Everywhere we look people are talking about creating goals for the new year.
At its core, goal creating is about change and transformation.
Creating transformation is a good pursuit anytime — not just at the beginning of a new year.
No matter what you want to achieve, creating goals formalizes a game plan to help you get from point a to point b.
Setting new goals creates growth opportunities to help push beyond your self-imposed limitations by exploring the unknown.
Do You Suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome Like Barracudas?
As an entrepreneurial business owner, it is easy to get sucked into “shiny object syndrome,” which can derail you from reaching your goals without you even knowing it.
Does shiny object syndrome describe you?
If you find yourself darting after the latest trend consistently - then you are definitely afflicted with the shiny object syndrome.
Since you and I both are entrepreneurs, this next statement won’t come as a surprise…
Most entrepreneurs are highly motivated and want new developments to occur fast, which can sometimes lead to this disease of distraction.
Like barracudas that chase shiny objects in the ocean, we can all find ourselves lost in a sea of options without producing our desired results when we ping from one fad to another.
Here’s an Underwater Tourist Fact: Shiny objects attract barracuda’s attention. Their intended prey are silvery fish, but any shiny thing can take them off course fast.
Barracudas get a bad rap as a menace of the ocean because of their shiny object syndrome.
Their ability to go after the wrong thing leaves them hungry and “off course” in the vast ocean.
It must happen to them a lot because they are known for darting after “shiny objects” going up to 35 miles per hour.
With their ability to accelerate into bursts of speed, they sprint towards what they think could be their next meal all the time.
Just like barracudas, you probably have experienced that adrenalin rush when you chase after the latest how-to _____ phenomena.
When you follow these distractions, you can find yourself “lost” in the ocean of entrepreneurial businesses.
So if you do this, you’re not alone.
But, sadly, sometimes those businesses “drown” when they don’t reach their goals.
Your “how-to _____” blank could be anything from… how-to create webinars, how-to use YouTube, how-to write your own book… etc.
Whatever it is that attracts you and draws your attention away from building your business can hurt you more than help you.
Dive Into Your Goals Without Getting Lost at Sea
It may sound cliche, but it is possible to dive into your business goals without getting lost at sea.
When you are intentional and don’t chase after the latest shiny object, you can see great success.
But how do you do this?
You need to create a strategic plan that helps you map out ways reach your goals.
And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to plan well.
In fact, the best method I’ve found to help me stretch and grow is by studying and following formulas that have worked well for others and then taking action on them.
Plan Your Dive, and Dive Your Plan
As a passionate underwater tourist (aka scuba diver) that uses copywriting and marketing to connect businesses with their customers, I tend to see the world—both business and personal—through the lens of diving.
Whenever I get ready to explore the depths of the ocean, I don’t just dive in and hope things will work out.
I plan my dive.
Or as they say in the diving community, “Plan your dive, and dive your plan.”
This same simple process is vital for success in anything we pursue.
We have to plan our _____, and then take action on our plan.
I left that blank on purpose because you can fill that blank with any one thing you want to do.
And if you follow the formula, you will see results.
Plan your _______, and then take action on what you’ve planned.
So what’s in your blank for the next four quarters?
Is it launching a new business?
Are you going to create a new product, service, or online course?
Perhaps your blank is focused on growing an email list, writing a book, or delivering your signature speech.
Use my DIVE acronym so you can have success diving into your goals:
In diving, if you don’t have a plan, you can wind up in a bariatric chamber, severely hurt, or worse yet - dead.
If your business operates on a wing and a prayer, or you follow the spray and pray it works method - it can and will fail.
Let me encourage you to dive into your goals by creating a plan to follow - and then follow it.
I guarantee you’ll see results.
Need a seasoned copywriter and marketer to help you create a plan?
Schedule a free 30-minute conversation with me and we will discuss your needs.
’Tis the season when everyone reflects on where they have been over the past year.
We all seem to play the reflection game in one way or another.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What did I accomplish?”
And then you dive a little deeper unpacking the “wins” and “losses” to analyze what you could have done differently.
When you’ve walked through your year in review, did you discover that it went the way you expected?
Did you create a mental or literal checklist to see how it aligned with your game plan for the previous year?
Perhaps you took pen to paper - or put fingers on your keyboard - to write out a review of the past year before you set goals for the new one.
Or were you like many who flew by the seat of their pants without a game plan?
Diving Into Your Past
Even if you didn’t create a plan for the last year, you probably spent more than a few minutes over the past few days and weeks thinking about what happened in your world.
The phenomena of diving into our past helps us move forward to a new future.
Reflection is a trend that seems to captivate us all whether we want it to or not.
As a scuba diver, the way I improve my diving skills is by reflecting on my previous dives, evaluating how they went, and planning the steps I need to make my next dive better.
This concept applies to everything I do in business and my personal life, too.
If I want to improve and reach my goals - I have to dive into my past before I can move forward.
Since I work better following a formula, I created an acronym to help make the most of my review.
But before I share it with you, let’s look at what is happening around us right now.
Everyone Is Reflecting
When you watch TV or listen to the radio, all the major news stations and news magazines are focused on recapping the past year.
They are looking at the major happenings and milestones and reviewing the legacies of those who are no longer with us.
They are pouring over the new trends that surfaced and projecting about new ones to come.
You can also read emails and social posts from your favorite bloggers and entrepreneurs sharing insights about 2018 and the new year to come.
Just today I was standing in line at the pharmacy, and I saw a shelf full of magazine covers addressing reflection and new year’s resolutions.
It is quite clear that reviewing the past year before moving forward is essential for growth.
But why are new year’s resolutions so intriguing and how did this phenomena begin?
When Did Reflecting Become A Tradition?
A quick search of Google shows that this tradition isn’t something created by a marketer to sell things.
(Although, I wouldn’t put it past any business owner or entrepreneur to find a way to capitalize on this phenomena.)
According to the History Channel - and many other online sources - New Year’s resolutions began more than 4,000 years ago.
But the way each new year was celebrated has changed over time due to a lot of influence from religious groups, different cultures, and various leaders.
Dating back to the Babylonians, you can find celebrations of the new year held in March with an 11-day festival when the crops were planted.
In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar moved the holiday to January to honor Janus, the Roman god of beginnings.
The Jewish New Year celebrations—which some sources say started in the 8th to mid-6th century B.C.—are celebrated on Rosh Hashanah through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur.
The history of new year celebrations and the practice of reviewing the old year is deep and wide encompassing both religious and secular practice.
It is interesting to note that this centuries-old tradition leads to the same storyline even today; everyone resolves to do something differently in the coming year.
At its core, new year’s resolutions are about transformation.
As Carl Sagan once said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
Dive Backwards to Make Forward Gains
Before you dive into your new year, let me encourage you to take a moment to pause, reflect and review this past year.
When you analyze the past, you can uncover any mistakes or bad habits that you want to change in the new year.
You’ll also find things you did well and need to celebrate.
I’ve created a simple acronym to help you focus on the right things.
Of course, I felt compelled to use the diving term ‘scuba’ to do this.
Write down your reflections for each these elements. When you are done working through this list, post the results in an area where you'll see it every day, so you can focus on your key learnings.
Search - Search for the top highs and lows from your past year. List out your top five "wins" and your top five "losses." Do this for both your personal life and your business.
Celebrate - Celebrate any success you experienced. Take time to celebrate any big and small accomplishments. Don't just glaze over them. Make sure you reward any achievements. Doing so can ensure long-term success.
Uncover - Uncover roadblocks you encountered and things you could have done differently.
As you look at your list of highs and lows, determine what you could have done differently in each situation to ensure success. Realize that even your highs could use improvement. Note every observation and write out how you plan to approach it better in the future.
Balance - Look for specific projects you balanced well, as well as ones you could have juggled better. If you’re an A-type personality, like me, finding balance in your pursuits is sometimes hard to do. (Hint: This step is critical for reflection.) When you celebrate the areas you practiced balance, you can also uncover areas you need to focus on being more balanced.
Action - Be intentional and take action on what you’ve uncovered through your SCUBA reflections. Don't just make this a one and done exercise. Use what you've learned as a roadmap to guide where you're going in the future.
Learning from your past can set you up for success in the future.
As Winston Churchill once said, “ Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Let me challenge you to dive into your past using my SCUBA acronym.
You can easily uncover areas you want to improve and activities you want to repeat when you practice SCUBA diving.
Make the most of your time by SCUBA diving into your past today.
In case you’re just getting to know me, let me catch you up.
I’m a professional copywriter and marketer that helps connect brands with their customers. But I’m also an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer with more than 600 dives under my belt. In other words, if there is a warm body of water with a reef nearby, I’d much rather be exploring it than walking on land.
Now scuba diving is probably the last thing on your to-do list. I realize it isn’t a common hobby. Every person is drawn to different hobbies and pastimes that make us do a happy dance, which is what makes the world go round.
Think about these facts for a minute: 70% of the earth is covered by water. Of the 7 billion people on the planet, only 6 million are scuba divers. This fact means that a lot of people are not playing underwater tourist. (Guess that keeps the underwater-ways less crowded, huh?!)
As life tends to provide pivots and turns that are out of our control, this avid diver ended up on land without diving for six long months from the fall until recently. So you can imagine my deep desire to get back into the deep blue.
We planned our first dives of the year to occur Memorial Day weekend at our favorite “local” dive spot — Jupiter Dive Center — which is currently a quick 7.5-hour drive away from our house. Unfortunately, the forecast showed a possible tropical storm that could make diving a bit of a challenge.
Making a Choice
Just like every business faces continual decisions, we had a choice to make about our diving trip. Should we steer clear of the ocean altogether based on the inclement weather forecast, or should we push forward to see what would happen?
An analysis of the options helped us decide to stay the course and make the drive from Charleston to Jupiter. While that may sound simple, it wasn’t. Driving this distance for diving requires a dive gear checklist, as well as advanced planning to coordinate multiple things, e.g., the hotel, the dive charter, packing for ourselves and furry sons, etc.
Facing Your Fears
With choppy waters and 3-4 foot waves, the 40-foot boat took us away from land into an overcast day with patches of rain on the horizon. Like any business situation, at every step of the journey, we had a choice of stopping or preserving through the less than ideal situation.
Our three-tank dive started by diving the Deep Ledge. This dive site is where the big fish (aka sharks and Goliath groupers) are known to hang out.
This is also the same place Robert and I dove last year where I unexpectedly plummeted to the bottom of the ocean and got a nosebleed in my mask as two huge bull sharks were passing by. This experience brought on a bonafide panic attack that found me reciting every scripture I’ve ever memorized to get me through the situation. (You can read about that past adventure here.)
I knew that if I didn’t jump back into the blue and face my fears—I would never grow and learn from the experience. So I did just that, I dove in with a new mindset to overcome any previous challenges.
Oddly enough, while everything went smoothly, we never saw any sharks or Goliaths. In fact, the only thing we saw were …. other divers floating in the abyss. It was an odd feeling. Oh, and the water temp was 12+ degrees colder than we anticipated, which created an entirely different dynamic.
Amazing Dive Stories
When all was said and done, we chalked up this three-tank diving adventure to one of those amazing dive stories you share with others who will listen. You know, the kind of stories that begin like: “Remember when we decided to dive in a tropical storm?”
Of course, that raises eyebrows, and people typically lean in closer as they want to hear more. This is the pivotal point where you can embellish your “fish tale,” or tell it like it really happened.
In our case, we honestly had no idea the tropical storm—that was nearly 250 miles away—would have an impact on the waters we were exploring. Unfortunately, it did in, and in a big way.
The waters were cold. This is especially challenging when warm temps are expected. The visibility was cloudy, and it was dark like diving at dusk. The impending storm made the sharks ping around the reefs like popcorn. In the end, there were no underwater photos worth sharing, Robert got hypothermia, and I felt like a popsicle.
Planning Your Next Adventures
When you have experiences like these, you have a choice to make. You can stop dead in your tracks, sell your gear, and never go diving again. OR you can chalk it up to experience, reflect on what you learned, and start planning your next adventure.
Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences in the workplace? Have you prepped for a meeting with an important client, boss, or prospect—only to have hidden agendas appear out of nowhere. (Yeah, I thought so.)
Whether you’re in the ocean diving or the office meeting with someone—you must learn to face your fears, evaluate your experiences, and plan your next moves.
Here are some quick tips you may want to consider:
No matter what the situation in business, life, or the actual ocean—you can always persevere against the odds.
Does your copywriting and marketing help your business navigate your sea of customers? I can help you with that, by doing it for you or coaching you through the process. Let me help you.
As an entrepreneurial copywriter and marketer, I love what I do. My world is so diverse that I'm always stretching and growing, while I stay focused on meeting goals and deadlines.
Take a look at some of the things I worked on over the past few days, and you may see what I mean. I’ve:
Okay, this isn’t everything I’ve done today, but I’ll stop because I think you get the drift. When you’re focused and driven, you can be quite productive. Of course, some days have unexpected hurdles and obstacles to overcome.
It does seem like the more I have to accomplish for others, the harder I push myself to make sure I’m using my talents and skills to serve my clients. My continual goal is to ensure I help my client and myself successfully reach our dreams.
Lately, I’ve learned that I can only get things done if I integrate my personal relationship with God into the mix. (If you’re not a believer, don’t stop reading. Hear me out. I’m just speaking my truth.)
My mentor Ray Edwards says that God wants us all to prosper. (Gal. 3:20 and 3 John 1:2) Ray encourages everyone to speak this truth aloud daily: “His (God) wealth flows to me in avalanches of abundance. All my needs, desires and goals are met instantaneously with infinite intelligence.”
I believe this truth, especially as I reflect on a small snapshot of what I’ve accomplished today. Otherwise, how on earth could I get it all done?
Here’s another way to look at it. Rachel Hollis says: “Most success occurs because you’re the one that keeps showing up.”
In addition to striving for success and leaning into God throughout each day, I continually write out all my short and long-term goals. I then cross each item off the list as I work through them one at a time.
Like mowing the yard, you can look at your list and see proof of what you’ve achieved.
How can you make sure you’re stretching and growing, while you stay focused on meeting goals and deadlines?
Ask yourself these questions:
This may seem pie in the sky or overwhelming. But I guarantee if you intentionally walk through this exercise, you can see results.
As you may hear me say from time to time: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, of course.”
Do you need help strategizing, planning, writing, or achieving your goals? Let me encourage you to hire a coach, copywriter, or marketer—someone like me—and you’re sure to realize more than your dreams. There are many people who can help you achieve your goals. It is simply a matter of finding the right person for you.
Take minute to reach out and schedule a free 30-minute call with me. If I can't help you, I'm certain to know someone who can.
Are you overwhelmed by the vast of amount of things you need to do? Listen in as I share the secret to reaching your goals.