I was working with one of my Solopreneur clubs last week and we had an interesting discussion about the trials and tribulations of running your own business and how much of an emotional roller coaster ride it can be!
I am sure you can relate to this. How do you keep motivated and happy when the challenges come along? A great piece of work that did not materialise, an unforeseen cost you have to meet, relationship difficulties…….
I find working with my clients and in my own business that 3 things provide a great source of help for this – setting a number of long term goals for both your business and personal life, building 90 day plans to ensure you have focused action in the short term and finally (as George Michael would say) you have got to have faith!
These 3 things will push you through the difficulties, keep you on track with purposeful action and maintain your self belief.
So how do you put this into place?
Firstly it starts with setting some long term goals. What does success and happiness look like for you in 10, 20, 30 years? Where would you be in your business and personal life? And it is vital that you see the broader picture here including our personal goals and goals for our family. As one of my clients said recently we work to support our life, not the other way around!
I recommend setting 5 long term goals.
Bill Gates once said that we underestimate what we can achieve in the long term, so dream big! You will surprise yourself how much you can achieve if you set your sights high. Do you want a business to sell? Do you want a holiday home abroad for your family? Work on these with the people who are close to you and share them.
I use a “onepage strategic planning tool” to help with this. The important thing is to build backwards from this long term view. What needs to happen in 5 years to get to the 10 year goals? Where do you need to be in one year to ensure you are on track to these 5 year goals?
Keeping a strong focus in the short term
Next is the crucial part in my opinion. Setting up and working 90 day plans. If you head out on a journey in the dark, you plug in the ultimate destination to your SatNav and set off. This is where you know you want to get to, but as the journey progresses, the most important area of focus is what you can see in front of you with your headlights. This in business terms is you 90 day plan. Work on this now and decide where you need to be by the end of the year. Break this down into activities – who will do what and how long will actions take. I have a fairly simple 90 day planning tool I work with, but even if you write a list of tasks and goals for each month, this will keep your mind from wandering and focused on the important tasks in mind. Bill Gates also correctly said that we overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term. So sense checks this, preferably with an objective eye. Make sure it is not front loaded and is realistically achievable.
Finally, how do we stay positive?
Knowing where we want to get to in the long term and reminding ourselves of this is a great start. I want to end up owning a property with my partner Rebecca in Cornwall, so we can move into our later years in our favourite place and our children can visit us and have a holiday! This is a big goal for us and one that brings a smile to my face.
I find the best way to deal with the day to day challenges and maintain faith that I am on the right path is too write down the positive things that happen each day. Everyday I write down the 5 most positive things for the day. Sometimes it flows easily, sometimes a little harder! What I am doing though is training my mind to look for the positive and I hope you find this a useful exercise to do too. Seeing the positive that happens on the journey will support you in maintaining your faith in your short term and long term goals.