I love the beginning of things.
The butterflies of excitement for what might be.
- Embarking on a road trip (before everyone descends into insanity).
- Getting ready to go out for the night (before you get weird because you’ve forgotten how socialising works).
- The first page of a new planner (before it gets clogged up with the overly ambitious and undone).
The time when everything is yet to be written.
That’s where we are right now.
The start of a new year. We’re also at the start of a new quarter, a new month and maybe, as you read this, the start of a new week.
There is so much potential and uncertainty.
I am learning to embrace that uncertainty. While I can control-freak with the best of them, I’ve had a less certain start to this year. I’ve had my 2022 wall planner up with dates marked since September 2021. Those dates have already changed twice as I’ve realised my caffeinated expectations of what I could get done were flat-out unrealistic.
I’ve got plans for 2022, baby, but in 2021 I reset the baseline for my work/life harmony, and I am unwilling to go back to a time when my most common phrase was, “If I just work flat out for this month, things will settle down.”
They don’t settle down.
In 2021, I realised that I set the pace. If I don’t slow it down, then it doesn’t slow down.
(A big face palm moment for me.)
Start how you mean to go on, right?
As happens every year, the interwebs are packed with talk of prepping for the year to come. Everyone is asking what your word of the year is and how to raise the roof on your success.
In Confident Copywriting, my private coaching group, we took a different approach.
I asked members to consider what their ideal day looks like. Regardless of expectations and obligations, like school runs and, you know, bills… what does your ideal day look like? Write it out.
The first time I did this exercise, my ideal day was a carrot for my hard work. An idea that kept me motivated. When I am successful, this is what my life will be like. But why not bring those elements into my day now? It turns out that some of what I wished for was easily achieved with some small routine changes.
What changes might you make for a more ideal day, every day?
The next exercise we did as a group was looking at what success means to us—not just in terms of our careers and business but also in terms of our health and fitness, fun and recreation, family and relationships, home and environment.
If you looked at your business as just one of multiple buckets to fill, would you spend your time differently?
I don’t have all the answers, as this is absolutely the journey I am on, too.
One thing I do know is that becoming a planner is key to making my preferred journey a reality.
I think of my yearly planning like planning a roadtrip. I have a GPS destination (some goals) and some milestones and marker points along the way (my launches and other events). Then, as I approach each leg of the journey (each quarter), I plan the specifics of how I’ll get to the next milestone.
I know I can’t be too rigid as things always crop up so my monthly and weekly planning helps to keep me moving in (hand waving) roughly the direction I want to go.
If you’re already exhausted by all this planning, it’s taken me a few years to build up my planning muscles. And while I don’t always nail each planning cycle (I’m not a machine), just sitting down to map out my plans shifts me from reacting to things happening to me to proactively making things happen.
It stops me from drifting and then wondering why I’m not where I wanted to be.
All that said, I’m also embracing the idea that where I end up might just be where I need to be. (woo alert!)
Is there such a thing as relaxed control? I feel like it might be how you hold a bat or racquet. I wish I could come up with a strong sports analogy for you but hopefully, you get my point.
So, here we are.
Plan but be flexible.
Guide but also drift.
Adulting is hard, and being a business owner is peak adulting. But I’m here for the journey.
If you take nothing else from this, I invite you to take a step back and see your work as just one of many success buckets you can fill.
I’d love to know what your ideal day looks like—and how much of that you can bring into your day now.
I’m off for a cuppa.
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” Alan Cohen