This story I’m about to tell you about a bruised arm is going to relate to your business success in 2017, really. Stay with me.
The day was going fine and then this happened.
I got a boo-boo on my arm. It’s one of those big ones that gets super colorful (fun to watch), but also super sore. It definitely had my attention, but then I remembered something I had learned from my acupuncturist, Phil. He told me once before to go right to the sore and bruised spot and start rubbing it vigorously, several times a day.
What? Go to where it hurts and intentionally make it hurt even more?
My thought had been to baby it, not touch it, and watch it fade in a week or two.
What Phil offered me was a self-care activity to make myself better. He said that by rubbing it I’d be bringing more blood flow to the area. I’d stimulate healing. He was right.
Why am I talking about injuries, bruises and boo-boos?
Because I see a direct correlation to the owies that happen in a year’s worth of having our business and working with clients. There are self-care tools at your disposal that can make those owies go away. More than that, tending to those owies can strengthen your business and make it all better.
Let’s define “disappointments”
Here are some things that have disappointed me when I did a year-end-review in the past plus some I’ve heard from coaching clients this year. You may be able to relate.
1. I didn’t reach the financial goals I set for myself.
2. My boundaries weren’t strong enough with testy clients or pushy sales people.
3. A boutique owner totally did not get my role as an image consultant and was essentially stealing my client right under my nose.
4. I underpriced my corporate seminar and then on top of that, they wanted my PowerPoint slides for free. I felt like an amateur.
5. A client I’d worked with before kept saying she wanted to see me again but never solidified a next appointment. I felt dumped!
6. I compare myself to others and feel like I’m not nearly where I should be.
7. I go to networking events and freeze when it comes time to talk about what I do for work. I’ll never get new clients!
We’re all told we should focus on the positive, right? When it comes to a year-end-review, I disagree. I think there is so much power in looking at what disappointed you; what made you feel like a fraud; the things that made you feel ashamed or less then professional.
Disappointments don’t just disappear. They come back to haunt us with oudas: shoulda, coulda, or woulda. I’ve never found oudas to be very useful.
My advice always is to go deeper; kind of like Phil asks me to do when I get a bruise.
I use four steps to handle disappointments
To get the most value out of digging deeper into disappointments, try these four steps.
1. Bring it out of the depths where you’ve tried to hide it and talk about it, write about it, tell your coach about it. If anything is left knawing at you, it has the potential to take you off course and lose your focus without you even realizing it.
2. Now that it’s out be curious. Look at the circumstances or have someone you trust help you look at the circumstances. Did the presentation flop because you weren’t fully prepared? Did it flop because you were trying to give them way too much information in the time you had? What were the ingredients of this bad outcome?
3. Forgive yourself! We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We’re all learning. Perfection is overrated. Life is messy and this is just one chapter. Let yourself off the hook.
4. Sift through the circumstances of what worked and see if there are things you could implement in your standard operating procedures that would keep this from happening again.
Sometimes situations just can’t be fixed or made better and you have to move on. You do the best you can to clean up a situation and then you move forward.
A really bad mistake early in my career
Early in my career I had a client I really liked and could easily see a long-term relationship with her. I loved helping her solve her wardrobe problems. She was very sweet.
One day after I’d been busy researching trends at department stores in my area I realized I’d completely forgotten an appointment we’d made for that day. I was mortified. I called her up immediately and apologized. She said, “That’s okay.” I said, “We can reschedule” and she said, “No, that’s okay.”
It was brutal. I felt so bad about myself. After I got done beating up on myself I made some changes. I’ve never done that again and have very specific policies for reminding clients of upcoming appointments. I do it for them but I do it for myself as well.
Those policies have served me well. I feel professional. I never take for granted that someone is paying me good money to be on top of things. I wouldn’t have created those policies without having made that horrible mistake. I got a lot out of that lesson!
I think there are so many things your business can teach you when you do a year-end-review. If you are interested in having more guidelines to help you review your year, I’m launching a guide, 10 Strategic Steps to Help You Advance Your Career in 2017. And one of them is looking at disappointments. In the planning portion of the guide I offer you possible action steps to take into your year.
Curious? Click here for more information!