This is the time of the year that most people look back at the past twelve months and think of the things they have accomplished and the things they want to do in the upcoming year.Using Einstein’s definition of insanity about doing the same things and expecting different results, the corollary should be “Do something different and expect different results.” That only makes sense, right?
I don’t know about you, but I am not the best at keeping New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not even the best at making New Year’s Resolutions.
Each morning, I have a couple of web sites I go to. This is my version of reading the morning newspaper, although without the comics or cross-word puzzle. The other morning, one of my go-to sites directed me to read an article on New Year’s Resolutions written by David G. Allan as part of The Wisdom Project. (https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/health/micro-resolution-wisdom-project/index.html)
He begins by acknowledging that most people start out with good intentions, but along the way – life happens. “Willpower is in short supply. We loose focus. Things change.” What happens to all of us – and certainly has happened to me.
So David chose to define 12 “micro-resolutions”. They were one-month long, each one being accomplished during one month of the year. There were criteria used in order to choose the resolution for each month. His criteria was based on things he needed to give up or cut back on, or things he was afraid he was dependent upon.
In other words, his resolutions were of the “giving up” type rather than “do more of” type. In his article, David shares 12 months of his resolutions. His reasons for choosing what he did. The challenge of defining what he meant when he choose a month-long restriction. (Does dried fruit count as a “sweet”?) His article gave me quite a bit to think about.
Many of the month-long choices David made I could relate to. Weight related, philosophical and my personal favorite, giving up “stuff that doesn’t spark joy.” Wouldn’t it be nice to really be joyful in life?
I want that in my life. I want to be able to achieve these results. And I could come up with 12 things to either give up or to strive for — and how hard could 30 days be to actually stick to a resolution? (Draw a little smiley face here – we all know that it isn’t that easy!)
However, I found myself arguing a bit with David’s concept. I prefer positive rather than negative reinforcement. I like to DO something, rather than eliminate something else from my life. But even re-working the wording to a positive had me resisting a bit. So I ask myself, am I resisting the method or the concept of resolutions in general? And why?
Because Resolutions are often not kept through a year, I wonder if my resistance to writing any resolution is because I don’t want to fail. Or perhaps I just don’t want to stop doing that particular thing. Or I’m just being stubborn? (It runs in the family.)
Whatever the reason, many years ago, I decided to stop giving things up for Lent and started something positive. I feel New Years’ Resolutions should be the same. Instead of “stop eating sweets” I prefer “change to fresh fruit for dessert.”
The important part of David’s article for me was the concept of a shorter time line. 30 days is much more achievable than an entire year. And mixing it up with a choice of 12 Resolutions: I get to go on to something else in just a few short weeks.
As I have been thinking about both my Bucket List and my 2019 Resolutions, I wanted to accomplish two things. The first was to find a way to do something different than I’ve done in the past. For one thing, if it was different, I should be able to expect different results, right? And sometimes, the sheer act of making the effort creates the outcome.
The second thing I wanted to do was to share this with someone. And the someone was you. Whoever reads this. And you can do anything you want with this information – use it, think about it, laugh at it, ignore it. But I have already accomplished one thing with my Resolutions and Bucket List. Check!
I wish each of you a Happy Holiday Season and hope that you stay safe wherever you are. Take a little time to enjoy your life and this season.
And may next year bring each one of us something very special.
We’ve been talking about making change in our lives. About the possibilities we all think about when considering doing something different.
I recently attended a national conference. The keynote speaker was Trav Bell, the “Bucket List Guy.” (https://www.thebucketlistguy.com)
He walked the audience through his journey and told of all the amazing things he has accomplished. He also stepped the attendees through a process that would help us develop our own personal Bucket Lists.
It is my opinion that “Know Thyself” is important when you are thinking about something new in your life. What your strengths and weaknesses are. What you want to accomplish. Compiling New Year’s Resolutions. And writing your “Bucket List”. A Bucket List is a fun as well as insightful tool to use in the process of evaluating and re-evaluating your life.
For those who may not know, a Bucket List is a compilation of all the things you want to do, to see, to accomplish before you die. Simple, right? They even made a movie out of the concept.
The list may include items that may feel a long way out of reach — but then are accomplished. The simple task of writing goals down makes them feel possible. Or more possible. Even skydiving or mountain climbing become a realistic goal.
But personally, I don’t really want to jump out of an airplane or climb Mt. Everest. Some of the things I do want to accomplish may be considered mundane. So mundane, I really do not want to share them but here goes.
I lived 12 hours away from my grandchildren. And I think making cookies with them is important, even though it won’t really change the world. But I don’t get to see them as much I wish. And I make pretty good cookies. So – “making cookies with Essi and Ezra” is on my list.
Of course, my initial list has some pretty impressive things I want to accomplish – some travel, some work goals, personal health tasks. And it is definitely a work in process.
So, how exactly does one figure out how to create a personal Bucket List? A great place to start: figure out what you have already accomplished. Acknowledge that you have already done things that are worthy of Bucket List check marks! These accomplishments are what Trav Bell calls the Reverse Bucket List – looking in the rear view mirror to review your life. List what you are proud of; what you wanted to do and did it; and the results don’t matter — it’s the sheer “doing” that is important.
Going forward, there are 12 different “buckets” (no pun intended) of items from which to determine what should be on your forward-looking Bucket List. Bell has created an acronym to help with this, which is – not surprisingly – M.Y.B.U.C.K.E.T.L.I.S.T.
Here’s the first of these steps to filling a Bucket List: “M” stands for “Meet a personal hero.”
This step took me over an hour to figure out who I might like to meet. Along the way, I realized I have already met several very outstanding people who I consider heroes – an astronaut, two presidents, a woman who was one of CNN Hero’s award list two years ago. I’ve also met some individuals who aren’t famous but are so impressive they make my “personal heroes” list. So I also got to add some pretty cool tick marks on my own Reverse Bucket List.
Then, I identified two people that I admire but haven’t yet been in their presence. BIG TIME people. You-would-know-their-name-type people. They are now at the top of my List as Personal Heroes. Since I first sat down to write this list, I’ve also added some other people to it.
My Bucket List started to take on some depth at this point. I found myself developing criteria for both the person I wanted to meet as well as the reason that person show up on my list. Just meeting them on a rope line wasn’t good enough. So now, my expanded definition is more than just a handshake.
My idea of what appears on a personal Bucket List has expanded even more over the last couple months. The List resides on my desk and now gets added to, changed and scribbled on regularly.
Want a copy of this template so you can work on your own Bucket List? Or just find out what Trav Bell suggests should be on a Bucket List? I’m more than happy to sent it to you – just let me know where it should go.
The next thing we are going to discuss is New Year’s Resolutions. Stay tuned to find out what David G. Allan of The Wisdom Project has to say about putting a little different spin on those Resolutions.
A couple things to think about . . .
First of all: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
We’ve all seen this quotation from Albert Einstein. It has fascinated me for years. I’ve observed it in others and experienced in myself.
But how do you actually go about doing something in a different manner so you get different results? How do you know what results you want? And since the sheer act of a journey may change the destination, how do you know when get “there”?
It has always occurred to me that people always say (even to themselves), “if only it were different, things would be better.” The problem with this statement is that no one ever tells you how to define what needs to be different, what it should look like when it is different and how one should know how to make the journey to different-ness. Where does it start – what is the pathway – what is the destination?
I’ve learned over the years that reaching a goal often begins with making a list. A pros-and-cons list. A list of resources. A list of complaints. A list of desired outcomes. Things to accomplish, to finish, to start, to share – everything from mundane household tasks to answering life’s major questions.
Like most people I know, I have often sat down to make a list. Sometimes, the words just pour out of me. Holiday gift lists or party tasks are accomplished fairly easily once I make myself take the time to do them. Other lists seem overwhelming. The sheer size or complexity of the outcome – or my perception of Its importance – stops me after I write “1.” I’ve tried using bullet points instead of numbers. After all, I may want to re-number later in the exercise, right?
I’ve recently come across two concepts that are helping me in my own effort to change the results I get in 2019. I don’t want to be in the same place next year, wishing things were different. I want things to BE different – to have accomplished certain goals for myself and my family and my business.
Stay tuned for The Bucket List Guy and A New Look at New Year’s Resolutions.
By the way, Einstein apparently did not say exactly the above. Something close, and equally insightful. The real quote was actually:
It is not insanity if you repeat the same thing over and over again. It’s insanity if you want different results,but you don’t change your methods.
Remember, Einstein was a scientist and scientists often repeat experiments to establish consistency. So obviously, it isn’t insane to do the same things over and over again.
Just something else to consider as you think about what’s going on in your life.
I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I have been inundated with robocalls on my office phone. And the absolutely weird thing — no one is there!
If I answer the phone, it clicks and no person answers me back. Sometimes, I am across the room or want to just finish a sentence I’m writing. These calls don’t even go for three rings
. Because I’m very lucky with my phone system, as soon as a call comes in, I get to choose “Answer” or “Send to Voicemail” from my computer. If I’m on the other line — or quite frankly, if the caller ID says something like “Unknown” — I immediately send the call to my voice mail. And when I go to listen to the voicemail, this saga gets just a little more strange. There is no message left! So my day has been interrupted and I don’t even know by whom! Two days ago, I had twelve of these calls in a three hour period. Four of them were from the same number, so were repeat calls.
So guess what? Yep — you guessed it. I now block those numbers (again, thanks to that great phone system I have).
The real Grinch about this story, however, is that some business owner is out there thinking their calls are being made and getting through. And I’ll bet they are paying for these calls. Think about it — everyone is trying to find the right way to get new clients. Every business is trying all kinds of calling, mailings, emails, social media, public relations — how do each of us find new business? And someone is sitting in his/her office, wondering why the message they carefully crafted isn’t really working. Do they need to do more split testing? Hire a professional voice-over person?
Nope — they need to figure out why the Grinch who stole a large chunk of their marketing budget has a heart that is many times too small to even leave a message.
We all need to make sure our marketing efforts are working; we need to have a clear message and a target audience. And we need to carefully monitor our vendors. And we all need to have a great 2017!
This week begins the Small Business Administrations’ National Veterans Small Business Week.
There are local events you can check out.
The SBA has resources that can help start or grow a business.
And even some training! Check out the Learning Center for Contracting Opportunities for Veteran Entrepreneurs. A Self-Paced Introduction to federal contracting opportunities for veterans, this module includes include basic information about veteran-owned businesses and opportunities, services available to small veteran-owned businesses, small business incentives, and government procurement methods.
Information provided by the Small Business Administration ([email protected])
Call us to find out about franchises that offer discounts to veterans!
Getting ready for the week on Sunday.
Sometimes, it feels like this is another day in my work week. One that may not be as active with in-bound emails as the other days. However, one that sometimes becomes bogged down with writing, developing, responding, emailing, etc. etc. etc.
It’s easy for me to get “down in the weeds” with the same things, trying to get ready for the phone calls, the questions, the meetings, the webinars that make up my week.
Today, I was reading an article from Inc. magazine titled “5 Simple Things You Should Do Every Sunday Night to Prepare for the Week Ahead“. (http://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/5-simple-things-you-should-do-every-sunday-night-to-prepare-for-the-week-ahead.html) In it, I read some tips I hadn’t seen before, and thought I would share them with you.
- If your To Do List has items that keep showing up week after week, either get rid of them or move them to the top of the list and get them done.
- “Sundays should be input days, not output days.” Read the article to find out what the definition of that concept is – but feed your creativity on Sundays. More input leads to better output.
- Sit quietly for a period of time to prepare for the week.
- Pack your lunch the night before: anything you can do ahead of time will make your week better.
Each of us should be continually learning – how to be better at our jobs, within our families, as a friend and to be a better person.
Hope you have a great week!
The best way to make a difference in the world is to start by making a difference in your own life.”
—Julia Louis Dreyfus
Anyone can get writers block when faced with the concept of writing a business plan.
The SBA can help!
On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the SBA will offer a Webinar entitled
Start Your Business; Start with a Plan!
Every good endeavor starts with a plan. Make sure your small business has one, too–ideally, before you start! The business plan helps to clarify your idea, identifies your customer, get financing and investors, and plots a course toward success.
Join Althea A. Harris from the SBA South Florida District Office as she explains the component parts of Business Plans, how to develop one, how to use it to track your progress, and attract funding.
The event is free, however, registration is required: click here.
Affinity Franchise Partners helps America’s entrepreneurs! For additional information, check us out!
About Althea Harris
Althea A. Harris has been helping small businesses for over 20 years when she started her federal career at the U.S. Department of Commerce under the late Secretary Ronald H. Brown; from there, she helped small companies compete for federal contracts at the U.S. General Services Administration. Having held several positions within the SBA office in Miami, Harris now serves as the Assistant District Director for Marketing & Outreach for Area 1. She coordinates and conducts marketing and outreach in 6 of the District’s 24-county territory and advocates on behalf of the half-million small business owners in those counties. She is a graduate of Howard University and the University of Miami School of Law.
My first boss always encouraged us to continually keep reading business books. “Even if you don’t agree with the premise, you’ll learn something.”
Through the years, I’ve found that to be true. The difficulty has been to figure out WHICH book to read? Bookstores and on-line booksellers have so many opportunities to learn through books. If I indulged myself, I’d never get anything business-related done.
So I have relied on my fellow readers — other entrepreneurs, friends in management positions, people I know from the community — to make recommendations.
And I ran across this list today. The Alternative Board is an organization for entrepreneurs who join together with other entrepreneurs to give each other advice. On their site is an article about the “7 Best Business Books.” I found that I had read 4 of them, and 2 of them I got introduced to from this article. Guess I have more on my “next up” reading list!
How many of these have you read? Which of YOUR favorites would you add to this list? What’s your current favorite?
Every day you learn something new is a great day!