I’m afraid this isn’t going to be the typical end of the year wrap-up/prediction post.
Nothing wrong with those, I’ve done them in the past, but today I simply want to share what I hope.
I hope this for my own business, and I hope this for anyone struggling to make meaning, get unstuck, grow, change, reconnect, start, or stop.
So often we take stock at the end of the year and for a brief moment may even experience something like optimism for the upcoming year. But, then the same patterns sneak back in, and by the end of January, nothing seems much different.
For 2017 to be the year that you breakthrough or out the only thing you really need to change is your mind.
Your current mindset about what your business is or what you are capable of personally – are the things that will forever hold you back.
The need to do it all, to remain busy, to believe that you must control every moment has you mired in a constant struggle with what it means to own, operate, and grow a business. I don’t say this critically; I say it with self-incrimination as much as accusation.
But you see I believe that our greatest gift to the world is a business and life fully realized.
Ask yourself this – is there something holding you back, whispering in your ear every time you get a spark, or pumping the breaks every time a little thing like momentum comes your way.
Funny thing is you may not even feel it – it’s just your normal – but I assure you that in the immortal words of Christopher Robin while encouraging his friend Pooh – “you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, & smarter than you think.”
So, why aren’t you achieving that of which you are capable?
Here’s what I believe.
As the founder of this very important life of yours, you must decide to do less, to do your most important things.
In order, in fact, to do the things the world needs you to do – to do now more than ever.
Get clear about your impact
To achieve your dream, you must discover one. You must get very clear about the impact you want your business to have, and you must take hold of that idea and make it the only reason you do anything in your business.
Call it the vision or mission or anything you want, but it must be big and bold and often scary. In fact, there must be times when you ask yourself who the heck you are to think you can do something this important.
Yes, it must frighten you from time to time, or it won’t mean much.
Continuing to think and act small doesn’t serve anyone – most especially you.
You don’t have to think of this as some call to right the injustices in every corner of the world, but you do need to make your little dent in something and, may I suggest, that you probably know what it is.
Here’s a tip about impact – your impact is measured not but what you do, but by what happens to other people when you do it.
Find, keep, and hold your single idea as it will drive you to achieve your brand of greatness.
So let me ask you this – how will you make an impact in 2017?
Commit to very few things
Once you own that big audacious driving idea, you’ll be tempted to make a list of the 19 pressing projects you must tackle to achieve it.
Here’s the ironic thing about your greatness. It’s usually accomplished by focusing on a very small number of things and doing them exceptionally well – better than anyone else.
Choose two to three priorities only and go to work on them every day. Sure, you may have to moonlight and do the work you’ve committed to do, but you must return day and night to the most important elements of your impact.
So let me ask you this – what are your two or three highest priorities?
Speak your story
Storytelling is how you recruit others to help you achieve your dream, it’s how you attract ideal clients, it’s how you bring excitement and meaning to the day to day work of your enterprise.
It’s also one of the hottest leadership, marketing, and branding topics going these days and with good reason.
Stories simplify things. Stories cement ideas. Stories make us approachable. Stories illustrate ideals. Stories make us feel.
The greatest way to create impact in the lives of those you serve is to make them feel something about themselves.
How can you take your big idea, your limited number of priorities and create a narrative you can convey everyone you meet, you can use to get your team engaged, you can share and reshare with your customers.
Mind you; I don’t mean that you should create a good story. I mean that you must unearth your story and start shaping it for the world to hear.
You must find your way of telling people about where you are going and why.
Every good story has a relatable protagonist, a quest, and, of course, a villain.
If it’s the right story, the real story, there’s a good bet you’ll feel self-conscious and uncomfortable sharing it at first.
Stick with it, refine it, practice it, and pay attention to the moments or bits in the story that seem to spark nods of engagement.
So, let me ask you this – what will your new story sound like?
My hope is that this post inspired you to think about what’s possible – but, that’s the end game I’m after.
Inspiration is one thing, it’s an important start, but what will you do to make 2017 the year?
Let’s visit this topic over and over again and let’s help each chase and catch some dreams in 2017. Let’s go make a happy mess!