Christmas at Costco
Image by Eli Christman on Flickr

I walked into Costco last week and was shocked to see Christmas stuff already out on the floor.  Is it just me or does it seem the “Christmas Season” starts sooner and sooner every year?!

When I see Christmas decorations I am reminded of past holiday seasons.  Memories of family get-togethers (good and bad).  Traditions associated with this time of year.  It seems that this time of year does that – creates moment of reflection and thought.

I think about the past and consider my future.  Do you do that?

How about in your business?

Do you take time each year to look back and acknowledge what you accomplished?  Consider what changes you want to make for the future?  Make a plan for achieving your goals?

If not, I believe you should.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you look back on the year and plan for the future:

  • What one thing had the biggest benefit to my business?
  • What one thing would I not do again?
  • How could I have had more fun?
  • Where did I waste time or money?
  • What one word best describes the year?

These questions may not be easy to answer.  They may not come to you right away.  But that’s ok…in fact that is kind of the point.  They are questions to get you thinking.

Copy this list and put it into the notepad on your phone.  Or write them down in a journal.  Set a meeting with an accountability or business partner to discuss.

Then, let it marinate.  Your subconscious will continue to look for the answers.  Whether you focus on it or not, your mind will continue working on it and searching for the answers.  But, you have to set up a time to come back and write down your answers.  I would suggest revisiting these questions in about a week.  I am confident that even if you couldn’t answer them immediately the second time around will be much easier.  If you still don’t have the answers repeat this process until you do.

I don’t like business plans.

I feel they are forced and generally include a lot of unknown variables, many of which are out of your control.  How about you?  Do you write a business plan each year?

Most business plans are long and drawn out documents intended to provide direction for your business but instead focus your attention on writing, formatting and guessing at answers.  What good does that do us?

Sure, your business needs a direction.  You need to know where you are headed and what you want to achieve.  But you don’t need a ton of statistical data, market research or some guru telling you what you need to do.  I believe we are all capable of coming up with the answers we need for our business without a long-winded business plan.

What should you do instead?


Instead, I set dreams.  Goals aren’t any fun.  When I think about a goal I think about a logic result.  Lose 10 pounds.  But reframing that into a dream might be something like having a body that turns the heads of the opposite sex.  Now that is a bit more exciting, right?!

There is a balance.  I actually think you need both dreams and goals.  But I suggest you start with dreams and then turn them into goals.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you in coming up with your dreams:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
    • What will it feel like when I do?
    • What will it do for me?
  • Who do I want to impact?
    • How can I make an impact?
    • What will it do for the other person?
  • How can I add value?
    • Where do I have strengths where others struggle?
    • What is your “super-power”?
  • Where do I want to vacation?
    • Where will you stay?
    • What will you do while you are there?

Let me be clear.  These are your dreams.  No one else’s so be free to make them your own.  Don’t worry about what someone else may think.  Don’t focus all your energy on others.  Be selfish.  Find something that really gets you going.  If that is to do something for someone else, great.  But if not, that’s ok too!

The purpose of this is to get you excited and emotionally tied to your goals.  Anything worth achieving is hard.  You need to find the things that will motivate you when it gets tough.  That’s why I mentioned not worrying about what others will think – because they are likely nowhere to be found when things get tough and you need to work through it.  But having a dream, one that really gets you excited, will.



Once you have your dreams the next step is to convert those to goals.

Dreams will tap into your senses.  The smell of the ocean on your beach vacation.  The taste of the wine when your vacationing in South France.  Seeing the family members you haven’t seen in years.  Dreams are emotional.

Goals are logical.  You need a specific goal.  Something you will know whether you achieved or not.  Within a period of time.

Let’s look at an example…

Say your dream is to take a 10-day Mediterranean cruise.  Your dream may include a vision board with all the sites you want to see.  Maybe you will aside time to plan the excursions you will take.

The goal would be to close two additional transactions netting $10,000 to pay for the cruise, airfare and excursions by Aug 15, 2018.  See, the goal isn’t as sexy.  It isn’t as fun.  But it is specific (two additional transactions netting $10,000) with a specific timeframe (by Aug 15, 2018).

Reflect & Plan

As you reflect on this past year and plan for your next I thought I would share a few resources that we have found helpful in our business and hope they can do the same for you…

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do?  Do you write a business plan?  Set goals, create a vision board?  How do you prepare for the next year?

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