3 Guiding Principles for 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope that you had a happy and joy-filled holiday season and that you’re ready to take 2014 by storm. I know I am!

Yesterday, I spent the day goal setting and making plans for 2014. It’s always refreshing and invigorating to look at the possibilities for the year to come!

In addition to setting tangible, SMART goals, I also determine three guiding principles for the year. In other words, they are three practices that I need to remember on a daily basis that will help me achieve my goals – both personally and professionally.

Chris Brogan started this idea several years ago when he picked three words to guide him throughout the year. I’ve modified it slightly to include three phrases to guide me.

It’s a simple and effective way to help you stay on track and get you to where you want to be.

This is my fourth year doing this exercise. And, if you’re curious, here are my guiding principles from the past three years:

2011: Be intentional. Be Balanced. Be myself.

2012: Be disciplined. Experiment. Find the joy.

2013:  Create space. Build systems. Focus on now.

My Guiding Principles for 2014

And now, here are my guiding principles for this year:

1.  Rest Well.

I realize this phrase might sound counter-intuitive for a busy, goal-driven entrepreneur. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s very difficult to be productive and fruitful if you are continually frazzled and burned out.

I am most creative, strategic and energized when I am well rested instead of constantly running on empty.

That’s why, this year, I’m placing a priority on resting well. And, I don’t just mean sleep. Though, that is certainly part of it.

It means that I am going to create intentional space for rest – every day, every week and every month.

I’m going to regularly step away from the work and do something fulfilling that brings me joy. It could be anything – going for a run, reading a book, having dinner with friends, or going on a day trip with my husband.

If I want to be at my best, I need to take care of myself first so I can best take care of my clients and the people around me.

2. Lean on Others.

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m a self-starter and a do-it-yourselfer. While those are good traits to help you start a business, it can be a huge hurdle when you’re trying to grow a business.

At some point, you must realize you can’t do it all yourself. You must learn to trust others and delegate responsibilities so you can focus on the things that you do best and only you can do.

This year, I will be focusing on leaning on the strengths of others to help my business grow and help give me the space I need to rest and be generous with my time. I’m excited to grow my team and I know a huge part of that is learning to trust in people and give them the space to reach their potential.

I look forward to further developing this skill as I work to grow my business!

3. Be generous.

Live generously quoteMy mom gave me a nifty little quote book for Christmas entitled “Thank you.” In it, I found this wonderful gem:

“People who deal with life generously and large-heartedly go on multiplying relationships to the end.”

– Arthur Christopher Benson

I think that sounds like a pretty good way to go about life, don’t you?

This year, I want to focus on being generous. And, not just with my money. I want to be generous with my time, which is perhaps the most valuable (and limited) resource I have.

My life is richer and fuller when I take the time to invest in the people around me.

While I still need to guard my time and learn to say “no” more to things that don’t matter, I want to give my time and share my talents with the people and organizations I care about most.

I hope that by following these three principles, I can stay on track to reach my goals and, more importantly, enjoy the journey along the way.

It’s Your Turn

What about you? What are your guiding principles for this year? And, how do they tie into your overall goals for your business?

Feel free to share your words, goals or guiding principles in the comment section. I’d love to know what you plan to focus on this year as we work to make 2014 the best year yet! 

Image credit: Prescott Pym

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

  • Joel Widmer

    Love these 3 principles Laura because they aren’t like every other blog I’ve been reading where they’re all focused around work. Each of these will help every area of our lives! You’ve inspired me to revisit my themes for this year, thanks!

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      Thanks, Joel! Glad you found inspiration here. Previously, mine did focus primarily on work. But, last year, I learned that when I focus so heavily on work that everything else suffers. Yes, I want to be successful and don’t shy away from working hard. But, I want my life to be full and not just about my work. I think (and hope) that if I focus on these areas, my life and my work will be richer!

      Let me know what you decide to focus on this year. I’d be curious to see what you choose!

  • http://www.ltc-associates.com/ LTCA INC

    We held a company retreat based on a system called “Traction” last year. It was incredibly helpful for our vision and focus, forcing us to think in terms of 10-yr, 3-yr, 1-yr, Quarterly, and Weekly goals. I’d recommend it for any business. Among other things, we did think long and hard about our Core Values. There are a million great values (honesty, loyalty, work ethic, creativity, etc), but which are the ones which resonate with us as founders and owners? We all agreed on the following:

    * Treat Agents, Clients and Carriers with Honesty and Integrity
    * Care About the Success of Others
    * Keep our Promises
    * Solve Problems

    Great goals, Laura… much success to you in 2014!
    Stephen D. Forman, CLTC
    @ltcassociates:disqus