This summer was bliss-y. My husband was home and we pulled our daughter from daycare, so between BBQs, cottage time and chasing the ice cream truck around the ‘hood, it was juuuust about right. And long enough. So I’m thrilled that fall is here. It’s my favourite season. Apples + cheddar. Warm days + cool nights. Everything feels brighter, and crisper. Clearer.

On top of that, my husband’s in a fabulous new job (yay him) and daughter is settling in to grade 1 (yay her), so I am pretty excited to devote my attention, fully and completely, to my business (yay me). {Disclaimer - I continued to love and coach my clients throughout the hazy lazy days…I just wasn’t working on anything new}.

So as I am getting refocused on my business, revving up my engine, it’s not surprising that my entrepreneur clients are wanting the same. And when I ask what they want coaching on in this session, invariable they say:

I want to focus on focus.

YA BABY! Let's get started! Let's get specific! Let's clamp down!

But wait.

The paradox of focus, is that to be focused, we need step way, WAYYYYY back and a meta-view of who we are and where we are going.

Who are you?

Who are you in this world? Your values will tell you. They’re the things that make you fundamentally who you are at your core. They are the bricks in the glorious and utterly unique house of you.

Knowing what your values are will help you to make soulful decisions for your business. {And soulful decisions, by the way, generally translate to cash.}

I’ve written before about some values clarification tools that will help. (I like to help…it’s a core value of mine).

Also notice who you admire and why. What do they stand for? Likely rooted in there are some of your values.

Once you’ve gained on your values, start to notice what might be missing for you right now.

For instance: my plans for the next two months involve a lot of writing and one-on-one coaching. Which fully honours my values of connection and creativity. Awesome. But performance and leadership is missing. So, it’s time to start booking some speaking gigs. Check!

Lean into the values that aren’t being honoured in your business. Notice how exciting that feels. Pretty hard to not focus on something that feels exciting, non?

Where are you going?

If you don't know where you are heading, then you don’t know which way to go.

This ain’t rocket science (and yet…)

Get clear on your vision.* What do you want for your business? What feelings do you want to experience? What is your dream for your business? Get as granular as you like (say, a vision for your products or services, your employee relations, your community contribution, etc). Whatever works for you.

Create a vision statement, a vision board, a manifesto…SOMETHING to keep your vision top of mind.

Now your action is intentional and keeps you pointed in the right direction.

So we're fired up, we have our vision. It's completely aligned with our values and we know where we're going. We are stoked and ready to try it all! So many shiny things…where to start?!!

VROOM VROOM

Action and motivation are like two buddies egging each other on at a frat house kegger. Being in action is motivating and this motivation stimulates the urge for action. We surf this powerful momentum and pile on the action because it’s all so tasty: new opportunities, new partners, new projects, oh my!

And THEN?????

OOPS happens

Like another 4-letter word, it is messy stuff. OOPS = over-operational planning syndrome.

Our momentum takes a nosedive. Action and motivation part ways to down some aspirin and snore off the effects of the kegger.

Call it the Dastardly Dip, call it what you will.

As a coach, my role is to be aware of that effect and help my clients to trim the wings before the nosedive.

Here’s how.

Yes’s and No’s

Making room for your vision to flourish, you probably need to start saying “no”. Most of us do. So you can say “yes” to the brightest possible version of your life and business.

Elegant in its simplicity. (And yet…)

You may choose to get rid of the ugly chair, to make space for the stunning one you’ve always wanted. Is that a partner? A product? A supplier?

You may need to say “no” to some customers. If you find that you are not giving the best of yourself, get curious about why. And know that your industry is too small for you to not be giving the best of yourself. It may well be them, or it may be you, but if there’s not a fit, the outcomes will be dire. That = bad business.

Lovingly and supportively release them into the arms of a colleague who may be better suited to them. And spend that found energy on finding your RIGHT people, and having them find you. Motivation restored. Back to action. But what actions?

Decision-making Matrix

A while back, I was in a program with Pam Slim and Chris Guillebeau (LOVE). I was introduced to another elegantly simple exercise. I’ve adapted it to suit my business and share (with permission from Chris) with my clients. Feel free to email me for a copy.

Draw a table. 6 columns by 6 rows. In the left hand column, list the projects that are sitting on your chest that may or may not want to get started. (Only consider projects that are in alignment with your values…but you knew that already, didn’t you?)

Fill the next 5 columns with filters that work for you. I use Vision (how aligned with my vision is this project…see why vision is critical?) + Interest (how excited am I to tackle this project?) + Profitability (how much cash will it bring in?) - Effort (how much time and energy will it take?) = Grand Total. Swap/add filters as you like (Reach may be more important to you than Profitability).

Subjectively rate each project on a scale of 1-5 (5 being highest). This simple exercise intended to get you clearer on what wants to happen in your business soonest. If you need to cut a project or two, pick the lowest. If you can only take on one right now, pick the highest. The rest can be put on a shelf with no remorse…you get to revisit them when the time’s right. So that “no” can become a “not right now”.

Buddy up

Holding a vision as big of yours is pretty weighty stuff. Who else can help you to hold it? A coach? Mastermind group? Accountability partner? Advisory Board? Assess your support network and consider how having someone else help you hold your vision will keep you on track.

You are one lean, mean, focused machine. Vroom vroom, indeed.

* - My new offering can help with this: The Clarity Session

6 Comments