You’ve decided that 2012 is going to be the year that your idea for a business becomes a reality or the business you are developing is going to really fly. What happens if what you want from your business and what you can do are sitting across the room, politely waving at each other but refusing to make eye contact?
Oddly enough, last year at exactly the same day as today, I was those two people waving like lunatics at each other from across the room. I had no creative energy, felt like I was on my own in the vast ocean of sole business ownership and to boot, I really felt like I had no physical energy.
Enter the pity party for one.
But I decided that feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So I did what I call a “friendervention” and tapped into a very good friend of mine on how to get out of my funk – so one year on, I thought the original unedited post would make an interesting read for those stuck in creative purgatory:
January 04, 2011
Want to know a few tricks to get motivated for 2011?
Okay – 2011 is here and my motivation is still in 2010! I feel like my list just grows of things to do and my time to do it in just grows shorter. So this morning, whilst sitting at my laptop and staring at the abyss of work-yet-to-be done – I thought “how does someone whose job is to motivate people actually motivate themselves?”. And then I thought, “hey, my friend Carolyn is a life coach, so I will ask her”!
Carolyn Ou is the owner of SandBox Consulting, located in Chicago,Illinois, where she is a career, life and leadership coach. She helps people get the moxie they need to help focus on their careers. I asked Caroline what she does when she needs to get (and stay motivated) – her answer was so insightful on many levels (personal, small business owner, parent), I thought I would share it with you and see if there is something in it that you find helpful in getting your head around 2011:
That is such a GREAT question! What I do when I’m faced with a lot of tasks just like the ones you described, is remind myself of what it is I’m trying to create for the year…or for my life.
For some people, it’s the company vision. But sometimes for a small business owner, that’s a lot to develop and can be frightening. So I always recommend just creating a simple vision or theme for the year, for your life and your work.
For me, for example, for 2011, I have this picture of Roberto Benigni accepting his Oscar for La Vita Bella, climbing over chairs and guests, etc., and just being incredibly OUT THERE! That’s my reminder that 2011 is my year to be out there in the world, expressing what I need to express, being joyful, asking questions, asking for favors, celebrating, whatever, even if I look silly in the process.
For me, having that image motivates me and allows me to even enjoy the tedious stuff, knowing that it’s going to help me accomplish what I want to in my life. The underlying goal for me is to be speaking in front of huge numbers of people this year, and impacting their lives that way, rather than being behind the scenes.
What you might want to do is remind yourself what’s in it for you; what you’re creating in the world, and what pieces of it bring you joy, and if you can create visual reminders of that for yourself, that will help keep you motivated.
It took me a week or so to really engage with it, but when I did, the fog of funkness started to lift. I did make a vision board but as I really like to write – mine was more statements of what I wanted to achieve. I decided that instead of just acting like I wanted to make some changes, I was actually going to do what Carolyn had suggested.
Once I started the changes, I noticed that oddly enough, things started to happen. Not immediately, but it was almost like really tapping in to what motivates you every day, allows it to enter your stream of conscience and then suddenly, the wheels are rolling. I started to rework my business plan (okay – don’t get excited , two sheets of A4 with extensive notes written on them!), picked out what needed to be developed and put in a rather loose timeline.
But before you think it just started to manifest itself, I have to say that I fully engaged with where I thought I needed to up the pace a bit to make that vision board a reality. I really worked to develop my brand, got Twitter and Facebook friendly, and made a commitment to do one thing every week that I wasn’t comfortable with to stretch myself. In other words. I worked my tail end off like I never thought I would!
And it has made a difference – I personally am looking forward to all that 2012 has to offer. But as I know what a hurdle getting motivated to feel that good can be, I thought in addition to Carolyn’s words of wisdom, I would add a few other items I have found really useful:
When you are having a bad patch, get in contact with someone (a friend, become a forum member or a mentor) who is a good listener and have a moan with them about what is going on with you and your motivation. Working on your own can easily skew your thoughts dis-proportionally and you need to have someone give you some balance.
Be easy on yourself and whatever you do, don’t compare yourself and your business to anyone else! I had a friend who was having a crisis of confidence as her lovely little business had become the focus of a local competitor who was setting up a similar business. I told her about the McDonald’s theory – all fast food services are basically the same but we chose one over the other for sometimes something as simple as one has cleaner toilets than the other one! In other words, people will choose you and your business because you tick a psychological box that only you can. So stick with what makes you and your business uniquely you and you are on to a winner!
And lastly, even with all the doom and gloom about the economy, this is such an exciting time to be a small business! Did you know that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) together accounted for 99.9 per cent of all enterprises? Have you seen the sheer number of free software packages and apps to make life easier for the small business? Not convinced? PayPal helped all of us get on-line – but I am tapping 2012 as the year for software such as Square to change how we small merchants can be even more flexible on getting payment. Viva the small business!
I hope that helps you all feel a bit more upbeat about the new year – and any items you want to discuss, feel free to fire our way.
Twitter – @MakeandDoStudio