2016 is here! Now what?
5 ways to maximise your new year.
I've been so reluctant to admit it to myself, but it's time to officially come to terms with the fact that the holidays are over! Here in the wonderful warm climes of the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas holidays are a lot different to the snow-covered Christmas tree and reindeer images everyone in the Northern Hemisphere grew up with. For us it's sand and sea all the way!
There's a little piece of me which hankers to the lazy wake-ups, late breakfasts and long hours on the beach with a nice book, while occasionally peering over the edge (of the book) to see if the kids are still okay. Life is like that, isn't it; ever-moving, flowing from one space to the next, from one energy to the next. And, although I dragged myself here kicking and screaming, it's time to embrace the space and energy I'm in now. The new year is in full swing and there is not turning back!
Climbing big mountains is lot like that too. Take Mt. Everest for example:
It's a three-month long expedition. A significant amount of time [about two weeks] is spent trekking to the base of the mountain - Everest Base Camp. Once you're in Base Camp, you get about 5 days rest and altitude acclimatisation before you have to stare reality in the face. The reality of the actual climb!
How does one get the best out of climbing Mt. Everest?
These 5 tips will give you some insight into the climb itself and also illustrate to you how relevant it is to real life.
1. Base Camp is a good place. Make "Base-Camp Moments".
The truth of the matter is that we humans were not designed to ascend to high altitudes in a flash. It's a slow, gradual process to get accustomed to maintaining the same bodily functions with ever reducing oxygen levels. A person who does not abide by these laws of nature, will soon find themselves struggling for life with very little oxygen, because their body has to make sudden and dramatic adjustments to cope. This always leads to disaster! It's a bit like trying to complete a 6 month calendar in two weeks. Not possible. The reason Base Camp is so important is:
a) it has higher levels of oxygen than the higher camps,
b) this makes it the best place to recover and recharge and reflect.
c) it is fully stocked with food, has a decent wifi-zone and gives you an opportunity to connect with mountaineers from other parts of the world. This further enhance a sense of community.
d) it's in a relatively safe space, away from avalanche danger and the possibility of falling 1000 metres!
I encourage all my audiences to make "Base Camp Moments" a part of their planning. In other words, don't wait until you're gasping for air, because you can't cope anymore. You know yourself. You know how far and how high you can go before you break. Or, at least, you should. Make time to replenish, to recharge and to reflect on the journey. This must be done periodically (daily/weekly/monthly), so as to create a comfortable rhythm for yourself. Reflection time is vital to achieving great levels of performance when one needs to tackle the highest mountain in the world! Remember to have fun in Base Camp. It's the only place on the whole mountain where you can!
I encourage all the groups I work with to use the Peak Performance Toolkit™ Diagnostic as a kick-off point for "Base Camp Moments -type" self-reflection.
2. Wake up earlier. There's no getting around this one folks!
3. Plan - Know today what you want to achieve tomorrow.
4. Have a clear picture of the end-result, but focus on the little steps.
It's the everyday mundane detail which all adds up to a completed year. What are those little tasks you need to complete in order for the big vision to be accomplished? Being a non-detail oriented person myself, I really struggle with this one. On a mountain it's a bit easier. The risk of death can really get one focused! Everyday tasks, like filing, doing a check-list and getting things from the check-list done, eventually add up to the big mountain you've conquered by year's end.
5. Share and collaborate.
As a business owner, I've had to learn the tough lesson of letting go. I've had to let go of the illusion that I'm the only person who can get things done the way want them done. As a result, I became chief everything. CEOieio...
Growing a business from scratch with zero capital is not easy. It requires long hours, hard work, sacrifice and dealing with relentless criticism from those who don't understand the journey you're on. At first, the only way to cope was to do everything myself in order to keep overheads low. I was burnt out and felt helpless many times. It took a lot of courage to let go, but once I did it, I started to enjoy the benefits of having others do administration, marketing, accounting, etc. This in turn allowed me to work on the things in my business, which I'm really passionate about - speaking, coaching, training and working on strategy for DDA. My time is better managed now and I actually find a moment for a tea-break!
I have also found great value in having weekly peer-mentoring coffee sessions with a few like-minded business owners. This feels a lot like a support group - which I suppose it is! It brings about focused networking and lead-generating from people who can highly recommend you.
Because of this new way of doing things, I think this will be my most effective business year ever!
I wish you all the best for 2016.