We have been talking about planning lately. Specifically: planning for business growth in 2012. I am urging you to keep it short and sweet, define your goals with a razor focus, write them down in bullets, not paragraphs. I’m also urging you to create action plans for a shorter period: say, 90 days. Create your annual bullseye but plan your activity only for the next 3 months. The short term action plan keeps you focused on the NOW and more open to opportunity as it appears. It also enables you to take new information into account when you create your next set of action plans in 90 days.
The bulleted list of goals and action plans ought to fit on one page and ought to be in front of you every day. Treat them like affirmations: those simple one sentence phrases that, when carefully constructed and consistently considered are proven to create positive personal change. Attacking 2012 with this kind of laser focus will keep you moving forward and doing what we all want to do: MORE.
I have a slip of paper I keep tucked away in my keep-sake file. It is about 4 inches wide and 10 inches tall. It’s just a scrap, really. But in 1987 I wrote half a dozen bullets on it. They were things I wanted to achieve, big things. I put the paper away and didn’t see it again for a couple of years . . . and you know what? I had achieved every single thing I’d written. Getting clear on your bullets, then committing them to writing is powerful.
This is also the time of year that we tend to make ‘resolutions.’ These are promises we make to ourselves to be better or happier or healthier or wealthier. I don’t really see the need for a separation; I mean: why can’t a good resolution or two be part of your annual business plan/quarterly action plan? The last thing any of us wants to do is to stop becoming, whether as human beings or as businesses.
Dr. Maya Bailey, a business coach, has an article on Inman News today about resolutions that’s pretty good. She lays out 5 steps. Step 1 is to define what you want and be very specific: what does success mean to you? It’s different for different people. Step 2 is to recognize your blocks and obstacles. Interesting: here are some of the most common limiting beliefs she finds in her clients:
- ‘I don’t have what it takes to succeed in today’s market’
- ‘I’m not assertive enough to market myself’
- ‘I’m not educated enough to be successful’
- ‘Who am I to have abundance and prosperity?’
My own Rx for that kind of thinking is Toastmasters. Even if you never plan to speak in public, I know of no better way to build a little brass and to understand how much you have to offer. It’s also a great way to network and expand your CI list. Hmmm . . . Maybe Toastmasters ought to be on your resolution/business plan bulleted list?
Step 3 is to zero in on the areas you need to develop, which has a lot to do with being honest about your limitations and weak areas. For example, consider that first limiting belief: ‘I don’t have what it takes to be successful in today’s market.’ I can’t tell you how many REALTORS I know who feel this way, largely about technology. They are wonderful salespeople who see the business becoming ever more tech oriented and they feel lost. Frankly, I don’t get it. Why would you pine away about your lack of tech understanding when you could hire someone for $15 an hour to handle it for you? And if that’s too much to pay, why not go to your local college and find an intern, possibly for free? Oops . . . could this be yet another item on your plan for the year?
4 is to have a timeline and a plan. We all need to be held accountable and most of us would like to believe we do a good job of that on our own. That’s where self-imposed deadlines and timelines come in. Unfortunately many of us discover that we don’t do a good job of holding our own feet to the fire. This is not awful; it’s not even a failing; it’s just an indication that a good mentor, accountability buddy or coach is needed. Could that be another resolution/business plan item for 2012?
Step 5 is to visualize the end result. I’ve urged you to set big, annual, numeric production goals. But what will your life look like when you achieve them? That’s what you want to visualize. See yourself behaving as you will behave when you have achieved all the additional production you’ve planned . . . and then start acting as if you’ve already achieved it.
And above all: find a way to be happy. It’s a decision, you know. None of this stuff works at all if you’re not operating from a place of general happiness. Happiness precedes success. In fact I’d assert that happiness is a pre-requisite for success. Plain and simple: Money loves Happy. Success seeks out happy people. Get happy and watch all of your plans, your resolutions, your affirmations come to pass.