Here. Forward.

Many clients I talk to are apprehensive about how to approach 2012. I have two words of advice: Here. Forward.

It’s only natural: how we view our past experiences shapes how we tackle future opportunities. We can’t help being informed by the past. However, the trick – the secret – is not to get paralyzed. You have a choice. You can let the economic pains of the past two years rule you. Or you can regain control, and get back to ruling the future of your business. Decide.

The problem we face is that the sting, stress, and strain we endured these past years have stayed with us too long to remember any other way. We don’t approach our clients the same way. We scale back our wildest hopes and dreams. We now know that the bottom of the economy can drop out. A steady stream of news, tweets, and posts remind us the future is uncertain. Each reminder puts our minds back to those times of uncertainty and pain. And so we make every decision based on that place of worry.

That pain was real. The worry turned out to be correct. However, Then is not Now. And what Now requires is two basic things: Here. Forward.

Challenge yourself. Come out from hiding under your desk. Shrug off the weight of the recent painful past. Recognize when your thinking is hindered by the pain of the past few years. Try this: Everything now starts from here and moves forward. Every decision, action, conversation, and the stories you tell (yourself, your clients, and your market) need to be about what is next, not about what has been.

What do you want your business to look like at the end of 2012? Don’t form your vision based on the news or on how you are feeling coming out of the business meat grinder of the past few years. Give me your vision from where you are standing right now and looking forward. Are there big dreams and goals you had for your business (and for yourself) that have been lost or abandoned along the way? How can you give yourself the time and space to reclaim them? How can you re-imagine them? How can you re-launch them?

The answer is elegantly simple, so say it with me (And keep saying it to yourself):
Here. Forward.

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