Welcome to Part 1 in a 5-part blog series designed to help you set yourself up for success in the New Year. In this installment, I’m looking at what’s needed to get your head on straight and focused on what success means to you.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to business decisions… I’m a planner.
By that I mean that before I start a new adventure, experiment, or process, I like to have a plan laid out, mapped, prepped, documented, and organized (as much as possible) so I know what, how, and when the heck I’m supposed to do whatever the heck I’m supposed to do.
Sounds rigid and structured, but it’s not really. Because I’m flexible and fully recognize that Murphy’s Law is alive, well, and routinely tested in my business life–which means that I have to be prepared at the drop of a hat to pivot and target a new outcome.
Does it suck? At times, yes, but it’s the nature of the beast.
Or rather my beast, because I’ll be honest–not everyone in my business life is a planner.
Most just go with the flow and end up backed into a corner then forced to react–without thinking–on the spot–and quickly–because we need an answer–NOW.
Yeah, I don’t respond well in those situations. At least I don’t when I don’t have a fully fleshed out plan or understanding of the big picture goal already loaded and discussed in my brain ready to dole out in passing conversation. (you know, to save the day and be the hero.)
Sounds crappy and a lot of hard work–and it is, but not nearly as crappy as how I feel when I have to go all crazy reactionary to back pedal my way down the halls of logic to an itty-bitty corner of sanity. (you know that place where I have to be in order to save the day. yeah, that place.)
So yeah, making plans and being prepped before I start, it’s a compulsion that has (everything) to do with the way I interact with the world outside my brain.
I’m an introvert–which is a nice way of saying I get drained when I’m out and amongst other humans.
It’s not that I can’t handle being around other people. It’s just that I can’t think very well when I’m surrounded by large crowds demanding my answers, seeking my attention, or—worse—making verbal suggestions on what I “need” to do.
Don’t get me wrong—I appreciate folks seeking my thoughts and I am grateful for their input, but (and this is a huge BUT) I’ve found out the hard way that well-meaning folks aren’t always as well-meaning as they appear to be.
I know, that sounded bad and it’s not the way I meant it to be, but the hard truth I’ve learned throughout my life is that… not everyone offers advice that’s in your best interest.
Yes, the advice is well-meaning and intended to help you, but it’s not always the best possible thing for you to do or commit to.
Reason for that is because the advice was offered from a skewed perspective—from another person’s view on how to fix your life to make it like what they (that person) believes it should be.
And since I’m the type of introvert person who has difficulty in social gatherings being able to handle thinking through offered advice on my feet (without feeling overwhelmed or backed into a corner such that it triggers my fight or flight reflex), I instituted a rule for myself where…
I don’t commit to unsolicited advice without thinking it through to make it or reject it as my own.
Which is and has always been a great rule for me.
When I follow it.
Which I can’t do unless… I have a robust, solid plan (that I understand) to back me up and keep me on the straight-n-narrow and headed in the right direction.
Notice that little bit I added in there—when I have a plan that I understand.
That’s the key to almost every aspect of crafting a successful business plan and model.
You have to understand what you’re doing.
If you don’t understand the why, how, what and when… then how can you execute it?
And that’s where today’s blog post really begins with our first topic…
Getting Your Head On Straight To Achieve A Specific Goal
Okay, so where do I begin? With the obvious, right? Works for me, so here goes.
Remember how up above I mentioned how advice from others may not always be in alignment with what’s best for you as a person? Well, there’s something else I have to add that I learned the hard way and that is…
It’s super easy to misunderstand what a person means when they’re not in alignment with what they say.
This includes self-talk or when you’re talking to yourself.
To illustrate my point, check out this example.
Recently, I had a conversation with another person that started out with me stating…
I’m confused and trying to figure out what I need to do because I feel like what I need to do is set up my website and blogging before I start working on any books and that doesn’t look like it is the right thing to do (based on everything I’ve read, seen, been told, etc).
The person responded to that with (and I’m paraphrasing here)…
They didn’t understand what my problem was. It sounded like I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do and should go do it.
Huh? No, wait–what? Can you see me perplexed? Because I was perplexed. And so I asked the person to repeat back to me what they heard me say. I don’t have their response recorded verbatim but it went something like this…
You’re scared of writing and using setting up the website and the blog as a distraction, because you’re too afraid to move forward and actually write your books. Which makes no sense to me (said that person) since we both know you’re an incredible storyteller with great stories.
No shit, my jaw dropped when I heard that person’s response. I was speechless in a shocked stupid kind of way. Because I hadn’t said, “I’m scared of doing the writing”. Instead, I’d essentially stated, “I’m confused and need help figuring out what the best thing to do is.”
So why in the world was I misunderstood?
Short answer: Because I asked for help sorting two different languages (feeling and visual) and in order for the other person to parse (sort) what I’d asked they would need to get invested in the conversation to “think (work) through” what I said.
Which should be a super simple thing to do—I mean, really, how hard is it to think through a feeling to find out what it really means? Then discuss it? To come up with a specific, tangible whatever?
Answer: It’s super hard. Requires work, patience, and really good listening skills.
Can’t stress those listening skills enough.
Because listening is NOT the same as hearing. I mean, I can hear a noise, but not know what it is or means. But when I listen, I do it with purpose to figure out what I’m hearing and what it means.
For example: It’s midnight and I’m dead ass sleep. I hear and noise and wake up. What was that? No clue, but I’m gonna lay here and listen for it again so I know what the heck it is.
Next example: It’s midnight and I’m dead ass sleep. I hear a noise and wake up. I’ve heard that noise before (because I’ve listened to it and/or experienced it before)–it’s the washing machine chiming to let me know it’s done and now I’ve got to get up and put clothes in the dryer. (yay. me)
The second thing most people forget when it comes to listening is…
You can’t listen if you’re talking.
You can hear while talking, but listen? Can’t happen, because it requires the brain to multitask and brains don’t multi-task. They give the appearance of multitasking, but not the actuality of multi-tasking.
So how do you use all of that to get your head on straight and craft a successful business plan?
By stopping to smell the roses before you put pen to paper or… as I say to myself (quite often)… shut up for a few minutes and listen to what you’re telling yourself. Once you do, you just might learn something you didn’t realize you knew.
And that’s all I have for today on getting your head on straight before you start crafting your plan of success. I’ll be back in Part 2 of this blog series to discuss my favorite part of this journey…
Until then, take care and have a great day!