Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Wheel of Time, Resolutions, and Advice from Old Bosses

Here we all are again--back to that time of year in which to reconsider old choices and to meditate on new options. The question is whether your life is best planned in minute detail or whether it is best forecast in broad strokes.

This time of year my primary question is always: should I make some resolutions this year or not? There is a reason for my hesitancy that has to do with my ADD nature. I am more of a maker and a doer than a planner or a thinker.

It's not that I never plan, it just doesn't happen often enough. When I was a realtor, in the not so distant past, my broker always said, "Plan your work, and then work your plan." I do just fine with the first part but not so much with the second.

Every year I take stock and make a "Plan". Then I put it away, promptly go about my business, and rarely look at it again. I like to imagine that some of the plan that was created in January sits in my subconscious and guides me throughout the year. This may be a fool's dream, of course.

Oh sure, I follow the advice of smart thinkers and visualize what I want with gusto and relish until I can just about taste what the achievement of my goals would be like. This is usually done while sitting in the steam room at the gym or soaking in a tub full of bubbles on a Saturday night. The rest of the time there's too much to do to stop and think.

The danger in this is that there can be missed opportunities and time wasted running down dead-end streets. Another boss always said, "If you don't take the time to do it right, you'll often have to do it over."

Oh the other hand, one can spend too much time organizing, plotting, calculating, and fretting over the minutiae that little gets done. That's how it used to be for me when I was younger, a perfectionist, and desperately feared failure.

A successful entrepreneur, also a former boss, once explained that in a new business there are a zillion things to do. You can't let it get to you. All you can do is nudge the business along a little bit everyday. This guy's business ran on negative equity for seven years before he made a profit. He just kept up his belief and nudged that business a little every day until it was finally profitable.

This year, I am going to get back to the gym, make that annual plan, and spend the rest of the year nudging my business along. In spite of the economic predictions of gloom, I am going to forge ahead with hopeful panache and focus on the advice of old bosses--especially my favorite one, a ex-Catholic with Jesuit training, who said "It's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

I'd love to read comments about what's up for you. Do you plan? Do you make resolutions? Does it work?

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and successful new year!

1 comment:

Kate said...

Hi Sharon,
I DO use the New Year holiday to reassess and make changes--which I actually call "changes" instead "resolutions." To me that word is squishy. It's like saying "I resolve to do it" instead of "I've made a change and am now doing it." Dunno if that makes sense to anyone else, but it works for me. Like you, I'd like to be a better planner. Every year in January I try to put an out-of-town adventure on my calendar for each month in the coming year. That's about as far as I get. I'd love to know what other people do!