I can’t quite believe we are in March already! Although things have been so busy over the last few weeks, the time has flown by more than I thought possible. As always, the end of a month brings reflection and I think more than anything February is a tricky one to manage.
The start of a year is always so full of promise, of plans and goals and aims and targets. This year especially seems to have been the year to sort out our businesses once and for all – there have been some amazing planners available to creatives, and focusing our attention on the inner workings of our businesses has been prevalent for so many of us.
I’m not sure why 2017 has started this way more than other years, maybe because there are so many of you at that stage where you need more support, maybe you want to push your businesses to the next level, or perhaps you just need more focus. Either way, there has been masses of planning, aims, targets and goals going on, more than ever before, it seems.
This is all so very positive, and I have also been encouraging my mentees to plan ahead, aim high, challenge yourself. We have discussed homework and actions and tasks. I have been booking more and more workshops to cover the digital aspects of a business from blogging to pinterest to e-marketing and these workshops have been filling up. There is a real need, a real drive, to get to grips with more of the ‘business’ side of our businesses.
It does tend to take its toll. We are all starting to notice the effects of putting more and more demands on ourselves. Some of you aren’t able to achieve your homework, some of you are getting overwhelmed with the targets you set yourself. Some of you are becoming fed up with the amount of lists and checks and ticks and admin you have to keep up with, just to keep up with your goals.
We can all see where that is heading. The planning gets put to one side, the targets get neglected and ultimately we start to feel a sense of failure. A sense of having let ourselves down, of letting our mentors down, of wasting all that money and all that time.
I get it, I really do. I am actually not the kind of person who keeps on top of paperwork. I’m not really a worksheet kind of gal. I tend to work with a more organic, fluid development. I give myself yearly targets and I work towards goals, but I know I don’t have the time or inclination to get bogged down with paperwork on a monthly basis, despite advising you guys to do it!
We have to face facts that we are incredibly busy, every day.
Let’s just take a minute to acknowledge what it is we actually do.
We run our own businesses, on our own, by ourselves. And everything that goes along with that, we manage it. We do SO much. We design, develop, create, make, make some more, fail, win, make, create, market, sell, promote, network, and then we do it all over again.
Many of us have families, partners, pets, but all of us also have life and domesticity and everything that also goes along with that. We achieve it all. We don’t feel like we do a lot of the time, but we actually do achieve it. Every day.
Every day we win.
But we don’t always remember to be kind to ourselves. We beat ourselves up because we didn’t achieve that target we set ourselves or we didn’t cross everything off our list. We don’t recognise that we have achieved so much because we only focus on what we didn’t do. We’ve got to learn to stop this.
When we talk about realistic goals, and achievable targets, this is why. In the heady excitement of January, and making plans for the year ahead in our new shiny planner we may make the mistake of aiming too high. Let’s just bring it down a bit, or a lot. Let’s bring it down to what we can actually manage. And even if what we can manage is just what we were already doing, then let’s just leave it at that.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be making plans or focusing our attentions on what we need to be doing, because I believe we should. But first and foremost we do need to understand why we are doing what we are doing – and shouldn’t give ourselves stuff to do just because we know we should.
What is it that you need to do today?
Every morning I make my list, but then I go for my dog walk. I let the question sit with me until my mind is ready to answer it for me. My morning walk helps me process all the thoughts that I need to work through about why I am doing what I’m doing each day. From little things, to big things, and everything in-between. This time I give myself gives me clarity on what I need to achieve. So for me, it is the walk, it’s getting out into the elements and allowing nature to consume me so my mind is open to allow the clarity to come.
For you it may be your morning coffee, it may be the drive to work, it may be your evening bike ride. It may be a hobby you love. Whatever it is, it is time for your mind to switch off from the planning, and open up to the clarity. This time not only allows you processing time, it also serves as being ‘kind to yourself’ time.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about clarity – this word keeps popping up all over the place within my life and I am now realising what it means to me.
It isn’t something that you can look for, or something that you can force. It comes to you without warning and you need to allow that to happen, so that you can really understand why you are doing what you are doing, and what you really need to do today and how you can move your business forward.
Whatever it is that you are working on within your business, or whatever goal, aim or target you are struggling with, allowing yourself the time for the clarity to come is vital. With clarity brings that understanding. And once you understand what it is you need to do, with such clarity, then you are half way there! Actually, you’re way over half way there!!
Understand what you do and why.
Understand who you are talking to.
Understand what they want from you.
Understand the message you are trying to put across.
Understand the best channels to use.
Understand who you are.
You will find what helps you eventually – you may already know what it is. You may already have the clarity that you need to focus your energies in the right place. And if you do, I am so pleased for you, it’s such an unburdening feeling knowing that it’s okay. However you look at it, things are okay.
Even if the clarity and understanding you have is that you have a shit load of stuff to do, you know that it’s okay, because you know why.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post then well done – I appreciate it’s a longer one than usual. I just want to reiterate the point that you can allow yourself to do whatever you need to do to make it work for you. Just because you decided last month to work in a certain way, if you’ve realised it’s not for you then you can stop. You are in charge. Make a plan, but make a plan that works for you.
The CBN Team x
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01884 266045 / 07969 044006