3 Guiding Principles for 2016
Happy 2016! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that your New Year is off to a great start!
One thing I do to start every year is to determine three words or phrases to guide my throughout the year. I call them my guiding principles.
No, these are not New Year’s resolutions. These are principles that I will focus on daily to help me achieve my very specific goals. In fact, I typically add these words to my bulletin board and keep it up all year as a reminder.
I modeled this after Chris Brogan’s three words exercise. This is my sixth year doing this. And, if you’re curious, here are my guiding principles from the past five years:
3 Words to Guide me in 2016
Here are my three words for 2016:
I have always been a big dreamer. I think that has to be part of your DNA if you want to be an entrepreneur.
Before I started Blue Kite Marketing, I spent a lot of time dreaming and scheming about how to build the business I wanted. But, now that it’s been nearly six years since I launched the company, I’ve realized that I have forgotten to dream. Or, at least I haven’t put as big of a priority on it as I used to.
Last year, I realized that I had gotten so bogged down in doing the work, that I had failed to take the time to step back and really dream about where I’m heading and what kind of company I wanted to build.
I had fallen into the trap that sinks so many entrepreneurs – I had let my business run me instead of me running it.
In the past few months, that has really changed. I have added two new team members (you’ll be hearing from them on the blog very soon!) and we have been working on charting out a clearer, more focused direction. I’m really excited about what’s to come!
We’re not ready to share all of that just yet, but stay tuned for more information about what we’ve got planned. (Psssst: if you want to be the first to know about what changes we have in store, subscribe to our Liftoff eLetter. You’ll get the first crack at some of our new offerings, plus some subscriber-only discounts!).
It feels like a guilty pleasure to spend time dreaming. But, I realize more than ever that it’s absolutely critical for me as a leader and business owner. My job is to cast the vision for the company. And, to do that, I need to regularly think about what’s ahead.
Dreaming will be big for me this year. That’s why I will delegate more so I can create the space I need to think about the big picture. After all, that’s what I’m best at doing!
Dreams without action are just fantasies.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to put them in motion. That’s where the focus on creation comes in.
I love the word “create.” There is so much power packed into this one little word.
- It means bringing ideas to life.
- It means causing change and getting stuff done.
- It means inventing, building and making something new.
- It means designing and producing art.
I want to do all of that this year.
And for me, the word, “create”, serves as a powerful reminder to use the skills and gifts I’ve been given to make something useful.
I want to create meaningful work.
I want to create a balanced and fulfilling life.
I want to create the business I’ve always dreamed about.
I want to create opportunities to grow.
I want to create new and different ways to work.
I want to create ways to make an impact on my community and the world.
If I want to fulfill my dreams this year, I’ve got to have a creator’s mindset. That means it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to work!
This word might seem counterintuitive for an entrepreneur, but I think it’s an important and valuable word for me.
First, it’s a reminder for me to settle down and let go of stress.
I love this definition of relax:
“To release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.”
Life in a dual entrepreneur household can be really stressful, which is why I tend to worry and fret about a lot of things (just ask my husband).
But, I encounter people all the time with far bigger challenges than I face – homelessness, devastating illnesses, broken families, joblessness and so much more. In the scheme of things, my worries are really small. I have so much to be thankful for. And, the word, relax, is a reminder that I am really okay.
Second, my husband and I are focusing on putting ourselves first this year. We both love to serve others through our businesses, church and neighborhood. But, we can’t help others if we don’t take good care of ourselves.
That’s why we are making it a priority this year to relax more and take time to do fun things for ourselves. It can’t be all business all the time.
Third, I think the best ideas often come when we are relaxed. After all, how often do you get great ideas in the shower? I know I do all the time.
When we’re relaxed and having fun, we’re also more confident. Being relaxed isn’t being lazy – it’s about creating the space to dream without pressure or stress.
That’s why I have started to regularly ask my team this question:
What would be fun for us?
I have stolen this question from my fabulous business coach, Arminda. And, it has been a fantastic way for us to approach our work from a relaxed, confident place.
When we do that, we dare to dream bigger and try harder. Which ultimately means that we are giving our clients our very best.
I’m really excited about the year ahead and I’m confident that focusing on these words are going to help me stay focused on my goals for the year.
It’s Your Turn
What about you?
Do you select three words or principles to guide you through the year? If so, I’d love to hear yours! Share yours in the comments or link to your post where you wrote about this as well.
Here’s to great things ahead for all of us in 2016!