It's a tough slog keeping up with those New Year's dos and donts. Here is one you can keep for the whole year.
Ahh, resolutions. Another new year begins with the obligatory reflection on personal and business goals. Research says about half of us make New Years Resolutions but by mid-year (or even mid-month), they’re just a faint memory.
Here’s one resolution you can absolutely keep: Cut yourself some slack.
Most business owners start companies to find a healthier work-life balance while creating something they love. The stress that comes with entrepreneurship however is sometimes unexpected in its constancy and intensity.
From what I have seen, 2013 was particularly stressful for many businesses. Our high tech marketing clients cut back on programs and required different consulting expertise, which resulted in frustrated employees, irrelevant plans and tremendous uncertainty. It took time to see how we could move with our market, but not without months of long days and sleepless nights.
This year, I’m making a resolution to be kinder to myself - and you should too. Here’s how:
Yes, and… Improvisational comedy is founded on the concept of “yes, and,” where anything thrown at you is accepted and then built on. When bad stuff happens, roll your shoulder like a ninja instead of digging in your heels. Spend energy on what’s next instead of arguing or trying to change what already happened.
Let it be. Ever notice how things sort of work themselves out over time? Of course, customer service requires responsiveness and emergencies happen. But there’s no prize for an empty inbox. Hard drives crash and people still survive. Minimize self-imposed deadlines. What’s really gained by working all weekend or staying late? More work is always waiting. Breathe, and let things settle before jumping into action.
Say no. My husband and I got invited to several New Year’s Eve parties that were excellent business networking opportunities. I said no. I gave myself permission to stay home and chaperone 10 teens at my house. (Far more important, I’d say.) Focus on what you want right now instead of being pulled by customers, employees and business obligations.
Schedule play. You schedule meetings with employees and clients. You get kids to soccer practice. The car needs repairing and hair needs cutting. This year, schedule regular play time for yourself. Love cranking your tunes? Get some great headphones and rock out in your office without disturbing others. Take a spinning class before work or during lunch. Whatever you enjoy, do more of it, schedule it, and make it a priority this year.
Be present. You’re busy when business is good and you’re busy when it’s bad. Crappy times eventually give way to less-crappy times though. Acknowledge progress and give yourself credit for every small victory. Receiving a thank you. Time spent with a friend or customer. Trying something new. Life is full of moments that zip by so fast we miss the opportunity to really appreciate them.
This year, forget crazy weight loss and organized sock drawers. Start 2014 with a simple gift for yourself - be nicer to you.
RENE SHIMADA SIEGEL is founder and president of High Tech Connect, a unique consulting partner for expert marketing and communications. After a successful career in Silicon Valley, she founded her company 15 years ago while juggling three kids under the age of five. @renesiegel