and life-fulfilling goals for this year.

It’s very hard to design your goals or theme for the year in March or May…it can be done.

It’s just really difficult.

It’s far better to use the natural momentum of the beginning of a new year to get a fresh start.

If you do this well, these goals will call you to perform at a higher level…the way you wish and dream of doing.

It’s about making something REALLY BIG happen in 2014.

Schedule time now, right now, to design your year and don’t do it alone. Get other people to join you.

You are embarking on another year of your life.

Make it special.

Make it big.

Your Success is Determined by Designing Around Your Strengths – Do You Know Yours?

Like a lot of you, I have aspects of my business that I love, and parts that are a pain.

It’s no coincidence that what we love to do typically falls into the category of ‘our strengths’. When we concentrate on working our strengths great things can happen: we feel good, we build confidence and we get good results.

But, conventional business gurus often teach us to focus on fixing our weaknesses instead of polishing our strengths. Sounds like a formula for unfulfilling mediocrity to me.

I don’t know about you, when I’m focusing on improving what I’m not naturally good at, what I am naturally good at suffers and I don’t get the results I want.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of Peter Drucker’s work. If you’re not familiar with him, Drucker wrote and article in the Harvard Business Review in 1999 titled, Managing Oneself where he has a different take on working your weaknesses and strengths.

In his article he suggests…

  1. “…You cannot build performance on weakness and can only perform well from your strengths.”
  2. “…Most people are usually wrong about knowing their strengths…”
  3. “…The only access to knowing our strengths is from feedback analysis.”
  4. “…Accurate feedback comes from setting a plan and goals.” (An inspired plan).

I love this and I incorporate the principles in my work.

I find that the two key components here - good guidance and getting the right feedback - are the 2 most powerful tools for business owners to successfully grow their business.

SET GOALS – TAKE ACTION – EVALUATE RESULTS – ASK YOURSELF, ‘HOW DID I DO?’

Your results will reveal to you the most valuable feedback you could ever get.

What if ‘fixing’ your weaknesses (at the expense of your strengths) meant the difference between growing and closing your business? Which would you work on improving?

Are You Confident That 2014 Will Be a Building Block That's on Track for the Future You Want to Build?

When I hear people talk about how they are unsure of how to plan for the upcoming year I sometimes think of the ancient explorers.

Let’s say an explorer wants to reach China from North America by ship in 5 years – remember, ancient explorers – no airplanes. It doesn’t happen in one step. It’s incremental.

So for this year let’s just focus on getting to Hawaii. It’s at least in the right direction of China – Hawaii becomes a ‘building block’ to landing in China.

It’s a simple and straight-forward concept and yet it never ceases to amaze me how many people miss this get it and decide to have short range plans or no plans at all.

A little thought and a little design could be a significant building block towards the future they want.

Here’s what I usually recommend: A 1-year, 5-year and 20-year plan.

The 20-year plan is naturally vague. No one has a crystal ball. It’s more of a guidepost. The 5-year plan is a reachable goal and the 1-year plan is the building block towards the 5 year plan. Simple.

If you have some idea of where you want to be in 5 years, and most people can think their way to that, then this coming year could be a major building block towards that.

Naturally what flows out of that plan are the priorities set by the future that you want rather than the demands of life that stare us all in the face: emails, to-do lists, someone else’s priorities, etc.

That’s where crafting and designing your year comes into play – to help remind you where you’re headed.

Using goals as guideposts can be a profound way to live the year and build the confidence that comes with feeling on track.

It’s about being proactive instead of reactive, guided by something beyond what you can see in the next year. Rather, guided by your dream of where you want to be down the road.

Very powerful stuff!

Are you confident that this year will serve as your building block to the future you really want?

Clearing the Way to Make Something Big Happen in 2014. What’s holding you back?

We’ve all heard the old adage, ‘Life is full of disappointments.’ But is there something we can do to minimize our disappointments?

Definitely. 

But where do we start? 

Easy. 

Expectations. 

Disappointments and expectations are inevitably linked. And one thing I’ve learned about people’s expectations: they border on ridiculous. Not a judgment – just the way it is. 

Most people don’t stand a chance of fulfilling their expectations. They usually reflect goals that neither they nor a team of people could fulfill – if there were 4 of them, living simultaneously they could almost get it all done.

Why do we do that? 

People are setting dreams, not goals. And when those dreams are not met we feel disappointed. 

We think expectations have something to do with reality. They don’t. Here’s a helpful formula: 

Expectation = Fantasy. 

That’s the bad news. 

The good news is you can release past disappointments and let go of what’s holding you back. 

How? 

Try answering the following questions. 

Who do you need to forgive and for what?

Is there anything I need to forgive myself for?

Are you willing to forgive yourself? For not being the person you expected to be? For not achieving what you expected to achieve? For not doing all the things you wanted to do?

To whom do I need to give a second chance?

What heavy weight have I been carrying that I can now let go of? 

It’s often a dance between your own expectations on the one hand and then forgiving yourself for not meeting your own expectations. 

Without this piece of work you’re NOT FREE to create and design a new year. You’re creating a year with heavy baggage. 

Looking Back in Order to Plan Ahead - How to End the Year in a Really Great Way

People have different relationships with the ending of one year and the beginning of another. Some people love this time of reflection and planning while others, not so much. 

Regardless of what side of the fence you land the end of the year always brings with it something else – the start of a new one and the chance to improve. 

Looking back in order to plan ahead can pay huge dividends in both our business and personal life. 

Many people hate looking back. Why is that?

When we look back on the current year it’s human nature to focus more on what went wrong instead of what went well. Regrets are natural.

Using this simple exercise this year I discovered that I was tired of struggling with a necessary (but annoying) component of my business that I dreaded doing. I learned it was draining my energy and passion and I regretted not doing anything about it sooner. So instead of struggling I hired a professional to take that part over.

What a huge learning – and relief - for me! I can now focus on what I’m best at, and love to do. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that without releasing some regrets.

How do you release regret?

Simple. 

Ask yourself some very pointed, very specific questions. And write down your very pointed and specific answers. 

At the top of the page write: 

When I look back at my year… 

What did I deal with, resolve or in some way handle for the first time? 

What did I decide I would never do again?

What lesson(s), painful or otherwise, did I learn? 

What did I improve or advance in some way? 

What new insights and perspectives did I gain? 

In what areas of my business/life did I succeed? 

In what areas of my business/life did I fail? 

What new life ambitions did I create? 

The real key to getting past the regret is to ‘recover’: rethinking and reframing past events allows you to let go and move forward. But you can’t do any of that without first acknowledging - the good as well as the bad. 

And remember, the insights don’t all need to be about the business. Using this reflection technique I rekindled my passion for learning how to surf.  Now I can look forward to building my business and recommitting to a personal passion this year. All I had to do was take a quick look at the current year before I plan ahead for the one coming. 

Too many of us drift from one year into the next without fully realizing what we’ve accomplished and what we can accomplish in the year ahead. 

Using these questions can help you understand and acknowledge what you’ve learned and can have a direct, and potentially huge, impact on your upcoming year – it has on mine. 

If you had one big disappointment from last year that you could reflect upon, acknowledge and release what would that be? How would letting that go help you in the year ahead?