This is the introspective time of the year. Business and busy-ness slow down. The shorter daylight hours and the longer darkness invite us to quiet down and look inward. My yoga teachers have been conspiring with a big dose of Yin Yoga. It is an ideal time to look back at the past year and take stock.
I have never been good about it. Planning for future projects comes to me naturally. Looking back at the past, not so much. Even though I know I can learn from taking stock, I always have this excuse that my time is better used to “execute” more projects. Until this year.
As I have done a lot of “Business Soulwork” over the past 6 months, and fully intend walk my talk of not just growing my business, but also let my business grow me. I set an intention to tie up any energetic loose ends in my work – which requires that I take a step back and review the past 12 months.
I found myself procrastinating – which is very unlike me. I recognized a lot of resistance and I knew there is some inner work to be done. It’s a chance to not only take stock of the year, but also to face any fear that comes with this process.
My biggest fear is to face the disappointment when I look at projects that I planned to implement at the beginning of the year not accomplished. The fear of failure, of not living up to my own expectation… The questioning of my capability.
I brought this up with my coach. After understanding my reluctance, we took a fresh look at my new direction – I want my business to be a full expression of myself. I want to “make art have fun”. I want to my business to support my BEING, not my DOING. If I look at the accomplishments and the “loose ends” from this perspective, what can I learn from them?
Instead of judgment, what if I approach them with CURIOSITY?
I whipped out my business plan I put together at the beginning of last year, and looked at what I wanted to have accomplished.
First, I checked off the ones that are done, and wrote down the results. It is always a good thing to acknowledge and celebrate any success – no matter how small.
Then I took a good and honest look at the unfinished business… Why are they not done?
I grouped them into three categories:
- Projects that are no longer aligned with what I want my business to do for me. They no longer serve me. They will be closed and cease to be a chatter in my mind.
- Projects that are still aligned with my intention yet the right time has not come. They will be left on the docket and I set an intention to be open to opportunities for them to be realized.
- Projects that will take me closer to my goals, and need to be done…. like, yesterday. I need to look into the reason why they were not accomplished – look past the “excuses” I put up for myself (which could be pretty convincing) and uncover the fear and blocks that are holding me back. These gremlins are most likely to be holding me back from other actions and decisions as well.
As you can tell, projects that fell under the third category are great exploration and learning opportunities. Instead of beating myself up, I am using them to help me grow and expand. Of course, getting to the bottom of it is takes ongoing mindfulness and efforts. But now you are aware of what is holding you back, you have a fighting chance to make a change.
Next look at both finished and unfinished projects, as well as the path (and detours) you have taken in the past year – what have you learned about yourself and your business? What fuels your soul (do more of that next year!) and what sucks your energy (cut it out as much as possible)? How can you structure your business and offerings to tap into your brilliance and work in your zone of genius?
I hope I have inspired you to take a look at the past year from a different perspective.
On a more business-y, “bottom-line” level, here are a few more things you can look at while you are at it:
- What product/program launches and promotional efforts (e.g. campaigns to promote your discovery sessions, or JV partnerships) have worked well last year and brought in results such as revenue, list-growth etc.? What are the factors that contributed to the success (e.g. topic covered, program format, pricing, positioning, marketing, timing of the year etc.)? What can you do more of next year to create more successes like this?
- What product/program launches and promotional efforts did not work well? What might be the contributing factors that prevented its success? What are you going to stop doing next year so you can focus more of your time and energy to things that work?
- What products and services have been consistently selling well? How are you going to boost the sales f those products and services (e.g. doing re-launches or evergreen launches)?
Want to take your Business Soulwork + Marketing Activation to the next level in the New Year? It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you DO. If you are ready to rock it out, let’s chat.