What do you REALLY intend to do?

A fresh new year and millions of people around the world embarking on their individual paths of great intentions. It’s a familiar pattern, one that you and I have probably been involved in many times.  It makes me shudder a little to think how many valuable hours of life are wasted on this activity every year!

You know the drill, and believe me it’s one I’ve been guilty of many a time in the past, you take a fresh piece of paper or open a new document on your computer, and you start to list down all the great things you intend to do over the coming year.  If you’re like me you could probably spend ALL year writing that list, tweaking it, rewriting it, adding deadlines, changing deadlines, prioritizing and reprioritising.  You may be someone who has grand business or career intentions, or your intentions may be of a personal nature.  They may be related to finance, health, relationships, business or any other area of life.  The question is – what happens next?

I’m a bit of a list addict.  I really could spend my entire day listing all the things I need to, should do, want to do.  All the things I would love to have, learn, read, see, experience, even all the things that other people should have on the their lists! For the list addict it’s almost as though writing the list gives you a sense that it’s all done.  How crazy is that?!  The fact of the matter is this – if you want to achieve ANYTHING at all in the coming year … you need to take action! Yes, writing down your goals is an important exercise – but it needs to happen in conjunction with planning and TAKING the next step!

“Good intentions are not good enough… ultimately we are measured by our actions.”  Source Unknown

In my role as a coach I have been amazed by the number of people who have come to me,  who in actual fact have zero intention of making change in their lives or taking the next step.  So many people who want to spend time each week talking through all the excuses they have for not moving forward in their lives and who seem to have some twisted idea that by telling someone about all the things they INTEND to do – over and over – that their life will somehow just magically change.

I do understand that people – all people – have personal blockages and we are all capable of sabotaging our own success, I wouldn’t be a successful coach without understanding that and working with people to identify and overcome those genuine issues.  The key thing is this – when you are sat with your sheet of paper or fresh document ready to start setting your intentions for the year – think about how committed you really are to that goal.  Do you REALLY want to achieve it? Does it give you goose bumps or butterflies when you visualize yourself having achieved that success?  Are you TRULY willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen – even when that means being out of your comfort zone or even feeling some level of pain? If you can answer “yes” to those questions … then that goal is worthy of being on your list for 2012. Write it down, write down WHEN you will achieve it by, WHY you want to achieve it and also the very FIRST ACTION that you will take TODAY to get the ball rolling toward making sure it happens.

I would love to hear about your goals for 2012 – the REAL ones!  Come and connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what you will be making happen this year.  Email me today my2012@trudyspikesman.com and I will send you a F*R*E*E* goals commitment sheet. You can also find a complete Life & Goals planner over at www.FizzyMilkJelly.co.uk

Propel your business forward in 2012

… with a little help from a friend.

As we are fast approaching a new year (we have reviewed our prior year performance against our goals, and we have set our new targets for the year ahead) if we haven’t already done so, it’s time to start getting specific about how we are going to achieve those goals.  What are the specific actions steps we are going to take? When are we going to complete them by?  What are we going to do ourselves?  Who will we collaborate with to get the rest done?

Collaborate with others?  Yes that’s right.  Believe it or not … just because you have goals that you have set for yourself – it doesn’t mean you need to tick of every action step along the way having completed it personally.

This is, infact, a strange one for me.  I’m a bit of a control freak – and yet I run a business admin support company (a team of virtual assistants).  Daily I work with business owners and instill in them the confidence to delegate the grunt of their work to me (and my team), while I myself have the hardest time asking for help!  This year I’ve taken the bull by the horns and have brought on a personal assistant of my own.  I’m involved in a lot of things and it just doesn’t make sense for me to keep trying to do all my own business development myself.

Where was I headed with this? Oh yes, two things come from this:

1 – I can hand on heart say that ANYONE can let go and ask for help with the activities that they should no longer be doing themselves in their business – I can say that because even I can do it (ok so my hands are a little shaky as I type this, but I know I can trust my assistant to do an amazing job).

2 – I now have more capacity to be doing the things I should really be doing, the things I am truly skilled in personally and that I LOVE doing.

It’s widely understood that internet and social media marketing can be instrumental in the growth of a business, in building relationships and exposing your products and services to a wider audience.  The issues for many are that they don’t really understand it, don’t have the time to implement it and it costs money (and as a highly valuable professional service it can cost a lot of money – which many business owners just don’t have right now).

I am business owner myself, and I have been through similar struggles – balancing cash available with the benefits that will come from investing in good quality support.  I know how tough it can be, and I am very grateful to everyone who supported me through those difficult – and also defining – moments.

With that in mind I would like to extend the hand of support to those of you who are in this situation yourself right now.  If you need assistance determining the right online strategy for your business, and in implementing the actions that will help to propel your business forward in 2012, you will be pleased to hear that I am making a very special package available to you.

For just 5 business owners – the first 5 to contact me and accept this offer – I have put together a smaller version of my monthly packages to enable you to take advantage of my expertise and get help building your business online for just £147 per month.

Here is what you will get for that £147 per month (with a 3 month minimum commitment):

  • Customized Online Marketing Strategy
  • Monthly 30-min status update session
  • Basic setup of Facebook Page, Twitter & LinkedIn profile
  • 1-2 posts per day on Facebook & Twitter
  • 2 article submissions per month (content to be provided by you)
  • Accepting friend requests on Facebook
  • Following back on Twitter
  • 1 hour per week dedicated to building connections on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Please contact me today to take advantage of this remarkable offer.  We will not be repeating an offer like this anytime soon.  There really are just 5 places available!

If you know of anyone else who would benefit from this opportunity, please forward this information to your connections and network.

Contact me at my2012@TrudySpikesman.com if you would like to get started or have any questions.  Let’s get you set up to propel your business forward into 2012!

How to reconnect your business with the lifestyle you intended

Owning your own business is brilliant.  You have the freedom to choose the days and hours you work, hand pick the clients you work with, decide on the products or services you sell, and set your own standards for the way you conduct business.  You get the best of both worlds – loving your work and working your way – balanced brilliantly with quality time for family, friends and outside interests.  You make all the money you have ever wanted, and it’s easily done because you love what you do.  That’s right, isn’t it? Does that sound like the situation you find yourself in right now?

Sadly, it’s quite likely your answer to the last question is “no”.  It’s more likely that you’re thinking – “who is this deluded woman talking all this nonsense, you can tell she’s never run her own business!”  Does that sound more like it?

Aha!

In actual fact I do run my own business, and have done so successfully for several years.  I also work with many entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who come to me because they wonder what went wrong – why their lifestyle has not turned out the way they planned, and why they now loathe the business that they were so excited about at the start.

So, why is it that running your own business seems to end up falling so far short of what you imagined and what can you do to turn it around?

There are six keys steps to regaining your focus and creating the business of your dreams.

1 – Be absolutely sure of what you really want
2 – Understand where you are now
3 – Establish a plan for change
4 – Take action
5 – Assess your progress
6 – Keep moving forward

Let’s take a look at each of these steps in a little more  detail:


Be absolutely sure of what you REALLY want

… and get it written down – in detail (backed up with pictures where possible).

How can you possibly know how to achieve your desired outcome for your business – and your life – unless you know what you really want in the first place?  One of the very first things I do when I work with clients in this situation is to get them to reconnect with the reasons they wanted to go into business.  Take some to think about that for yourself now.

  • Why did you decide to start up?
  • How did you imagine life would be– in the first instance, as time progressed, and as your business became fully established?

Bring those thoughts into the present tense …

  • What would your ideal routine look like?
  • Who would you be working with?
  • What types of people?
  • What type of work would you be doing?
  • What hours?
  • How would you spend your free time?
  • Who would you be lunching with / partying with?
  • Where would you be going on holiday?

If possible, take yourself off somewhere and really let your mind do the talking … don’t overthink anything – write it all down exactly as it comes to mind.  Enjoy how it makes you feel to be imagining yourself living that lifestyle and owning that business!

I recommend keeping this information in a journal (paper or electronic) and adding to it each day.  The more detailed you make it the more real it becomes, the greater your desire will be, and the more aspects you’ll find you are able to fulfil sooner.   For instance – you may have imagined that when you started working from home you would enjoy walking the dog on your lunch break – there is one simple thing that you may never have made time for but find you can implement right away!

Now that you know what lifestyle you are aiming for you are ready to get back on the path to reaching it.


Understand where you are now

… what are you already getting right, and what needs to be different?

It may seem in the thick of it all that you are a million miles from the lifestyle you expected when you started, and you may even be just about ready to throw in the towel and return to that corporate life you used to live and loathe (seems suddenly so appealing looking back!).  Now is the time to take an objective look at what’s really going on and take stock of what you really have.

In the same way you made a detailed account of the things you want … do the same for things as they are right now.

  • What is your routine like?
  • Who are the people you are working with?
  • What are the products and services you are offering?
  • Which ones are you selling?
  • How many hours are you working?
  • What are you doing in your free time?
  • What are your finances like?

Get it all down … the good and the bad … just straight forward facts about the situation as it stands right now.  As with the previous exercise – don’t overthink it – just let your mind guide your hand as you get it all down.

Now you have an account of your current situation, take some time to read it back.  Highlight the things that are already in tune with what you want to achieve, and any that make you feel good and content when you read them.  If you can – also highlight these within your notes from the previous exercise, or add them back into those notes and highlight them there.

You will find that there are some things that jump out at you as you read them as things that you can immediately eliminate or alter.  Highlight these in another colour.

Of the things that are left uncoloured there will things that evoke real emotion when you read them.  They will make you angry or upset.  Make a note of these as bullet points on a separate sheet of paper or a new page.  These are things that most likely have the biggest impact on how you view your current situation and are the things that need to be addressed as highest priority.  You may not be able to resolve them immediately – but there will be great comfort and motivation to be gained from knowing you are taking control of them and setting them straight.


Establish a plan for change

… and cultivate new lifestyle habits.

You don’t need to have touched the stars to be able to enjoy them.  In the same way – you don’t have to tick off everything on your wish list to feel the joy of working your way to your end goals.

Remember the items you highlighted in the previous exercise as things that you know you could do differently right away?  These will be key in the initial part of your action plan.  Pick three things that you know you could change today, and list them down.  Are these one-time things, or things that that occur regularly? Daily even? Making just one small change right now will make a positive difference – you’re headed in the right direction. Making a change to something that is repetitive will have an even greater impact long term – and when you change habits you are changing your life!   The key here is also that it needs to be things you can – and will – change TODAY!

Next to tackle those big ones!

Go back to the list of things from the previous exercise that evoked real emotion for you – the ones you copied out onto a new page.  Pick just one item.  Turn to a new page and write this item as statement – but as a positive statement of how you would like it to be, rather than the way it is right now.  For instance, you may have written – “my finances are a mess”, this may be rewritten as, “my finances are organised, I understand my income and outgoings, and my paperwork is all in order”.  With this revised statement you now have a specific state to work towards, that once achieved will mean the issue that caused you all that heartache and headache no longer exists.  Now break that statement down into achievable actions WITH DATES that you will achieve them by.

If you feel comfortable pick another one of your major issue points and do the same.  Don’t overstretch yourself though.  Be realistic about what you can achieve.  If one is enough for now – work on just the one until you are happy it is resolved and then move onto the next.

With all of the actions that you have now listed … get them into your diary or calendar to make sure you do not miss them! I recommend that these to do lists items are kept IN or WITH your diary. Don’t put them in a seperate notebook … however pretty that notebook may be … because the likelyhood is that notebook will end up ignored in a very short space  of time.  I’m not saying that to be mean … you know it’s true, right?!


Take action

… each and every day

You now know what actions you need to take and when … this stage is simple … DO THEM!

With the one off actions – get them done.  Don’t allow yourself any excuses for missing the deadlines you have set yourself.  These are not menial tasks – these are lifestyle defining changes. Develop a “do it now” mentality, and learn to love the buzz that comes from completing those tasks daily.

With the routine actions – repeat them over and over until they have become part of who you are.  Don’t think that you don’t need to rewrite them every day, you do! Rewrite them, complete them, tick them off – until they are deeply ingrained habits.


Assess your progress

… review, reward, move on

Part of the reason you ended up so far from your ideal lifestyle was losing sight of what you REALLY wanted, and not checking in to see how you were doing against that benchmark.  Don’t  make that same mistake again.

At the very least take time once a month to sit down and read back through your statements from the first exercise.  Take stock of where you are now.

  • Have you completed the actions you set for yourself?
  • Have you developed new habits?
  • How do you feel about your business, your lifestyle?
  • What are you now doing that you resented not doing before?
  • How are you doing in-line with the goals you have set yourself?
  • Have your ideals or aspirations changed?

Take time to be proud of what you have achieved, revel in your successes and reward yourself – whether it’s a chilled glass of wine or a week away soaking up some sun – be sure to let your body and mind know you are pleased with your progress.


Keep moving forward

As far as possible keep taking steps toward the lifestyle you know you REALLY want.  Each day ask yourself, “what one action can I do TODAY that will move me toward my goals?”.  When choosing how to spend your time, energy or money ask yourself, “will this help make dreams a reality? Will this contribute to the lifestyle I am striving for?”

Running your own business means being solely accountable for your own success or failure, for your happiness or misery, for your wealth or poverty. Embrace this and you will achieve success.