By Dr. Monique Y. Wells –
Where has 2013 gone?
Once we cross into the “threshold” of the Christmas / Hanukkah holiday season, the race will be on to get things done before the end of the year in our businesses – finish projects, send season’s greetings to current and past customers, look at spending with an eye on possible deductions for next year’s taxes… It is a time of high excitement but it can also be a time of high anxiety!
Productivity = knowing what matters and getting it done.
– Monique Y. Wells
So what if you take some time right now – BEFORE the holidays – to reflect and review. I’m talking about a “deep dive” into the heart and soul of your business, the very foundation of it, to reaffirm your BIG WHY – the reason that you started your business in the first place!
When you (re)connect to this, you will easily be able to see how much of what you’re getting done from day to day really matters in your business and how much of it is off target or not well focused. You’ll be able to congratulate yourself on what you’ve done well and identify steps to “course correct” for the things that are falling outside the realm of your business purpose (why you went into business), mission (what you want to accomplish in your business), and vision (what achieving your mission looks like – how you make it happen). You’ll also be able to anticipate how well you can fulfill your commitments to family and friends during the holidays and minimize the stress that you may experience as you strive to balance these commitments with those of your business.
Let’s look at a couple of examples here:
1) Marie is a money coach who started her business to help women entrepreneurs recognize and exorcise their limiting beliefs about earning money, having money, and spending money. She does this so that her clients can better support their families and contribute to their local economies. She enjoys working with women one-on-one and in groups, and she has built a following online as well as a following her local community. She’s had an incredible year with regard to revenue generation but she’s become aware of a growing sense of discontent in her business.
Upon reflection, Marie realizes that much of her revenue is being generated from speaking engagements and workshops that focus on optimizing cash flow and increasing profit margins and that she has done far less coaching this year than she did last year. She is pleased that she has five, well-paying speaking engagements on the calendar for the first quarter of 2014, but notes that her last two coaching clients will complete their programs during this time period and that she has done nothing to recruit new ones! She recognizes that while she considers herself to be a good speaker, what she truly loves is working closely with her clients during one-on-one and group sessions. She is aghast because she realizes that she will soon no longer be serving her target market in the way she believes is best.
2) Jennifer is a social media consultant who has an amazing command of the use of Facebook. She believes that social media is the most powerful marketing tool that businesses have at their disposal and that it should be accessible to them regardless of their level of skill or the amount of time that they have to use it. She has worked miracles with her strategies for running Facebook ad campaigns and using contests to build her clients’ mailing lists and generate pre-qualified leads that convert handsomely into paying customers. She enjoys being one of the most sought-after consultants on the Web but her desire to maintain that level of recognition has driven her to take on more clients than she can effectively handle.
Jennifer realizes that she needs help to maintain an optimal level of service for her clients but cannot decide if she should hire someone full time or continue to use virtual assistants. She doesn’t even believe she has the time to think about this! She also realizes that she is no longer as available for her husband and kids as she’d like to be and that she is both resenting and dreading the long list of social engagements, school events, and extended family dinners that loom ahead during the month of December. Her workdays are filled with anxiety about letting her clients down and guilt about not being fully present for her family during her off hours, and she knows that things will only get worse during the holiday season because of all the promotional campaigns that she has committed to prepare for her clients. She is not sleeping well and is growing increasingly irritable with her family.
Both women have accomplished a great deal during the course of the year. But both have lost the joy and passion that they once found in serving their clients – Marie because her activities are out of alignment with her business purpose, mission, and vision and Jennifer because she overcommitted herself personally and professionally. Though they are enjoying substantial earnings, they are deriving little to no satisfaction or peace of mind from their work. Jennifer’s peace of mind is suffering on the home front as well – she can’t remember the last time she felt free enough to enjoy the time spent with her family.
In taking time to reflect and review prior to the holidays, Marie and Jennifer have an opportunity to congratulate themselves for what they’ve done well and envision a strategy for dealing with the projects that are not in alignment with their BIG WHY or have become overwhelming. This action alone will provide them with a sense of peace because they will know that they are no longer acting blindly, but rather with full understanding and intention. This gives them an opportunity to better navigate through the holiday season and start 2014 with a huge bang!
What about you? Are you doing what matters in your business? Share your business purpose, mission, and vision in the comments below and let us know what is going great in your business and what (if anything) is not in alignment or contributing to overwhelm.