What are YOU giving YOU this Christmas?

Tis the season… When business owners find themselves under more stress than any other time of the year. While it is the Christmas Holiday season, it is also the season for taking year end inventory, handling last minute retail sales rush, employee performance reviews, year end bonus decisions & distributions, end of year tax planning, next year strategic planning, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.

So while the demand for your time is high at home, with Christmas shopping, parties, decorations, relatives, travel and the like, many business owners are still 100% mentally focused and engaged in wrapping up their business year. Sound familiar?

It seems like everyone wants a piece of you at this time of year, physically, emotionally, and financially.

So let me ask you… What is it YOU want for YOU?

Most business owners I know are so busy dealing with what others need from them that they rarely take time to think about themselves. Yet every time we travel by plane we hear the flight attendants remind us “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”. I think the same should be true in your business!

Those business owners who take care of themselves first are more able to help others. They have more capacity to handle the stress and strains that are a part of every year end holiday cycle. They are confident in where they are and what they have done to prepare. Bottom line, they are in a better place to be generous, happy, engaged and excited about this time of year.

So, I ask you again. What is it YOU want for YOU?

I am reading a very good book right now titled Thou Shall Prosper, by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Rabbi Lapin outlines in his book the 10 Commandments that Jewish business owners follow to help them beat the odds and outperform most any other ethnic group in the world of business. I have been intrigued by his insights and the underlying wisdom of his counsel for business owners of any background, ethnic group or religious belief.

Among the 10 Commandments is the understanding that making a profit is “good” not “evil”. That as business owners, we should be proud of success. We should be as excited about the good we are doing through our business as we are about the good we do through charitable works. He projects a sense of peace and satisfaction with success in business that will then flow over to all other parts of your life.

Is this something YOU want this year?

Perhaps you want and need more “balance” in your life. More time to focus on your health, your fitness, your diet and your personal time. Those business owners who put themselves first and start their day with an exercise routine or some quiet time for reflection are more prepared for the craziness that is certain to happen during the workday – particularly at this time of year.

Is this something YOU would like to have?

Maybe you’d just like to get yourself out having to do the routine, day-to-day operations of your business. You’re tired of the daily grind and can’t seem to find the time or energy to focus on next year, let alone next week. If only you had the right people on your team to lead and handle the daily operations, you could focus on the bigger strategies to grow your business or improve your profitability.

Is this what YOU would love to get this year?

I do believe that as a business owner, you must “put on your oxygen mask first before helping others”. So may I suggest that you give yourself a gift this Christmas. Use one or two of the days between Christmas and New Years this next week and follow these instructions:

Find a quiet place to think.
Take a note pad or journal.
Don’t turn on your computer and turn off your cell phone.
List on a page each “role” you play in your life (mine for example: husband, father, son, entrepreneur, board member, runner, cyclist, spiritual leader, etc.)
Beside each describe how you want to be known this next year in each of these roles.
For each role, identify 1 specific GOAL for 2013.
Now add 2-3 specific things you are going to do this next year to get you to each goal.
Go over your list and prioritize them – specifically the top 4-5.
Write those on a single sheet of paper.
Put that single sheet where you will see it every day.
In a matter of just a few hours, you will give yourself the best gift you could imagine – the gift of CLARITY and FOCUS on what you need and want to accomplish this next year…for YOU!

Other things can wait. More specifics can always be ironed out. Right now, it is important that YOU put on YOUR oxygen mask!

Once you have your prioritized list, I would love to see it. I know that if you “go public” with what you plan to do you are much more likely to accomplish it. So if you’re serious about YOU this next year, send me your list!

May you and your family truly enjoy this Christmas. Focus on those who matter most to you and give thanks to God for the gift of his Son.

Merry Christmas!

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