2014 Is Your Window of Opportunity

FocusWelcome to a new year full of wonderful opportunities! 2014 is an open window to achieve your specific goals…and more importantly a strategy for how you will accomplish them! As many of you are in the process of formulating your goals or making resolutions for 2014, I want you to also think about how you will hold yourself accountable for staying on the path with achieving these goals. We all encounter distractions in our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, these distractions compete for our attention and energy. As a professor and entrepreneur, I am often overwhelmed with the workload I experience as a professor (research, teaching, and service) that often competes with the time necessary to build my personal business. Semester breaks would appear to be the perfect opportunity for enhancing my business outside of my academic career. However, I still have research and school service requirements that necessitate my intellectual abilities, time, and energy. The question is, “How to prevent these distractions from side-tracking me from my goals and desires of having a successful business?” This is the same question I ask of you, “How do you minimize the distractions that hinder you from achieving your goals?” I have developed a number of strategies that you may also find helpful. To get started, here are just a few pointers to keep in mind:

1. Specify Your Goals. What are you working towards? What are your goals? What are your plans for accomplishing these goals? If you are unsure, now is a great time to get that list together…and more importantly…be specific! Associate a time frame of when you would like to achieve these goals. Keep in mind that specificity is the driving force behind accomplishing your goals. Specifying your goals with time frames is similar to driving your car to the grocery store. You wouldn’t drive to the grocery store without a clear idea of how to get there …the concept of specifying your goals with time frames is just as important, if not more-so, for building your business.

2. Allocate Time. Just as many of you dedicate time for exercising, meals, or house hold chores, you must also dedicate uninterrupted time towards your business. I suggest setting aside dedicated time either daily or weekly towards your business goals. Anything beyond weekly and you run the risk of not making much progress with building your business. You know what they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” The same is true with your business goals. If you do not keep them on the forefront of your mind or include them as part of your everyday agenda, you cannot expect significant growth towards the actualization of your goals.

3. Choose Wise Company. Have a GREAT network. Notice I did not say a good network, but a GREAT network. Specifically, have people in your circle that will support your goals, people that you respect, and people that you would like to emulate. Many entrepreneurs have a strong fear of market competition. This fear hinders them from reaching out to others for advice and assistance. Consequently, it places additional pressure on the business owner to be a subject matter expert in all aspects of their business. Although there are similarities in services offered by many business owners, entrepreneurs have to keep in perspective that we also operate in a community of abundance and opportunities. Each of us offers unique services for our specific niche. Therefore, do not be afraid to seek advice from your network.

Having trouble building your network? Looking for additional services to build your network more quickly and jump-start your business? You may also want to consider investing in the services of a business coach to advance your business to the next level more quickly. A business coach is a thought partner who can assist you with developing a roadmap for taking your business to the next level through the experience of tried and true business and personal practices. A good business coach is well worth the investment for both individual and business growth goals.

4. Track Your Progress. Last but not least, it is important to track your progress. Having goals for your business but not monitoring your progress can sabotage your sense of achievement and your ability to maintain momentum. How will you be able to know if you are making progress towards achieving your goals? Set up measurable points of progress to motivate you to keep moving towards the completion of your goals. Keep your goals and your progress with achieving these goals in a location that will be visible to you. Not only will this keep you focused…it will also give you a sense of satisfaction as you move closer to completing your goals. And the closer you are to completing your goals, the more that you will realize that “yes, you really can do it!”

I am excited and committed to moving to the next level this year. Are you ready to make the commitment too? It’s time to throw open the window of opportunity in 2014 and commit to your goals of a better, wiser, business…YOU! Are you ready? Let’s work together to make your goals a reality!

Erica L. Anthony, Ph.D., is the CEO/Founder of Lyceum for Innovative Leadership LLC, a full service coaching, training, and consulting business seeking to assist high potential professionals with achieving their personal and professional goals.  For additional information regarding Lyceum for Innovative Leadership LLC and the services offered, please visit www.innovative-leader.com.