There’s a wise old quote that’s resonated with me for a very long time during my career…
“If you want to SEE progress, look backward. If you want to SEEK progress, look forward”
And actually, it’s really important to do both isn’t it?
Especially at this time of year, as we approach the closing of our office doors for a few days of festive merriment and plan ahead for the opening of a new decade in 2020 just a week later.
Every year, almost from our first year in business, David and I have spent a whole day (and sometimes 2) around about this time, locked away in a darkened room in a hotel to focus on nothing other than …… our business & personal plans for the coming year. Our focus and concentration is laser-like during this time together; we’ve got crystal clear vision and clarity on what we need to achieve within the time we’re in that hotel room (and the obvious is as far from our minds as Mars or Venus I can assure you :)) and we don’t stop until the planning, every miniscule bit of it, is done and dusted. It’s actually a very therapeutic process, albeit an exhausting yet exhilarating one.
We begin by designing the life we’d like to have for the forthcoming year – the city breaks we’d like to do; the courses we’d like to go on; the shows we’d like to see; the weekend mini-breaks we’d like to enjoy; the social events we’d like to organise; the one BIG adventure we’d like to go on (remember our 4-stop Christmas experience last year in Singapore, then Australia, then Fiji then Hong Kong?); the surprises we’d like to give to others; the hobbies or activities we’d like to take up…..and then we cost it.
We then transpose the figure onto the business to work out how much the business has to deliver in the coming year, into our personal bank account, in order to fulfil our ‘ideal life’ in that year. That’s the easy bit – and it’s the fun bit too!
Then the serious work begins because we then have to set our financial targets and goals in place, in order to ensure that the business makes the money we need to meet the personal goals we’ve set. We have to mean business here – I mean REAL business. We can’t design all these exciting and fun and expensive ideas and not set some stretching targets in place to ensure the expectations are met. It’s quite a scientific process – there are 12 key numbers our business has to focus on to ensure we achieve the success we desire and luckily, this scientific process is made a whole lot easier each year with the help of our business mentor Nigel Botterill and his fabulous team of gurus at the Entrepreneurs Circle. We’ve had our 2-day Business Planning Masterclass with Nige this week – and today is our day in that darkened hotel room to map 2020 all out for David and I – and I’m excited, as always, at the prospect!
However, this year at Nige’s Masterclass, we didn’t only look forward in order to SEEK progress. He encouraged us FIRST to look backwards and in his words, to ‘do business with the past’ as a means of reflecting, learning from and then moving on from the past 12 months, to SEE the progress we’ve made and even suggested that we ‘linger a while’ in the mistakes we may have made or the regrets we have about this last year too.
Why an earth would he suggest we do that?
Well, as he explained, it’s important to understand why things have happened. “The point of regret” he says ”is not to try to change the past but to shed light on the present….distil the lessons from your experiences, so they can serve as helpful tools moving forward”. Wise words from a straight-talking Yorkshireman I’d say!
We use backward glancing, through the rear-view mirror, to get the awareness; the learning; the analysis and we look forward, through the windscreen, to spur us to action; to possibility; to progress. Both are useful activities to involve yourself with because then, and only then, will we get proper 20:20 vision in 2020!
So spend a little time over the Christmas period, not only setting your sights high on your goals and dreams for the New Year – give yourself a little space too, to sit quietly for a while and reflect on the past…shed light on any regrets you may have; distil those lessons; make peace with the past year (there’s no such thing as failure only feedback, as we know) and then SUMO (Shut Up, Move On) into your BRIGHT and SHINY future…
After all, that’s exactly what 20:20 vision is all about!
So, it just leaves me to wish you and your staff and families a very merry festive break and all the very best for the coming year – it’s going to be a BRIGHT and CRYSTAL-CLEAR one, I just know it
In the meantime – stay FOCUSED and until 2020…keep FIT!