11th September, 2019

September… stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favourite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”

Stephen King

September often feels like a new start. Not quite the New Year/new me/new beginning of January 1st (jam packed with totally unattainable diet and fitness-based resolutions) but a definite opportunity to take renewed action in our lives and to kick-start the engine again after an extended summer break.

It’s reminiscent of a new term at a new school, with new uniforms, fresh stationery and organised school bags (without long lost bananas that have become host to brand new life forms)…  and it’s not just the ‘back to school’ feeling that signals change; September marks the start of Autumn and a transition into cooler, shorter days.  These periods of transition are a great time to stop for a moment and reflect on the year to date. What has been successful in 2019 so far? What really didn’t work out as you had anticipated? What would you have done differently? What goals have you met? Which goals are you still working towards (and are you on track to meet them in a timely manner)? Perhaps the goalposts have changed and you need to adjust your plans accordingly? Businesses aren’t static entities – they grow and change constantly, though progress isn’t always a straight line. By taking time out to re-assess and re-evaluate your business goals regularly throughout the year, you can make sure that you are still working towards the ‘ideal business’ that works for you and fits in with your unique needs; you don’t have to have a 100-strong workforce, to be regularly invoicing 6-figures per month, or to have won an armful of shiny business awards in the first 9 months of 2019 for it to have been a success – it’s all relative and ultimately, as long as your business is turning over enough to sustain your financial needs (or is working towards it!) then you are on the right track.

Think of September as an annual check in. Buy the new stationary, the notepads and #AllThePens. Take a moment to think about both the positives and negatives of the year so far and try to build on the good stuff for the last few months of the year.  That being said, it’s important to pace yourself so the chances of burning out from an unsustainable energy surge are minimised. Understand what is manageable and set achievable and realistic goals for the final quarter of 2019 and be sure to acknowledge both the little successes as well as the big wins – trust me, running a business is a challenge and every positive deserves to be celebrated. 

Just remember, keep those business goals;

*Specific - no hugely non-specific ‘I want world peace’ type goals without providing a little more detail.

*Measurable - make sure that your goal is easy to measure so that you can tell whether you are on track to meet it, or not!

*Achievable - though aiming for consistent 7-figure turnover weeks might be your ultimate aim, it might not be an achievable goal for you at the moment if you don’t have the marketing budget and business systems and processes in place to support that at the moment.

*Realistic – again, building your next office on the moon may be a wonderful dream, but how likely is that to actually happen before Christmas?

*Timely – give yourself a deadline to either achieve your business goal or to review again; quarterly reviews work really well, from my experience!

September is a valuable month within our businesses. Let’s make it count!


 

 

 

 

Motivational quotes – do they really work?

 

In a town local to me, work has just finished on a public space in front of a large new commercial and residential development.  It looks much nicer than the car park that was there previously and as I walked across it recently I realised that the footpaths are filled with motivational sayings – you know the sort, ‘Reach for the Moon and if you fail you’ll end up amongst the stars!’ and that kind of thing. I appreciate the sentiment (but not the spelling and grammatical errors that the footpath proof-reader clearly overlooked), but I don’t think it had the desired effect on me; I didn’t feel motivated or challenged by the words – indeed, I feel as though I’m constantly bombarded in my personal and professional life by vacuous motivational or inspirational sayings that realistically aren’t going to provide any value in my personal and professional development.

 

As a result, I purposefully went on a search for some advice that I think is valuable, and came across a couple of gems from Thomas Edison (he of incandescent lightbulb fame – though he acquired 1093 other patents too):

 

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-it-iveness; third, common sense”

 

From my first-hand experience, running a successful business cannot be directly attributed to fairy dust and positive vibes (though I’m sure they do help).  Making mistakes and, more importantly, recognising them and learning from them is a huge part of professional growth.  As is the ability to stick with something even when things aren’t necessarily going to plan.

 

But do motivational quotes really work? According to an article by Gwen Moran for Fast Company (source: https://www.fastcompany.com/3051432/why-inspirational-quotes-motivate-us), they do!

 

“Humans are aspirational. We want to look up to role models and leaders and follow what they ask…Leaders and their words– inspirational quotes– affect us on a primal level.” Scott Sobel, Founder of Media and Communications Strategies, Inc., Washington DC.

 

Do you have any inspirational quotes or motivational sayings that particularly resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and recommendations!).

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