I don’t care what you or I did in 2017. Good or bad, it’s done, and I’ve never been one for lingering too long in the past. A lot of people think that their past defines their future. That the things they can accomplish now and tomorrow are limited by what has happened previously. But that’s ridiculous. The wake doesn’t push the ship. You’re free to go wherever you want, do what you want and earn what you want in 2018, regardless of the reality that was in 2017.
I see it as my job to take in a lot of information—most of it from outside of the world of agency new business—and synthesize it into practical ideas on how to empower you to build a better, more lucrative firm. That mission requires me to tap diverse sources. I cite many of those sources in my work, but there are swaths of areas that interest me, that inform my view of the world and my ideas on things like the very nature of reality that I never talk about. And I’m not going to talk about them here either, except to say I am convinced that we create our own reality.
If 2017 was a bad year for you, I want you to forget it. If you didn’t hit your goals or you lost your largest client, forget about it. If business has been stagnant or trending down for a couple of years forget about it. It’s in the past.
But when I say forget about it I don’t mean don’t do anything differently. That’s the point. If you’re feeling hemmed in by what happened this past year, leave it behind you but ask yourself what are you going to do differently in 2018, right from the very beginning?
A friend of mine has a saying: Do something. Anything. And things will happen. I think the true nature of reality is only slightly more nuanced than that. The universe rewards intentions supported by action, I believe. So if last year was not the year you wanted it to be, the last thing you want to focus on is the bad stuff that happened or the good stuff that didn’t happen. Look forward, envision what you want. Write it out like you’ve achieved it, then look back and ask what you need to do to get to this wonderful place. What needs to be different on Jan 1? What you might do next year is unencumbered by what happened this year no matter how unique and trying your circumstances. If you don’t understand this then I can predict your 2018. It looks a lot like 2017.
Our new Win Without Pitching training programs kick off in January and I’ve found myself in a lot of conversations with agency principals as they weigh the pros and cons of training on our alternative approach. As you might imagine, those conversations run the gamut of possibilities. Many are enthusiastic but just as many are stuck, turned around, facing the past. It’s the stuck ones that are hard. I’m a pretty measured person emotionally, but there’s something about the blank slate of a new year that gets me excited, and talking to someone at this time of the year who is not excited about their future is draining. It might even be contagious. I find myself wanting to get off the phone before they ruin my year, too!
So this is my little wake-up call to anyone who is going into next year scarred by or just overly focused on the year that is coming to a close. Quit looking back. It’s done. Don’t compromise on what you want for 2018 because of “the reality” of what happened in 2017. No matter what happened to you in 2017, the reality of the past is not really reality, it’s a story. And so is your future. So what story are you going to tell in 2018? Craft that story now and forget about the wake of your past because it has no bearing on the story of your future.
If your story for 2018 includes kicking some serious new business ass, join us in the Win Without Pitching program. How much positive energy do you think there is in a class of peers who already have great stories of their 2018? Boatloads.
So get on board, and bring a great f@#king story for the incredible year you are going to have in 2018. No matter what happened in 2017.