Being an entrepreneur is a challenge at the best of times. Try throwing an ever changing pandemic, social isolation, and an uncertain economy into the mix. By now, a lot of us are simply tapped out, to say the least. Approaching a new year, many are feeling a loss of direction or sheer exhaustion from all the pivoting that was required in 2020. Some are even ready to put away their dreams of success, and stay in their comfort zone. Thinking positively during difficult times isn’t easy, but, as Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
If the past year has left you starved of inspiration, it’s time to shake up your plan for 2021. That includes releasing the past and creating an honest vision of what you really want. Approaching a still uncertain time, where it’s easy to second guess yourself, we have advice from the world’s top female entrepreneurs on how to put that spring back in your step. You could come out of 2021 a stronger, more confident entrepreneur than ever.
Learn From Last Year and Let Go
Reflect mindfully on the past year. Make the conscious choice to take life lessons with you, but let go of feelings of guilt or perceptions of failure. Oprah Winfrey has always been vocal about the beauty of mistakes and moving forward in life. She says, “Just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure. When you know that in the core of yourself, you can keep trying, or you can use whatever is happening in that moment to say, ‘Maybe I need to move in a new direction.” Everyone experiences setbacks in life. It’s all about how you respond to them.
Make Tough Choices and Prioritize
Take a long, hard look at your annual goals and daily to-do lists. Are your tasks aligned with what truly matters to you? The most successful people focus on accomplishing goals that align with their deepest passions and core values. It’s not about getting everything done. It’s about doing what matters. Really get to know yourself. Have the awareness of what makes you tick, and the focus to stay with it over the long term. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg advises, “Lots of times you have very good ideas. But they’re not as good as the most important thing you could be doing. And you have to make the hard choices.”
Courage is the faith we have in our choices to make things happen. It means defying the naysayers and doing things our own way. Fashion designer Vera Wang, opened her first bridal boutique at age forty, and twenty-eight years later, now has an estimated fortune of $630 million. “Courage is a large part of the creative process,” she says. “Fashion grew out of my need to express myself and challenge the status quo.” This year, get honest about what resonates with you, and what sets you apart from the pack. Subjecting your work to criticism and judgement is never easy. Taking courageous action and sticking to your unique vision is the foundation that will help you succeed as you face this challenge.
Write It Down To Make It Happen
This is something we often hear, but not enough of us put into practice. Simply writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. Whether it’s on a notepad beside your bed, or a typed memo, scribbling down your business objectives on a daily basis means you’ll look at them every day. It keeps you on track and constantly reminds you where your focus needs to go. Author and Entrepreneur Marie Forleo, explains, “Personally, I write my number one goal at least fifteen times every morning. In fact, I did that when I was writing Everything is Figureoutable. I wrote, “I am a number one NY Times Bestseller” 15 times per day, every day for at least 18 months. Obviously, I worked my tail off, but that goal did happen.”
Be Specific About Your Vision
Slow down and take the time to create a particular vision that aligns with your desires. Close your eyes and visualize the things you’ll do in the next year, or the milestones you’ll hit in the next decade. Don’t be afraid to think big. Imagine how it will feel and the details of the scene. The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, says she visualized her biggest life goals before they came to be. She clearly saw herself being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey fifteen years before it happened. She imagined herself sitting on the couch with Oprah, and wondered, “What are we talking about?” This fueled the hard work that actually led her there.
Jennifer O’Callaghan is a Toronto-based journalist and entrepreneur. She has a background in broadcasting and theatre. She also loves to write about creativity and self empowerment. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.