I don’t know about you but I have had to really focus to gain any sort of excitement for the year ahead let alone the next decade. I feel a real fraud writing this for everyone to read as so many people refer to me for inspiration and motivation and yet, this last week has been really difficult for me. I can’t explain or provide any reason why it has take me longer than usual to be positive, motivated and fired up about 2010. Reading Twitter and all of the positive 140 character tweets delivered by those I follow have actually made me less enthusiastic. As everyone around me appears to be so positive – why have I felt so different?
I feel even more of a fraud, because in my book BOOM! 7 Disciplines to control, grow and add impact to your business – I extol the virtues of having a strategic vision for your business – and I truly and wholeheartedly agree with my statement. This vision not only provides direction and focus – it should also be so positive and motivating that on those “bad days”, there is something to refer to – to remind you why you are doing what you are doing. And of course, to know that you have achieved – you need to establish desired outcomes/goals etc. So I truly understand the importance and value of establishing goals – achievement is far more likely when you know what you are aiming for.
Why, then, have I found it so difficult to set any goals for the next 10 years, or indeed 1 year? I know that the New Year/New Decade is an ideal time to set down some clear goals – both short term and long term – and yet reading and hearing about this everywhere – and I mean everywhere – the media, social media sites, the TV – I have felt a bit of a failure. I haven’t been able to focus on any sort of goals – up until yesterday.
I am writing this blog, because I want everyone who is struggling with feeling positive about the start of another 10 years to know that they are not the only ones on this planet who is perhaps lacking direction. We are all human. But what has changed in the last couple of days – why have I been able to start to get excited – how have I managed to focus on everything exciting which is just around the corner? More importantly what can you do to establish some sort of focus in your life – albeit short term or indeed long term?
I was asked the simple question – What have you achieved in the last 10 years? It was by reviewing the last 10 years which has made me recognise just how much is possible in the next 10 years! In the last 10 years, I set up my business, sold my business, married my husband, had two more children – taking my family to three, moved house several times and started a new career as a speaker/mentor and of course written a book! Just even considering this, has made me realise that the next ten years can be just as exciting – and what I want to achieve is basically down to me. All of our achievements are different but are as equally as important – I asked the same question, to a friend of mine, who simply replied, I have achieved contentment. What a wonderful achievement. It was her answer, which made me realise that anything is possible.
Even so, I still wasn’t quite ready to be excited about 2010 and the next decade – I still felt a fraud – I kept telling myself that others expected me to be positive, focussed and motivated and to have clear goals in place, and I still wasn’t able to do this. Then I remembered a part of my book, (Business Discipline No.7- Personal Motivation) which reminded me that we can’t always be highly motivated. I say in all my talks, that perhaps the hardest part of running your own business, is to maintain personal motivation and that in fact it is sometimes the hardest part to do. It is also the one part which you can’t “outsource” such as accountancy, design, HR or indeed marketing – you need to find it for yourself. When I accepted that I couldn’t always be this highly motivated person, and indeed gave myself permission to not be as expected, I started to feel better about everything!
So what have I done?
What can you do?
1. Write down your key achievements for the last 10 years – be honest and true – these are for no-one but you – so no need to exaggerate or overstate – simply be honest.
2. Consider how you felt at the beginning of 2000 – did you really believe that you would achieve everything you have?
3. Write down what you would like to achieve in the next 10 years – don’t put up barriers as you write these things down – simply write down what you would like to do. Remember – these are just for you – so no need to consider anyone else and their reaction.
4. Take the most important elements and consider them as an end destination for a journey (in this case, a 10 year journey). Consider the most appropriate journey you would like to take to get to this end destination. There are always many ways to arrive at a destination – even from London to Cambridge, you can walk, drive, take a train, take a coach, fly, go by river and even go via Lands End if you wanted – none of them are wrong; you need to find the right route for you.
5. Now consider the stop-over points on your journey – where you may take a rest, review your journey so far, reconsider where you are heading – and these become your smaller stepping stones – your shorter term goals.
Really focussing on the above five steps, has helped me get excited – particularly about my final destination and my first stop-over. I must admit I haven’t defined all of my stop-over points yet, but there is no need I know where I am going – I can review my 2nd stop-over when I have arrived at the first! It has suddenly all made sense again…… Establishing Goals/Outcomes really do work – but only when they are yours – and they come from within…
I have done these five steps for my personal life and my business life and I truly suggest that you do the same.
I was worried for a while – I can tell you. Lack of motivation, no enthusiasm and no direction is not a good starting place for anyone let alone a Motivational Speaker/Small Business Expert. I am sharing this with you because it is important to know that everyone is human and if you are truly lacking direction and don’t know where to begin – this blog, may just help you.
Note from Julie: I read this blog on Emma’s website and could really relate to it. I asked her if I could re-publish it so that if you are going through the same thing you will know that you are not alone! As Richard Reed of Innocent Smoothies said “The difference between those that are successful and those that aren’t, is that the successful just keep on going!” (I’m paraphrasing, but hopefully you get the idea)
About the Author: Emma Wimhurst is a successful Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Business Mentor, Author and Business Turnaround Expert. Emma is also the author of Boom! and a regular speaker for Women Unlimited – you can see her live at both of our conferences, our mini-conference on Jan 20 for those who are starting out and Stepping into Success on March 8th.