You are relaxing with family and friends...the sun is shining and you feel warm and glowing inside and out. You've just had another great year, you achieved everything that you set out to again and business is booming. You are a successful and respected business owner with a reputation for getting things done, building strong relationships and looking after the people who work with you and for you. Better still, you know that you have achieved this success without the stress, without the ridiculously long and frustrating hours, without ever feeling out of control. You've achieved it because you focused on achieving it...you focused on doing the things that would move you towards your vision, and got rid of, or handed over the things that didn't, to someone else. You remembered why you love what you do, and every day became a joyful challenge...you started to make every day count. You got your life back, your relationships have never been better. Life is good.
Can you picture it? Is this your future? Is this what you want for yourself?
Does it seem unattainable...a million miles from where you are now?
Maybe you had a great January, and you're feeling pumped up for the year...everything seems possible. And maybe you didn't. Maybe things didn't quite go according to plan...maybe you got distracted by your tax return...the miserable weather and short days got to you...you spent so long on planning and discussing your plans, that you never got round to putting anything into ACTION. You ran out of time.
Well ok...January's gone now...but February is here, and with a whole 28 days in which to Get Stuff Done. So how much do you want this?
I'm a huge believer that if you are truly passionate about what you are trying to achieve, then Getting Stuff Done comes down to one thing...having a strategy - having a system and processes that will help you to get organised.
If what you are doing doesn't excite you...doesn't get you out of bed in the morning...doesn't stop you turning on daytime tv, surfing the net or playing online games...then that is your problem...not a lack of time.
So here's your first challenge for February... Figure out what you're trying to achieve...and why it's important to you. What's the future you want for yourself?
Whatever you come up with, one thing's for sure...taking ACTION today will move you one step closer to it.
It’s the start of another new year, and for me, after the roller coaster ride that was 2013, it’s the most exciting that I can remember! There’s so much to get done, so many new people to work and meet with, so much fun to have doing what I love...I hope it’s the same for you.
I love planning for a new year...twelve whole months stretching out ahead, full of opportunity and possibility. Developing a plan that is fully focused on the big game...the important stuff...the things that are going to move me and my business forward and build my personal and professional relationships.
Planning is crucial if you want to achieve...if you want to deliver measurable results. Yet so many of us head into a new year armed with only a broad set of goals and a jumbled list of tasks, and end up wasting time on irrelevant social media conversations and unfocused meetings and activities. Before we know it, we’re into March, and we’ve lost nearly a quarter of the year without achieving anything meaningful.
Getting your plan right starts with the big question: What am I trying to achieve...and why? and builds from there...goals, objectives, targets, deadlines, milestones, measures of success…are all essential elements in a robust plan.
After that, it’s down to your personal strategy for time management and personal effectiveness...your daily disciplines that are going to keep you focused on what you’re trying to achieve and why - those crucial first 90 minutes focused on business-building activity; the calls and meetings all scheduled...all with end times; the disciplined use of social media. Every one of us needs a system that works for us...one that we can be committed to...one that ensures that we feel good when we look back at the day.
I also believe that we need a keynote for our year...you might call it a motto, or maybe a rallying cry. For me this year, I’m going with something I picked up from the new Walter Mitty film...a line that really resonated with me. I’m going to live this year by the ABCs and be Adventurous, Brave, and Creative.
How about you? ;)
PS If you would like help in developing your planning system, or managing your time and personal effectiveness, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be running an online Masterclass on Time Management & Personal Effectiveness later this month.
James Gandolfini died this week...it was unexpected...he was only 51. It came only a few days after I'd listened to a masterclass on 'Life Purpose' by my lovely talented friend Helen Evans...and it got me thinking...
I'm a process person, right?! I love the fact that having process in your life, liberates you...frees you from worrying about the small stuff, and allows you to grow, to build, to be creative.
But I don't want life itself to be a process.
I don't want there to be limitations and restrictions on how we're going to live our life...a mindset given to us in our infancy, that life works in a particular way.
...you go to school...if you're bright you'll pass exams...if you're not bright you won't pass exams; if you're bright you'll go to university where you'll show how bright you are by passing more exams...if you're not bright, you'll go straight into a job; either way you'll end up in a job...maybe have a career...if you're lucky you'll enjoy it...if you're not, you can always have fun at the weekends and in your 4 weeks holiday a year; then you'll retire...and, again if you're lucky, you'll get to do a few of the things you've wanted to do all of your life! That's the process.
Sounds crazy when you write it down...why would anyone fix this mindset on another person? But it’s the mindset that society, our teachers, and very often our parents, do impose on us, and we believe that this is the way life works.
A different friend (I only have the two) recently told me how much she'd love to be running a bar in a hot country, by the sea, living her life day to day. When I asked her why she didn't just leave her well paid job and go after what she really wanted, she replied that she would... 'maybe in a few years'.
It's such a normal answer, the way most of us live our lives...Daniel Priestley (in his book Entrepreneur Revolution) calls it ‘delayed gratification’. We believe we have to meet a standard of some sort first...climb the corporate ladder, pay off our mortgage, set our children off on their own hamster wheel...before we can allow ourselves to do what we really want to do. And all too often we don’t get to that self-imposed point.
Life is so full of opportunity...the world is so full of beautiful things and interesting people...individuals are so full of creativity, passion, joy. Every one of us has something special to offer the world...a mountain of value...a purpose that is unique to us.
So what stops us from going after our dreams...following our passions?
Life is short...what’s stopping you?
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My mother used to tell me that I should have joined the army... as a gunner, because I was always ‘gonna do’ something. I had so many ideas, but I was happy to let life happen to me rather than actively choose and shape its course.
So, I was very interested when I saw an article yesterday which talked about moving from ‘having an idea’...which to be fair, most people do...to ‘making an impact on the world’ by doing something with your idea...which is far less common. Indeed, it’s the way the average person lives their life in our very formulaic and conventional world.
The point of the article, titled ‘Put all the crazy people in the same room’, was that in order to escape the conventional...to rise above the average, you need to surround yourself with people who are already doing it. Those unconventional and crazy people who want to change the world...or at least their small piece of it.
When you’re not having to defend yourself to the doubters and the belittlers of your ideas and your vision...when you’re talking to people who are supportive, encouraging and full of hard-earned wisdom, it changes your results and helps your vision to come alive.
People who’ve worked through the process of idea to impact, get you straight away...they are interesting, and interested in you...they are inspiring, and inspired by you. They are generous with the knowledge and emotion they share and help you to fill the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
Take a look around you at the people you are spending your time with. Crazy or conventional? Positive or negative? Encouraging or unsupportive?
If Jim Rohn (motivational speaker) is to be believed, ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with’. While I’m not entirely convinced that’s the case...and I’m not going to ditch my more Eeyore-like friends as a result...I’m absolutely certain of this:
Change your environment, change the conversations you are having, and you will change your results.
Contact MPL at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)