Yesterday I shared Step 1 in my planning process… so my question to you is… did you complete the Rearview Mirror Exercise that I pointed you to yesterday?
If yes, here’s a virtual high five.
If not, now’s your chance. Hit the pause button, take a breath and answer the 10 questions in Step 1 of my annual planning process. While it only takes a few minutes, the results are quite profound.
In November, when I reflected on this past year using the 10 powerful questions, it was not as easy as it had been in previous years.
It’s been a year in which we sold way less than previous years, attended fewer events, conducted fewer launches, served fewer clients and spoke on fewer stages. I emailed less often, blogged less often and conducted fewer enrollment conversations than ever before.
As I answered the questions included in the rearview mirror exercise, the reality of this past year set in. While I had lived every moment, seeing it on a page in my journal somehow made it more real.
- Why am I not depressed?
- Why haven’t I thrown in the towel?
- Why am I not cowered in a corner sucking my thumb?
The answer is two-fold…
First, this is not my first rodeo.
Having been at this entrepreneurial “thing” for 31 years, I understand that business is not a smooth ascension to the top. Rather, it’s a roller-coaster ride with twists and turns, and unexpected potholes that throw you off course. But through it all, I’ve learned to remain steady in even the toughest of times. I’ve learned to keep my eyes on the vision that sits on the horizon.
The second reason I can look back at my year of “less” without sadness or defeat is that while sales were down, and we lost a bit of momentum, this past year I had more of the things that really matters to me… family, connection and service.
It began in January with my decision to launch our Turn Key CEO Service. Rather than work with a large group of clients, we honed in on just a few. I played “CEO” and my team rolled up their sleeves and worked to grow their businesses. It was fun to take the focus off growing my businesses and be in service to someone else’s vision.
As those projects came to a close, something else unfolded that needed my attention… my mom. It was the end of March and my siblings and I had gathered for her 90th birthday in Fort Meyers, Florida. We all sensed something was afoot, and what followed was 8 weeks of travel between California and Florida, taking care of mom and bonding with my sibs as we came to terms with what was unfolding.
Mom passed on June 1.
If you’ve been a part of my community for a while, you know what a remarkable woman she was. She lived fully, loved deeply and experienced life with a courageous spirit and a loving heart. I was blessed to have her as my mom. But while the care taking and travel had ended, I was not ready to return to full speed. So, I announced I was taking a sabbatical and spent 3 months off the grid, healing my heart.
Not until September, did the team and I return to “business as usual.” With a renewed passion for business, the sales picked up, I stepped out from behind the curtain and the momentum began to build.
By completing the Rearview Mirror Exercise, I was able to see that my year of “less” was also a year of “more,” where I gave myself the gift of living fully and loving deeply.
How about you?
What did the 10 powerful questions reveal to you about the year you just lived?
- Did you begin with a vision and then make it come true, or did you fall short in an area or two?
- Did you show up powerfully on a daily basis, or did you feel off your game from time to time?
If you are like most, the year you just lived was a mixed bag of triumph and trials, wins and losses, adventure and monotony, successes and failures.
That’s OK. In fact… it’s perfect.
Because this journey of entrepreneurship is just as much about who you are becoming, on the way to your vision, than whether you arrive to where you thought you wanted to be.
This journey of growing a business is your “life school” in which you strive to be the best person you can be.
You get to innovate, serve, create and connect – all in the name of building a business you love.
No matter who you are, this I know for sure… your reflection on the year you just lived conjured up all sorts of emotions… sadness, joy, celebration, disappointment, triumph or perhaps despair.
So why then, do we do this? Why are we going another round and looking to the year ahead with hope and possibility?
Because somewhere inside, we know this is what we are supposed to do.
- You feel called to push through the discomfort, take one more step and continue to build your business.
- You feel drawn to work toward your vision where your passion and talents become your livelihood.
This is what you and I have in common – our love and appreciation for the journey of growing our business even more than our desire to arrive at the destination.
So where do you go from here?
Before we move on to Step 2 of my Annual Planning Process, where you’ll craft a vision for the year ahead, I want you to encapsulate the wisdom you gained from Step 1.
- Make peace with this last year. Take a few moments to let go of any guilt, regret, sadness or self-loathing that may be hanging around. With a healthy dose of self-love and compassion, write a brief letter to yourself, celebrating your wins, acknowledging your effort and releasing and any angst around what did not get done.
- Next, decide who you want to be. Take a few moments to honor the positive qualities you want to embody in the coming year. Perhaps you want to be more courageous, organized, patient, disciplined, playful, committed or more resourceful. Claim it now!
In tomorrow’s blog, we will move on to Step 2 of my Annual Planning Process, Craft a Vision of the Coming Year. To do this, we need to let go of the past, make peace with the present and proclaim the qualities we want to embody to have the year we imagine.
I hope you are finding this blog series helpful. It’s my gift to you. A way to live out my mission of helping you have the life and business you desire.
If you have not grabbed my Quick Start Guide To Planning Your Best Year Yet, you can do that here.
You’ll notice that we give you the option of picking up the blog series wherever we are, or starting at the beginning. My recommendation is the latter. By looking to the past to inform your future you will be better equipped to create a vision and a plan to make these next 12 months, your best year yet.