by Claire Holden, Empowerment Coach
How many hats do you wear? How many roles do you fill? As an entrepreneur you’re a business owner and likely a finance manager, marketing director, accounts receivable clerk and operations manager too. Many of you will also be a wife, mother, daughter, sibling, team or group member, friend, volunteer…. The list goes on! The risk is that we spread ourselves so thin trying to be all things to all people, that we fail to prioritise the things that are most important to us personally and to our businesses. So, how do we change this? How do we cultivate a life where we clearly articulate our goals and set clear action plans in place for success?
The most effective method I’ve come across in my years as a Personal Development & Business Coach is based on the work of Stephen R. Covey and A. Roger Merrill in their book ‘First things First’. Covey and Merrill maintain that in order to be effective, goal driven, successful people we need to identify and prioritise our priorities or, as they put it, put first things first. We do this by identifying the roles that we discern as most important to us and our success.
What is most important in your life?
What do you need to give time to and invest in each week to achieve success?
How do you want to be remembered?
Our time and energy are limited and there are so many things that demand our energy. We need to carefully discern what we choose to focus on. To be effective Covey and Merrill maintain that we can focus on no more than 7 roles at any one time. I recommend no more than 6 to my clients. What six or seven things are most important to your sense of self and to your success?
The first and most crucial role each of us need to focus on is ourselves. We cannot be effective in our businesses and in our relationships if we don’t look after ourselves first. We all know the saying about not being able to pour from an empty cup. It’s true. If we don’t look after ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially we will not achieve success in any other area of our lives. This is a hard one for many women but each of us know that our ability to shoot the lights out depends on us having the energy, innovation, resilience and creativity that come from having capacity. I call this role ‘Creating Capacity’.
As a wife and mother, I’ve chosen these as my second and third roles. I’m conscious that to build a successful marriage I need to invest time, energy and consciousness into my relationship. As a mother I have dreams and aspirations about the kind of people I’d like my children to become. They’re not going to learn the values that are important to me by chance, we’re not going to grow strong connections without time and so I’ve chosen to commit to this role to ensure success.
As a self-employed coach and co-owner of a journaling company, being a business owner is a crucial role for me. In this role I focus on the aspects of business management that aren’t central to the work that I do or the service I provide, but that are critical for me to perform in order to stay in business. In this role I focus on my finances, marketing, invoicing, networking and other administrative functions.
My other two roles relate directly to what I do, to the product / service that I provide. These roles ignite my passion and are the reason I’m a business owner. They’re the things that I most love doing and they’re easy for me to allocate my time to. I’ve chosen ‘Coach’ as one of them and ‘Ongoing professional development’ as another.
What do you choose? How do you break down business owner and entrepreneur into specific roles that you hold as central to your success? Are there other roles that require your time and attention? Spend some time reflecting and completing the table below.
As you read the ‘What?’ ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ of your roles, look out for the word should. When our roles contain a should it’s a strong indication that it’s a pressure that comes from something outside of yourselves. When it’s something we feel passionate about, something that drives and inspires us, we don’t have the sense of obligation that a should indicates!
It’s now time to articulate your 2019 goals. As you reflect on your roles, what does success this year look, sound and feel like for each role?
When we know what we want to achieve, when we’re clear about the reasons we’ve chosen these roles and goals, we can unapologetically say no to all opportunities and distractions that do not serve us and our clear image of success. We can make decisions with a focus, commitment and dedication to the things that mean the most to us. We can prioritise our priorities and focus each day on actions and activities that will bring us closer to success.
Best wishes to each of you for the year ahead!
Claire Holden is an Empowerment Coach with a vision to impact as many lives as possible by working with individuals and groups to maximize their sense of empowerment. Claire believes we have more power than we think and more control of our lives than we realize, and believes empowerment leads to fulfilment & success! Claire started her career in Commerce working primarily in the United Kingdom doing consulting work for large multi-nationals, medium sized companies and small start ups. On her return to South Africa she worked in non-profit organizations gaining experience in a very different sector. The culmination of these experiences led her to take the decision to enter the world of coaching.