2014 was an eventful year for me – from changing the course of my own career to mentoring and coaching (which incidentally, I’ve loved even more than I’d ever anticipated).
To changing the design of the blog to one that is more user-friendly and hopefully more *fun*; to being stopped (albeit temporarily) by the VATMOSS (dubbed #VATMESS) debacle, which very nearly put an end to my online courses.
If I’ve learned anything from 2014, it would probably be this:
Have a balanced view of what it is you’re trying to achieve
Crafting a business (and I use that expression deliberately) out of work that you absolutely love, takes time. It’s not simply a case of being passionate about a particular topic or subject, as some people would have you believe. You do need structure in place and of course a plan. But then neither, in my view, is it a given that you need to work your socks off to achieve it.
Sure, there are scores of entrepreneurs out there who will tell you that they sacrificed everything – worked through nights, weekends, sacrificed family holidays, the lot. It’s not for me to judge how anyone achieves their version of success. But speaking personally, it seems pointless to me that you have your head so deep buried in busy work, that you miss what’s going on around you.
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery that you miss by going too fast. You also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
You know that other saying, “slow and steady wins the race”? It’s certainly true when it comes to achieving your goals in life and in business. Slowly, steadily working towards your goals (and indeed on them), allows you to experience all the changes that you make throughout the journey, and to be able to experience them on a deeper level.
It’s probably a shift in mindset, that going a slower pace will still get you to where you want to be in life. It’s a shift that I’m embracing and it feels right. It feels comfortable. There’s no more pressure to succeed, because I know that I will. No more pressure to compare myself with anyone else out there – so-called ‘competitors’ – because when you make this shift, you realise that there are no competitors.
If your goal feels as if it’s difficult to achieve, don’t write yourself off as a failure. Make a slight detour.
There are times when, despite the best laid plans, it all feels as if it’s an uphill struggle. You wonder why on earth you bother, you doubt your ability, you write yourself off as a failure.
When you feel as if it’s all just a bit too much, don’t conclude that you need to change your goal. Instead, change the steps that you take towards it. Make a slight detour if you have to.
We often assume that the path from A to B is a straight line, a direct route, or the fastest route. But at times, it’s a crooked, windy path that takes us on a longer, slower detour.
It’s liberating when you realise – and accept – that there are alternative routes towards your goal. It allows you the freedom to explore what those alternatives are and to learn far more – about yourself, your ability to cope with change, your ability to resolve challenges – along the way.
Keep moving forward
You can bet that the moment you decide to work towards a particular goal, you’ll come across obstacles to trip you up.
Just imagine you were hurrying along to an important appointment, and you literally tripped over something along the sidewalk. You wouldn’t just lie there all sprawled out on the sidewalk refusing to move, would you? You’d brush yourself off (probably hope no-one saw you) and quickly move on.
Similarly, when something (or someone) comes along to challenge you, trip you up, or distract you, it’s so important to keep moving forward, even if all you can manage are tiny steps. At least those tiny steps mean progress.
Can you hold yourself accountable for whatever it is you are trying to achieve? If you can, that’s fantastic. But if you can’t, get the support of someone who can help you stay on course, or help you get back on track if you lapse.
Let them know in advance, what help you’ll need from them. It could be something as simple as them sending you an email to check on your progress. It’s reassuring to know that you have someone rooting for you by your side.
But frankly, we all have moments when we just want to crawl back under the duvet. That’s fine. When it happens, embrace it, forgive yourself and then with the help of your trusted friend, get right back on track again and make up for lost time.
Make the most out of this year before you. With a plan, strategies to help you work through it, and the right person by your side to support you, it CAN be your year.
It can be a *wonderful* year.