Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Kevin Gordon

Kevin Gordon

Director and founder

Author Kevin is a published writer in NET magazine, the UK’s leading Web Design and Development magazine monthly. Here he talks about how he faced his fear writing a business plan for the company.

TL;DR

A narrative in a day the went bad and then went great, and how I got to the point of forming life goals and writing a business plan. And then how I faced my fear in writing a business plan, with the intend on working out how to achieve my business goals.

goals

This, lovely people, is a blog about facing my fear in business planning.

I’ve been on socials this week talking a lot about taking effective breaks.

Today I awoke to find I had zero motivation, felt like it was me against the world, having a task list that was continuously extending, never-ending, and infuriating things I wanted to get done seem to be taking longer than I want them to.

So this was really difficult for me. My instincts are that I need to work today. And even the bit of advice that one should do lower-priority/less-mentally-intense asks whilst one is not feeling ‘on it’, this did not apply today.

A voice in my mind was saying “Kev, I’m tired, take the day off”. “take the day off”. “take the day off”. I reviewed my schedule, a few meetings – that will be easy enough to attend on video, but apart from that, nothing that could not wait another day.

I was still sure I needed to work.

I did a thought record (a fabulous cognitive behavioural tool for lowering ones intense emotions). My thought record roughly followed my thinking that I was demotivated and infuriated by this state of mind. And what did the rational response tell me, yep that I should take the day off.

So, I took the day off.

My day off didn’t start well

Oh man, I felt guilty at first, I kept telling myself, what if I miss an important email, what if something urgent comes up! I had to keep telling myself in this scenario a client would ring or text me, so stop worrying about it. After a short nap I still did not feel great about things, even a nice lunch, I largely spent crippled by the idea and guilt that I should be working.

So what did I do then, when anything I thought of doing felt like a big effort. Well I started reading a few chapters of the book I’m reading “If I could tell you just one thing” by Richard Reed. And I’d just read about Shep Gordon, and he’s hedonistic take on happiness. In a flash I realised I must spend the afternoon doing stuff I love to do.

I started simple. I love olives, Greek green and black beautiful fresh olives from the deli counter at Tesco, and sundried tomatoes with mozzarella. So, I pulled myself together, cleaned myself up, locked up the house, jumped in the car and heading to my local supermarket. Back home I prepared a bowl of awesomeness, olives & sundried tomatoes, opened an ice-cold bottle of Corona beer and started watching Changeling on Netflix, a fabulous movie about injustices and enduring hope.

A fabulous afternoon

Like a happiness chaos theory fuelled afternoon, a simple act perked me right up, buoyed me into doing some household chores (washing and ironing, groan), whilst having a lovely time with incense sticks, fabulous drinks and beautiful snacks.
This evening, we retired to the lounge to watch some television. Time for some journaling. A brand-new journal, time to start a fresh, and revisit my life goals. I did some research on writing well-formed goals, what kind of process or methodology one should take to achieve this. Okay I found a few online resources; this is my takeaway.

  1. Make sure it relates to your life goals, priorities and it is actually really important to you and something that will motivate you. And that it is a priority.
  2. Make them SMART, so that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (more on this after the numbers).
  3. Put it in writing.
  4. Frame the gaol positivity e.g. “improve employee retention” rather than “reduce employee turnover”.
  5. Put your goals somewhere visible to you during the day.
  6. The goal is the desired outcome or the dream, have an “action plan” to give you the steps you need to reach your goal.
  7. Regular review goals – progression against your goals and also are the goals still right for you?

Making goals SMART

  • Specific – Something specific that will provide you direction in your life.
  • Measurable – Something that can be measured, don’t just say “improve” or “reduce”.
  • Attainable – Make I possible and make it challenging. Don’t make it too easy!
  • Relevant – Relevant to your priorities in life.
  • Time-bound – Have an overall deadline (milestones are for the action plan).

Next step after you have your goals

Step 1 is to build your goals. Step 2 is to build the action plan. Building my goals came quite easy, I’m really clear, right now in my life I want to make my business a success.

My goals is: “Make DTL a success by growing the current montly revenue x, to 10x within 24 months”.

I wasn’t scared at this point.

Facing my fear in business planning.

Then I started thinking about the action plan, I made a few notes, and got super excited and opened the Word processor on my MacBook Pro.

I even go as far as documenting my goal and thoughts about my action plan. But that’s when I hit the fear. My mind was full of tasks, projects, strategies, initiatives, things that I’ve started or things I should be doing. But the future path, to get to 10x revenue, all I could see was a dark nothingness of fear.

Then I decided that was okay. I started writing at least some basic tasks I could be doing, that would at least give me some tangible next steps that I could do. This wasn’t helping my fear.

I text some friends, on the lines of I’m writing a business plan and I’m paralysed with fear, help and advice please!

One friend rang me back and we were on the call for about ½ hour, he has his own business too. It was excellent just expressing how I feel at the moment, and to have a sounding board. The realisation is that this is not unnatural to be feeling this way, that many others have gone down this path before, so there must be a lot of help and knowledge out there. And then the realisation that I like a plan. I argued that I don’t or that I have rarely followed a plan.

Learning from the past how to handle fear

Then I recalled several years ago when I decide to accelerate my career and leave Ford Motor Company. I set myself a plan, a plan to get a promotion, and if I did not get a promotion the plan was to have found a job during that time externally, and transition into that new role. Well that plan I executed perfectly, in 12 months as planned. But it was frigging scary. It was a scary proposition to think about leaving, so the goal, but it was even more scary to put together a plan and figure out how to do it.

But I face that fear, I face the fear, made a plan, executed the plan. And I’m so happy to have achieved that goal in the past.

And how did I write that plan? I suddenly remembered that I wrote a flow diagram. There were actions I needed to take, advice I need to get, milestones I needed to achieve, decisions I needed to make, and uncertainty. Doing this as a flow chart allowed me to deal with that uncertainty in a robust plan. And it took away my fear. And I focussed on the plan, executed the plan and have never looked back.

And how I’m going to face the fear in business planning

Lightbulb moment thanks mate! That is exactly what I need to do now. I have the goal, I need to put together a flow chart to map my way to that future goal, and to face the fear of this future. And that is exactly what I’m going to do.

Thanks for reading, and that’s how I’m facing my fear in business planning.

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