We are now bombarded with headlines, columns, and blurbs about how this is the time to pause and look back over the last year. What went well? What didn’t? Blah, blah, blah…
If you’re not doing this throughout the year, not just now in late December, I have to ask, “Why the hell not?” Do you think a hockey team plays the entire game without checking the scoreboard and the clock regularly? They would be quite surprised to have the final buzzer go off only to find they were losing the game and didn’t make any adjustments that could have led to a win…
No, this column is not like the others that suggest you look back and give thanks. That is, however, good advice and a wonderful practice to follow.
This column suggests that you look for your reflection. It can be seen in places we don’t always look until much time has past, which often leads to difficulty making sufficient adjustments (Ref. the hockey team described above.) Here are a few places where you’ll see your reflection, if you look…
As a young man, I was told regularly that I was very much like my dad, right down to the way I walked and talked. I took that as a compliment because I really looked up to my dad. As I matured as a man, I began to see some of his shortcomings and decided I didn’t want to be a mirror of him but a better version instead. I try to emulate his virtues and learn from his faults so that I can be the best dad I can for my two young daughters.
I see strong reflections of myself in my children, especially my oldest. She has perfectionist tendencies, wants to do right by everyone, and is incredibly well spoken for her age. All are qualities I’ve been told would aptly describe me as a toddler. Those might be her worst qualities because on the other end of the spectrum, she has the most beautiful soul: caring, generous, forgiving…I could go on and on. I’ve learned that perfection kills progress and am working on improving my perfectionist tendencies every day. Now I need to learn how to teach her what I’ve learned in this regard.
As a solo-preneur, (that’s the phrase I’ve coined to describe me and everyone else who is a solo entrepreneur) I am my business; I am everything in it and for it, from creating and executing the marketing plan to opening the mail. If I’m not working my business, my business is idling in neutral.
In businesses with a team, be that team a family or arm’s-length employees, the team will be an indirect reflection of you as the leader. A motivated and conscientious team is a reflection of an appreciative and fair leader. An apathetic and truant team is a reflection of a harsh and impatient leader.
However, it matters not whether our business is a team or a solo, the drive towards success that is seen in our businesses is a direct reflection of us, the leaders. Our level of engagement in the moving towards our big picture, long term goals will correlate almost perfectly to the results we achieve. My engagement in my business has been challenged in the last half of 2017 as I dealt with a difficult personal issue, and the results show it.
People tend to gravitate to other people of their ilk. It’s natural. Is your circle of friends & contacts positive and optimistic, or negative and pessimistic? By surrounding ourselves with other just like us, we risk getting caught up in an echo chamber where our perspective is never challenged and will never change.
To Plan for Prosperity
Reflection is more apparent than we might think. Yet it is often difficult to recognize. And despite all this, typically the best tool to settle the challenges in business is a mirror.
**Credit Where Credit is Due
Last week we shared again that “Cash Isn’t King, It’s the ACE!” This was first heard from Phil Symchych of Symco & Co. management advisors symcoandco.com and we didn’t provide proper citation or acknowledgement. For this, we apologize. Phil has been a great friend & advisor and we look forward to continued success.