A new year. A new DECADE! Like I do with most things in my life, I’ve taken a deep dive right into 2020 and the water is fine. I’m still globetrotting as a digital nomad – starting off January with the largest Asentiv Global Conference to date in Dubai! In between wandering through the desert and trying to get a camel selfie, I’m still meeting virtually with my coaching clients – inspiring entrepreneurs based in a variety of time zones.
As a business coach, a good deal of my work with clients lately has been around goals for the new year. I thought about writing another blog on goals (see my post from last year on goals Put Lipstick on the Pig) but I felt called to write about something a little different that doesn’t get as much hype or press – taking an inventory. That’s right, looking backward and reviewing so that I can have a clear understanding of where I came from, where I’m at, and where I’m going during this next trip around the sun.
There are many different ways to reflect and evaluate. When I take an inventory of where I’m at in my business and in my life, I like to use the 5 P’s – Patterns, People, Purpose, Process, and Possibilities.
The things we do, think, or avoid over and over – whether we are conscious of them or not. What are your patterns? Are they helping you or hindering you? Do they reflect self-love and self-worth, or are they patterns of self-sabotage? As the saying goes – “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” If you feel frustrated with some of the outcomes of 2019, it’s a good opportunity to look at your behavior patterns to see what’s going on.
Sometimes, certain negative patterns are deeply ingrained. Part of our fundamental programming from long ago, they may have once served as a survival mechanism. Today, however, they are usually no longer serving us. These kinds of patterns can take longer to recognize, unwind, and finally change than others. Yet once shifted, our lives transform.
As I’ve done this reflective work myself over the years, a major negative pattern I found in my own life was my tendency to take on the role of martyr. When I engage in this pattern, I become a buffer – trying to protect, take care of, and save others. Taking on the lion share of responsibility or trying to shoulder the responsibility of others would leave me feeling drained and angry. This was a behavior pattern I learned early on from my Mom. As I realized this detrimental pattern, I wanted to leap into action and immediately stop the bad behavior. I was done being a martyr! The powerful motivation to change that comes with burn out and finally seeing ourselves can at times make us overcorrect, swinging the pendulum to the other extreme.
For me, the opposite of martyrdom was learning to put my foot down, set boundaries, and stop owning shit that wasn’t mine. At the beginning of practicing these new tools, I could sometimes overshoot the mark and be a little too assertive. I kept practicing. I’d rather have to apologize for fumbling as I practice a new healthier behavior that is crucial to my success in my business and my life than never try and stay stuck in the same old rut.
The last thing I’ll say about patterns is that it’s easier to replace a negative pattern or behavior with a positive one than to simply try and “stop”. I encourage you to reflect on the sources of icky feelings and conflict in your life. Consider, you are the common denominator. While you cannot change anyone else’s patterns or behavior, you do have the power to change your own.
Take out a piece of paper and make a list of your people (life and business). This is an exercise that we do at Asentiv in our Certified Networker Course. With a solid network, entrepreneurship can be an empowering experience. Without the right people in your corners – in life and in business – it can be pretty lonely and miserable. I like to break the list down into different categories for my business.
For instance, financial support people like my go-to accountant and tax guy, insurance people, techy people who I know I can call up with questions and they’ll have my back. Who are my motivators, the people who I run to for inspiration and big picture dreaming? Who are the people who hold me accountable and tell me what I don’t want to but need to hear? Who are the people I go to let loose and take some time off work? These are needs for support and connection that we all have on some level.
After you have a list of your people. Take a good look and ask yourself some tough questions. Are the people in your network in the right places? Do you have “yes men or women” where you really need someone to be straight with you? Look at the people closest to you, who you give the most time. This is so important to be aware of and to know that it’s OK to make changes to these people, as others and ourselves grow and change. The people we allow into our lives are a reflection of ourselves and how much we value ourselves. They contribute or take away from our professional image and the way potential clients, partners, and friends see us. In the past, I’ve had to shift my relationship with very good friends to loving them from afar because of decisions that they were making in their life.
Finally, ask yourself about the way you are showing up in others’ lives. What roles are you playing? What are you contributing to their life? Are you a person that is helping to build them up, or are you a drain on their time and energy? Are you bringing drama? Are you bringing joy? Are you what THEY need right now in that role? These are all good questions to ask yourself honestly.
Having a clear purpose makes it easier to prioritize and make decisions in your business and life. When you know your purpose or major intention, every decision that comes your way can be measured up against it. How does [insert issue here] serve or hinder my purpose? When there are a lot of possibilities being thrown at us, this acts as a useful tool to help us stay on course.
At Asentiv, we call this our ECC, or emotionally charged connection. Essentially, it’s the ‘Why’ behind our work. Hint: it’s not all about the money. This is what our values, mission, and vision stem from. As I’ve shared in previous blog posts, I know my purpose. In short, I help move people out of their own way and dive into the possibilities and I love it! If you haven’t already, you can read more about my ECC here.
If you are struggling to identify your purpose or feeling disconnected, don’t stress. Go back and review times in the last year, or perhaps further back, where you felt the most fulfilled and connected. What were you doing? Why did you feel this way? Pay attention to these important markers in yourself – don’t ignore them! If you still feel stuck, start keeping a journal to track thoughts and feelings and explore these questions further. Keep unraveling the ball of yarn.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Where are you hitting roadblocks or feeling like you are spending time poorly? There’s much to be done in this area to help you work smarter, not harder. Consider what processes and systems you currently have in place. Are they working? I am a big fan of templates and automation, especially when it comes to communication – a major time suck for business owners. Create some ‘evergreen’ content for common communication points so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself like a broken record. Perhaps your business would benefit from a FAQ page on your website or an informational blog.
Another area where templates are huge time savers is your intake process. Which brings up another question – what does your intake process look like for new team members? How long has it been since you updated it? Here is a doozy for you: How has your intake process really worked? Are the people you have brought on productive, aligned and doing what they are supposed to? If not look at the root of your engagement and move forward from there.
The same goes for new clients. They will love you for having your intake process streamlined, so you don’t monopolize their precious time with constant back and forth. With the right hiring and onboarding process, your clients and team members are more likely to stick around and succeed.
Finally, how can you make all this more joyful – for yourself and others involved in the process?
Ahhhhh! This is the stretching part. The big-dreaming, exciting part! This is where your goals come into play. This is also where it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Carefully considering our possibilities and measuring them against our purpose, we can gain clarity on what really aligns with us and our larger vision, versus what is a diversion from it. Ask yourself, is this my dream or someone else’s? Why does this particular project, assignment, or role resonate with me? Checking it against the other 3 P’s is helpful as well.
Is a possibility really a positive thing for you, or is it an old pattern in disguise? Do you have the right people to support you in this endeavor? What does your process look like for taking it on or accomplishing it? Be real and be honest with yourself – only you can truly know.
As you mull over all these questions, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Struggling with one or all of the 5 P’s? Feel like you can’t stop sabotaging yourself? This is my area of expertise! You don’t have to do this alone. I currently have 2 rare openings for coaching clients that are:
Ready to GROW
Need a no bullshit, no excuses accountability partner
Value a holistic approach
Want to strengthen their spiritual, intuitive connection
If this sounds like you, let’s connect! Contact me here.
People and possibilities. These are the two words that motivate Lynn Howard, owner of Asentiv Hawaii. She lives by the motto “No excuses, only solutions.” As a business coach, her passion is to inspire others to achieve their own success by believing in themselves and
taking action to overcome adversity. She is blessed with a delightfully snarky sense of humor, which provides comic relief when doing difficult ECC work with clients. An adventurous spirit, she loves to travel and has visited Indonesia, Bahrain, Thailand, Peru, and Columbia. She is based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.