I've never been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions (thus my post last Monday), but I got massively inspired by this article by Eric T. Wagner at Forbes magazine on what to do instead of resolutions and goals. This idea is based on creating three concepts rather than a list of goals. At DrivenWoman we believe you need both (a bigger concept or vision that you break into tangible & actionable short term goals). But I wanted to test out the concept part for myself this year. So here it goes...
Instead of a list of goals pick three words that describe that you want to achieve or how you want to feel during the year. So instead of saying you want to loose 10kg you will pick a word 'green' because it describes what you need do, ie. you should eat more greens if you are to achieve your goal.
Here are my three words: Accept, Connect, Create value.
This is what I mean by each word.
When I'm involved in a business either as a creator and a founder (such as DrivenWoman) or as a main stake holder and a co-owner (such as Nordic Bakery) I get extremely inpatient. Things just never go fast enough for me. I'm already light years ahead and I'd like the business to be too, but no matter how much I push I have to accept a certain natural, organic, phase for growth. Things have to be built one brick at the time. I'm going to accept that this year.
This is the year when I'm going to connect with everyone I ever wanted to connect. Or at least I'm going to try. They can always turn me down, (and then I will try again later). I want to make my world bigger! It will be good for the business (if any of the new connections will agree to help us). But more importantly one shouldn't be afraid to ask. You are afraid to ask when you think other people have something you don't, when you think they have the secret sauce. Well, I have finally found the secret sauce (there isn't any!) and I find myself in a spot where I can approach anyone as an 'equal'. I will be proud of my abilities and what I'm about. I will stand tall and won't be intimidated by the fact that the people I want to talk to are smarter, wealthier and more famous than me. I want to connect and help others regardless of their 'level'. I believe you have to connect with people who are 'bigger' than you in order to learn and to grow. But at the same time you must seek to offer a hand to those who are just starting their journey so that one day they can help someone else. To my kids I'd teach that this is the circle of life :).
I'm going to look at everything through a critical lens of 'value creation'. Is this relevant? Is my customer getting something better out of this? I'll be seeking feedback ruthlessly. I want to continue to have open conversations with our members to really understand where we can bring most value and push them forward the best possible way. (All feedback welcome at all times girls!!)
2) Create systems
To bring your concepts into completion you must create systems! You can promise yourself all sorts of things but do absolutely nothing. As the DrivenWoman saying goes "You are what you do, not what you say you do!" The idea is that you build systems around your core themes. This means putting things into your calendar and sticking to it. Or going to the nearby cafe to write your book because you can't do it at home. Or getting fit by buying a dog because you have to walk it every day. Basically you need to create the schedule and surroundings that make you do what you said you were going to do.
We've created a system for our members to commit to their concepts (or goals or vision or how ever they want to call getting over struggles to create a bigger life). That actually summarises what DrivenWoman is all about. It's a system that makes sure you make your dreams reality!
I've always been good in creating systems be it 'the running slot in the morning' or 'only eat vegetables' by only buying vegetables from Ocado! My work time is pretty regimented already. All I need to do to systemise the above concepts is to slot them into my schedule. The first one is more of a mental state so I'll be reminding myself about my pledge of Acceptance every time I get too anxious. To Connect, I will schedule a day a month to research new connections and a day to make calls and send emails. The Value creation is build into the DrivenWoman way of doing things with repeated member surveys, but I will also be seeking ways to find out what women in general are looking for, why are they not living the life they want, what is making them stuck and what are the biggest excuses. Any feedback is warmly welcome!
3) Let the house burn down
This is the part I loved in the Forbes article and I think it's the one where most people fail. Don't let anyone disturb you when you are at it. When you are working on your project, your dream, your goal, your what-ever-it-is-that-eventually-involves-a-bigger-life for you and people around you - don't let anyone disturb you! You have to be ruthless in your ways to protect your space. For some reason we women suck at this. We don't protect our projects. We let life's pressures push us off course. It doesn't happen in days or hours, our dreams get crushed daily in a matter of seconds! All it takes is someone to ask our help.
You must put your foot down, you must project your dream. It's difficult to do a 180° turn and change from the most nurturing super mama to a hard business chic. Or from the best friend who is always at hand to the one who has her own projects. It's an evolution.
My advice is to start softly and slowly, to let people around you know what you are going to do. You should tell them what is important to you and why it is important. You should involve them in your dream, tell them about the bigger picture and the implications. Then start with a small time slot. "I'd like to work on my book one full evening a week. Can you have the kids please? I don't want to be disturbed. You can interrupt me only if the house is on fire!" Once you have nailed this time slot down you can slowly increase it. But remember to negotiate the whole year's slots in one go!
As you might have guessed, this part is not going to be difficult for me. I've educated my surroundings well and I don't ask for permission or apologise for my work. I firmly state I'm working and should not be disturbed. I've let my kids understand that work is important for humans, and in my case it makes me happy and that I'm passionate about what I'm doing. I'm also cutting everything that is not absolutely critical out of my schedule. But more on that topic another time.
Next week you will hear Jennifer's three words and how she's going to make them stick in 2014.
Please share your three words or good tips for creating systems in the comments below!