Most people go into a new year with hopes of catapulting themselves into an even better position than they were before. That's why resolutions, business plans, and vision boards are so prevalent every December. Both individuals and businesses are striving to become better versions of themselves.
To achieve significant growth over a specified time period often requires placing bets on activities that will bring a greater return. The challenge is, many businesses don't place those bets. They continue along with the status quo. The status quo is comfortable. It brings with it more predictable results. It doesn't require you to deal with the judgemental or questioning eyes of others who don't understand what you're doing or why you're doing it.
Here's the reality you'll need to embrace if you want to have a breakthrough year in 2019: You have to be unapologetically bold. Playing it safe will not deliver the results you want.
Here are three important lessons to help you boldly walk into 2019 so you can have your best year yet:
1. Certainty and playing small go hand in hand.
Over the past few months I worked hard on a big project I'll be launching in 2019. I had a bit of anxiety all the way through it because it was a new concept. I remember saying to my creative director several times, "I don't know if this is going to work."
But I persisted. One of the things that helped me push through my discomfort of operating in uncharted territory was a conversation I had with 18-time bestselling author Seth Godin a few years ago. He shared:
"There's a difference between being prepared, meaning you've done your homework, and being ready, meaning you're sure it's going to work. You can't be sure it's going to work, because everything we do that's important, we're doing before it's ready. We're doing it before we can be certain...We can never know for sure."
When you're doing work that's worthwhile, you can never be sure that it will work. That's a sign that you're on the right track.
2. Not everyone needs to share your vision.
As a leader, you are in the transformation business. Before you can transform your customers, you first have to have a vision of how to get them from where they are to where they want to go.
As a leader, establishing the vision is your job. You also need to communicate your vision in a way that rallies both your team and your customers so they'll get on board.
No matter how well you communicate what you're doing, not everyone will like it. That is ok. Your work isn't for everyone. It is for both the team and the customers who belong with you.
The real opportunity, Godin told me, is to be able to say:
"I made something great. I didn't make something perfect, I didn't make something lousy, but I made something that's got my name on it. That I am proud of, and I need to ship it now, before it's ready, because I'm prepared, I did my work. Here, I made this."
He continued: "And if someone doesn't get the joke, our response is not, 'I'm a bad person.' Our response is not, 'Well, I guess I'm a loser.' Our response is, 'Sorry, it's not for you. Maybe the next thing.'"
Free yourself from the prison of needing everyone to love what you do. Support is nice, but there are times where you may need to stand alone.
The other day, when I got an updated draft back of the primary video for that big project I was working on, I sent it off to some friends. In that moment, I realized how anxious I was about what they would say.
But then I recognized it didn't matter so much whether or not they liked it, because I was proud of the work. In that instant, I was liberated, and more excited than ever to put the project in front of my ideal customers.
3. Comfort is your enemy.
Staying firmly planted within your comfort zone can do your business more harm than good. When you only engage in activities that you've had experience and success doing, eventually you'll find yourself struggling to stay relevant. Kodak, Blockbuster, and Blackberry are all examples of this in real life.
Rather than waking up one day wondering "who moved my cheese?" embrace market trends early. Step into a leadership position to shape positive change, rather than being forced to conform to it later on.
2019 can be your best year yet. To make it so, you've got to push past your fears and take bold actions. Embracing these three lessons will help you get started.