While sometimes it is up for debate, it is generally accepted that, eventually, all companies will have a bad quarter. This usually means that goals were not met, especially revenue goals.
My answer is #8 – I hope you get value from it!
Vision and Planning
While sometimes it is up for debate, it is generally accepted that, eventually, all companies will have a bad quarter. This usually means that goals were not met, especially revenue goals.
My answer is #8 – I hope you get value from it!
At one point or another, most corporate professionals have dreamed of leaving their 9-to-5 behind in pursuit of entrepreneurship. The idea of running your own business is incredibly appealing, especially when stories of people who successfully quit their day jobs seem to be everywhere. But are you really ready to take the leap?
My answer is #9 – I hope you get value from it!
This time of year you hear a lot of talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Do they work? Don’t they? Everyone has a theory. I’ve written about methods I recommend for creating a successful New Year’s Resolution in the past. And, of course, I’ve written a ton about setting goals and creating plans.
But this year, I’m going to try something a little different for myself. See, over the last few years, I’ve noticed that my years seem to have themes. The theme isn’t readily apparent at the beginning of the year, but I can usually identify the theme by mid-year. Some years have been about health. Others have been about family and relationship. Some years I’ve really focused on my business.
But whatever the theme turns out to be, it hasn’t really been a conscious intentional choice on my part.
So, this year, instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, I’m choosing a theme intentionally and then I’m going to use that theme as a focusing tool as I go through the year. Rather than letting the theme choose me in an unconscious way – I’m picking my theme for 2018 and using that as my guide for my goals, my time management, my choices. And I invite you to come along on this journey with me.
I’ve spent the last few weeks asking myself:
When I looked at it from this perspective, the theme became really clear to me – 2018 will be about education – my own learning and myself as educator. (Stay tuned for some cool announcements about the opportunities aspect of this.)
So, what is your theme? What will your coming year be about? Please share with me in the comments!
So, great, you have a theme. Now what?
I recommend posting that theme where you will see it often. Then, sit down and make your goals for the coming year, and work backwards so you have quarterly goals. As you’re considering your goals, ask yourself, “Are these aligned with my theme? Do they share a focus?”
If your answer is, “No!” Then ask yourself:
Not to say that you can’t have goals that don’t fit perfectly within your theme – but I think you’ll find this a useful tool of inquiry.
Now that you have a theme and goals – you need to set up your days so you actually work on them! For me, I will need to build time into my schedule for activities like:
When I first started thinking about this, I felt really resistant and overwhelmed. But when I put it in context of my theme for the year – I found myself actually anticipating spending my time this way. I came into alignment with the demands instead of overwhelmed by them.
Now that you know your themes and your goals. And you’ve created a plan for how you will incorporate this focus into your day-to-day life. You will need to find ways to be disciplined and maintain your theme focus through out the year. I recommend:
It will be important in the coming year to manage other people’s expectations of you – as you make this shift into clear focused action. Particularly if you work from home and/or others are used to you being available or easily distracted by what they want you to focus on.
Remember the best way to manage other people’s expectations is to under-promise and over-deliver. Teach them to expect less. And then when you can, you surprise them!
Can you see how choosing a theme goes way beyond setting New Year’s resolutions? I’m really curious, myself, to see how I do with this. And I’ll be curious to hear from you what theme you choose and how it goes for you – please share in the comments and check back over the year to let me know how you do!
Create Mastery in Your Business for 2018
If your Theme for 2018 is taking your business to the next level or improving your systems (such as time management, finances, marketing, etc.) Let me help you make 2018 your BEST YEAR EVER!
Toward that end, I am running a ridiculous sale on the Marketing & Business Mastery Lab for a limited time!
What is implementation?
im·ple·men·ta·tion /impləmənˈtāSH(ə)n/ (noun)
the process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution.
As a creative business owner who loves what you do, you are probably inundated with great ideas every day. You probably get them in the shower, as you’re driving, while you’re sweating on the treadmill. But how many of those great ideas do you put into action and see through to fruition?
That’s what I thought. I know, I know, it’s hard! You’re so busy running your business. It’s hard to find the time for something new. A new idea may require you to learn new skills to bring to fruition. It may involve getting help, spending money, investing time.
And new is scary. What if it doesn’t work out? How do you know if its the right idea at the right time?
Of course, there are no guarantees. But think about it. What if Steve Jobs had never moved forward on the iPod? What if Ford never invested in the assembly line? What if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson quit before writing the Declaration of Independence?
What world changing, business revolutionizing, life impacting idea have you set aside because you just don’t have time?
So, how do you, as a ridiculously busy entrepreneur make your ideas a reality?
“It is not always what we know or analyzed before we make a decision that makes it a great decision. It is what we do after we make the decision to implement and execute it that makes it a good decision.”
If you are not implementing ideas, it is likely because you don’t have an existing system or structure for taking an idea, developing that idea into a plan of action and then implementing that plan. So the seed of the idea floats around for awhile but doesn’t find the fertile ground to settle into and begin to grow.
Put a few simple structures into place and your ideas will have a place to land:
I recommend serial monogamy when it comes to projects – 1 project at a time! Too many projects means you won’t effectively deliver on any of them. So pick one idea and for all the rest, keep them in your idea notebook for the future.
So how do you decide which idea to pursue?
Once you’ve picked your idea:
You may discover from this process alone that your idea isn’t really going to work. That’s OK – it’s not wasted effort. Because you will have learned a lot – and you may find a way to pivot your idea or this may open up other ideas or clarify ideas you’ve already had. Just pick the next idea and move forward.
Once you’ve made the decision that this idea is the one you’re going to move forward on, make a specific schedule in your week for when you will work on it. Get coaching and support and most importantly get into action.
Let me know how you do in the comments!
Check out this fun little video I made!
I recently had a very interesting conversation with a client who called for some in-between-session support.
He called because he was feeling completely stuck. He was swamped with having so much to do, so many opportunities he could be taking advantage of, and he felt completely overwhelmed. He had no idea how to prioritize all the multiple options of actions he could take.
As a result he was paralyzed and unable to pick any of the multiple possible actions to take or any of the many opportunities to pursue. And he also felt panicky because he believed he was in danger of missing out on opportunities because of being so totally stuck.
Does this sound familiar to you?
I know it did to me. In the past, I’ve gone for weeks feeling completely powerless to take action because I couldn’t figure out which action to take first.
I suggested two solutions to this problem, a short-term right-now band-aid and a long-term more permanent fix. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful as well.
One of my teachers, Johnnie Cass, gave a brilliant bit of advice, which he shared in an off-the-cuff remark during my NLP training. It’s stayed with me all these years, “When you’re feeling overwhelmed, narrow your focus.” I love that and have used it often — just pay attention to the thing right in front of you.
And that’s usually really helpful, but when you’re overwhelmed by opportunities, how do you pick which opportunity is the right opportunity to focus on right now?
Here are a few re-frames that might help:
First, when confronted by too many opportunities, take a moment to be grateful. Too many opportunities is a happy problem!
So much better than too few, no? So, take a moment, to just breathe in gratitude for the abundance of the Universe!
Great, now that you’re in an appreciative state of mind ask yourself these clarifying questions:
The first question has to do with the low-hanging fruit, the short-term funds that will help you pay the rent immediately. There’s no shame in pursuing the low hanging fruit, in fact it can be vital to your business’ survival.
My client, though, had a valid concern – what if I’m pursuing “good” and sacrificing “great,” which is where the second question comes in. If you only have time today to take one action or pursue one opportunity, because you have other obligations, appointments, etc., then pursue the “right-now” money.
Keeping yourself solvent will empower you to pursue the “great”, visionary and long term opportunities when you have a bit more time. But in the meantime, you have to eat, right?
If you have more time today – see if you can split it in half – spend half of the time on the low hanging fruit/right-now money opportunities; and half on the longer term opportunities that are more long-term goal oriented. I’d recommend a minimum of 1 hour for each – so if you have less than 2 hours, pick the low-hanging fruit. (If you find you never have more than an hour, try taking turns alternating between low-hanging fruit and long-term goal oriented opportunities.)
If you have 2 hours or more, pick ONE for each category to pursue within that time frame. Just pick, flip a coin! Whatever you choose is going to move you forward and you will learn as long as you take action with an experimental mindset.
But if you can choose with your long-term goals in mind, your choices will be so much easier to make! And you will be much more likely to choose opportunities that will advance you toward your vision! This leads me to the more permanent fix (which you may want to choose as the long-term goal oriented action…)
Part of what caused the overwhelm for my client was the lack of a clear, specific long-term vision and a plan composed of milepost goals to guide his journey.
Without these strong roots in place, you are very much at the mercy of the winds.
And two things can happen. First of all, from a Law of Attraction standpoint – you have not placed a clear specific order with the Universe and while it’s doing its level best to send you great opportunities, without clear goals, the opportunities you’re attracting can tend to be pellmell and haphazard.
It’s like going into a restaurant and ordering cow – you just don’t know what you’ll get!
But secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, without a clear vision of where you want to get to, it’s so much harder to evaluate and prioritize the opportunities coming your way.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you gauge the effectiveness of one path over another? How can you decide which are the good opportunities and which is the one great opportunity that will thrust open the doors of success for you? Even enough to take a guess?
The sooner you design your long-term vision and plan, the easier it will be to switch from overwhelm into overdrive!
Both of these strategies have one thing in common – they shift you from:
And you always want to choose being Response-able over being Reaction-ary. When you can make choices from a grounded, centered and focused place, when you have cleared the noise so you can hear your inner, intuitive voice, you will be able to make powerful choices with ease.
And nothing clears the noise better than a strong vision, specific and measurable goals and a clear plan to achieve both.
Will this guarantee that the opportunity you choose to pursue will be great? Or even good? Will it guarantee success?
There are no guarantees – all you can do is make the best decision with the information you have – and having the courage to create your vision and goals will create a lot of clarity to inform your decisions.
Please share with me – what opportunity you will choose to pursue today? And let me know how it works out – OK? Just leave a comment below.
Oh, and if you’ve been thinking, “Yeah, but…” Please share your “yeah, buts” with me too!
In Part One of this article – Goals and Actions and Strategies – Oh, MY! – I clarified the differences between goals, actions and strategies and talked about why that is a difference that makes a difference.
In this article, I’m going to explain how you can design a plan that employs all three aspects.
In my experience, most people have a focus level that is their comfort zone. There’s the big picture thinkers and the detail-oriented folks. Which are you?
You love to fantasize about your big success, but when you look around, you don’t understand why you’re not there yet.
You work really hard all day long, but when you look around, you don’t understand why you feel like you’ve gotten nothing accomplished.
I don’t think either focus level is right/wrong or good/bad. Actually, in order to be successful in life and in business, you need to be able to pull focus. You need to have some facility with both levels of thinking which will enable you to think big, create useful plans and then implement those plans to take consistent and productive action.
Whether you go from microcosm (the details) to macrocosm (the big picture) or vice versa, when designing your plan doesn’t matter. What does matter is that:
The order is less important than doing all 5 parts. If you’re a big picture thinker, start with the big picture, but don’t stop there! And if you like the details, but thinking big scares the bejeezus out of you, then start with the details and extrapolate out. Here’s how:
Close your eyes. No, wait, read this part first, THEN close your eyes! OK, think about one year from now. And as you’re imagining one year from now …
Now, open your eyes and write down everything you saw. Do it in bullet point form. Create a brainstormed list of all you want to have and be.
Once you’ve got your list:
You will end up with a specific, step-by-step actionable plan for each goal.
Now if that feels overwhelming, don’t do it for each and every goal. But do it for the first group of goals that put you on the road to those longer term goals. What are the goals that need to be accomplished in the next 3-4 months? Develop a plan for each one of them and then get busy making them happen!
If all you think of when asked “What do you want?” is all the stuff to do, all the steps to take, all the different things you’ve been thinking about, “If I only do these things, I’ll be successful.” Then start there.
Make a big brainstormed list of all the actions, all the steps, all the ideas of actions, all the things people have told you that you have to do. Make a big list. Now I recommend doing this in excel, where column A is your long list of stuff to do and each action item is in a separate row.
Now, take that long list and:
And here too, if creating a full-fledged plan with start and end dates on every action feels overwhelming, just work with the goals for the next 3 months.
Strategies, by their very nature, fall into the category of big picture thinking. Because they apply to everything. When you choose a strategy, it will effect:
For example, if you have a strategy of
And you apply that to your goal. It might change:
A CD of toe tapping songs
A CD of toe tapping songs with expanded musical influences
Your action plan might include studying Cuban and Jazz music styles in order to help you expand those musical influences. It might also include taking a songwriting class or studying recording techniques. It might include participating in a songwriting circle to get ongoing feedback on your writing.
Without that strategy, your goal and your actions might be very different.
So, start with creating a few strategies and test them out. Apply them to your goals and action plans and see how they change. And work with them for a few weeks to decide if you like how the strategies are affecting you and whether you want to keep them or change them.
It’s also an interesting question to analyze what strategies are you currently using, unconsciously? But that’s a subject for another time.
What are your goals, actions and strategies? I’d love to hear them!
I was having a conversation with a client the other day. He’s an engineer and is always working on cutting edge, invention type stuff. He said that setting goals doesn’t work in this type of design. Because when you are inventing something for the first time, you don’t really know what you’re going to end up with. And that it rarely looks like what you were thinking about inventing when you started out.
I suggested that you had to at least have some general framework of what you were creating. Even if only in terms of a problem you’re looking to solve, otherwise how could you even begin? I suggested that setting an umbrella goal, a goal that determines the general direction is better than no goal at all.
And if you up with something different than you expected, that’s all good. It doesn’t invalidate the original goal – you just assessed and adjusted as you proceeded down your path. That’s step 6 in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Roadmap to Success!
After we finished our session, I got to wondering about this and thought, perhaps that’s one of the challenges for artists as well. If you’re sitting down to write a piece of music, do you know what you want to end up with? Or is discovering the music part of the process, just like discovering a new invention?
And even if you don’t know what you’re going to end up with, don’t you need to start with at least a framework? In music, don’t you at least start with a key, a mode? Do you decide the rhythm or B.P.M.? With a painting, do you start with at least the size of the canvas? What medium you’re going to use? The style?
Don’t you have to start with some general idea of what you are creating, even when you are inventing something from scratch?
This process is true with all goals, not just in design but in all areas of your life. You are inventing something from nothing. You are bringing choice and direction to your path in the present and creating the vision of your life in the future. The pursuit of your goals is always an invention of something you didn’t have before. And you won’t really know what you have until you are there. Because you don’t know what you don’t know.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t set Goals, specific and measurable. As you work through the process of birthing those goals, you will hone and sharpen them, even completely rewrite them. But if you don’t set specific ones now to the best of your ability, with what you know to be true now, then you won’t get to work bringing those goals into fruition.
So what if it changes as you go? That neither lessens the validity of the goals you set today nor undermines the life you are creating for your future. It’s just part of the process.
What are your leaps of faith for 2013?
There is a lot to learn about how to succeed in your business – whether it’s Music, Art, Film, Dance. Here at the Artist’s Marketing & Business Academy, we strive to teach you all that you need to know to create the career of your dreams.
But it’s not enough to simply learn. Knowledge without implementation is worthless. You must put what you learn into action and sometimes it’s hard to see exactly how to do that.
It is not always what we know or analyzed before we make a decision that makes it a great decision. It is what we do after we make the decision to implement and execute it that makes it a good decision.
In this class you’ll discover:
Joining the Artist’s Marketing & Business Academy was a great decision to learn how to succeed. Now get busy and implement what you are learning into your business!
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to access this class today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):
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I was on the TAXI Forum and I came upon this thread “Post your Goals after attending the Rally” (the yearly conference for TAXI Members). While reading through people’s responses to the question, I noticed that most posts were a combination of goals, actions and strategies, with the posters conflating their intended actions, strategies and goals as if they were all goals.
I believe that this confusion can actually create some of the struggles and road blocks that many of you experience as you pursue your dreams. So, in this article I will explain the difference and why it matters.
In short, the difference is:
“Henry Mintzberg from McGill University defined strategy as ‘a pattern in a stream of decisions’.”
“In game theory, a strategy refers to the rules that a player uses to choose between the available actionable options.”
So, strategy has to do with:
Strategies affect how you prioritize each project in the larger scheme of things as well as which options you choose in your pursuit of your goals.
“Basic action theory typically describes action as behavior (emphasis added) caused by an agent in a particular situation. The agent’s desires and beliefs (e.g. my wanting a glass of water and believing the clear liquid in the cup in front of me is water) lead to bodily behavior (e.g. reaching over for the glass). In the simple theory (see Donald Davidson), the desire and belief jointly cause the action. Michael Bratman has raised problems for such a view and argued that we should take the concept of intention as basic and not analyzable into beliefs and desires.
In some theories a desire plus a belief about the means of satisfying that desire are always what is behind an action.”
In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it is your beliefs about yourself, the universe and your place in the universe, as well as your emotions induced by your beliefs which, at a minimum, color your actions and more likely completely determine which actions or behaviors you choose.
Although these choices are generally occurring in your unconscious mind. These behaviors then lead, seemingly inevitably, to your outcomes.
“A goal is a desired result [snip]. It is roughly similar to purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.”
So, a goal is an outcome, an objective. It is the result you seek. But very often when asked, “What are your goals?” People respond with their actions and strategies. I elaborate on how I design goals with my clients in “Goals and Success”.
Well, if you are only focused on WHAT to do, without a clear picture of the PURPOSE, it is very easy to become confused, discouraged and even completely derailed.
If you don’t know WHY you are taking these actions, if it gets hard to take the actions or they don’t work out they way you think they will, then you may give up entirely.
But when you are clear about your objective, your WHY, then if one action doesn’t get you there, you simply find another way. You think about your strategies. You brainstorm your options. You ask for help and advice.
But if you are only thinking in terms of actions – then what happens when the one idea you had of something to do doesn’t work out? Well, what else is there to do, but quit?
Having a strategy may help you think of other things to do, but how do you evaluate which are the right things to do and when is the right time to do them, if you don’t know what you want!?!
Or as one gentlemen said to me in a workshop years ago – if I don’t know where I’m going, how will I know when I don’t get there?
If you still aren’t sure whether you’re thinking in terms of goals, actions or strategies – share them below and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out!