It’s time: summer is around the corner, and just like students leaving school with finals completed and report cards in hand, it’s time for our own progress report. I like to treat the halfway mark of the year as our own professional midterm, of sorts. Before giving way to the social and nostalgic distraction of a summer break – take some space to pause.
I’m here, gently, lovingly, with empathetic accountability, to invite you to check in with yourself on your goals and priorities for the year.
Before you shrink in your seat or start hustling on your goals like a college student’s last all-nighter of the semester, it’s not what you think. I’m not worried about how much progress you’ve made or whether you’re on track to achieve everything you’ve laid out for yourself.
I’m here to help you ask yourself, “are my goals serving me, or am I stuck in the service of them?”
Having Goals Doesn’t Mean You’re Done with Goal-Setting
You set your goals in January – or at any other point – and you’ve been working steadily towards them all year. Progress feels good, so if you feel productive – great!
But you’re not done with the goal-setting process.
A lot can change in a few months. The last couple of years has proven that, as if it were the goal of the 2020s, to make that point for me.
So rather than barrel blindly toward a goal that feels like it was set in a different world as a different person, we’ll examine those goals periodically, adjusting the ones that need it—tossing the ones that truly no longer serve us.
I often work with clients who are caught up in a goal that no longer aligns with their priorities.
I’ll have clients who are understandably laser-focused on their bottom line, all energy committed to driving revenue. Running a small business is a high wire act at times, and that focus often means survival!
But sometimes, like one of my clients, it means overshooting your goal so far you surprise even yourself. When this particular client saw how far ahead they were on revenue, their first instinct was to keep going – the mighty dollar is a seductive pursuit.
Ultimately, when they paused to consider the options, this success and overachievement meant that this business owner finally had the freedom, cushion, and room to delegate more. That meant freeing up time for priorities that had simmered on the back burner for quite a while. It meant they could finally carve out space to begin writing the book they’d dreamed about for years.
Goal-setting is an ongoing, even circular process. It’s not a straight line from setting to achieving – authentic achievement is the result of consistent reevaluation of your priorities and the strategies you’re using to hit your benchmarks.
Consider this your invitation to take stock of where your work is taking you. It’s good to put your head down and work, to get shit done, to make things happen. But every so often, it’ll serve you to pause, look at where all that work is taking you, and make the changes to course-correct if you no longer want to go where that train is headed (or if it’s veered off course).
Keys to a Productive Review
You’re not being graded, and this isn’t being filed with HR. But you do want to be effective and gain clarity in the process of this self-reflection. No matter if you’ve met your goals or avoided them, the key here is, to be honest with yourself about what – if anything – needs to change.
Here’s some structure to help you get there:
1. Schedule It
Put time on the calendar to take stock of your progress so far. And then honor it like you would a meeting with a client. Prioritize your check-in with yourself – you deserve the attention!
2. Have an outline of what you want to cover.
You’re planning to have a conversation with yourself. You get to set the agenda, and the most valuable answers might lie behind the toughest questions.
Some of the topics and questions to consider are:
○ Start with the end in mind – what do you want to achieve (in this meeting, your business, and your personal life?)
○ What are you doing consistently that is working?
○ What are you doing inconsistently that is working?
○ What are you doing consistently that you don’t want to be doing? Can you delegate it – or plan to delegate it in the future?
○ What does success look like to you? Reconnect to this.
○ What’s weighing you down?
○ Is there anything you can simplify, delegate, or automate?
3. Reflect & Reassess
Now you have at least some of the answers from step 2. Reflecting on what they mean in total is what’s going to give you clarity.
So, overall, is the business (or career) you’re working towards going to sustain the life you want, or is it consuming it? What, if anything, do you want to change?
4. What one thing would make reaching your goals easier?
This sounds a lot like the step 2 question about delegating the things that you don’t want to be doing or could delegate. But I want you to think bigger picture here and get thinking out of the box.
For me, the one thing I need to do is make sure I include fun in my day. When I’m in full-blown hustle mode, it negatively impacts my business – and life. I am a better business owner, leader, friend, parent, and – in general – human being when I’m having some fun.
Knowing that, I make space for it, and set the hustle-bug aside without guilt or apology. Having fun is helping me achieve my goals. So it’s non-negotiable.
5. Time block your priorities
Before you adjourn your meeting with yourself, look at your calendar and schedule time to implement your insights, intentions, and goals. Know your ideal benchmarks – are they one month, three months, a year out?
If you decided you need to do more, do it with a timeline in mind, and mark it down now. Don’t hustle endlessly.
If you decided you need to do less, give yourself the permission to honor that! Have an idea of when you’re coming back to full capacity (or if you’re redefining full capacity) and schedule your next check-in with that in mind – it’s your next dedicated chance to ask yourself if you’ve made the right adjustments.
Finding Success and Ease in the Right Priorities
What if you’re worried that you’ll be called out for changing your goals, priorities, or timeline?
I know, easier said than done. The F word (failure!) is always lurking in the self-doubting corner of our minds.
In the course of evaluating their goals, one of my clients realized they no longer wanted to hit their one-year commitment of going independent and quitting their full-time job. A longer timeline felt right and balanced their personal and professional priorities better. But they were really worried about what everyone would think – particularly because they had proudly shared their original goal and timeline. Friends, family, colleagues knew the track my client was on and, in some cases, were part of the plan.
When they finally mentioned that their new goal for making this huge, career-altering change was a few years out instead of months? It didn’t phase a single person. In fact, they were happy for my client and applauded the change.
And more importantly, that change brought with it joy and relief. My client told me how much lighter they felt. I saw it, their friends and colleagues saw it, and we were all happy to see how much positive impact one honest adjustment had.
You can unhook from what you think other people may think – these are your goals for YOU, not for anyone else. Your goals affect you the most… which is probably why even your closest circle of people is VERY likely to accept, respect, even celebrate your recalibration.
You know what you want and need to do. And now that your goals align with your priorities, you’ve got your roadmap to get there.
Just remember to have fun on the journey!
Shoulding & Business Strategy
Strategy. It’s how we intentionally achieve what we desire, with more clarity and less effort.
Shoulding. Let’s admit, shoulding all over ourselves as we move towards what we desire is not only NOT working, it creates roadblocks and detours (and a whole lotta angst) along the way.
The more things we feel we ‘should’ do, the more overwhelmed we get and the less productive we become…this is often when procrastination and shiny object syndrome kicks in — ringing true for any of you? I’ll admit it does for me.
When we focus on the ‘shoulds’ repeating in our head, we can easily miss hidden opportunities.
How often do you have thoughts that play over and over, saying you should do more? For example, that you should exercise more, call your mother more, or blog more consistently.
Vision and Business Strategy
Or, perhaps you feel you should spend less energy on social media, networking, or friend that doesn’t support you.
We get so caught up in what we perceive we should and should not do that we lose sight of what we WANT to do, and WHY we want to do it. We lose our vision AND our critical thinking diminishes. This is when strategy gets eaten by shoulding for breakfast.
Here are three ways to stop shoulding and start getting into aligned action that will create a path to your success and happiness rather than adding to the pile of pungent shoulds:
3 Business Strategies for More Relief and Less Shoulding:
Business Strategy #1: Design Your Vision for Your Business and Life
You need a vision with goals for what you want before you can create an aligned action plan to achieve it…instead of a ‘shoulding’ list. Yes, you’ve heard me say this before, and I can’t stress this enough (for anything you want, personal and professional).
Why is having a vision with goals so important?
Because…Let’s admit; VAGUE goals Bring VAGUE Results.
…and vague results can put us into full-on shoulding mode quickly. Things get real damn quick after a few P&Ls with vague results.
Defining your vision becomes a picture of the possible. It becomes a blueprint for an aligned action, a ‘buffer’ if you will, against shoulding, procrastinating, and adding more spinning plates in the air.
A vision supports you to make choices from a thoughtful, reflective place rather than a reactive ‘shoulding’ place. Can you feel the difference in that statement?
We seldom differentiate between the ‘day-to-day busyness’ (email, phone calls, admin, etc.) and the work of growing our business and achieving our goals …. because both are necessary for the survival of our business. Having a crystal-clear vision of what you want, helps cut away the non-essentials in your day and minimize the shoulding.
SUCCESS starts with focus…with your vision. With vision comes clarity, with clarity comes better choices, and better choices bring improved results (and less shoulding).
Business Strategy #2: Establish Clear Boundaries
You could have all the best business strategies in place, but if you don’t have boundaries that support you to (unapologetically) do the work so that you can achieve your goals, your strategy will not work, and you’ll continue to ‘should’ throughout your day, week, and year.
Boundaries are what define the edges for your business strategy, and hence, your business success. They establish what you will do and what you will not do. Boundaries create relief and spaciousness in your day, as well as help you unhook from the constant shoulding.
Business Strategy #3: Accountability
Get an accountability partner that’s going to hold your vision up for you to keep focused on so that you will continually make choices that are aligned with your goals.
Accountability to your vision and goals is what will be the magnetic pull towards your dreams, rather than a push which has resistance to it (shoulding has resistance to it).
Girlfriends are great, and oh so necessary. Can I get an ‘oh hell yeah’ on that one please?
Out of love, compassion, and empathy, girlfriends will often pour another glass of wine, nod their head in agreement and commiserate rather than hold you accountable to your dreams.
An accountability partner means making a personal commitment. You’re making a personal commitment to yourself, your accountability partner is committing to support you, and you her.
Find a mindful community, expert, or professional coach to be your accountability partner. Someone who has been there. They’ll help keep your eyes, actions, and words focused on your ultimate vision so that you can have the life, business, and career of your dreams.
It’s time for the shoulding to stop.
Need some help silencing the shoulding chatter in your head? I’d love to help. Comment below or shoot me an email.
Hiring a first team member or expanding your team can bring a boost to your revenue and help you make more money ongoing. But the decision to hire takes time and processing.
In my work as a business strategist, I help entrepreneurs examine what’s working and what isn’t working in their business and I help them create a strategy going forward. One of the most common problems uncovered was the need for a team to support them to run their business more smoothly and more profitably.
How You Know It’s Time to Hire or Build a Team
While many entrepreneurs know they may some day need a team, when to start the process may be a bit of an unknown. Often, when people are not making as much money as they desire they don’t want to consider adding the expense of team. This time, however, can be exactly the right time to invest in a team for a greater return in your business. So, how is a business owner to know?
Four Red Flags to Start Building Your Team
There are some common red flags in businesses that need to hire or expand a team. When you know what to look for and how to examine the issues, it’s easier to make a plan about moving forward. Consider each of these common scenarios as they relate to your business:
- Time Management– He can’t do it all and is under the weight of a huge to-do list. He doesn’t have enough time in his day/week to work ON his business so he’s “stuck” building a business that is solely reliant on him to produce all the work … not leaving time (or energy) to increase his client base, and hence, bottom line.
- Work-Life balance– He’s trying to do it all, and realizing he simply can’t, yet doesn’t have a plan of action to bring more balance to his day … putting the one thing he’s seeking on the back burner (balance) while he’s putting out fires.
- Needing to increase profit, but not enough time in the day to do all the work already on her plate AND do the extra needed to bring her business to the next level. So she stays doing the same thing hoping for different results.
- Not having the “right” clients– This business owner is looking to up her game and work with more luxury clients but needs more time and money to attract said clients. Unfortunately she’s working so hard IN her business that she has no time left over at the end of the day, week, month or quarter to invest what is needed to up-level her game and attract the high-end clients she’s looking to work with. She wants to add to her team, and knows she needs to, yet she says she doesn’t have the time to onboard and train a new team member.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Have you experienced one, or perhaps all, of these scenarios at different stages of your business growth?
The Decision to Hire a Team
I know I’ve experienced each of the four red flags at different points over the 27-years I’ve been an entrepreneur. Not a fun place to be stuck spinning your wheels. I found a way out in the way of a team of support and it’s a way for you, too.
As we scale our business, taking it to the next level, we need to achieve more without doing more.
To do this, we need to start offloading some of the spinning plates we’re fighting to keep in the air so we can focus on GROWING our business … and start to gain our life back.
When the business is reliant on you to produce all (or a majority of) the work, it leaves no time to work ON your business … if you’re the one selling, building, and delivering the widgets, who’s doing the work to GROW the business?
Building an effective team is what will support you to, produce more without doing more. This is what I’ve done in my business and I’ve helped my clients to do the same.
How to Get Started with Building a Team
Here are 3 steps to building a team so you can start handing off a few of those spinning plates you’ve been balancing so delicately:
- Clarity: Get clear on what the position is you’re filling. What are the specific activities you need this person to do? Which position would give you the most amount of time back so that you can regain some much needed joy in your day AND allow you to focus on growing your business? What is it that you do repetitively that you could start systematizing and hand off to a new hire?
- Character: Hire on attitude not aptitude…someone could look like a perfect fit on paper, but if they don’t fit the culture, the environment, of your business, it simply won’t be a good fit. It’s easy to work with a new team member that has a positive attitude, but it’s nearly impossible to teach someone how to play nicely in the sandbox if it’s not in their nature.
- Communicate: Share your vision for your company with your team. Communicate where your business is going, and growing to … and why. Letting your team know your vision and inviting them to participate in it helps them to not only feel successful but to be successful. A successful team creates a successful business. A win-win in my book!
Is It Time for You to Build a Team?
When time management and productivity isn’t enough to accomplish all you need to get done in your business, it may be time to consider hiring a team member or expanding your existing team. Be sure you take stock of your current state of your business to determine the right path for you and to find the right people to join your team. If I can support you to determine if it’s time for you to hire and to help you through the process, please reach out here.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you share your vision with your team members? How do you best communicate with your team? Comment below and let’s start the conversation.
Give me a shout at Lisa@LisaDanforth.com or send me a private message on FB here.