Entrepreneurs, you're only two simple decisions away from making 2021 your best year yet.
2020 was a wild ride. For many entrepreneurs in our community, 2020 was fantastic. 2020 was the year they launched, the year they crossed 100 sales a day, or the year they exited for an eight-figure payday. For others, it was the year they learned valuable lessons about cash flow, resilience, or focus. No matter what story your P&L statement tells, it's not too late to discover that 2020 was your best year yet. Even better, you can virtually guarantee 2021 is even better - just by making these two decisions right now.
But First… Decisions? Not Goals?
Decisions come first. Always. We make decisions, then look for evidence to support them. Our decisions direct which goals we set, which thoughts we think and actions we take, and how we perceive what we experience.
"We buy on emotion then justify the decision with logic."
That goes for everything we "buy" whether money changes hands or not. We "buy" our perspective, our interpretation of people's motives, our habits and priorities, and ultimately even our future… all by the decisions we make.
We have a whole menu of choices available to us. If we refuse to make decisions, we get what we get. But if we make decisions on purpose, it's like laying tracks on stone. Inevitably, we create evidence to justify those decisions.
Decision #1: Everything Is "The Best Thing That Ever Happened!"
You could easily look at 2020 as a shit storm.
- People got sick and died; many died alone.
- We saw businesses crash and burn, leaving employees jobless. In April, we hit a record-breaking unemployment rate of 14.7%.
- Marriages ended, maybe due to increased financial stress - or maybe just from way too much togetherness during the quarantine.
- Kids faced complete upheaval in their schooling, athletic pursuits, and social lives.
- We saw some pretty crazy behavior as people lost their freaking minds over toilet paper and much more serious issues.
You could add many more bullets to that list. You could paint such a bleak picture that "Concrete Angel" (voted the saddest country song ever written) sounds like an upbeat ditty in comparison. And you know what? You'd be right.
But you'd also be right if you said 2020 was the best year yet.
- Worldwide, people came together to battle a pandemic. Humans cooperated and helped each other. Scientists made great strides in understanding the virus and formulating vaccines.
- We witnessed heroic feats as first responders, medical workers, teachers, delivery people, and many others stepped up to serve when the going got especially tough.
- Friends and families got a wake-up call. In missing one another, we discovered how much we truly value our relationships and the luxury of spending time with our loved ones.
- Humans got innovative on so many fronts. From game-changing pivots that kept businesses in business to finding workarounds for just about everything we lost access to, we figured it out.
- As a society, we had some long-overdue conversations.
- We made advances in space travel, opening the door to some exciting opportunities.
- Our planet saw improvements in its carbon dioxide levels, somewhat due to so many of us staying home.
That list could go on and on and on, too.
So, Was 2020 The Best Year Or The Worst?
It all depends on your perspective. It might be a tired metaphor, but life is like needlework. The backside looks like a hot mess with threads going every which way. It's knotted. It seems hopelessly, irredeemably ugly.
Flip it over, though, and a wholly different picture emerges. The neat threads on the front don't transform the messy ones on the back. But nobody hangs tapestries with the ugly side facing up. We choose which side to focus on, and that changes what we see.
You've heard of the reticular activating system. It's the network of neurons in our brain that heightens our awareness of our experience. You decide to buy a red car, and suddenly it's like there's a whole flood of red cars on the road with you.
Decide that everything is the "best thing that ever happened," and what do you think your experience will be? Your brain will look for what's working, what's amazing, and how everything works in your favor.
Your brain is really good at this, which is excellent news. That's because once you make this decision, what you look at - and what you see - carries you through a life you truly enjoy. Will you make this decision?
Decision #2: Set Process Goals Instead of Outcome Goals
Can we be honest about goals for a second? Goals kind of suck.
Yes, you've got to set goals, so you move forward with purpose. Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Further, you can take your goal-setting to a whole new level by sharing them to boost accountability. Blah, blah, blah. Every entrepreneur has gotten the "goals are good" lecture a thousand times.
But really, outcome goals suck.
They suck because they create a gap. By setting a goal, your attention immediately becomes fixated on the gap between where you are and where you want to be. You start taking actions you wouldn't necessarily take, all in pursuit of that goal. The goal becomes your master, relentless in its demands on your time and attention.
"Grit your teeth. Put your head down. Get through the grind, no matter how hard it gets." That's what a goal demands. The promise is in the "after," where you finally get to enjoy your accomplishments. You must defer pleasure long enough to reach your goal, and only then do you get your reward. All along the way, you're assessing whether you're on track. If you fall behind, you feel discouraged. You vow to double down, beating yourself until morale improves. Your whole focus is on where your results are lacking,
It doesn't have to be that way.
You already know what you're aiming for - and that's a goal. The rest is all about how you'll get there. Will you focus on the gap, cracking the whip until you close it? Are you okay with forgoing everything you want in the end - like freedom, being present with your people, and doing what inspires you - until you reach your goal?
That's a tough road. You might win a gold star for all you sacrifice. (Just kidding… that's not a thing.) There's no guarantee you won't keel over and die thirteen minutes after you reach your goal if we're being honest here. Worse still, as many highly successful people discover, you may find the prize you worked so hard for isn't the one you really wanted.
So, How About Making A Different Decision - One That Practically Guarantees You Have More Fun In 2021 Than You've Ever Had?
Rather than busting your hump in pursuit of a specific outcome, what if you set a process goal instead? Process goals are entirely in our control; outcome goals happen due to setting and achieving the right process goals.
That's a little heady. So here's an example of how process goals work.
Let's say you're in phone sales and that your outcome goal for the month is $50,000. If you focus on your outcome goal, you've got a big gap to close (every month!). That's pressure - and that pressure intensifies as the weeks pass. The people on the other end of the line start picking up on your desperation, and their walls go up, making every call start to feel like it's you against them. The result? If you somehow manage to hit your goal, you feel like shit. Worn-out shit. Worn-out shit that can't possibly muster the will to do it all again next month.
But what if, instead, you set a process goal of making 25 calls a day? You can do that. Of those 25 calls, you'll probably speak with 8-10 people. So, what if you set another process goal to forge a connection and genuinely serve each of those people? You can do that!
Not only would each call be far more enjoyable this way, but you'll also show up differently. The way you'll show up, by the way, is the way people who hit their sales goals do. Even better, you'll enjoy your work and your life a whole lot better.
This is an easy decision to make, to focus on the processes you know will push you toward the outcome you desire. Will you make it?
Want 3 More Tips for Making 2021 Unprecedented (In a Good Way)?
We recently published one of Ryan's best podcasts ever, called "How to Make 2021 Not Suck." It inspired this article. These two decisions are so powerful they can change the whole course of 2021 for you. But we've only scratched the surface.
Give this important episode a listen (you can also download the transcript), and you'll find out how to free yourself from worrying about other people's opinions. This is the secret to giving yourself permission to create what you really want in your life and business. You'll also learn how to make decisions even when you're not sure what to do.
Our brains don't need evidence to come to conclusions.
In fact, our brains do the opposite: We make decisions, and then we find evidence.
Choose to believe that 2021 is the best year ever for business, and you will easily find evidence for it.
So many people can't see it because they do not believe that it is possible for them.
And if you believe it's not possible for you, then you start deciding things like, "I don't have..."
- the right idea
- an audience
- any clue what I'm doing
But what if you decided that you had enough time, capital, ideas, and all that stuff?
Could you experiment with deciding it FIRST and then finding evidence for it? What would happen? And what would be different for you if you decided right now that 2021 was the best year ever?
Would you finally go all in?
Would you build something you can sell?
And would you just... start?
Here at Capitalism.com, we know you can do it. We made our decision already - 2021 is going to be the best year yet for everyone we impact through our content, community, and coaching. It will be an honor to witness YOU winning.