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Your #1 New Year’s Resolution

new-year-day

Last week, I hosted and sponsored Chicagoland’s “Ultimate Entrepreneur Holiday Party” for the fourth straight year.

Many of my clients had their Best Year Ever in 2011, which means that my consulting practice reached new heights. So it felt great to give back to the 200+ Chicago-area small business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals who are members of my group, “Chicagoland’s Sharpest Entrepreneurs.”

But in between enjoying all of the beer, wine, champagne, shrimp, lobster, steak, etc., we got down to work improving our businesses, as we do when we gather every month. One of the sessions I taught last week was “12 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Business In 2012.”

The timing was perfect for such a topic, since “New Year’s Resolutions” are front and center in most people’s minds as another year comes to a close.

*Just so you know, I personally don’t believe in making “New Year’s Resolutions.” Instead, I am constantly evaluating both the current state and future goals of all of my businesses, and as a result I make “resolutions” all throughout the year.

But for those of you who do believe in making “New Year’s Resolutions,” I recommend one above all others. This one I tucked away in the middle of my list of 12, at #7:

Do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Now, I’m not talking about getting rid of your fancy leather chair in favor of a plain wooden stool, or wearing shoes that are two sizes too small, or getting married to a professional athlete and then divorced just 72 days later. There’s no profit in any of those (well, maybe there’s a little bit of money to be made for doing that last one – thanks to our celebrity-crazed culture).

I’m urging you to step outside of your own personal “comfort zone” when it comes to how you think and act in your business, in all areas, including:

Mentally: Realize that there are plenty of strategies and tactics others are using with tremendous success, even during this difficult economy, and stop looking for good excuses why that can’t be YOU.

When you hear of someone else doing something that works, be bold and give it a try, even though of course it’s easier – and far more comfortable – to just sit idly by and convince yourself that it wouldn’t work in your industry, or your geographical area, or with your target market, etc.

You can make excuses or you can make money – you can’t make both. I wish you nothing but the latter throughout the coming year.

Physically: There’s that “famous study” that showed how people fear public speaking more than death itself (as if that were really possible!). However, mythical studies aside, it is true that if you “put yourself out there,” you will definitely be criticized and talked about – not only behind your back, but often right to your face. That’s true for all of us who are aggressive about our own personal promotion and positioning.

Still, my wish for you is that you resolve to put yourself into more uncomfortable places in the year ahead, including but not limited to: live events, online events, social media, mainstream media and your own written materials (newsletters, articles, books, etc.).

You may not feel comfortable at first (in fact, even Barbra Streisand admits she has suffered from intense stage fright for decades), but your business and bank account will definitely grow – which will in turn, of course, afford you a more comfortable lifestyle.

Financially: Have you been in “cutting back” mode for the past few years, afraid to make financial investments that you know could pay big dividends for your business? I’m not talking about buying stocks or bonds or gold – I’m talking about hiring an expert to get something done for you quickly and well, instead of you taking a long time to do it yourself, and then getting disappointing results because you didn’t really know what you were doing.

I’m talking about sending an actual newsletter through the (gasp!) U.S. mail, instead of sending only an email version that over 90% of recipients will delete or skim, at best.

I’m talking about doing whatever it takes to hang around successful, positive, powerful people – instead of trying to convince yourself that you can’t afford to join that group, or attend that event, or hire that expert copywriter or consultant who could make all the difference between continuing to struggle on your own and experiencing wild success.

Could you resolve to do all of this at any time of the year? Of course you could – and the most successful businesspeople are always creating new goals for themselves. But since we’re only a few days away from January 1st, now would be as good a time as any for this powerful and profitable promise.

And unlike millions of New Year’s Resolutions which are about to be made and broken soon thereafter, vowing to do more things that make you uncomfortable in the year ahead is one resolution you most definitely should keep.

Happy New Year, faithful reader. May 2012 be your Best Year Ever, in your business as well as personal life.

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