We can officially check the box called Christmas as “completed”. It is behind us and many of us had an ambitious goal of taking the last week of the year off and instead are sitting in the office starting to get that annual, panicky feeling. You can’t really explain it other than you’re feverishly trying to recover from the “Christmas hangover” - the credit card bills will be coming soon, the out of town family is heading back home and the house is feeling empty, your assistant is out this week and you don’t have a packed calendar with revenue generating activities. And in the midst of it all the glimmer of “the New Year” that is on the horizon… where things are going to be (have to be) better…right?
We get it. We’ve been there too. However, this is our 2nd year of taking a very different approach to the year-end wrap up and New Year resolutions. It has made a tremendous difference and we’d like to share it with you.
We like to end the year with “Year End Statements” that include a declaration of the Top 3 things we learned over the past 12 months. These will launch us into 2011 with intentional determination and discipline that is filled with passion, purpose and growth.
The Top 3 Things We Learned in 2010
1. We Created Pain. We each individually stepped out of our comfort zones (traps) and fully embraced “feel the fear and do it anyways”. We became much more focused and committed to the business. We made a conscious commitment to focus on staring that which fears each of us straight in the face. We each declared that if something challenged us, we would feel the fear and do it anyways. For Molly it was public speaking and sharing what she was “up to” with the world. She jumped in with both feet and joined Toastmasters, Speaking Circle programs, a weekend retreat at The Omega Institute, Journeywork processes, put her voice in print as a contributing author in “Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women”, and participated in a Winter Solstice Firewalk, just to name a few! For Laney it was learning to accept and receive relationships, personal and professional, where she is appreciated and celebrated, not merely needed, which can leave you tremendously vulnerable. Being “needed” is safe. We learned and will walk into 2011 with the ability to know that fear is just an emotion. The faster we take action, the less scary and stressful it is. The longer we wait and worry, the more we needlessly suffer. We only rob our own confidence. In 2011, we will continue to look fear in the face and move faster to take action.
2. We Quit. We quit subscribing the school of WSC – “woulda, shoulda and coulda”. In the past we’d receive a criticical email and be totally shut down and paralyzed with doubt about ourselves and the value we provide. In 2010, we stopped beating ourselves up. We stopped trying to retain clients who were not a good fit for us and focused on those who were. We know what our soulful client looks (and acts) like and we will not accept anything but that – it is a disservice to them and to ourselves. And… it feels GREAT because it allows us to lock arms with like-minded people and support them every fearful step of the way into the unknown void towards success. We learned and will walk into 2011 with confidence that we provide tremendous value to people who are in a place to receive our services. And for those who don’t, that’s ok – there are many paths to success. In 2011, we will learn from mistakes but not allow other people’s decisions to shake our confidence.
3. We Fired. We made the decision that we were going to invest in people ONLY if they showed an obscene amount of passion and integrity in everything they touched. Life is too short to not be passionate about what you do, the world you live in and the people in it with you. And we work too darn hard to not care tremendously about what we are doing. This started out in our personal worlds, first and foremost, and then carried into our professional worlds. We learned and will walk into 2011 with an absolute conviction to make a difference in this world. We are and will remain passionately committed to our purpose, despite the letdowns, disappointments and failures that get in the way. In 2011, we commit to continue the search for others who are passionately committed to their purpose, for together we can create tremendous momentum and change.
If you still feel like you need a “jump start” to moving forward in 2011, we recommend a book that we read together back in January 2010. “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways” by Susan Jeffers. The concept of the book is “we’re all afraid of something: beginnings, endings, changing, getting stuck. But fear doesn’t have to hold you back from happiness or success. You can change your relationship with fear — and in this dynamic, inspirational program, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., teaches compassionate concepts and highly effective exercises that help you unravel the complexities and reverse the effects of fear.” Most of our stress, worry, indecision and hesitation comes from some form of fear. Don’t let fear rob you of what’s waiting for you in 2011.
Year End Advisory Board
It’s HOURS before Christmas and about a week before a brand New Year. You’ve been running at 130 miles an hour since Thanksgiving for the proverbial year end sprint to get cash flow in and the piles of lingering “stuff” cleaned up. You still have a daunting “To Do” list, both business and personal. You’re feeling like your knee deep in the danger zone…days away from time off with family and friends and already have subscribed to the year-end advisory board (aka self talk) that goes something like this – “I’m thinking I should come into the office over the holiday ‘just for a bit’ to finish up some work while its quiet and nobody will bother me.”
DON’T DO IT! We know that you have committed to do what it takes to move your practice in the direction you want. You and your team have likely done a tremendous job so far, even though it may not feel like it to you because you are in the thick of it. We want to support you in creating the quality of life you desire. That being said, we respectfully petition that you absolutely take your time off over the holidays. While you have an unwavering commitment to creating the practice you know you are capable of, it is very probable that anyone speaking with you can hear in your voice that your energy is somewhat depleted. This is VERY natural as you balance the pressure to clear out cases and obligations while pushing your practice forward into new areas and new levels in preparation for the New Year. The only work that is a MUST prior to ringing in 2011 is taking a few days off, consecutively. At a mininimum, 3 solid days in a row. You will get more done when you return rested and rejuvenated than you will sacrificing your time off with family. We say this with the absolute and utmost respect and understanding of you. Molly and I hold each other accountable to taking time off as we too feel the pressure to “work more and clear the decks” which ironically rarely works. We promise you will come back with more energy and focus and be see more results. Just because you are taking time out of the office doesn’t mean your subconscious isn’t still working on figuring out things and planning. Often we have our best “ah ha’s” while out of the office or upon returning. Kind of funny how that works! Without the time off we GUARANTEE you will walk into the office on January 3rd feeling like Groundhog Day and “I shoulda” all over yourself!
We wish you a joyful, reflective, restful and rejuvenating holiday season full of connection and presence with your community of family and friends!
If you want to go FAR…
Mission statements, business plans, life statements, strategic plans, 5 year, 10 year, lifetime goals…it’s no wonder we are all living in a place of overwhelm and over commitment! Don’t get us wrong we are RAVING fans of goal setting and purposeful plans. HUGE fans of putting pen to paper and revisiting and reconnecting with what you want on a quarterly basis. Our lifetime mentor taught us about goal setting and without it we would not be where we are today or know where we want to be five years from now. It is imperative that we have all those things. But life smacks us all in the face every morning and our overwhelming “to do” lists suck the life out of us!
All the “buzz” these days is “less is more”. We’ve learned along the way unless something is quick and simple on a day to day basis, it will get trumped by everything else you’ve already committed yourself too. In our experience it is daunting to look at our 10 year goals day on a day to day basis and actually disempowers you more than it fills you up.
Don’t stop creating your future and mapping it out. But once you do that put those goals in a place where they are hidden and you can revisit them on a quarterly basis or when you are travelling or have time to sit and reflect. Schedule time in your calendar quarterly to “revisit long-term goals”. That’s it, not much more you have to do. It is amazing the power of writing them down and spending the initial time to plan them out. That process alone will be a very powerful experience.
So, now that we have a time and place set to revisit and adjust our long-term goals, let’s adopt a simple, fun process for moving forward with our short-term goals.
What you need
2. White Index Cards
3. A box or container to put on your desk or nightstand for “Filing” – make it something interesting or fun like a pretty vase or an old cigar box.
How to get started
The format is very simple. “FAR”—the written word (goals) everyday will take you FAR.
F= Focus. Be as specific as you can, be positive and write in the presence tense.
A= Accountability. Just by putting your written word on your desk where you can see it, noon hits and you are 99% more likely to get up and start moving.
R= Relevance. What is important? Your goals aren’t just about business. Make sure include family and personal goals too.
Step 1- Schedule in your calendar at the start of each day 5 minutes before you start “work” or “life” a hard wired appointment for “FAR”. Do this for the next 30 days.
Step 2- Take an index card and using only 1 side write your FAR goal. Leave it on your desk where you will see it all day.
Step 3- At the end of the day, file it in your box or vase. Molly has a beautiful tall vase on her desk where she just files these every afternoon before she leaves the office.
Step 4- Repeat the process the next morning and for the next 29 days. Trust the process.
Here are some examples (note the Focus, the Accountability and the Relevance of each):
9/7—“From 12-12:30 talk Finn (the dog) for a walk and recite out loud 5 things I am grateful for today”
9/8—“Surprise Aidan by picking him up from school today…just because”
9/9—“Take 3 deep cleansing breaths before my Toastmaster speech and speak from the heart with no notes”
9/10—“Register and pay for Parenting with Love and Logic class that I have been “meaning” to do for 2 years”
It is amazing how simple and fun the process really is. It easily sets the tone for your day and plants the seed of intentionality in your day with Focus, has some Accountability (staring you in the face all day) and has some Relevance (important things in your life).
That’s it…don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get the goal completed by the end of your day. Just say, “Maybe tomorrow”. Or maybe not…maybe after you go through your day you see that it actually wasn’t something you were very committed to in the first place. It was just something you thought you “should” do. Either way, when you write it down every day it makes you ask yourself “how am I doing”, forces accountability and brings your current reality to the light of day.
The challenge is to try this process for 1 month (it takes 30 days to create a habit, right?) and you will be very surprised at the results you see! We would love to hear what came out of this for you, so feel free to share your results.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney