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Most of us instinctively know that it’s a good idea to take time out of our busy schedules to review and assess how well our business is doing and what we need to do differently going forward. Same goes for our own personal performance, development and wellbeing.
Sometimes this may feel like rather a dry exercise … and if things are not going too well, it can feel a bit daunting.
Here’s a simple exercise to put a sense of anticipation, dare I say excitement, back into the review process.
You can do this once a year as part of your annual planning process, every quarter, or every month if you want to … or just whenever you want to give yourself a bit of a boost or a step forward.
You can do it alone, with a business partner, a mentor or someone else you trust.
The idea here is that you are raising your own awareness of what’s working well and not so well for you in relation to your business … And your even your life in general.
And the emotion and feeling we are going to focus on is … Enjoyment.
- Take a large piece of paper (a piece of flipchart paper is ideal). Draw a line down the middle and on one side put the heading “Stuff I’ve enjoyed” and on the other “Stuff I’ve not enjoyed”. Choose a timescale for your review, for example “In the last month” or “In the last year”.
- Under “Stuff I’ve enjoyed” write down all the projects and pieces of work you’ve done that really fired you up. All the events and places you went to that were inspiring. The names of the people – clients, customers, partners, suppliers – that made you feel alive and instilled warm, positive feelings. In fact anything and everything you did or came into contact with that energised you, lifted you up, made you feel good … Anything at all that you truly, deeply, madly enjoyed.
- Now on the other side write down everything and everyone that had the reverse effect – left you feel flat, weary, tired, unfulfilled, overwhelmed, unhappy …. All the stuff you’ve just not enjoyed or made you feel downright desperate. OK, you get the idea!
- Once you’ve spilled this all out onto your sheet of paper, you might find you want to take break and re-ground yourself, allow your equilibrium to re-settle. Make a cup of tea, or go for a walk, or just concentrate on something different for a while. In essence, allow your scribblings to “go cold”.
- When you return to your piece of paper, spend some time looking at and playing with what you have written. Maybe use different coloured pens to group things or underline connections.
- What are these two lists telling you? What is different about each list? What do the things you have written on any one side of the page have in common? What values and skills are they playing to?
- At the core of the “enjoy” side you will find the key to unlocking greater success going forward.
- On the other side, you will find things (and, yes, people) to dump and ditch … freeing up your emotional and physical energy for more of the enjoyable stuff. You may also, in some cases, wish to ask “What would it take to move this activity/event/person to the “enjoy” side of the paper?”
You can apply this exercise to your business in general or focus on specific aspects such as “My marketing activities”, “My contacts”, “My clients or customers”.
Whether we are good at what we enjoy or whether we enjoy what we are good at is a moot point. I hope however that this exercise in enjoyment will help you discover different ideas and ways of doing things … to help you get the results you really want. Just repeat as necessary!
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