‘Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind.’
– Dr. Seuss
Just a few days ago we were queued up at the starting line. Perhaps our pulses quickened when we heard the familiar 3,2,1 countdown that took us into the new year.
But now we’re here. Yesterday’s gone. Pick up a fresh piece of paper or open a word document. Whether you’re starting a new book or a new chapter you need to begin. Are you ready?
A year ago, I asked ‘where do you want to be a year from now.’ What did you say?
I think there are very few of us who actually complete every goal we set for ourselves and that’s fine – as long as we make progress.
In order to do that, we need a game plan – a working strategy that enables us to navigate our course based on our strengths and weaknesses.
Looking back, I’m sure some of us have done that, at least to some extent. But how many of us can actually say that over the course of the past year, we discovered that some of our weaknesses have become strengths, and perhaps some of what we thought were strengths have become weaknesses? As the passing years have shown us, nothing stands still. Everything changes.
Anything we do consistently – for good or bad – become habits, and as such we tend to take them for granted. Even our strengths. We think we have it nailed and shift our attention to over to the things we know need fixing.
One day we wake up and realize that we’ve been blindsided. What we considered to be the differentiating factor between us and ‘that other guy’ is now in danger of becoming a liability, and we didn’t see it coming until now.
While we should always focus on process improvement, and fixing what doesn’t work, if we’re not mindful of our assets, and continue to nurture them as well, we risk falling out of step with the things we do best. As a consequence our assets become our liabilities.
So how do we insure that we continue to keep our strengths relevant while simultaneously strive to improve the areas of our businesses that need help? We need to include our assets when we look at ways to improve. There are always opportunities and possibilities to make things better.
Nothing is ever ‘in the bag’ because everything is mutable. Realities change. Times change, demographics change, technologies change, and we, as people, change. If we are to continue to be at the top of our game, we must always make the time and spend the energy on keeping up with the techniques that keep us as relevant tomorrow as we are today.
So as our 2015 strategies transition from planning to doing here are 8 tips for staying sharp, focused and motivated:
- Learn something new every day. Read. Explore. Discover. Grow. When you expand your mind, you unleash your potential. You’ll be amazed at the result.
- Make time for innovation. For example, if you pride yourself on customer service, what can you do to improve customer experience? You don’t need to move mountains. It can be as simple as adding functionality to your website that will allow customers to pay their bills on line. Convenient for them, and I bet where your business is concerned, you’d get paid a lot faster too.
- Encourage ideas to spread and grow. Enable your teams to actively participate in the creative process. Shift your thinking from ‘How can I’ to ‘How can we’ and I bet you’ll get some great responses.
- Read up on what the ‘big boys’ and how that can apply to your business.’ It’s a barometer for the next ‘big thing.’ Dollars to donuts, it will trickle down to the small business level and you’ll be ready for it.
- Delegating more will allow you more time to think, plan and implement those things that will enable success.
- Practice mindfulness. You can live in the moment without sacrificing your vision. In fact, you will gain clarity by the process.
- Remain positive.
- Understanding your ‘why’ isn’t enough. You need to share it – with your employees, customers,’ colleagues and partners.
Finally, the most important question you can ask that reaps the biggest rewards boils down to 2 simple words: ‘What If…………..’
“It doesn’t matter where you came from. All that matters is where you are going.”
– Brian Tracy