My favorite children’s book is The Little Engine That Could. During the holiday season, it’s a good time to reflect on a few questions related to that theme.
How’s your engine?
As a leader or business owner, chances are you’ve spent a lot of your energy trying to keep your business engine running. After all, if you don’t, who will?
You’ve likely experienced times when the engine seems weak or even quits, so you get busy figuring out the problem. You refuel and check the systems to make sure they’re working properly.
If you’re like me, your business may have jumped the track a time or two. Or you may have changed tracks to explore new territory. You may have lost some cargo along the way.
Get the proper systems and people in place to carry the load.
Work on the most important parts of the business. Let others handle the rest.
Where are you going?
This is a perfect time of year to shift gears and think about the vision for your business–where you want the train to go. Yes, you need to have a strong working engine, but you have to have a destination in mind. It’s okay if your idea of the destination isn’t totally clear. Give yourself some time and space to think about the possibilities.
When you begin to question if you’re even on the right train, keep moving. As Paulo Coelho said, “Sometimes the ‘wrong’ train can take us to the right place.”
Be willing to change the destination if needed. Trust that you’re moving in the right direction.
Help others see and get excited about where the train is going.
How’s your mindset?
As a child, little did I realize how many times in my life I would have to say to myself, “I think I can…I think I can…I think I can.” Inevitably you’ll hit some obstacles along the way, but how you think about them and respond to them is critical.
As an exercise, quickly list all the reasons why you will be successful accomplishing what you want in the coming year.
Keep that list in front of you. It’s too easy to let doubt creep in.
Be open to new possibilities. Anticipate good things happening. As a leader, you have to feel and convey optimism.
And the most important question…Are you enjoying the ride?
You should be. If not, what needs to change?
I used to get frustrated when people asked me if I enjoyed my work. How can you enjoy the ride when you feel such pressure and responsibility? The stress in a leadership role can be overwhelming at times.
If you shift your thinking from, “Work should get done” to “Work should be fun,” you’ll actually get more good work done.
It doesn’t matter how successful you are in business if you’re not fulfilled.
When I focused more on the positive aspects of my work, more opportunities emerged. I followed my instincts to create a business that allows me to do more of what I enjoy.
As you consider your goals and aspirations for the New Year, make a commitment to focus more (much more) on what you truly enjoy–within and outside the business. Fill yourself.
In business, results matter, but the experience of creating those results matters too.
The train will keep going. You can enjoy the journey if you choose to.
While “Enjoy the journey” may sound trite, that is my best wish for you this holiday season.
I think you can. I think you can. I think you can.