I’m not going to lie. This past year has been my most challenging and perhaps my blog reflects this.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as committed as ever and I continue to level up with a “continuous learning” mindset, but my heart and soul—home base for my writing and creativity—are in turmoil.
My emotional well-being is under attack and I’m pretty sure the devastating and traumatizing events of my personal life in 2017 are the kind that changes a person forever.
I ended my year feeling like the joy was slapped right out of me.
And while tragedy, sadness, and hurt are themes for me over the year, I choose to trudge along in light and positivity as best I can.
Sometimes, the tiniest step forward is all I can muster. On the other hand, any forward motion feels positive right now.
So, today’s post is me pulling myself up, dusting myself off, and running, not walking, into the light of a new beginning.
And So it Begins
I’m excited today to share something I think we can all use as we try to kick it in gear and up our game going forward.
After all, a new year is a new chance to get better and move forward in a positive direction. It’s the perfect time to not only plan for but also to go after, whatever it is you want.
I urge you, and I urge myself, to diligently work to find your positive light and move ahead to reaching the results and goals you have for this year.
Craft your impact. Be creative.
I know, I know, it all sounds so fine and dandy and easy. But we all know a business and personal life is never that easy. Is it?
So, I have a couple ideas to help you find the right mindset—along with the right strategic planning tips—to make sure your future, and mine, stay on the right track!
A track that takes us nowhere but up.
I’m going to share an overall big picture idea to make certain you get started, and stay, on top of your biggest and best goals. And I mean all year long.
I’m stealing this one right out of Chris Brogan’s playbook. And hey, Chris and Rob over at Owner Media are pretty sharp guys with lots of collected wisdom.
One of the things I really love about them is they are always looking forward. If you’re in business in this digital age, you should be too!
Okay so Chris, like me, isn’t a resolutions kind of guy. Still, he has an answer for putting purpose in your plans and direction in your business.Craft Your Impact. Be Creative. Click To Tweet
Borrow Chris’ Process
This year, for the first time, I am embracing his #my3words strategy.
Here is the process Chris loves:
Every year, at the beginning of the year, choose 3 words that have personal meaning to you that you will use as guideposts for your chosen path forward in the coming year. Make the words such that they influence your choice of actions, encourage you to decide in favor of your goals, and guide you towards lasting results that you want to experience throughout the year. Write these words down. Post them everywhere. Schedule them to pop up in your calendar. And use these words as part of your decision-making process every day.”~Chris Brogan
Frame it as Your Own
Thank you Chris Brogan—I think that’s awesome.
It’s important, however, that you really put some thought into selecting your words.
Make sure they have REAL meaning to you in your life and business. Will they have relevance uniquely fitting to you?
Make sure your picks help to inspire and propel you to go after your best you, your best success, and your best year EVER.
Go big or go home, right?
You can take a look at Chris’ entire explanation of how to come up with your words. Check out the hashtag #my3words on Twitter to help get some ideas, too.
Think this over carefully.
Give yourself an overarching theme to guide, inspire, and help you all year long.
I don’t know about you but for some reason, I feel like a new year offers us a new beginning. And a new beginning gives us an opportunity to start fresh.
When we decide to start fresh and begin anew, it’s a chance to forget past mistakes, move away from shortcomings, and look to the future with hope. So it’s the perfect time to strategize and plan for success in life and business.
Use Chris Brogan’s #my3words framework and keep the words front and center in your mind. Let them be a constant reminder to help you achieve your goals and stay on track.
Chris shares ideas with his subscribers like this 3-word formula, always offering something simple and yet strong. Just what you need for the fast-paced business environment of today!
Another gem he talks about is creating “snackable content” and likens exploring new ways to deliver short and tasty bites of your content to tapas. (If you’re not a restaurant connoisseur, tapas are a “small plates” style service, sometimes called a “tasting menu,” or “small bite” courses.
Keep The Momentum Going
Taking action, even if imperfect at first, is better than not doing anything at all. So here I am.
I’m trying, Chris Brogan, NOT to sound like Tofu. That’s to say, per another Brogan tidbit, I’m trying not to be a plain Jane, boring you to death with my content.
If I am, please let me know so I can stop the abuse and do something I’m better at!
Okay, so back to this first strategy I’m going to adopt this year. And you can, too.
Three words to guide. Three relevant words. Three words with more meaning than you can know unless you’re me. And I won’t fully understand yours unless I’m you, either.
My three words for 2018 are:
LOVE. FOCUS. EXECUTE.
Love for me is central to everything in my world. I try to approach things, both personally and in business, from a place of love. That’s just who I am.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m one of those weird duckies who LOVE my work. I always have and imagine I always will.
As a business owner, I’m always most worried about doing the best job possible, and not so much paying attention to, say, the accounting.
That’s probably not really a good business trait.
But, you know, when you concentrate on doing the best work you can and delighting clients, well, I find, the money often follows.
Finding Fierce Focus
Which brings me to word two: Focus.
Focus means paying better attention to details, like the accounting, for example.
But, for me, it’s not about focus on getting priorities done because I know there’s no late in business and a deadline is a deadline.
For me, it’s more about spreading myself over too many directions. Like working on multiple projects, researching in a million directions, and trying to learn and use new software and technology—something I’ve been awful thirsty for the last few years!
And while I’m having fun, I think Focus will help.
In a minute, I’ll give you ways to couple Focus on goals to guarantee action and progress.
And that’s the thing. Even if you are doing what you love, working creatively and tirelessly, and even if you are able to focus and do deep dives into important work, education, and projects, you still need the “doing” part.
You need the actions and steps AND to execute and bring your work forward.
So, my third, and final word, is: Execute.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions so Execute means everything to get me beyond a genuine Love and mere Focus. You with me?
It turns out, selecting three words to encompass the new year with an overriding theme is another fun chance to splash around in words!
And you know I love that!
More importantly, is an opportunity to succinctly clarify goals and intentions—and hey, that’s the first step to reaching them. Yep!Framework to Actions to Results. Yep:)Click To Tweet
Framework to Actions to Results
So, what’s the best way to stay within the framework of your overall vision as represented by just three words while making progress towards your desired results?
Don’t worry…I have some answers or at least some things you can try for yourself. I’m determined to make big progress in my writing business this year but, I know it isn’t going to happen by accident.
Instead, I’m formulating a strategy and documenting a plan—a written plan—because I want to be successful and statistically a documented plan means I’ll have a better chance.
I’m adding my favorite ABC formula as a tagline to my words which ties them together and adds an action step to my year’s theme.
My ABC tagline then is “Always Be Creating.”
Next, because my outlines tend to grow into trees, I came up with a way to simplify things a bit. Feel free to test this approach, too.
I’m looking at my strategic planning process from a more systematic perspective so, the four categories to turn my overriding theme into action steps are these:
1. Big Picture with Plan
2. Short-term with Deadlines
3. Daily Progress Report
Taking an integrated marketing approach for your business is imperative in the digital age and so aligning projects for a seamless marketing experience is a key I believe.
But, that’s why it’s so important not only to organize your thoughts but also to craft an action plan to push your agenda forward.
Rather than spinning your wheels and running in all directions at once, why not kick off your year by getting organized?
Get Unstuck and Climb Your Mountain
I love Elise Enriquez’s article, “One Question to Get Unstuck.”
Essentially, Elise says every task, big or small in scope, needs to be knocked down to doable chunks. Chunks that, as you complete them, allow you to check off one more motion toward reaching your bigger destination.
Ask yourself at each point, “What are you going to do to move this thing forward?” suggests Elise, and I think that’s brilliant. It forces you to think through and outline the steps it takes to complete the challenge at hand. And I love that it’s a universal cure for jobs huge to miniscule.
It’s all about making anything doable!
In the article, you can see exactly how to run through the breakdown and make it fit your unique needs. Elise also says this one question works well in strategizing with clients and creating an effective workflow for them, as well.
She explains, “we think in terms of “stuff” that we want to get done, but not how it’s actually going to get done, or what we actually need to do it.”
Analyzing your projects and to-do list this way, and looking at each step, breaking things down into doable chunks, and by making sure you know what it takes to do something, helps keep your momentum going.
This forces you to investigate whether you have materials or capabilities in place or to break each step down again to know where each piece of the puzzle fits into the plan.
Taking Huge Down To Precise
So, there you have it. My Love, Focus, Execute umbrella is supported by my “Always Be Creating” booster tag.
From there I break it down into four areas of concentration:
big picture, short-term, daily and marketing.
And from there, I’ll create a workflow to knock out the action steps, outlines or checklists, and work by making every item “doable.”
What plans are you making so you can mix, sizzle, and shake things up in your business? I’d love to know in the comments!
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Sue-Ann is a boutique business owner for more than half of her life! She loves creating original content to help businesses grow.
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