In reality, it’s just another day. But the start of a new year seems to bring with it such promise of hope for us. I love how, in New Zealand, the Xmas and New Year period corresponds with our annual summer holidays. We get a real sense of closing down and of starting up again afresh.
No-one really expects anyone else to be working at this time of year. So the phone stops ringing, the emails stop, and by mutual agreement we all (most of us) take a couple of weeks off.
This time is so crucial for me for four reasons.
Firstly, time with family and friends is so treasured, and as my parents age and my teenagers grow into adults, I take it less and less for granted.
Secondly, so many productivity studies have shown the importance of taking a break. That far from being less productive with time off, we are, in fact, more productive when recharged and reinvigorated.
I relish this time of lazy days, socialising, reading books, and of just generally doing whatever the hell I feel like on the day and at the time.
Thirdly, I use this uninterrupted time to look back on the calendar year just gone, and to celebrate the wins.
As business owners I think we are often so focused on what is still to be done. We know how much more is in front of us. We know very well all the areas of our businesses and of our lives that are not yet where we would like them to be. That mountain can seem so high and with such a way to go.
So, to look up for a moment in time, to look back at what we have accomplished, no matter how big or small, can give us a measure of satisfaction, and encouragement to continue the journey.
Business can be hard sometimes! Hands up if you’ve ever had the thought of “why am I doing this? I should just go get a real job.”
You’re not alone, I have been there myself on many occasion.
But then I would look at all that I have accomplished, and learned. And all that I still wanted to accomplish, and all I had yet to learn, and I knew that I wasn’t done with the journey yet.
For me, business gives me so much that I wouldn’t get if I worked for someone else.
Time flexibility for one. I can totally dictate my day to day reality and if I want to take time off for whatever reason, be it a doctor’s appointment for one of my kids, or lunch with a girlfriend, or a week off to go on holiday, then I can make that happen.
I reflect on WHY I’m in business, and all the people who have credited me with helping them in their business journey. That, in itself, is SO rewarding and humbles me so much. I couldn’t give that up.
And I think about my income and how much more potential is there. Not having a cap on my income was a huge driver for why I got into business in the first place.
I think some people are afraid to admit that income is a driver for fear of coming across as greedy. But my personal income is one of my measures of success. Not the only one, but it’s right up there.
Even if you are in businesses purely for altruistic, do-good reasons, the business still needs to make a good profit, and you a decent income, for it to be sustainable and in order for you to continue to do the good that you desire.
Which brings me to the fourth reason that this time off is crucial for me. I also use it to plan ahead.
What’s next? Am I on the right path? What do I want to create? What new income goals shall I set? Where is the money going to come from? What resources will I need to achieve this, or will I need to upskill myself in order to achieve it. What will make me feel good because I have contributed, because I have given huge value, because I have made a difference to someone or something?
So, what about you? Are you happy to accept the status quo? What is your next year going to be about? Is it about consolidation or growth? What wins will you be celebrating this time next year?