Hello Happy Leap Day! Wow, I can’t believe it is February already. It seems like it was just yesterday we were bringing in the new year and welcoming 2016.
How has the first 2 months of the year been going for you?
Have you made a lot of progress on your goals? Or have they been put to the wayside for the moment (things do have the tendency to come up)?
I am afraid I fall in the latter camp at the moment. The last two months have been hard – wanting-to-throw-in-the-towel-and-give-up hard. I actually thought about no longer making any more Spark Books – ever.
Why? I am going to tell you, and then I am going to share some of my tips and tricks for getting back on the bandwagon and reinvigorating/energizing your 2016.
Miscommunication and Misunderstanding
And that is how it all began. When I did the Kickstarter for the Spark Planner I said that the delivery estimate for the second batch of planners was January. Of course there ended up being a delay with shipping (we had a shipment go missing for over 2 weeks), so even though all of the books did ship in January, some packages were shipped at the very end of the month. And of course everyone in international locales still had to wait 4-6 weeks.
People were upset. I got lots of terrible, mean emails (calling me names, insulting me, telling me I was stupid and unprepared). Every morning I would wake up and I would dread opening up my inbox.
I would spend 2-3 hours on customer service per day (after work since I run this business on the side while I spend my days at my design agency Urban Influence) and at the end I would be so beaten down I never wanted to make another notebook.
Getting Back on the Bandwagon
When things are really hard it can be challenging to keep going. Your mind can get into a bad place and instead of focusing on what is good (selling lots of planners, helping people reach their goals, etc.) you focus on what is wrong (missing shipment deadlines, angry customers, losing lots of money on refunds, etc.). When you are so busy with an endless list of tasks, it takes real grit to work through it every day.
However, that grit and tenacity is what sets apart successful people. So how do you bounce back? Here is what worked for me:
Learn from your mistakes
There are at least 4 or 5 things I would have done differently (changed my delivery estimate or not printing the second batch of planners at all), but the best outcome at this point is to take those lessons and apply them to 2016. I am going to do the Kickstarter for 2017 much earlier in the year, and plan much longer delivery timelines (at least 2-3 times more long).
Hit the reset button
Instead of focusing on the past I just decided to start fresh. This week I reexamined my goals for the Spark Notebook. I outlined what I wanted to do in 2016 and started listing out what it would take to make those things happen. Instead of focusing on the past and dwelling on all the issues (I had many sleepless nights stressed out about getting people their planners) I decided to let it all go and focus my energy on the future. More stress and worry wasn’t going to help anyone (especially me).
Start with the small stuff
When you haven’t made progress it is easy to think that you need to make some big waves to get back on track. However, that isn’t true. Success is about consistency. It is taking small steps every day that will compound over time. One of the first things I did was start working on this email to you – the people I care about and have supported me. I know that sharing my journey with you is a small thing I can do to move forward.
Ask for help
Next week I have 2 people – my good friend Cheri (who also has helped me ship many packages) and my new assistant Stephanie. This has also forced me to get organized and to think about systems. When you involve someone else you get more ideas and feedback (both good things), but it also means you have to be more structured in your thinking and processes (you can’t delegate without instructions!).
Focus on what’s working
As you move forward, celebrate your successes. If you make progress on your goals give yourself some credit. If you pass up the donut and eat healthy, savor the moment and be proud of your willpower. Things will get hard again (they always do) but there are always good things. Channel your energy in that direction and try to let the negativity wash away.
I hope that these are some helpful ideas as we go into March! Just remember that the most important part of success is making small, consistent progress over time.
If you only do one thing this week, pick one task related to your goal that will take less than 30 minutes and get it done. Then do the same thing next week.
I will be cheering for you!
See you back here in March.
P.S. Spark Notebooks are back in stock if you want to get your hands on one before they sell out again!