By Hilary Johnson – Entrepreneur Coach & Founder of Hatch Tribe
There’s something magical about the New Year. It’s full of energy, excitement, renewal, and we often dream of fresh starts and new beginnings. We set resolutions and intentions to guide the year ahead, yet often within weeks we lose sight of those well-intended plans. You’ve been there and done that.
Yet you know within you is the capacity for big change, evolution, and pursuing greatness beyond your wildest dreams. So maybe this is the year you ditch the resolutions and instead you focus on making a few meaningful shifts in life. Here are 10 ways that will help you make 2017 your best year yet.
1. Ditch the shit that sucks.
Let’s start the year by agreeing not to do the things we hate. For example, I loathe doing the accounting for my business. Yet every single month since I started my business over five years ago, I have wrangled my way through my accounting software while threatening to hang myself from the rafters. Clearly, I have no business doing the work because 1) I hate it, and 2) I am not really good at it, and 3) I have no desire to learn how to be better. So this year I commit to hiring someone to handle my books so I can free up my time, energy, and sanity. So I ask you, what do you hate doing? What can you give up in 2017 to free up your own precious time, energy, and sanity?
2. Make some kickass new friends.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from new entrepreneurs is that they often feel alone, isolated, and a tad bit depressed, even though they’re pursuing their dreams. So many of us work alone, or with a very small team, and we put in long hours without a lot of camaraderie and encouragement from others. It’s no surprise we often struggle with the emotional side of entrepreneurship. This was what led me to create Hatch Tribe, as a deliberate means of connecting like-minded, passionate, purpose-driven women entrepreneurs. This year I encourage you to make some new friends and reach out to other women entrepreneurs. Connect with business owners in your local community or through an online platform. Start to build a tribe of peers who are up to big things in the world, who understand the life of the entrepreneur, and can support your journey through the highs and lows. It makes a world of difference. I swear.
3. Celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small.
Have you ever noticed how much time you spend thinking about what isn’t done? You know, how you tend to ruminate over a project that’s incomplete or your ever-growing to-do list. But what about all those things you did accomplish. Don’t they deserve a little love?! This year I want you to commit to celebrating like a champ. Whether it’s a big win or a small win, a lesson learned, a benchmark met, a goal reached, or a milestone in life, you will party like a rock star. Create a culture that celebrates success and you’ll be rewarded time and time again. It’s a powerful motivator to focus on our accomplishments!
4. Invest in yourself.
This isn’t lip service, ladies. So often we invest our time, energy, and money into making sure everyone around us is happy. So much so, that we put ourselves last in line. You deserve to be a priority in your life. You deserve to invest time, money, and energy into your own personal and professional growth. So get real about what you want and need. Is there a workshop you’d like to attend to up-level your skills? Are you dying to attend an industry conference? Do you crave the guidance of a coach or mentor to navigate the next phase of your business? Do you want to learn something new that’s purely for joy? Whatever it is, choose to invest in you. You are worth it, sister.
5. Set a CEO Date every single month.
Open your calendar right now and block out one entire day each month for a “CEO Date”. On this day each month, you will step away. This is your time to hit the pause button, take a break from emails, social media, and phone calls, so you can focus on the bigger picture of your business. Start by reflecting on your annual goals. (How is the company performing? Are you on track? Do you need to change course or adjust your plan?) Then take a look at the prior month. (What’s working? What’s not? What needs some love?) Then shift focus toward the month ahead. (What are your top priorities? What are your goals? What specific actions do you need to take to meet those goals and how will you assign them to your team?) Your goal by the end of the day is to feel grounded and prepared for the month ahead, with a clear action plan in place to hit the ground running. You’ll be a goal crushing machine in no time!
6. Shut down.
Commit to make this the year of some super important NO’s. NO emails before you get out of bed. NO social media until after you’ve had breakfast. NO more weeks of 12 hour days with no lunch breaks or friend time. NO more burning the midnight oil just to keep up. Enough. Shut down the computer. Shut off your phone. Disconnect and give your mind, body, and spirit the opportunity to truly recharge every single day.
7. Say NO.
How many things did you say “yes” to last year that you really didn’t want to do? Seriously, think about it. It might have been a coffee date, a “let me pick your brain” meeting, a sales pitch, a networking event, a new project, or countless other things that you did because you “felt like you had to” or you “felt bad about saying no”. Let’s make a pact that from now on you will only say “yes” to things that are a HELL YEAHS! If you aren’t clamoring to make that meeting or project happen, say “no”.
Now, I realize some of you are going to ask “but how do I say no gracefully and not let others down?” So let’s break this into 2 parts.
- #1 – You are incapable of making everyone happy. You will occasionally disappoint others and you know what, they will survive. Shocking, I know.
- #2 – When you say YES to something you wanted to say NO to, you do not leave room for the HELL YEAHS!
Your time is your most precious commodity, so use it wisely and only say yes to the HELL YEAHS! You feel me?
8. Put yourself first.
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to prioritize our work above all else. But when you choose to put everything else first, guess who comes last…YOU. I want you to picture a work day that is absolutely spectacular in every way. What would you do during that day that would make it amazing? Do you make time for reading? Do you journal? Do you meditate? Do you workout? Do you take time to get outside and walk for 20 minutes? Do you chat with your best friend on your lunch break? Whatever it is that “makes you feel whole”, I want you to do it. Every. Single. Day. Make self-care your top priority and you’ll kick ass at work!
9. Stop apologizing.
“I’m sorry, but do you mind if I ask you a few questions.”
“I’m sorry to ask this, but would you be able to help me with this one little thing?”
“I’m so sorry to do this, but can we reschedule to next week.”
Enough. The “I’m sorry” is so unnecessary and unwarranted and it makes you sound less than the powerful, badass boss lady that you are. I want you to stop apologizing when you make a request.
Let’s try this on.
“I have a question.”
“Would you help me with this project?”
“Could we please reschedule to next week?”
Powerful. Simple. You can do this. Give it a try!
10. Be proud, sister.
Pride gets a bad rap – unnecessarily in my opinion. To be proud of yourself is to experience delight and satisfaction for what you’ve accomplished, created, or learned. Being proud isn’t about boasting and bragging, or putting others down so you’ll feel better about yourself.
My greatest wish for you is that you experience a deep sense of fulfillment through your work and your life, that it’s rewarding beyond the pocketbook, to a place deep within that makes your heart sing. So be proud. Be proud of what you’re doing and creating in this world. Be proud of choosing a path in life that isn’t always easy, but is somehow more interesting, dynamic, and rewarding to your soul.
I’m proud of you. For real.
Wishing you a kickass 2017!
Hilary is the founder of Hatch Tribe, an organization devoted to cultivating and connecting women entrepreneurs across the globe. She brings her passion for entrepreneurship to women around the world through mentoring, coaching, and live events.
To connect with Hatch Tribe and Hilary, visit www.hatchtribe.com