It’s January – a new year and a new start – full of hope and promise and resolutions to do more and be better. The vast majority of people have already broken the resolutions they made to themselves on January 1st. Not me though…and before you think that sounds more than a little pompous, that’s because I don’t start with resolutions until the day I come back to work. Too much partying still left to do (I am Scottish after all, and my birthday is on Hogmanay!). So, an hour in on the first day of keeping my resolutions and I am doing pretty good…so far…
Like all entrepreneurs, no doubt you have big dreams and huge hairy goals for your business this year. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. Aim high. If you set big stretching long-term goals you will achieve more than by setting yourself easy mediocre goals. Think about it. Set the bar at achieving a turnover of say £100,000 this year and maybe you will achieve £60,000 (or whatever parameter is important to you in terms of defining success). It’s still way better than setting your goal at £20,000 turnover and being delighted at achieving £30,000.
But it’s important to set short, long and medium term goals: we all overestimate what we can achieve in a year, and underestimate what we can achieve in three years. And this really comes down to the effect of compounding. All the little lessons you learn, the wins you have, the experience you gain, the contacts you make, they all add up over time. This time next year you will know a whole lot more than you do right now. Tasks that seem really hard today will be a cinch in six months time. Consistent sustainable steps taken every day will add up – far better an approach than throwing everything at your business and collapsing in a messy heap after three months of a soul-busting schedule and unrealistic expectations. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon (and it’s not even really that, it’s a relay race, but more on that another time).
And in all this, be aware that things will go wrong and YOU WILL FAIL. Products won’t work, deals won’t happen, deadlines will be missed, people will screw up, you will screw up. That is perfectly ok and to be expected. Failure is an inherent part of innovation and growing a business. Without failure there is no innovation.
What’s not ok is if you take any failure personally, get defensive about it and give up. It took me a long, long time to realise this, but it truly is all about your mindset. You must look at any failure or setback dispassionately, take the emotion out of it and be objective. What are the lessons to be learned and how can I improve on this next time? You will feel a lot better if you treat any failure as just one wrong move in a big game of fun, rather than an excuse to down tools because everything went badly wrong and “you are just not good enough”. By all means have a wee pity party for a night when things go wrong, but get back out there the next day and try again.
So, here’s to your big juicy goals, and all your successes – and failures – this year!