I started 2012 with a week long Buddhist meditation retreat – the purpose of which was to clear my mind and, as my teacher says ” see the wood from the trees”. If you are lost in a forrest which is the best way out? Blindly hacking away at the undergrowth hoping you will find your way, or climbing a tree to gain a bigger perspective so you can plan a route out?
Does this sound like how you run your business?
We spend most our time doing, doing, doing without ever seeing the bigger picture – putting our life into perspective and finding out if all the “doing” is actually getting us anywhere!
The purpose of retreat (from any/no faith perspective) is to step back from the busyness of life and take stock. It gives us breathing space and time to rest from the constant demands of everyday existence. We are able to see in a new way, gain a fresh view of our day to day activities and figure out where we are going.
Unhappy with the direction your business is going – want to forge a new path?
To change direction we have to see where we are right now. What we are thinking and doing. Since everything starts with a thought it’s good to work out in which direction your mind is heading.
Ideas are formed in our imagination, turning into a wish if we really want something to happen. If our wish is strong enough our actions will follow in the same direction and we will accomplish what we set out to do. (To use an analogy from my teacher: a building starts in the imagination of an architect, who then draws up a blueprint, which in turn is followed by the builder who constructs the finished building). Everything HAS to start in our mind…
If we want to change direction, our wish has to be strong enough – as the saying goes “old habits die hard” – we have to really get behind our desire to change. From this wish we will easily develop a plan – we need our blueprint, just as the architect does to create a new building.
A plan helps us to see where we are going and measure how far we are along our chosen path. In the beginning it can seem a daunting prospect – our destination is a long way from where we are right now. It’s useful to acknowledge even our first “baby steps” along our chosen route – encouragement keeps us motivated and helps us stay on track.
Do we have to do this all on our own?
In the end it is only us who can actually make changes in our life. Unfortunately there is no-one who can just “wave a magic wand” and get you from here to there without you putting in any effort on your part!
However, we can get support to help us in our new direction. In my meditation I have the support of my teacher and my fellow classmates on our study programme (my meditation community).
In my business I get support in a number of ways. From time to time I work with a coach, I am part of a business mentoring group, and I take time to develop relationships with other business owners so we can support each other in our business plans.
Who can you enlist to help you in your new direction for 2012?
Do you need to learn new skills to help you reach your new destination? Seek out someone who can teach or mentor you, or find out what classes are available (off or online) to support your change.
Maybe you just want some moral support along the way? Ask a fellow business colleague if they are interested in developing a peer-support relationship so you can help each other stay on track during the change process.
You can of course also work with a coach – ideally, someone who has business experience combined with training in coaching skills, (they may or may not have trodden the path you are embarking upon) and is able to give you impartial support – including challenge, feedback, a fresh perspective, and encouragement on your journey.
Are you being true to yourself?
Coming full circle to seeing the bigger picture – do your business plans mesh with your ideas for how you want your life to be? I believe, this question can only really be answered at a gut-level. We need to ask ourselves how it FEELS when we think about our business journey. Are we making decisions based on what we “think” (or are told) we should be doing, or are we making decisions that are aligned with our values about how we want to live our life?
Everyone needs clients/customers to buy our services/products – so we need to ensure that what we are offering is what people actually want, and that they are happy to part with cash for it as well. (Not to put a damper on ideas, but this can sometimes get overlooked in the excitement of developing something new!)
However, when we are providing a service/product that we love – when our business makes our “heart sing” – we will feel engaged and motivated to develop and grow our business, and marketing will become a natural process of simply enjoying talking about what we love to do.
I’d love to hear about your business plans for 2012 – feel free to add your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Photo credit: feral rogue