“You have to start somewhere. You don’t need perfect – or a lot of money or an investor – you need passion, drive, determination, focus, and execution.”Jaime Cross
I’ve been having some conversations with someone about some potential business opportunities that we could have together. As we’ve gone back and forth, there have been some things come up that I could get real excited about. There is great potential for us to work together and have it turn out very well for both of our companies.
Yesterday I asked to set up a time we could get together to work out some of the details and get going. I was surprised by his response, but as I thought about it, I started to wonder how many other businesses do the same thing he’s doing.
When I asked for the meeting he informed me that he’s swamped right now with things he needs to wrap up before the end of the year. This, I can understand. But it was the next part of the conversation that has been on my mind since we talked. He told me that he’d rather wait until January to meet because their company basically looks at December as a write-off month. He said they all start to get in holiday mode and don’t do much before Christmas, and then as it gets closer to the 25th most of them start booking time off until the end of the year. For those that don’t take the time off, for the amount of work they do they may as well have taken the time off.
Is this how you approach December? I hope not!
Why not use the next 27 days to finish this decade off strong and set up 2020 to be great? What you do this month can really determine how your next year goes. Now is the time to get focused and get a jump start on your competition to start the new year.
If you give the following four areas your best effort, you can end 2019 strong and get a great start on 2020
This is a habit you need to work on daily throughout the year. But as we get closer to the holiday season and the distractions around you increase, you’ll need to be even more disciplined to keep focused
How much time do you actually spend being focused and working? With so many distractions so close to you I can be difficult. Taking a quick look at your inbox can turn into an hour of reading and replying to emails. Looking at one of your social media accounts can turn into mindless scrolling. Phone calls, employees, texts… The list of distractions can go on and on.
Identify the things that distract you and determine how you can prevent it from happening while you put all of your focus into your work for a specific amount of time. Turn off the phone. Close everything on your computer. Lock your door. Do whatever it is that you need to do so that you can completely focus for whatever amount of time you’ve scheduled.
You can start this today by determining your top three priorities for tomorrow. When you start your day tomorrow, your number one task is to complete the things you have identified as your top three priorities. Don’t look at your emails, texts, social media or anything else that will distract you until you accomplish your top three priorities.
Fill up your January calendar now. With so many people wanting to put things off until January, they’re going to be swamped when it rolls around. People are more likely to set January appointments in December than they are in January when things get crazy.
Too many people are just on a day-by-day schedule. They put more time and effort into figuring out their vacation schedule than they do with their daily schedule. Don’t come into Monday and wonder, “what am I going to do this week?” Don’t come into any day without it already being set up and planned.
Someone should be able to take a look at your calendar, and what you are trying to achieve this year is obvious. You have the meetings, events, presentations, follow-up and prep-time scheduled to make you succeed. It’s not about scheduling every second of every day, but it is about moving forward with intent.
What are you doing next Tuesday that is building your business?
Build and Strengthen Relationships
This is a great time of year to make the emotional deposits into your most important personal and professional relationships
Simply taking the time to call someone or take them to lunch can mean a lot to your relationship. Do you or your company give gifts at Christmas? Send cards?
Take some action today. What can you do today to strengthen a specific relationship?
Personal Growth and Development
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey identified Habit 7 as Sharpen the Saw. He said to “seek continuous improvement and renewal professionally and personally.”
As we approach the end of the year, now is a great time to give this some extra attention to help you to be ready for 2020!
How you start 2020 will determine how you finish it.
Schedule some time for reading, attending courses, working with a coach, or anything that is going to help you improve your personal growth and skill development.
Take a look at our Guided Tour and learn how our online coaching system can help you grow and succeed both personally and professionally as you transform your business.
In 27 days we begin a new year. Those 27 days are going to come and go regardless of what you do. Don’t waste them. Do the things that will amplify your business and your life and allow you to finish 2019 strong and to build the momentum you need to begin 2020 and make it great!
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Take a moment and look at your life. The year 2020 is 125 days away. Let that sink in. Is this where you thought you would be in 2020?
When you were a little kid, what did 2020 look like in your mind?
When you were a young adult, what were you going to do with your life by 2020?
What about January 1, 2019? What were you going to accomplish this year?
Many people take a good, hard look at their lives at the end of each year and set their big hairy audacious goals for the coming year, and then they forget about them for eleven and a half months.
Let’s stop right now and take a look at this. If you have been focused and taking massive actions on your 2019 goals, congratulations. Keep it up. I hope you achieve everything you desire.
For everyone else, I want you to look back on the past eight months. What were those goals and desires? What’s held you back from achieving them? Are you even trying to achieve them still?
Now reset. Get your butt back in gear.
Do you realize what is possible in 125 days? Yea, it would be nice if you could just continue off the momentum of the past 240 days, but if they haven’t been as productive as they should have been, don’t give up on the year.
Why do people give up on their goals?
Why is it that someone can get so excited about the goals they want to achieve and then just give up on them?
If you’ve ever been one who set some goals but eventually gave up on them, maybe by recognizing some of these reasons that people quit on their goals will help you the next time to follow all the way thought.
This is by no means the full list of why people give up on their goals, but these are the most common reasons that I’ve seen.
They Care Too Much About What Other People Think
Have you ever been so excited about something that you just can’t wait to tell someone about it? You think it’s an awesome idea and you just can’t wait to share it because you know everyone else will feel the same way as you do. Then with all of your excitement you tell someone and they respond with something like:
“That’s a stupid idea… You could never do that… Yea right, quit dreaming…”
That’s tough. It hurts, it’s deflating. But you can’t let the thoughts or comments from others defeat you. If you believe in something and you really desire it, you have to be ready to deal with negative feedback in a way that won’t throw you off course of discourage you.
Check out Richie Norton’s book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid if you need some encouragement with your “stupid” ideas.
Failure and Discouragement
If you set your goals and you’re working hard to achieve them, does that make you immune to failure? Of course not. When you are working hard towards your goals but you fail, it’s tough. Maybe you’re discouraged. Maybe even embarrassed.
At this point many people tell themselves they gave it their best and it just wasn’t good enough. It’s over.
But it’s not over. All that you did was figured out a way that it wasn’t going to work. Keep your head high and get back to work.
It’s Too Hard
Some people get discouraged when they start to work on their goal and realize that it’s going to be a lot harder than they thought it would be. It’s going to take some work.
When it gets hard some people give up just because they lack the discipline to see it through. Some just don’t want it bad enough.
Focus on your goal and create that burning desire that will help you get through every obstacle and keep you excited when things get tough.
Mindset is everything.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to have a belief in yourself that you can do it.
You have to be able to kick the self-doubt thoughts out of your mind.
You will be amazed at what you can accomplish if you just believe in yourself.
“In order for the transformation of ideas into things to work, a certain amount of belief is required; a certain mindset that lets you know in your heart that you can, and will, achieve what you set out to do.”– Napoleon Hill
For the next 125 days, get control over these four things that can stop you or make you give up on your goals.
Maybe you’re starting from scratch. Who cares. Just start.
In 125 days the year 2020 is going to be here whether you get back on track with your goals or not. On that day are you going to wish you had continued working on your goals or are you going to be proud because you worked so hard on your goals whether you achieved them or not?
Join one of our calls with a FREE trial membership to our Inner Circle Mastermind HERE to learn how to set and stick to your goals while being accountable to other like-minded high achievers.
Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise. That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand. And beware: brands always mean something. If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
- Avoid taking on someone else’s legacy
- If you are in the mood to buy a new business – wait. It can take a long time to change a business culture. Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off starting one from scratch?
- In business, someone who can stay cool and calm under pressure is an asset.
- There’s no rule book. the past is the past. We can’t preserve it
- small, compact companies are, generally better run
- Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.
- Given the right conditions, exceptional people will reveal themselves
- There’s another thing about teams: they don’t last forever
- When the business lets you, shake things up a little
- The best manager is someone who cares about people and who is genuinely interested and wants to bring out the best in them
- A manager should basically be a considerate person who is as interested in the switchboard operator and the person who cleans the lavatories as he or she is in the fellow managers
- A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two
- you can’t dictate attitudes from on high. All you can do is hire the right people and empower them to sort things out as they happen.
- If someone has paid you for something, and it goes wrong, being cagey or defensive will kill you stone dead
- If someone has a lousy experience at your hands, they will warn people
- If you are able to sort out your customers’ problems better than they expected, then they will be your loyal friend for life
- Befriending one’s enemy is a good rule for business – and life
- A brand always means something, and ultimately you can control the meaning of your brand only through what you deliver to customers
- Turnover can be huge, but it is the profit margin that matters
- I learned another key fact about running a business: try to have a plan B
- Publicity is absolutely critical. You have to get your brand out and about
- A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a full-page ad, and a damn sight cheaper
- it is sometimes better to follow a pioneer than be a pioneer
- Maintaining a consistent tone in the face of rapid growth was a key requirement
- You can’t restructure culture. If you’ve burnt people, if you’ve killed their enthusiasm or commitment, then changing office space or putting a few more dollars in their pocket will not unduly affect the culture that exists
- Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise. That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand. And beware: brands always mean something. If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
- Don’t waste your precious time. Phone calls and emails can eat your day. Don’t let them. No one will think less of you for getting to the point.
- I advise every owner of a company to keep a notebook and jot down the things that need doing
- You must never forget that every change ushers in unforeseen consequences
- Success one day does not give you a free lunch every day thereafter
- We’ve started, so we’ll finish
- Never imagine that you are immune from big events. Make your small decisions in the light of the bigger picture, and you are at least pointing your craft in the right direction to ride out any storm
- One business mantra remains embedded in my brain – protect the downside
- Remember to communicate, and pay attention to detail
- Don’t be afraid of changing your bank if they are unreasonable. Banks are not for life. But don’t put it off till the last minute
- Out of recession, new ideas and new business often grow
- If you are a late entrant to the market, you need to be radically different to win over customers.
- If you rip off the customer, then you will destroy the integrity of the brand
- When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity
- You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business
- It’s easy – too easy, in fact – to relinquish your responsibility for your idea to experts. This is almost always a mistake, because experts are only experts in their field. They’re not experts in your idea. At this stage, the only person qualified to assess your idea is you
- You need to flesh out your own ideas. You need to do your own research. You need to take responsibility for how you plan to turn an idea into action
- Keep a cool head. You’re in business to deliver change, and if you succeed, the chances that no one will get hurt are virtually zero. This is the rough and tumble of business. Be sportsmanlike, play to win, and stay friends with people wherever possible. If you do fall out with someone, ring them a year later and take them out to dinner. Befriend your enemies.
- Being a well funded company puts you at a tremendous advantage
- Never do anything that means you can’t sleep at night
- You can’t protect yourself against the unexpected, so you need to keep your house in as good an order as you can. If disaster strikes, you don’t want to find yourself doing twelve things at once and misprioritising them in public. It’s vital, therefore, that you take control of your internal business risks – the ones you can influence.
- I think it is counterproductive to be ruthless. You’ve got to treat people as you would yourself, or better
- You definitely should get the best people around you when confronted with a serious problem. Don’t try to deal with it all by yourself. Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice.
- If you drive down the retail price fast enough when you are the dominant player, you never allow anyone else to catch up because they can’t make enough money. It requires the dominant player to be brave, because it can mean cannibalizing your existing sales by dropping the retail price. (i.e. Apple and the iPod)
- Protect your reputation. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
- If you’re hurt, lick your wounds and get up again. If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward.
- The best, most solid way out of a crisis in a changing market is through experiment and adaption.
- Innovation is what you get wen you capitalize on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.
- True leadership must include the ability to distinguish between real and apparent danger.
- You need to understand the challenges to your enterprise and face up to them. Equally, you have to resist the temptation to overreact at the first sign of trouble.
- Every business plan should include: “This company will have lots and lots of parties and social get-togethers.”
- The creator’s job is to find someone with expertise who understands the vision and is prepared to follow the path.
- If you can keep the business relatively small, people will know each other within the organisation and feel like part of the team.
- Decent leadership is about explaining clearly and unemotionally why a decision has been taken.
- Failure is not giving things a go in the first place.
- Only a fool never changes his mind.
- DON’T BRING ME YOUR PROBLEMS – BRING ME THE SOLUTIONS
- It is possible to turn a profit while making the world a better place.
- What can you do to make a difference?
- One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! – Sir Winston Churchill
- Don’t forget to listen
- It is important to look for one’s strengths – to try to excel at what you’re good at.
- What you’re bad at actually doesn’t interest people, and it certainly shouldn’t interest you.
- So don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence
- Success for me is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.
This list is at the end of a previous post, Review Notes from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, but I wanted to add it here to keep it separate for reference.
Many of these top 17 books are some that I have already read. But for those that I have not, they are next on my list. If you’re interested in any of them click on their title or join Audible and listen to them. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
In addition to this list, there are a number of other great books listed in Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Check it out, it’s a great book.
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harai
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert Cialdini
- Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
- Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P Feynman
- The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss
- The Bible
- The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- Watchmen by Alan Moore
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Black Masters.
Back in February of 2013 I posted about an article that Business in Focus Magazine wrote about myself and Kodiak Mountain Stone. In November of this year they wrote a follow-up article which can be found at the following link:
Once again, thank you to the staff at Business In Focus Magazine. They were great to work with.