I don’t know if you’ve had as many emails as me this week and before Christmas; you know, the ones telling you how you’ve got to have great big scary plan for the New Year?
And all the things you’ve got to do to be “successful”
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been working on my plan for 2018 over Christmas, reflecting on what did and didn’t work last year, and refining my strategy for this year. And we’ve got some exciting things going on, but it’s take me years to switch off from all the noise, and all the things I apparently should want, and the goals I should be setting.
It’s fair to say I’ve wasted a good chunk of my life chasing goals that were never mine, but a homogenised view of what we “should” all want. Here are just a few examples:
- You’ve got to have an office
- You’ve got to employ lots of people
- You should be driving a better car
- You’ve got to get your turnover to a million
- You’ve got to double your turnover in the next 2 years
- You should get investment and really grow your business to be taken seriously
- You should want to sell your business
To BE successful
To be SEEN as successful
But no one ever asked me what I wanted. And all the those things I was told I should want, and would make me successful – well I did them, and they make me really unhappy! I sold my first business after 12 years when I realised I was definitely chasing someone else’s dream.
There’s so much pressure to be and be seen to be “successful” that it can take real courage to even know what you even want without being swept up by the latest must-do.
Of course there are some great ideas and inspiration in these emails, but we need to make sure we aren’t swayed from what we know is right for us individually. And to know what success looks like for us.
It’s taken me a while to work it out, but I’ve never been clearer on what I want, and what I don’t want.
I want to develop the financial genius in small businesses so that their owners know exactly how to consistently get the financial results they want – getting rid of financial stress and pressure. When we get a business to this point we know they get control and visibility in their business and their life, so they can build financial freedom and the future they thought (hoped and dreamed) owning a business would give them.
Which of course feeds my big vision to significantly improve the financial success of small businesses in the UK. Too many entrepreneurs put everything they have into their businesses to never get the rewards they deserve, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
“But I don’t really have a vision …”
I was with a client this week, and we were discussing what he wanted from this year and he said “but I don’t really have a vision”
Turned out that he actually had a strong vision to build a strong secure business with consistent income, pay off his mortgage, give his family long term financial security, and his employees a great place to work with job security and opportunity.
But because it didn’t conform to the “so big it scares you” goal ideal, he didn’t feel this was valid. In my view it’s a fabulous ambition to have and it’s something that drives him and serves the greater good.
I’ve been chasing the wrong dream
Back in 2015 when I ran my very first retreat, one of my clients left the retreat quite shaken and upset by the realisation that he’d spent the last few years “running at 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction” chasing a dream that wasn’t even his. A dream that was taking him further away from his family and the things that mattered. And away from all the reasons he’d started his business in the first place.
How do we know what we really want?
But there is a challenge with saying we should stop and think before we charge off for another rollercoaster year. We rarely stop long enough to think deeply enough to get certainty of what we want for our business, our family, our future and ourselves.
This is where Deep Work comes in
If you read my blog regularly you’ll know what a fan I am of Deep Work. I have to say it’s made the biggest difference to my life and my business over the last 18 months, and the real joy has been seeing the changes in my clients businesses when they’ve adopted the same principles. Deep Work has allowed me to do the hard thinking needed to have that clarity on what I want and why, and to then execute difficult things, create new programs and stay inspired.
So just stop for a few minutes this weekend and think…
How does pursuing random turnover or other arbitrary growth goals fit with the vision for your life?
How do these business goals not take over and subject you to a whole load of stress that was never part of your master plan?
Because the thing is, if you don’t stop to think, you risk spending another year running in the wrong direction, more stressed than before, and further away from what you actually wanted.
Wouldn’t it be great to spend this year knowing you’re on track for exactly what you truly want for your life?