90 Days Away

It being January, there are a lot of people out there trying to make improvements to their lives in the areas of health, wellness, and self-improvement. While they come out of the gate excited and ready to make changes, most people won’t make it out of January before throwing in the towel saying it is just too hard. I’m not here to tell you it is easy, because it is hard to change but all you need to is ninety days.

I want you to think ahead to ninety days from now. Where will you be? What will it look like? What will you gain from sticking with your plan to improve? What will you lose, both good and bad? The first few days and weeks will be the honey-moon period. You’ll feel optimistic and excited, even telling people you otherwise wouldn’t of your intentions. Anyone can do that! What separates the ones who succeed from the ones who fail is the twenty to sixty day period. This is when you’re initial excitement begins to wain. The self-doubt and questioning of your plan begins to settle in- “Can I really do this?” and “Should I do this?”, swirl in your head. This is the championship drive period. This is when you burn the boats because there is no turning back. There is no backup plan. There is no excuse to be made. There is only you growing to the person you set out to become.

If you bear down and make it through you will come out a mentally stronger and more disciplined person. You will begin to acquire self-confidence in yourself,   becoming an unstoppable force that can achieve all that you wish to. You walk taller. Speak clearer. You give a firm, memorable handshake. You like who you see in the mirror.

Every great journey begins with a single step, ninety days away.

 

Slow Is Smooth And Smooth Is Fast

The other morning I found myself wrestling with a collection of plastic grocery bags tangled together in hopes of removing one to pack my lunch with. I was running late that morning and knew I needed to shave some time off my morning routine in order to get to the office on time. As I stood there shaking the mess of bags, I grew more and more frustrated with each unsuccessful attempt. Swearing under my breath I was just about to tear them all to pieces.

Then, it hit me, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”, I said to myself. I took a deep breath in and slowed the whole thing down. With this brief break in my struggle, I noticed that the knot of bags was due to the handles being tied together. After what seemed like forever, I identified the sole issue that was causing my problem- the damn bags were tied together! Feeling foolish, I easily removed one bag for my lunch and proceeded to the remainder of my routine, rushing to get to work on time.

Point is, slow down when you’re going fast. In a world where speed is top priority, sometimes that very speed is the cause of most problems. When you are in control you are less likely to make mistakes or overlook small, yet important details- like the bags being tied together. Remember, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Run Your Life Like A Business

Successful businesses are predicated on the breakdown of tasks to separate departments that focus on one goal. For example, Human Resources’ goal is to source outstanding talent to ensure great people with strong skills are assigned to roles in which they will provide the organization with a great return on investment. Meanwhile, the Finance department reviews budgets, creates forecasts and ensures the business is profitable. Each division of the business needs to focus on it’s assigned task while keeping the values and vision of the greater picture in mind. If that is how a company becomes and stays successful, why can’t you adopt a similar outline for your own life? Below, I will outline the similarities to running a business and running a happy life.

Mission Statement

Every great company has one. This is the ‘why’. If you don’t have a mission statement, how do you know what to aim for? What keeps you grounded when times are good and what keeps you pushing ahead when times are bad? Having a Mission Statement is critical to success. As people join your team (or enter your life), how will you judge whether they are helping you achieve your mission or taking away from it? How will you stay the course when all roads seem to lead to a dead end? A mission statement will keep you accountable and focused on the tasks at hand.

Finance

Each year, the Finance department of a company is responsible for releasing proposed budgets for the entire company to adhere to for the following year. These budgets are created after much analysis of the previous year compared to others, and benchmarked against forecasts. These are detailed down to the last cent to ensure financial accountability. To do the same in your own life would require a monthly budget. Each month will present new challenges. As such, each month needs to have it’s own unique budget. For instance, we all know Christmas and the holiday season is in December. This usually means you will be buying presents for family and friends. If you do not treat December differently than February (31 days in December versus 28 days in February), it could result in a negative balance. If you had budgeted out the projected expense ahead of time, you could have given yourself a cushion and a plan to keep yourself within your proposed budget. When you don’t have a budget for each month you are leaving things to chance, in business this is unacceptable.

In addition, within the Finance department there will be a team responsible for investing funds for future expenses such as an office upgrade or the acquisition of a new company. In your life, this may be saving money for a new dining room set or a sizable down payment on the purchase of a new property. Companies are always thinking ahead to tomorrow, next month, next year, next decades- you need to be thinking ahead too.

Human Resources

Human Resources has recruiters to source top talent for the organization. Your friends and the people you decide to spend time with are the talent you surround yourself with. With this in mind, you really need to make a judgement call on who is helping you get where you want to be and who is not. A friend should be positive, supportive, accountable, motivating and a great listener- all qualities you would look for in hiring a new team member. If they are negative and adverse to change, why are you allowing them to stay in your world? Companies are large organizations made up of individuals that influence the current state and future trajectory of the whole. Your circle of friends will also influence your future plans, therefore have high standards of who you welcome aboard.

Executive Team

In your life, you are the executive team. The purpose of the executive team is to solve top organization level problems with the Mission Statement at the forefront. If you are facing a big-life decision, you need to weigh all options. Write down the positives and negatives of the decision, along with the best case and worst case scenario. This is how an executive team makes important decisions- they lay out all outcomes, good and bad, and review the entire situation and the impacts such a decision would have on the future of the organization. If you don’t trust yourself to weigh all options, perhaps bring in a trusted friend to aid in your analysis. No executive makes a blind decision with ‘hope’ as a part of the equation.

In the world of business many organizations start, have short lived success and fizzle out. It could be a combination of errors that lead to their demise but, I’m willing to bet they didn’t follow the points I outlined above. The ones that last generations follow these guidelines and are always willing to adapt to their environments. You too are building multiple generations worth of life so be sure to have a mission statement that leads you, have high standards for the people you allow into your world and you are the Chief Executive Officer of your life so act like it.