Thursday, January 5, 2012

Boldly Forward into the Unknown

I'm looking out my home office window and there's my garden in all its glory - not!

Last winter I carefully prepared the soil and ensured plenty of nutrients were present. In late winter and spring I planted a wide variety of vegetables and seeds then carefully watered and fed them, but, apart from some lettuce and spinach, nothing's gone as planned. Sydney's weather has meant that things I couldn't control have had a huge negative impact.

For me, there are parallels with my 2011 experience.

This time last year everything seemed rosy. I reviewed 2010's results, revised my annual plans and was totally convinced that 2011 would be one of my best years ever. It wasn't! Circumstances beyond my control meant that, while certainly not (or even near) a disaster, 2011 could not really be described as "the best thing since sliced bread"!

How will my current gardening results affect me in 2012? Well, I'll harvest and use what I can then, in winter, I'll again prepare the soil for next year and start all over again. I know that there are always things like the weather that I can't control. But I also know that the only way I will have totally fresh vegetables is to grow my own and so I will continue in the knowledge that some years are always better than others.

I guess I'm a bit like Chauncey Gardener in "Being There". I understand and accept nature's cycles.

Chauncey, of course, was naive and his simplicity was manipulated and abused. But, we all know (even if sometimes we don't want to accept and face it) that there are powers greater than our own that impact on everything. All of us who teach and facilitate business planning at any level are at pains to point out the need to build in contingency aspects and to constantly review actual against plan so that remedial action can be taken.

The truth is that the only things we can really control are our attitudes towards the future and our response to what actually happens. Customers may or may not buy. Commodity prices may or may not rise or fall. Exchange rates may or may not remain stable. World economic woes may or may not continue (although personally I believe they are more likely to continue). Clients may or may not pay on time. Et cetera! We can plan. We can work to our plan. We can do everything right - and still the desired results might not eventuate. That's the reality.

As you move forward into the unknown - into 2012 - what's your attitude? Are you allowing any negatives from 2011 to dominate? Is there an anxiety because of the realisation that desired results depend as much on what others do as on what you do? There are things that you can do within your own mind to change that (you can move into the blue zone of courage rather than remain in the red zone of fear) and there are also plenty of people available to provide coaching, mentoring, and wisdom to help you on your journey.

Move boldly forward into the future. Your 2011 experience (whether positive or negative) is paralleled by that of countless others. You can make 2012 your best year ever - and if you need help, there are many sources from which you can get it.

I'd love to know what you think. Make a comment below.

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