Founder Fuel: Kick the January blues with focus and friends

Is it just me or do these first few days after the festive break feel a little turbulent? Gone is that pre-Christmas trend of random strangers smiling in the street; the brain is still in a slow gear and, if you’re anything like me, there is a looming sense of overwhelm at the to-do list that I managed to successfully ignore over the Christmas down-time. And that’s before we get lost in the zeitgeist of resolutions that urge us to be better, do better and quit all our foibles.

It’s easy to see how the national mood just tips into decline peaking on Blue Monday as January 20th is so called. But that’s another two weeks of gloom, and we don’t have time for any of that!

So how do we restart our entrepreneurial journey on the best footing for the year? One that capitalises on that well-deserved downtime and provides the focus to do our best performance going forwards?

Focus and friends – that’s my medicine. Before we get dragged into the to-list there is merit is identifying the big things that will make the most difference to the business. So try this quick exercise to create a focal point for the future plan of action:

Review.

Take a moment to review the year gone past:

  • What did you want to achieve?
  • What went well?
  • What are you proud of?
  • What didn’t turn out as you’d hoped?

Reflect.

Reflecting on past events and actions is a constructive way to build learnings for the future and nurtures a resilience-building sense of gratitude. It enables us to build on our successes, improve on our development areas and aids future decision making too.

  • What did you learn about yourself, about your business and about those around you?
  • Can you Identify at least one benefit for each of the tough moments / negative events?
  • What are all the things you are grateful for?

In combination the Review and Reflect stages are a positive way to see how far you’ve come. If it’s been a positive year, you can celebrate and see how to build even further. If it’s been more challenging it is a solid step to identifying the positives (no matter how small or hard to find) and to see the strength and resilience you built up along the way.

Refocus.

Looking ahead gives us the chance to steer towards the important things in our life and focus on the big things that will make a real difference to our business.

  • What are the three most important things to you for the year ahead?
  • What three milestones would make the most impact in pursuit of your business mission for 2020?
  • What barriers or obstacles do you need to overcome to do that?
  • What one first step can you take this week to get the ball moving for each of the above?

Add founder friends!

Let’s bypass the usual resolution bravado and look at what actually helps us keep on track with our goals. The answer is surprisingly simple, and it might just be sitting right next to you…

Just tell someone!

Really.

Accountability is a particularly powerful performance-driver for goal-orientated people like us entrepreneurs. In a Dominican University of California study participants from all over the world, aged 23 to 72, were asked about goals. The summary is surprisingly digestible but in short participants were asked to do different things relating to their goals – from writing them down, to adding actions, to telling a friend.

The standout winner though, was for those who not only shared their goals with a friend, but also sent weekly updates on progress to their friend – 70% of them succeeded in their goals. Accountability, fellow-founders! That’s what we all need. So find yourself a founder buddy to share goals with and align on progress on a fortnightly basis.

 Written by Christina Richardson, co-founder at weare3Sixty and lead for entrepreneur training.

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