Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the first 90 days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.
It's your first day back at work after the break. Poor you! It's also a Monday, which makes it even worse. If the coffee-maker broke, it would not come as a surprise. You stumble into your first meeting of the new year, slump in your chair, and wish lunch would come faster. That's no way to start the year. Here's a better approach.
1. Be intentional about mentoring.
Something happens to you when you mentor someone. I've written about this before, and it should be something that's already on your radar. There are two things I learned about mentoring in 2015. One is that you and the mentor must be totally committed to the process. It's a waste of time otherwise. The second is that mentoring teaches you as much as it teaches the person being mentored. That's because, when you give away what you have learned, it becomes a living and breathing thing. It takes physical form. Passing on what you know is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. It will make your year.
2. View overachieving as a way to help others.
This is a brand-new concept to me and one I'm still grappling with. When you achieve great success, think about how that impacts others. I've heard it said that the most gratifying thing about starting a company is that it helps others, sometimes just in the form of a paycheck or a regular place to work. Being wildly successful spreads the success around. Other people benefit. It's more than just contagious, it's downright philanthropic. When you achieve great success, it spills over and that's one of the best feelings ever in business.
3. Stop lying to yourself.
Want to have a better year? Start fessing up to your own inconsistencies and failures. You can't really change and grow until you admit mistakes. You can't really move past a foible in life until you embrace it, unwrap it, dissect it, and learn from it. Stop reading right now and take a quick pause. What's chaining you down? Anger? Resentment? Bitterness? Admit your faults and you will be on a clear path to overcoming them and finding greater joy this year.
4. Forget the past.
We all do something really strange with our regrets. We hold onto them. We think by mulling over that failed business relationship or tragic financial decision that we can somehow resurrect something useful. Have you ever been able to do that? Mulling over failure doesn't help anyone. Take what you can from the mistakes, admit them, but then move on. You will not just have a better year. You will also become a better person in general. Loosen your grip on the past.
5. Choose happiness on a daily basis.
I heard a talk recently just after New Year's where someone was about to talk about a serious conflict. He started out by smiling and telling jokes. It seemed a little out of place until I realized he had totally decided to not allow the conflict to impact his attitude. It was as separate from him as a piece of clothing or a watch on your wrist. It was outside of his realm of thought, an experience he had but not something he would let define him. If you want to have a better year, consider becoming an emotional separatist. Be happy because of who you are, not what you've experienced. Be happy because you want that to be what defines you.