Is there anything more satisfying than turning the calendar over to September?
It’s the start of a new season (I know…technically we should wait for the equinox), a new school year (hello new stationery), and the feeling of a new start towards our goals (without the New Year hangover).
If the new month has re-fired up your enthusiasm for your goals, but you’re not sure where to start to give yourself the best possible chance of success, you might like to join us behind the scenes of Lucy & Emma – The Communication Coaches, as we share our own ‘reset’ process.
Step one – it helps to look back before you move forward
It might help to imagine Lucy and me as over-enthusiastic kittens or puppies, happy to play in the moment but equally excited to see which toy we get to play with next. Much of our energy comes from planning what to do next, which ideas to pursue, and creating new ways to add value to our community and clients.
But before we get to the fun part of planning ‘what next?’ we sit down and look back. What has worked, what hasn’t? What do we want to continue, and what isn’t working for us (or our clients) any more?
Inevitably Covid has had an impact this year. For example, we had to cancel a workshop retreat to help trainee yoga teachers develop their value proposition, business model, marketing and branding. Checking in with each other and reviewing feedback from planned attendees confirmed it is something we still want to run in the future, so as a project it stays on our to-do list for the coming season.
Other projects didn’t make the cut. And that’s ok. It can feel difficult and disappointing to leave ideas and projects behind – perhaps we fear that they or we failed – but having the courage to walk away frees up your time and energy to commit to other ideas and projects that will work for you.
- Look back at the goals you set for yourself or your business at the start of the year.
- Celebrate your successes.
- Evaluate which of the remaining goals are right to take forward.
- Be prepared to leave others behind. (And if that feels too hard, or you’re not sure, hit pause instead of cancel. Make a note in your diary to revisit it in a couple of months’ time.)
Step two – imagine all the things that you could do…
Oh, the fun bit. Absolute, unadulterated day-dreaming. Those courses you could run, that book you could write, those webinars and online challenges you could host, that new product line you’re been dying to develop, or that promotion at work that has your name written all over it.
Lucy and I tend to go a bit crazy here. It starts quite calmly enough…a few ideas tossed around, some committed to paper, others left floating in the air. And then the same thing always happens: each idea leads to another which, in turn, spawns ideas of its own.
Our plan for world domination is soon laid out before us in a pile of scraps of paper, bullet points, post-it notes and index cards.
Sadly, we can’t do them all (at least, not all at once).
- Whether your preference is post-it notes or a digital file, fill your weapon of choice with every idea you’ve had in recent weeks and months. It doesn’t matter how big or small, write everything down.
- Step away from the list, ideally overnight but a couple of hours away can be just as effective.
- Go through the list or pile of notes again. This review will probably trigger even more ideas – which is great, write them all down. If you can it can be useful to do this process with someone else – a colleague or friend.
- Try not to edit or evaluate the merit of each idea as you go… that bit comes next.
Step 3 – Plan how you’re going to eat the elephant
Inevitably, our list of to-dos and would-love-to-dos is longer than we could humanly fit into the next three to six months. So our next step is to edit and schedule.
First to make it through to our schedule for the next six months are our existing commitments, but going through steps 1 and 2 helped us develop our thinking on some of them.
For example, we’re about to start working with a new client to help her develop her personal and business branding, but we’re now also confident that in doing so we can develop an off-the-shelf branding package for people looking for similar support, but at a lower price point that they can work through independently.
And, as regular readers know, we’ve committed to publishing our new book, Show Them Who You Really Are.
Next to be added were the projects we believe will add most value to our community (rather than purely adding those projects that sounded most fun to us), AND that we could realistically achieve taking into account all of our other commitments.
The trick here is to focus on the next one or two things that will take you closer to your overall goals, and to do them well before adding more things into the mix.
And then everything is committed to our planner. Not just the deadlines but also the development time needed. Setting out every step and the number of hours or days you need to do it is a great visual way to check that you haven’t added more than you can deliver.
- Review your list of ideas and decide which one or two will add most value.
- Schedule these into the next three to six months (be really detailed here and include all of the time you need to successfully complete the task, from research and planning through to delivery). If you can add a third goal or project, go for it – but remember it is best to do a few things exceptionally well and then grow from there.
These steps aren’t rocket science, but they do work. And following these three steps means that you don’t miss the key parts of the process – reviewing what is working so far and prioritising your next steps.
We’d love to hear your September reset and refocus process for your business or career growth. Please share them in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
Wishing you a very productive and successful end to 2020!
Until next time, take care,
Lucy & Emma xx