With September just around the corner, I’m hearing from lots of clients and group members that they’re just feeling a bit overwhelmed and in a bit of a panic. They’re feeling behind – they didn’t achieve what they thought they would over the summer – and they’re diving in too quickly to their to-do lists.
I’m not one to avoid a to-do list (most of the time, anyway), but when you’re flapping around, a little panicky, and trying to catch up on everything all at once, there’s a better way.
That better way is to set some business goals or – my preference – intentions.
I’ve never felt particularly good at setting goals. They’re too finite and, to me, they feel like they’re setting me up to fail.
I much prefer a set of intentions, a clear focus for my energy, that keeps me headed in the right direction.
(If you like setting goals, go ahead. If you like calling it something else, use that. What I’m trying to say is, you get to choose what works best for you.)
September is a fabulous time to set some intentions, and works especially well for makers and retail businesses because Christmas (a peak sales time) is coming up. Even if you’re not seasonally driven, there’s a back-to-school feeling that can give us focus.
January is now quite far away, so while you may have set some great intentions or goals for the year as a whole, things have likely come up that need reviewing. Plus, it’s way easier to set and keep intentions for four months, rather than 12!
I think it’s especially important if you’ve had time off or have been juggling childcare over the summer to take a breath before you blindly go back to “normal”. First of all, you need a moment to shift gears. Second, you probably need to review what your priorities are.
I’d wager most of us have probably overestimated what we could achieve in the year so far. That’s okay. It’s not a problem. But it does mean we need to make more conscious choices as we go forth into the final months of the year.
Prioritise a clarity session with yourself
Some time in the next couple of weeks – maybe on 1st September, or perhaps when the kids are back at school – schedule an hour or two to have a clarity session.
Go to a coffee shop or close the door on your office. Whatever gives you time and space to focus on you.
Turn off your phone and close down your tabs. Paper and pen are great because they’ll keep you focused (not checking emails).
Sip on a cup of coffee, tea or other deliciousness. Write down or simply notice how awesome it is to be giving yourself and your business this dedicated planning time. Notice your breath. Maybe deepen it a little.
And then answer these questions:
- Out of 5, how would you rate the year so far? (5 is awesome, 1 is not great)
- Where would you like to be by the end of the year?
- What would a 5 (or your ideal number) look like and feel like? Really try to feel this one in your body. Close your eyes and let yourself sink into how it will feel. This can really help you to clarify what you want.
- How will you know you’ve reached it? Maybe you’ll know if you hit a turnover number or income level. Maybe you’ll know if you get great feedback. Maybe it’ll be a feeling – but be specific about that feeling.
- What do you need to focus on? Maybe it’s connection – connecting with customers who love your products. Maybe it’s efficiency, or enthusiasm, or making consistent progress. Maybe it’s a certain product range or service offering.
- What do you need to let go of? This question is so often the key to success, because we try to do more than what’s physically possible. What are you willing to postpone, put down or delegate in order to remain focused?
- Why do you want to get to your 5, your goal, your intention? This is your motivation. It’s not easy to stay motivated, but if we’re clear on why we want it, it can keep us moving forward.
- What’s in your way? Write down three things that are holding you back, and brainstorm a few ideas to shift them.
- Is there anything that you’re focusing on because you think you “should”? These are other people’s expectations, or perhaps some comparison! Check in on what’s authentically going to give you what you want.
There are no right answers to any of these questions, so let yourself explore them, and add more for yourself if they’re coming up.
Once you’ve circled in on your intentions for the next few months, write them down and put them somewhere you can see them. Make sure your notes are somewhere you can refer to them.
It takes courage to stay on track, to keep focused, to stay true to your own success metrics. Make sure you’re congratulating yourself for every small step in the right direction. I fully believe in you.
A couple of ways you can get support: sign up for coaching for six sessions (you can use your sessions over six weeks or 12 months), get group coaching, or start 2019 with stronger intentions and focus by booking my annual January retreat.
I’d love to know your intentions for the last part of the year! Drop me an email and let me know your plans.
Here’s to us,