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Have you ever set a big goal for yourself only to lose sight of it quickly?
You planned on hiking to some distant land of happiness and abundance, but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you started strong, but lost momentum along the way?
Over time, your goal became increasingly unattainable until, seeing no end in sight, you struck it from your list and carried on with your life.
It’s happened to all of us, and it’s not hard to understand why.
It was 4 am, and the house had long since settled into its frame after a day of heavy traffic. Every creak had worked itself out. Every computer had gone into hibernation. Every child had sunken into their slumber.
It was calm. Peaceful. Silent.
My sleep, however, was interrupted by a deep, unsettling feeling that something was wrong. I gasped for air, sucking in oxygen quickly as if my head was forcefully plunged into a bucket of cold water. My eyes shot wide open, searching for the source of trouble, unable to find it in the black of night.
It's debilitating, isn't it?
Not knowing if you are on the right path. The uncertainty of whether what you are working on will bring you success.
You work and work. You push from every angle to make an inch of progress Only to look up one day and find yourself lost; unsure if what you are doing is getting you anywhere, worried that you are missing something.
It's a hard feeling to shake.
When this uncertainty hits, it saps your motivation. Your focus and clarity transform into a gloomy cloud of doubt hanging overhead, raining worry and dissatisfaction upon you.
Every business owner knows this feeling.
Having a strategy is vital for any small business. A strategy defines your plan for moving from where you are today to where you want your business to be in the future. On a more tactical level, having a clearly articulated business strategy is essential to being able to prioritize, build consensus, make decisions, and assess progress toward your goals.
Unfortunately, the “classic” approach to strategic planning doesn’t work very well for small businesses. The traditional methods found in textbooks are designed for large organizations. Small businesses don’t need the same kind of plan that a large corporation does, and they certainly don’t need the types of plans that global corporations produce. Using the wrong methods for strategic planning can cause a lot of frustration for small business owners as well as wasted time, effort, and resources.
So then, what is the right amount of strategic planning for a small business? What should you focus on? Who should be involved? What should the final plan look like? How much planning is too much?
This post will give owners of small businesses a simple and effective process for performing strategic planning by taking a look at some common issues small businesses run into with strategic planning, the most important elements of planning that small business should focus on, and concrete steps to tackling strategic planning the right way.
If there’s one thing I learned from projects, it’s this…
They’re on track until they’re not.
And once they get off track, there’s no going back. They either spiral out of control or get stuck, the last 10% effort taking longer than the first 90% combined.
You see, project management is theoretically easy. Start your project, define your project, launch your project, control your project, and close your project. Five easy steps with volumes of books written about each, explored and experienced by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of project leads and project managers worldwide.
In practice, however, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of business.
Becoming a better team member, manager, or leader is a learning process. Through continuous learning we grow our knowledge and skills, build our capacity to take on new challenges, and push closer to achieving our potential. If you are curious about how you can improve or how to foster growth in others, it is important to understand how learning works, specifically for adults.
The truth is that learning is a journey. Reflecting on where you are in the learning process will help you prioritize what is important, more accurately gauge your progress, and shed light on the struggles that often accompany personal growth and professional development.
Fortunately, we have a simple four-stage model to help illustrate this.
This post is for anyone who wants to get ahead; who wants to stop reacting to life; who wants to stop floating through life day by day, hoping for the best. It's for anyone with much to accomplish and little time to do it. This post is for anyone who wants to focus and thrive, yet finds himself distracted and unsure of what to do next.
The most successful people in the world have a plan. Not just a plan for big projects, but a plan for the little periods of time that they know will add up in the long run. When you are done reading this post, you will know how to develop a plan tonight that will guide you tomorrow. You will be able extract maximum value out of each and every hour of your day. Your plan will guide you when distracted and, in the early hours of the morning when your willpower is low and it’s difficult to think, it will provide you with a goal to kickstart your day and accomplish something while the rest of the world is still waking up. Creating your plan will not be complicated... it is as simple as filling out an index card.
Since birth, we have been constantly learning. Though it is not something we "feel", we assimilate knowledge and build habits from new experiences daily. In the beginning, learning was effortless. As we grew into adulthood, the roots of our knowledge spread deeper becoming ingrained in us and making it more difficult to pick up new concepts.
This has nothing to do with our intelligence, we are simply creatures of habit... and not just those hard-to-break habits like nail biting. We unknowingly create habits for nearly everything. It's a matter of efficiency.
Of course, we all wish to break ourselves of those unappealing habits. We design clever tricks to catch ourselves in the act--strings around fingers, random chimes every few minutes, etc. But building a better self is more than eliminating bad habits; it's about creating new, positive, fulfilling ones.
Focus is that state of being we desire when solving challenging problems. Focus is the awareness we need when cramming for a final exam. Focus is the differentiator between the most successful entrepreneurs and those that struggle on. As important as it is and try as we might, achieving focus can be one of the most demanding and frustrating areas in our lives.