Prepare to be consistent
One of the key qualities of successful people is to be consistent and linked to that is to be a person of your word. This can be difficult for new entrepreneurs because a lot of the time we are doing all the jobs ourselves. We are Creative Director, Finance Officer, Office Manager, Social Media and Communications Director, Marketing Executive, Bookkeeper, PA and a host of other roles rolled into one.
Over the last year I have focused a lot of my energy on building and developing a social media profile with a view to building and developing a social media following. I started with a blog and have moved into live streaming here on Facebook, and the creation of my YouTube channel. However, I have found that the several different roles I have to play within this relatively new incarnation of my business means that sometimes things get pushed aside in order to be able to fulfil other roles. What I’m learning though, is the importance of planning.
I’ve not really been one for planning. I prefer to go with the flow and let things happen and evolve as they need to. However, over the years I have learned the usefulness of having a plan or a structure to bring me back if I stray or lose focus. So, I do have a plan for how I work. With my coach I developed an action plan that shows what I need to be doing and when – in the broad, strategic sense. I even have a plan for how to structure my day which works most of the time. So I’m okay in the broader sense but not so great when it comes to a specific piece of work and I often find myself reacting instead of ‘proacting’.
For instance, last month I got the opportunity to participate in a 30 day challenge to show up for my business. I decided to spend those 30 days broadcasting live on Periscope so that I could grow my confidence in live video. I didn’t plan the broadcasts I just talked about what came to me each day. I had the structure of knowing that I had to do something every day so I did. I finished the challenge at the end of November and travelled to Singapore at the end of the week with the intention of doing at least one broadcast while I was away – it didn’t happen.
The same thing happened with my Facebook Business page. In the last couple of months, I have been fairly consistent in posting on that page at least a couple of times each week with motivational quotes, blog posts and my ‘Reward Yourself Friday,’ and for some reason, although I knew the demands this trip was going to have on my energy and time – it wasn’t a holiday - I told myself I would still be able to post something. I couldn’t.
As I travelled back to the UK, once I had mentally berated myself for what I didn’t achieve, I thought about what I could have done differently. This included the following:
1. Be realistic about the time I would have
I travelled to Singapore to support trainers and participants on an intensive retreat for people who wanted to improve their training skills. I have worked on this programme before and know the toll it takes both in lack of sleep and the amount of energy we give out in support. So, I’m not sure where I thought the time to work on my business was going to come from.
Be realistic about the time you have.
2. Stay focused on the task at hand
Lack of sleep due to long hours and jet lag due to a different time zone meant I had to conserve my energy. There was no space to think about, let alone do anything that wasn’t about this programme.
If you know what is required of you then don’t intend to steal your time or energy away from that.
3. Do not promise what you may not be able to deliver
I told my Periscope viewers that I would broadcast from where I was – I didn’t, because I couldn’t. The coach Mack Newton stresses the importance of sticking to your word. If you don’t stick to your word, then others won’t trust you and you won’t trust yourself. So we have no business saying we are going to do something that we don’t know for certain we can do. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, which means
hoping you can isn’t enough and can sometimes cause more damage than being honest and saying you don’t know.
What did I learn?
There is value in planning ahead
In all of this the main thing I’ve learned is the importance of planning. Not the high level, strategic planning but the day to day, minute by minute planning. And the ability to see ahead and anticipate. Forward planning. Knowing in advance what it is you want to do. Yes, it’s great to be spontaneous but in this case it would have been better to have posts scheduled for while I was away and if I was able to do more than that then fantastic, but at least I would posted something.
Have more material than you need
Part of the problem was that I couldn’t just post content, I had to create that content as well. I frequently have blogs I’ve written and not posted which I bring out when relevant. I had run out of those and didn’t have time to even look to see if there was material I could use from other sources.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been caught out by travel but hopefully it will be the last. As I move forward with a better understanding of the benefits of forward planning and preparation, I would hope I get better in the months to come. I have to, because, as T Harv Eker says, ‘How you do anything is how you do everything,’ and I am now aware of this pattern in others areas of my life too.
Do you have a tendency to over promise yourself or others, or ignore the signs in the hope that you will achieve it anyway? It may be in your business it may be in your job or even with the people around you. Be careful, because that may be the thing that gets between you progressing. But I am learning that a little foresight, a little planning, being realistic about what you can do, is vital if you want to remain consistent and consistency builds trust and trust breeds loyalty.