Plant Your Flag

You had a vision for yourself when you started your business.  Can you remember what it was?

I only ask because I work with clients all the time who have become so subsumed the everyday tasks of running their business, that they’ve lost sight of why they started in the first place. They’re feeling overwhelmed, fragmented, and unsure of their next steps. 

If you’ve every heard me talk about vision, you’ll know I compare it to a bright flag on a distant hill. That flag is planted firmly, waving in the wind, and providing a guidepost to you as you move along your business journey.  Every day, things happen in our business that can push us off track – we lose a client, our tax bill is more than anticipated, a new and awesome marketing opportunity comes up, we find ourselves needing to hire outside support – but as long as we have that bright,distant flag in our sights, we can adjust course and continue to make forward progress towards it.

Our vision is the emotional reward for what we’re doing.  It’s what we want to become, what we want to achieve, and how we want to feel.

When we lose sight of our vision, we can start to feel stressed, uncertain, and out of sorts.  That’s when our activities and actions become scattered and chaotic.  When we start chasing every shiny penny at the expense of time and money.

I have one simple strategy for keeping you on the road to that bright flag and the reward it represents, and I’m going to share it with you.  Ready?  It’s a simple question.

The next time an opportunity comes up, or someone tells you you “should” be doing something, or you start dreaming up new programs and products before you’ve fully launched the last one, ask yourself:

“How is this going to help me get to that flag?”

For instance, I was recently working with a client who has a clear vision for herself to become a leading brand in training teams in her specialty.  This is requiring her to wind down a previous business track in providing individual services (copywriting and content development) in favor of creating and marketing her training programs to corporations and organizations. She was offered a one-year contract to provide content for a local business.  It would require a substantial amount of time and energy, and the compensation was considerable.  She was wavering on whether to take the contract when I asked her:

“How does this align with your vision to train corporate teams?”

The answer was, it didn’t. In fact, it would make it harder for her to pursue her training work because of the time she would have to dedicate to getting the work done.  She was tired of working to deadline and creating content to promote other businesses. She was ready to shine as an expert and to create her own programs. 

She said “no” to the contract. She said “no” to the money.

And she was so happy!

If my client hadn’t been completely, totally, and thoroughly in tune with her vision for herself and her business (her flag), it would have been easy for her to take the quick money and sure bet of that one-year contract.  But, she would have been miserable, because it wouldn’t have aligned with what she truly envisioned for herself, her business, and her future.

You didn’t start your business to take projects and contracts that make you unhappy, or that suck your energy, or that make you not want to get out of bed.

You started your business because it lit you up.  It fired your passions and got you excited for what you could create.

That fire and spark is what will draw your ideal client (with their ideal projects) to you with ease. It’s what makes you shine when you share your business with others, it’s your authenticity.  It’s your heart.

Not too long after my client turned down the lucrative project that was out of alignment with her vision, she had two smaller offers that got her in front of corporate teams doing what she loved. They weren’t as profitable, but they inspired her to shine in her expertise, which will, most certainly, pay off in referrals, recommendations, and future opportunities to do what she loves.

Be aware of your vision and what you want to achieve, then be purposeful and intentional about aligning your actions and activities with your vision.  Ask yourself “how does this get me to that flag?” and then stay true to your path.

If you need help or inspiration in uncovering your vision, download my free worksheet to help you uncover and define your flag here.