Can someone tell me how the new year and decade are already in full swing? Can someone also share how we managed to survive and thrive amongst a pandemic and chaotic election year, all while quarantined and in lockdown? Before we even go there, I just want to take a moment to clap for all of us who have made it this year in what (by all accounts) has been a tremendous load to carry. Somehow we are pushing through and that is to be admired and celebrated; even if the clapping is in the mirror by and for ourselves.
Looking back on 2020 (pre Covid), I’m sure you had goals that you started off with, that vision board you crafted, travel plans and checklists that look somewhat accomplished. Then came March and the world suddenly came to a crashing halt, where quarantine, Zoom calls and homemaking shifted to the top of our to-do lists. So how’d you do? In spite of it all, I’m hoping you were able to accomplish many of your goals and plans. And if by accomplishment you simply got up, put on fresh pair of yoga pants on and got fresh air thats ok too.
As we approach this new season of opportunity, I’m challenging myself to work smarter to be more intentional with my energy and time and to find joy in the work as much as possible. 2020 absolutely taught me that quality over everything is my new mantra and daily goal. No need to stress if you didn’t cross off every task on that last years list. Instead, as we move into the new year and beyond, let’s look at refreshed methods that we can enact to ensure personal and professional success. After all, at the heart of all of these goals is balance and quality of life. So let’s shift perspective a but and ask ourselves what the great Oprah Winfrey asked me and at her tour last year: What is your intention for yourself and your future self?
I’ve been sharing a lot of the VJMedia journey lately and I’m glad you’re finding my truths useful for your own business. So let the sharing continue! Below are a few steps that I take every year to make sure that I’m managing my time effectively and conquering my business and long term professional goals.
First: I approach the year in quarters & break those quarters into weeks.
Make a power list of to do’s that you want to accomplish and make sure that they are attainable. As goal-oriented as I am I’m also very realistic. Sure I want to be the lead voice actor for A Disney Pixar film, narrate Issa Rae’s next film, launch a new podcast, merch line, and even produce a documentary. Just a few vision board goals I’m putting out there (universe I hope you’re listening). We all have lofty goals; as we should.
Hey, if any of those opportunities arise in 2021, I’ll be ready to take on the challenge, because I believe in staying ready and open for opportunity at all times.
I would consider those to be long-term goals that are benchmarked for the next three to five years. In order to get there, I put together a series of small attainable goals that I know can be achieved this year aimed at helping me polish my business, grow my brand visibility so that I’m able to attract more opportunity. This opens the doors for those wow career moments currently pinned to my vision board that I’m calling into fruition daily.
See my post on ways to stay open and ready for opportunity. Click below.
Next: Remember, your action plan should be clear, concise and realistic!
Each week I evaluate what steps I am taking towards tackling my personal and professional goals. I don’t overwhelm my to do list with things that I dream up but know are on a longer timeline (like I mentioned above). I approach the day and week in blocks. Then, I attack the week with vigor. Yes, I look forward to Mondays. I strategically plan out my weeks with the intention to crush one major goal and five small ones daily. Since I know my light voiceover days for example are typically Monday and Tuesday, I use those days to tackle VJMedia brand goals like curating my Women of Impact Dinner series or scoping out venues and concepts for this years VJMedia Mixology and Food Wine and Fete.
For you, maybe its strategizing with your accountant, meeting with your financial advisor to scale investments, crafting your business plan or redesigning your website: all can be achieved in the first quarter of the year. You heard me! Set those appointments, stick to them and chisel away at each goal each week. Before you know it, you’re half way through that list often with time to spare.
Important: Reward Yourself Often. A nugget of wisdom that I can’t share enough is to give yourself small rewards often once you check a major goal off your list, or a small one. A win is a win. For me, a good reward could be a glass of champagne or a spa day. Whatever that is for you, reward yourself for the small wins, especially after you meet those benchmarks that you worked so hard on.
Step Two: It’s self-check time. Do you have a mentor/soul sister or business colleague in your life who you can share with honestly and who can help keep you in check professionally? This should be a person that you trust enough to give detailed information about your business and one that you will respect when they share unfiltered feedback. Thankfully, I have several people in my life who I rely on for unedited truths on my pacing, my events, my brand content and more. They keep me honest and push me to think bigger which has allowed me to scale VJMedia up in recent years into a 360° multimedia company. Advice: Keep these gems close to you and thank them often (flowers and thank you notes are never underrated, send them).
Important: Know yourself- honor your truth. It will save you valuable time. The worst thing that I did when I first started VJMedia was thinking that I could do it all at alone. I piled a mountain of things that I wanted to accomplish on my plate, gave them a deadline and then was really hard on myself when I didn’t quite get there. I wasn’t honoring my truth about what I really wanted my brand to be about and what I was truly passionate about creating. Call it trial and error if you must, but looking back, I did waste valuable time figuring that hard lesson out. Now, I work very strategically to make sure that the things I write down and the intentions I put to paper are things I truly want to see realized for my business and brand.
How to attract the brands & businesses you want to work with. Click.
Other Nuggets of Wisdom you will appreciate:
Be prepared to self-edit and constantly update your goals and dreams. I recently saw a BMW commercial with the tagline ‘Sometimes you have to unfollow your old dreams to make room for the new ones’. That powerful message really resonated with my spirit. Things I look back on and say “oh man I really wanted to do that” have changed throughout the years as I’ve come to discover my true business self. I once wanted to start a Miami foodie tour after a press trip to Peru where we literally hopped from vendor to vendor trying local treats. As much as I’d still love to see that realized, my time at the moment doesn’t allow for such a project.
If an idea no longer serves your purpose or interest-that’s OK. Self-correction is a part of the entrepreneurial journey and a big part of the start-up process. Keep creating and dreaming it all up, just manage your expectations, time and energy to see things through.
Keep clutter and toxicity out of your life, your space and your business. Ever walk into your home after traveling for a week to find a mountain of laundry piled high, mail that hasn’t been checked and an entire house to clean. Yup~ been there. Some people can ignore all of that and just plow through their to do lists (who are these people by the way). For me, a clean space equals a clear mind. A clear mind allows me to be my MOST creative. I’ve become very intentional about de-cluttering my world – now I purposely work in a space that is functional and allows my thoughts to thrive. Decluttering can often also mean people. There’s honestly no better time to take inventory of how and who you’re spending your most time with and if they are truly contributing to your personal and professional growth.
Next, SO VERY NECESSARY- Take a vacation. Mid-year (if possible) is a great time to reset for a much needed mental escape from your daily grind. For me, a travel refresh is a necessary if not mandatory part of my existence. I don’t hesitate when I see a good deal to get away for a few. Travel keeps my ideas fresh; I get to see perspectives and other worldly points of view, not to mention meet interesting people who I often end up collaborating with. I also notice a lift in my energy and spirit when I travel which I directly inject into my work. So let that inner wanderlust fly and travel baby, travel!
Hug yourself, often. — Listen- there’s no shame in my hug game- yes I hug myself often. No fanfare needed, I AM my biggest fan and cheerleader. Frankly, as a female entrepreneur, I have to be. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a good squeeze and a pat on the back for being bold enough to take control of your life and launch your business in the first place. It takes a lot of gumption and grit to go there, often with no roadmap nor reward, yet somehow we make it work.
Finally, I want to personally shout out to us: The Dreamers, The Doers, The Entrepreneurs and Innovators shifting culture everyday. 2020 was a transformative year for many of us. I feel it in my core that 2021 and this new decade will be the manifestation of many long nights and early mornings. So write down your goals and dreams and take purposeful steps to accomplishing them this year. This is after all the season of intention. I for one will intentionally be celebrating the wins and the lessons (big and small) as I move through to what I’m manifesting will be the greatest decade for VJMedia. Thank you for your support and know that I’m cheering you on always!
Written by Vanessa James. All opinions are my own.