Your Best Year Ever: A Roadmap


New Year’s resolutions are fine and dandy. They show a person’s heart is in the right place. But honestly, how often do these night-of/day-after declarations deliver any lasting change?

Since we all know that answer, let’s ask a follow-up: why not? May I submit an answer: A resolution has no vision.

A vision requires intent, time and commitment. When I talk to sales people about upping performance and doing better in the coming year, I ask about their vision for success. Typically I get a blank stare or a vague announcement about working hard.

Not good enough, folks. Large companies draft regular business plans, and so should you. Not accountable to shareholders, you can be more personal about it, but your commitment should be no less ironclad, and follow-through is part of the vision.

Business coach Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin has crafted a vision plan that gives personal and professional goals the respect they deserve. It’s realistic, in that it takes seriously our fears and the human tendency to slack off. That said, it’s still demanding, and will require much more time than tossing off another resolution. But you know what? It works.

A vision statement for YOUR success

No matter whether you work for a company or not, you are a brand. No one does business quite like you. And all brands need a vision to be influential in the world around us.

Like a business pitch, the vision statement should be something you can easily memorize and repeat. Whether it concerns the types of clients you want, the amount of money you intend to make or the promotion you’re gunning for, this vision needs clear articulation, a repeatable theme and wild inspiration. Yes, wild. This is your life and career we’re discussing!

The theme could be one word, e.g., growth, or a short phrase—the year of ideal clients. Just make sure it’s memorable and something you don’t mind repeating daily.

Pick three areas of your business for improvement, such as prospecting, existing clients, or income, and write down goals associated with each. Everything must be phrased in the positive; there’s no judgment here, just intent.

Quarterly goals are your next step. Each quarter of the fiscal year should have distinct, measurable goals in each area. Don’t be afraid of numbers: there’s nothing wrong with stating you want $60,000 in new business in Q1, or a dozen new clients by Q3. Be ambitious. If you take to this vision statement in earnest, there will be no shame in falling a bit short of goals.

Weekly promises are the nitty-gritty of this method. You can’t get lost in the vision if there are steps you must take every few days to meet established goals. If your quarterly goal is to add 100 prospects to your mailing list, how many networking events per week will you need to attend? At least one. Hold yourself to following through.

Carrots and sticks? Why, yes!

You need a reward for every achievement and a consequence for every shortfall. These both need only be meaningful to you.

I suspect most of us can figure out rewards, but here’s a tip about consequences: they should have bite, but humor too. Consequences apply only to weekly promises; if you’ve fulfilled them all, and still the quarterly goals aren’t fulfilled, be patient. You’re doing things the right way.

The key to it all

Face the fear. Easy to say—tough to execute. Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin talks about crossing the ‘terror field,’ in which our bogeymen lie in wait. You know their lines: “not good enough,” “you’re too lazy,” “the other person has more charisma,” “what do I have to say,” etc.

Here’s where your theme is key and why the wild inspiration is a must. The theme is your battle cry, tied to your deepest desires for a better career and life. Build your courage around that theme. Before you know it … the terror field will be behind you and you’ll be hitting those goals.

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Judi Rosenthal

Judi Rosenthal is a New York-based financial industry consultant and self-promotion coach renowned for her ability to win sales in any situation. She is also a recognized authority on niche marketing and coaching financial advisors in the techniques of amplifying sales through a well-engineered personal brand.

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Judi Rosenthal