2019 was an amazing year. My growth as an individual, coach, and entrepreneur still astonishes me. With my north star in place, I started the year with a definite vision and clarity on where to focus my efforts. My goals were achieved in part by adopting the four habits below. Focus, experimenting, reflecting, and going big are habits that I share with you to master in 2020.
Focus Your Message: Hub & Spoke
In 2018 I tested various concepts and relearned some long-standing principles -focus your message and get a niche. Having a defined vision and a focused message set the tone for who I collaborated with, which clients I worked with, and how I would be of service when I volunteered my time.
The vision and message served as a hub. My spokes, any professional endeavors, had to be strongly connected. By checking all efforts against my hub, I ensured a strong link, good fit, and efficient use of my time. If I found myself going down a road or entertaining a project or proposal that was interesting but not immediately connected, then I reset my course. This approach helped me manage what could have felt overwhelming.
As an entrepreneur, it will be very tempting to take advantage of many opportunities that aren’t closely linked to your core efforts. As an example, early in 2019, I started receiving requests for consulting opportunities in my former area of expertise, marketing and CRM. There were options on the table to work with great, known brands and make a pretty penny. Tempting as it was, I walked away from those opportunities, which reaffirmed my strategy. Had I not, I would have blocked my time and missed out on opportunities to coach, partner with higher education universities and deliver workshops.
Experimentation: The Way of Allowing
This deep focus gave me a sense of surety, the freedom to play and experiment, deepen my coaching skills, and progress as an entrepreneur. In my former marketing roles, running projects allowed me to satiate my need to manage the process and make sure all went according to plan. On occasion, I could be likened to a control freak. When I had my project manager hat on that was great and what was needed. Yet, as an entrepreneur with a fledgling practice, I am still building my process and project managing my process was and still is stifling. Instead, I adopted the way of allowing.
With my north star set and a way to check my course along the way, I gave myself permission and leeway to experiment. And I am better for it. It helped me discover a new passion for embracing vulnerability and working with and through impostor syndrome. It also served me in developing awesome partnerships with Rutgers University, The New School IEI Fellowship, and Declare.
Naturally, I am both a leader and a collaborator. Both of these aspects were strengthened by having the space to play. In the end, I developed and delivered better leadership training, improved my business development skills, and gained partners to bounce ideas off of -support every entrepreneur and leader should have.
Experimentation and the way of allowing opened me up to growth, success, and a great blueprint to enter into year three of Adept Flow.
Reflection: A Key to Self-Awareness
Reflection has been an ongoing theme since I was a child. My mom would tell me to reflect on my actions. While she typically said this when she was reprimanding me, as I matured I extended it to other aspects of my life. Reflection is my key to increasing self-awareness. Peter F. Drucker’s book, Managing Oneself is a great quick and easy book to read or listen to. In it, he speaks to comprehending and knowing how you learn. The idea is that once you know your learning and processing styles, incorporate that into your routine. This helped me a lot last year. Through my moments of contemplation, I would make minor adjustments to my approach, which paid off.
What did this look like on a tactical level? After most client sessions and meetings I made the time to review and edit my notes and plan the best approach. For workshops or speaking events, I reviewed elements like: the value attendees gained, if the event was well produced, if I would partner with the organization again, and the content and delivery changes I would make. This feedback loop helped me improve my craft, which in turn improved my practice.
Earnest conversations was another area where reflection showed up. Letting myself be vulnerable in these conversations allowed me to acknowledge my blind spots and what was working well. It allowed me to review with more objectivity my business operations.
The habit of reflection has supported me in being a stronger leader, a better entrepreneur, and a powerful coach.
I meditate and have off and on for over 20 years. My meditation practice has evolved over time, especially as an entrepreneur. It supports my self-care and development needs, amongst other things. So, why do I mention this in relation to going big? Meditation helps calm me down and focus my thoughts, which allows me to work through any fear, negative self-talk, or procrastination. In late September, I began actively committing to certain mindset and behavior shifts. That was when I made a commitment to go big. When I made this pledge to myself and began living that new mindset I realized that for me the risks of playing it comfortable versus playing it big were not drastically different, but the upside was. Playing it big leaves me feeling more confident, energized, and motivated. If and when I failed, I felt less bummed than anticipated. I was evermore curious to understand why I had failed and would plan how I could improve and succeed.
I hope you found value in these four habits and will experiment with some of them yourself.
Share in the comments what insights you’ve learned in 2019.
Wishing you a phenomenal 2020.
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