Take stock before moving on to the next big thing

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Wow – what a year! One of the busiest yet (and that’s saying something)!

I was about to beat myself up for not writing a blog for the last five months, and then I heard the words I tell my clients – that is, make sure you take time to stop and acknowledge what you have done rather than dwell on all that you haven’t.

Too often I see people who are thinking about the next big thing, the next challenge, without taking stock and celebrating what they have just achieved.

So the summer break might be a good time to reflect on achievements, and also what there is to be grateful for.

Personally, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself and my business and I know I’ve been at risk of not following my own advice.

This has been the busiest year yet in business, seeing a record number of clients with much of the year booked out two months in advance. On the home front, over the last five months we sold our apartment, bought and renovated a 100 year old house and opened a Bed and Breakfast.

So yes, this time I will reflect on those achievements before moving on to the next big thing, but also acknowledging others that have had a part to play.

I’m feeling grateful for my coaching clients who enable me to be in business doing work I love. I’m really humbled when I read emails from clients’ about how their lives have changed.

“Thank you for helping me believe in myself again” – from one whose confidence had taken a huge knock after a promotion to a role that was not a right fit and left unsupported to struggle through it. She was emailing to tell me about her new job.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you so much... because of you I know I can do this!” – from another whose confidence had also been at an all-time low after staying too long in a dysfunctional workplace and wondered if she would ever muster the courage to leave.

And then there was the client who was on the verge of burnout when he first contacted me, doing 70-hour plus weeks under a tyrant of a boss. “Do you think maybe I just need to harden up?” he had asked, seriously doubting he had any other options. By the time he finished the sessions he had quit and secured a new job with reasonable hours, a company car and a pay rise.

Running a business (or two!) can be overwhelming if you are not careful, and as well as acknowledging achievements, I always advise clients thinking of going out on their own to think carefully about how they might be a good boss to themselves and not over-do the work hours – a trap that’s easy to fall into when you are working on something you are passionate about.

One of the ways in which I chose to manage the workload in the latter part of this year was to put some things on hold. So, apologies to all those who signed up to receive regular blogs, but I’m afraid time with a paint brush and coordinating tradies took priority! Instead, here are five tips from one of my busiest years in business – one for every month I missed writing a blog.

1 LEADERSHIP TIP:

The adage that you should treat others as you would like to be treated, should be applied not only if you manage other people, but also if you are managing yourself. Would you berate your staff if they worked every daylight hour and didn’t quite tick off the 100th thing on the ‘to do’ list? Would you neglect to reward them for a job well done at the end of a huge project? If you are self-employed, remember to be a kind boss and celebrate your achievements.

2 CONFIDENCE TIP:

As I often tell clients who are contemplating a career change or moving into self employment, a cruel fact of life is that the closer you get to finding something you really want to do, the more fear and anxiety you will have. That’s because it matters deeply to you, and you have something to lose. If you didn’t care it would be easy. So don’t read the fear as a sign that it’s the wrong thing to do. Have the courage to push through the fear and make that new opportunity or idea a reality. The pay-offs will be worth it in the end.

3 MOTIVATION TIP:

When you are striving to achieve something you care about, have some kind of visual reminder of the end goal you are aiming for, so that when the going gets tough, you can stay on track. I’m keen on vision boards, but whatever works for you. Having something to remind you of the ‘why’ will help you persevere.

4 TIME MANAGEMENT TIP:

When you block out your electronic calendar with ‘Busy’ to avoid interruptions or people booking appointments with you, remember to turn off alerts. That way you will avoid being interrupted by calendar reminders telling you you’re about to be busy!

5 STRESS MANAGEMENT TIP:

When you are juggling numerous balls in the air and under pressure, be careful who you take your stress out on. For example, this could be the exact wrong time to call your gas, phone or electricity supplier to sort out supply agreements. The loved ones of the person on call centre duty that day will thank you for not traumatizing their relative. After all, it’s really not their fault.

That’s it from me for 2018. I’ll be back on 9 January, so get in touch if you’d like to make an appointment for the New Year. Best wishes for a wonderful summer and a fabulous 2019 – may it be the year in which all your dreams come true!


About the author: Lucy Sanderson-Gammon, MBA, is a Wellington-based career coach helping mid-career professionals who have fallen out of love with their jobs to find meaningful work. She also provides career development for those who want to get ahead at work or make a transition after redundancy.