by Dr. Miles Davis
The end of the business year and the beginning of the next is the perfect time to step back to take a higher level view of how your business did over the past year so you can make plans and adjustments for the year to come.
Have you set aside time to do this kind of thinking? Don’t shortchange this critical investment in your business.
Sometimes, we need to slow down
We might even need to step back to move forward.
I watch a lot of soccer. People who don’t know soccer often get frustrated because there’s not a lot of high scoring. One of the things they don’t understand is why the players are always kicking the ball backwards to the goalkeepers or defenders.
This is called a reset—instead of just attacking when they see there’s not an opening, they build the play from the back and kick the ball back.
Isn’t that a lot like business…and life?
Sometimes we’re trying to make something happen, and our tendency is to keep trying to move forward. But this may be the time we need to stop pushing and step back.
I also love adventure shows. Have you ever watched a tiger as it’s stalking a prey? Before it pounces on that wildebeest, it sort of pulls back, gets a better view, and then pounces. We’d do well to learn this principle from nature.
What I’m urging you to do is to look for those times in your business cycle when you can pause, step back, and take a moment to reflect. We and our business need to occasionally rest and recharge our batteries.
Americans don’t rest enough
Americans have the least vacation of any countries in the developed world, and they don’t use all their vacation time. Other parts of the world work 35-hour workweeks, but we don’t feel productive when we do that. Studies show American employers need to take more of their vacation time, because when they don’t, it negatively impacts their family and personal life.
Our body needs to reset sometimes too
Consider the folks who are always in the gym—gym rats. They hit a plateau and stop getting results, because their body needs rest and time to reset. Even fasting for a day can reset your metabolism.
We must psychologically and physiologically look at the effects of our running and pushing. I’m a competitive guy, and I believe in doing my best, but you can’t go at full speed all day without stopping. When you do, the returns are diminished and there are repercussions in your physical and mental health.
Consider your family
The whole purpose of our work is to provide for those we care about the most, but are we really taking care of them when we bring our work home and take it on vacation – checking emails, responding to messages, being distracted? Our attachment to technology is almost like a drug. Business life doesn’t just bleed over into personal life, it often obliterates our personal life.
I once had a conversation with S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick fil-A, about his decision to close his stores on Sundays: “People AND machinery need a day of rest,” he said. “If you run either of them too long or too hard, you wear them out.” The millennial generation has seen the price their parents paid for giving everything to the company. They are trying better than we did to find balance in their lives.
Make time to plan and dream
We associate increased productivity with activity and confuse activity with forward momentum. When do we make time to engage in the strategic planning and visioning our business needs to grow? We find ourselves on a treadmill, because we’re so busy producing and delivering. If our business isn’t moving the way we want, maybe it’s time to step back and reset.
Not only does stepping back give time for reflection, but it affords us a different, wider-angle view of our work, just the way a mountain overlook view is broader than the one from the valley floor. Everything in nature confirms this lesson.
So take the time over the next few weeks to step back and take a look at your business. What’s gone well? What needs changing? What needs to be added? What needs to be scrapped? Ask yourself if your activities are aligned with your goals and values. When you’ve done this, you’re ready to move forward with renewed focus and energy.
Never forget to occasionally step back to move forward. Live your dreams instead of your fears.