As we are now entering the final stretch of the year, let’s chat about a super hot topic that tends to come up every year around this time, which is about how to plan for the year ahead so you can start the new year as the “best version of yourself”.
Personally, I think this is often a really fun time because of the energy I tend to feel from others during this time.
It’s like a mix of marveling at how much you’ve created so far and/or doubling down so you can make the most out of your goals for the year, even if you haven’t hit them yet. I think there’s often an energy of possibility and regrounding into what we say we’ll do, which I often appreciate during this time of the year.
Goals for your business are really just a direction or vision for where you want to take your business or what you want to create by a certain time frame, and then we decide on the specific action plans and belief plans that will move us in that direction or closer to that vision.
More specifically, the way I plan to look at goals for 2023 is what are the 2 or 3 skills I want to sharpen so that by the end of 2023, I can look back and see clear progress in these 2 to 3 areas?
The reason why I personally prefer to look at goals through the lens of a skill is because sometimes goals can feel a bit harder for my head to wrap around.
I LOVE the energy behind a goal, but there might be times where it just doesn’t offer a way for my brain to really ground into because it’s so airy and dreamy.
But skills are something that we can grasp, tangibly and conceptually.
My favorite thing about skills is that we can hone in on them. It’s not like you either are this, or you’re not. But rather, you can get better at a skill, which is what I absolutely appreciate about the notion of skills.
Here’s your first homework from this episode: Think about where you want your business to be by the end of 2023, and then make decisions on what skills you’re going to work on for 6-12 months each, in order to get there.
Right now, just think and make decisions fast. Don’t overthink. Just make a decision.
For example, what offer will you practice selling over and over again for the next 6-12 months? Are you going to start a podcast to practice expressing your thought leadership in evergreen long form content? Right now, just decide.
If you’re thinking okay but I don’t know if I should do XYZ, just make a decision. Because one thing I’ve observed when it comes to some of my peers in the industry who have scaled to multiple six-figures, is that they make decisions quickly, and pretty much flush out the details later. Their ability to decide quickly on their goals, and their action and belief plans to support those goals, is what keeps their momentum going.
Let me share my own examples.
Right now, the majority of our clients are already regular listeners of our podcast. So I’m already confident that the podcast is a key contributor to why clients work with us inside our coaching programs. This suggests that our podcast content is already providing immense value and it’s also both thought provoking and helpful to our clients, so much so that they decide that I am the coach for them.
My goal isn’t necessarily focused on the content strategy per se, since I have evidence to show that we have developed a podcast content strategy that’s already effective.
Instead, my goal for 2023 is focused on amplification of what’s already working so that I can get our work out to more people who will actually find our show helpful.
My goal for 2023 is to work on getting our episodes out in front of new audiences and to get more existing audiences on other platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to tune into the show.
After you have a goal, I suggest choosing no more than 2-3 skills to work on for literally the entire year, for that specific goal.
First, I decided a month or two ago to not just do an audio version of the podcast, but also I started practicing doing video. Since Episode 87, we’ve been doing a video version of the podcast which is available on YouTube. My intention here is to practice the skill of improving the quality of my video podcast.
I hope that by the end of 2023, I’d be able to create a video podcast that is more engaging and dynamic to watch. Because right now, it’s just a Zoom recording of me talking straight into the camera, with literally no edits.
So I’d like to explore more ways of recording the video portion, and this will likely entail investing in new tech setups, maybe hiring a video editor, or also learning to record from multiple angles. We shall see. There’s definitely options here for me to play around with.
Second, I’m going to practice the skill of repurposing the video, audio, and text transcript versions of the episodes and turn that into smaller standalone pieces of content that I can then post onto platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube shorts, written articles, and TikTok.
Specifically, I want to practice the skill of repurposing the content in a way where it actually motivates someone who’s not familiar with the podcast, to actually want to search up the show and listen to a few episodes.
I want to acknowledge that both of these skills can either be done by myself or outsourced. That’s because I’ve already built up the foundational skills that are highly relevant to podcasting, and learnt to do them by myself.
So now, I’m in a position where I can stack on new skills that actually can be outsourced.
For example, because I’ve spent two years developing the skill of honing in on my own unique thought leadership, helping listeners of the show become actual clients inside our coaching containers, and also doing a weekly podcast show all by myself on just a few hours a week, now I have an actual foundation to work off as we scale the podcast (meaning, amplify it out to new listeners and audiences).
All that to say, please take the time to work on practicing and building upon any skill, whether it’s podcast related or not.
And trust me when I say that there will be times when you feel impatient and question whether things are working. There will be times when you get FOMO (fear of missing out) or shiny object syndrome.
Because in business, we might not be immediately good at something, and by immediate, I mean like, within a few months at minimum. That can really make us doubt everything we’re doing.
But if you’re committed to those 2 to 3 skills for the year, please don’t just try it for 3 months and then give up and say you don’t know why it’s not working.
We’ve already made a decision to work on it, so please, let’s keep spending a lot of time and practice to make that decision work.
Because if we go back to the underlying premise of what a skill is, it’s something that you can get better at. But if we’re not continuing to take the time and repetition to practice those skills you avoid mastering, this will become the limits or caps in our business.
After deciding on your goals and/or the 2 to 3 skills you want to focus on sharpening for 2023, let’s take a look at the action and belief plans to help you to make progress on your goals.
Let’s quickly define these two concepts.
An action plan is a list of action items you will do, and a belief plan is a list of thoughts you will think.
If I were to take it a step further, I’d say that the action plan is the action items your goal or skill requires you to do in order to see incremental progress over time. And the belief plan is who you need to be and what you need to think to become that person who will take those actions.
I was really spending some time thinking about how to describe the role of mindset and belief in your business.
I think the best way I can explain it is: Do you want to build a business while spinning in crippling self-doubt, anxiety, and always comparing what you’re doing and your results with others?
Or would you rather build your business from a place of calm, confidence, and feeling committed to what you’re doing?
That’s the reason why belief and mindset is really a “strategy” in your business and it helps you create results is because the belief transmutes into the energy in which you operate your business from and this energy can also be felt by your audience.
We can tell when someone is really genuinely confident about helping their clients versus someone who is lowkey doubting whether they can even sell their offer. There’s a difference in their energy and the way these two individuals might feel overall when it comes to their business.
For example, one of the beliefs I had to work on building up while I was starting my podcast in 2020 and 2021 was “my story, message, and ideas can help someone”. I wanted to strengthen this particular belief because this was before I had evidence that my podcast was a huge contributor to clients wanting to work with us inside our coaching program.
If I hadn’t intentionally worked on strengthening this belief, it would have been really easy to just do like, 6 or 7 episodes and then have a melt down over whether things are working and whether anyone is even listening to the podcast.
Even when things are fine, it’s very natural to still feel anxious about not doing enough and thinking that things aren’t good enough.
This is where we have to change our thoughts and feelings about our business and also work on our feelings of anxiety (or the thoughts and actions that might fuel the anxiety).
For myself and our clients, learning to create more calmness and doing thought work and daily routines that allow us to ground into that energy have been absolute game changers and honestly, we just feel better.
When it comes to both mindsets and skill sets, I personally believe that in order to improve, you need to do it repeatedly over and over again. Especially when it comes to skills, we need to repeat and practice it over a period of time, in order to have enough awareness and data to examine, then assess what you did well and what you’d like to improve on.
Where I think people get mixed up is when they think “But aren’t you telling me to do more? I’m already so stretched for time. I don’t know how I can possibly do more”.
However, practicing a skill doesn’t mean doing more work. You’d ideally be doing the same action item every time, but if anything, you’re either doing it with more potency and/or doing it even more efficiently or quicker.
Here’s an example of what practice looks like: Improving your content.
That’s something a lot of coaches talk about. They want to make better content or create content that converts.
Rather than keeping your content in your Google docs or Canva drafts, actually post it and bring it to life. Don’t keep it to yourself, in your digital drafts or even in your head.
Instead, focus on making an impact in your space by actually posting it. Because only when you post it can you then look at the published post and see it form a new light.
Yes, you can use the engagement or analytics as feedback, but I find that more often than not, the real improvements come from actually looking at your post with a fresh perspective after it has been published. The magic happens there. Not the engagement or likes you get. Not from editing and editing over and over again.
One more note when it comes to deciding on the skills you want to work on is “Creating a $10k month isn’t a skill” because there’s so many ways you can create a $10k month.
A skill is specific and measurable. That’s why when people set a goal of creating a $10k month, they have a very general plan of action but they don’t actually have any specific, measurable skills that they’re working on and assessing week after week, month after month.
In summary, as you’re planning for 2023:
Whenever we have a conversation about doubling down on our business or goal setting or planning for your business, I always like to start with a conversation around whether we are choosing OUR OWN timelines for these goals and plans. And also, whether we are setting timelines that are actually helpful to you and your businesses.
Because too often I see the following two situations happen:
The first scenario is that people are settings goals, but when they don’t quite reach the goal or do it within that arbitrary time frame that they set, because maybe life things came up and they haven’t yet coached themselves through the mind drama that came up and hence did not implement their plans, they make it mean all sorts of things about themselves for not hitting their goal.
They blame and shame themselves as someone who’s inherently not disciplined enough. But is that really helpful to your business? To beat yourself up on December 31 2022 for not hitting our goals? Probably not.
The second highly common scenario is that you set a goal and tack on a timeline to it, but the timer isn’t even over yet and you already start feeling discouraged because in your mind, your progress isn’t as fast as you’d like and/or you feel like there’s no sign of progress.
Again, is that really helpful to your business? To beat yourself up on 30 June 2023 for seemingly not having visible progres on your 12-month goal for the year? Probably not.
Here’s the thing. I love setting goals. I LOVE the energy of it. They feel fun, light, and full of possibility. But they only feel fun because I’ve now developed the skill set and mindset of goal setting in a way that doesn’t spin me out or overwhelm me or discourage me.
I also use different mindset tools and practices while I’m building my business so I can quiet the chatter that is honestly always running in the back of my mind.
Here’s a nugget I want to offer in hopes that it can help you quiet any chatter that might be coming up for you as well, especially as you move forward to 2023 and start chipping away at your new yearly goals.
A 12-month calendar year is literally a construct we made up. The timeline is completely arbitrary. Goals are completely made up. They’re imaginary. They’re not real. They’re just a set of expectations we have.
While we can set annual goals or quarterly goals or monthly goals, I want us to do so in a way that actually is helpful to us. Meaning, they don’t make us feel shit about ourselves, whether it’s now or later on.
Also, are you measuring your progress in a way that is helpful? Are you looking at your “data” in an accurate or useful way?
When I look back at the year of 2022, I’d say that March to August 2022 doesn’t even really count, especially when I think about it in the context of my business because I was really consumed with things happening in my personal life, and hence I wasn’t really showing up or making offers.
If I were to look at this stretch of time and use it to beat myself up and say “See Cheryl, you didn’t hit your business goals during this time. You clearly made no progress during this time period”.
It wouldn’t even be accurate data because my capacity to show up for my business or create was simply not there. That’s why timelines are really, really arbitrary and I want to share this as a gentle reminder to use such “data” in a helpful way, rather than using it blindly and then using it to shame ourselves.
As we enter into 2023, whenever you’re reflecting on the quarter, month, or any time frame, I want to encourage us to be mindful of where we are making large, generalized, and also unhelpful conclusions from the data.
For example, if a big life transition, maybe you got a new job and you were adjusting to the new role, like something is going on and you found that your ‘consistency’ for showing up in your business was affected during that time period while you were adjusting to the changes. Just know that it makes sense why you weren’t showing up in the same capacity as before.
Simultaneously, look for new opportunities or new ways to work on your business instead of clinging to what you believe to be true. Like how you need to have an optimal work setting to work on your business or that your capacity is 10 hours a week and if you can’t make 10 hours a week, you’re behind.
For many, the narrative of an ideal or optimal or best way of doing your business is so strong that you don’t even try to look for alternatives. However, we didn’t become entrepreneurs because we expected the journey to be optimal or ideal.
We didn’t enter this online space thinking it will be smooth and that we’ll just experience some minor discomfort or inconveniences on the way.
Here’s a practical tip I want to offer: Have a CONTENT BANK.
Some of you may prefer to plan and batch your content ahead of time, while referencing your content bank.
For others, you may prefer to have a content bank that you can refer to for inspiration, and intuitively create posts on the go.
The way I define a content bank is having a bank of personal examples, stories, opinions, that you intentionally want to repeat and build brand awareness for. So that overtime, you’re able to continue expanding on these specific key pillars of content and ultimately become a thought leader in your space around these key topics.
A content bank has also been especially helpful for my business during seasons where I might be overwhelmed with things in my personal life and my capacity to think about my business is a lot lower than where it was previously.
These are the times where I can just whip out the content bank and work off it. It’s like I already did the heavy lifting when I first created the content bank so that I can use less cognitive power during seasons of my life where I simply cannot give as much to my business. Super super helpful.
When it comes to your ‘capacity’ to work on your goals, it honestly depends on your personal preferences as well as the season of life you’re in.
For example, if you know that you have a more busy schedule coming up, you may want to batch your content ahead of time. Or, if unexpected life events come up, you may want to scale back on your content creation time. Neither is better than the other. It depends on the season of life you’re in, and it can change depending on what’s going on outside of your business.
Also, know that it is temporary. It’s not something to shame yourself over and make a broad stroke claim that you can’t do it. All seasons of life are temporary, and life constantly ebbs and flows.
Be willing to adjust your “baseline” as you move from one new wave to another new wave. If anything, if your consistency and capacity to show up in your business literally remains the same for the next ten years, I’d be more concerned because it’s like, are you living your life? Do you even have a life?
Definitely something to keep in mind as you start working on your 2023 goals and face new challenges that may come up in both life and business.
Right now, as we’re entering into the final stretch of 2022, many of us are super excited about what’s to come in the new year. We are definitely getting into the hype of planning for 2023. But planning for 2023 really means just making several decisions.
To wrap up this episode, I want to share my three philosophies on how I view decision-making for both business and life in general:
The reason why this matters is because oftentimes, when people are planning for their new year in business, they take a lot of heavy inspiration from entrepreneurs or coaches around them, rather than thinking about what really are the goals, action plans, and belief plans that their business needs from them.
For example, a lot of people will feed into the “New year, new me” hype and invest in a new program or course, thinking that it will be the final program they will invest in and that it will be the solution to why they’re not seeing results in their business.
Entrepreneurship has been characterized by words such as innovation, decision-making, and creativity. When we think about entrepreneurship in that way, then it no longer makes sense for us as business owners to buy a course or program just to get someone else’s step-by-step checklist or roadmap because that takes away our capacity to use our critical thinking or to make decisions.
So please exercise your decision making skills not just as you are planning for 2023, but throughout the entire duration of 2023 as you work towards your goals, practice your chosen skill sets and mindsets, and ultimately continue to create amazingness in your business for 2023 and beyond.
And finally, if you’re ready to hone in on your unique thought leadership and create a budding six-figure brand and business I’d love to invite you to join us inside the Thought Leader Club 1:1 + Community Program focused on helping you build a body of work that not only lets you become known for something but also magnetizes clients and opportunities to you.
For all of the details, head on over to cheryltheory.com/program to send in your application. I cannot wait to see you on the inside.
Join us in the Thought Leader Club 1:1 + Community Program is the exact room you want to be in if your 2023 and 2024 vision is to:
✨ Become known for your unique thought leadership and build your career as a thought leader
✨ Build a body of work that not only showcases the depth of your thinking and the caliber of your skills, but also compels best-fit clients to want to work with you and you specifically
✨ Attract both clients and opportunities that you once felt were out of reach for “someone like you”… But you now see that you’re completely capable of
Step into the version of you who stops following else’s playbook of “traditional success” and instead, proudly create something that’s truly of your own.
Get all the details and apply. We’ll then book a sales call to make sure that the program is the best fit for you and we can onboard you as early as next week. Our first inaugural cohort starts on November 1, 2023 👀
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