January is over. Time for the real work to begin

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Have you figured it out yet? Did you go through the normal annual pattern of goal and resolution setting. Was this going to be the year!!!! Just like last year and the years before that were?

The new year euphoria lasts between a few hours to a few weeks, before you realize that nothing has actually changed. The challenges you faced last year are still present and the reality of doing what needs to be done to get what you think you want, is unchanged.

In this article I am going to help you identify where to put your focus to actually get some useful stuff done, instead of wasting energy with impossible lists of resolutions and goals.


At what point did we start believing that an arbitrary point in the year where the calendar resets will somehow make a difference? Not only that but it also comes at arguably the worst possible for time. Your body and bank account are recovering from the toxic shock of the Christmas binge fest. It dark and cold outside, the gym is packed and there are lots of germs floating around picking us off in our weakened bloated state.


It is not much better for business. Depending on what sector your company is in you are either facing a massive sales drop and post xmas clear up, or recovering from the seasonal quiet period that afflicts so many B2B companies in December.


It’s not a new year that you need to affect your results. It’s a new way of showing up.


This year I tried something different in January. I set no goals or resolutions. Instead I gave myself a break. I still coached my clients, attended meetings with potential clients and dealt with anything that came up.


It’s easy in business to come up with a never ending list of things I could or should be doing but for January I let all this go. If it didn’t feel like the right time or the right thing to be doing I released my self from the pain of beating myself up. If this sounds like I have turned into a hippy and abdicated responsibility for my life, it could not be further from the truth.


There was one commitment I made to myself in January. I decided that whatever I happened to be doing in any moment I would show up fully to it. I made this commitment because I noticed that my clients and me had a tendency towards deferment. I wanted to deal with things as soon as they happened rather than putting them off.


Being productive and getting results requires that we can


  1. Gain access to ideas to make customers happier, boost sales, improve operations or reduce costs. At the heart of all progress are simple ideas.
  2. Make decisions and choose what to do from a range of options or conflicting priorities.
  3. Take the necessary action on the decisions that you make.


I’m not short of ideas. During January the space I had to think resulted in a deluge of ideas. It is not a lack of ideas that hinder most business progress. It’s a lack of belief amongst owners and directors that they are creative. A lot of the work I do with clients is helping them to get into step with the innate creativity that they have inside them. Its decisions and actions that get us stuck.


The illusion of certainty

The first bottleneck occurs when we become seemingly unwilling or unable to make decisions between different options and priorities. I use the word ‘seemingly’ deliberately here. Most business decisions are by nature instinctive, even intuitive. We then waste time trying to justify why it is / or isn’t the right decision.


This is driven by a desire for certainty before we commit to the decision. I have bad news for you. It doesn’t exist, especially in business. The only certainty that does exist is that once you start to act you will soon find out. I would much rather see my clients make a decision to try something, only to have it not work, than to sit in the self inflicted inertia of being unable to decide. Or, even worse, they remain in the passive confines of their comfort zone while the world moves on around them. In spite of this I find that the real problems start even after a decision is made.


The gap between decision and action

I believe 80-90% of business ‘stuckness’ comes after a decision has been made but before the action is taken. In other words we make a decision and then don’t take the next step.


When you make a decision it should follow that the action gets taken. Right? This normally means that the next thing you have to do is either

  • Have a conversation
  • Do something
  • Spend money


Inertia at this point takes the form of avoidance, delay, excuses or continual re-assessment of the decision. All of this is driven by our old friend; the fear of failure. The idea that ‘it might not work’ or ‘it might make things worse’ loom large in our consciousness and make us sit on the fence.


Your ability to choose an option and then throw yourself passionately into taking action will ultimately give you results; either the ones you wanted or feedback. Either is good as it will keep you moving nearer to your ultimate goals faster than staying in the stuck.


The biggest reason that businesses fail to exploit the full scope of the opportunity available to them is this inability to take, and act on, decisions. This extends to all aspects of life as well. I believe that we get weighed down by the decisions we don’t make, and the actions we don’t take.


So where is it that you stuck? Are you short of ideas, unable to decide which ideas to choose or unwilling to take the action needed to implement the decision?


If you are ready to truly create breakthrough performance in 2016 working with me will transform your results by harnessing the power of you and your teams. I’ll help you all find your ‘A’ game; your inner drive and create new standards of effortless performance. Ready to give me a road test? Set up a conversation with me, tell me what you would like to change and I’ll give you a few free hours of my time, to show you what is possible. Book your session here.