Silly really, it’s just a date but the inevitable shift in the calendar at this time of year always leaves me feeling excited at the prospect of a clean slate, a fresh start, a sort of  Ctrl Alt Del.  2016 has been a year that will go down in History. If nothing else, it has been a year that has forced us to stop and think. Whether one of the many passings of an iconic figure of our time, political or social upheaval, it seems like an avalanche of events have occurred that have made us examine where we stand, what we stand for and who we stand with.

For many, the future seems uncertain and rather scary. And yet, what better time could there be to embrace the future with confidence and create your life the way you want it. Having inner clarity about our beliefs, who and what we value, our dreams and aspirations,  is the greatest asset on the road to success.

It’s not as bad as you think!

Sometimes it’s really worth checking the facts. Despite the deluge of doom and gloom,  confidence within the business sector has almost never been better! A quick check of the OECD Business Confidence Index shows that the UK is finishing up 2016 on a high. The same is true in the US, France, Germany and many other countries. So whatever else is going on, the business sector is confident and you should be too.

We are clearly entering a period of change, and change often breeds uncertainty and mistrust. However these are situations where many creatives can truly thrive. Indeed, we are all aware of the old adage that necessity is the mother of invention, and you’ll hardly find a more resourceful bunch than creatives.  The American economist, Richard Florida, has also long argued that the ‘creative class’ will be significant contributors to the economic future.

So step up in 2017! The world needs you and your special gifts.

Like attracts Like

Overcoming obstacles, staying focussed and motivated are all very hard to achieve in isolation. Every one of us needs to find our tribe of like minded and, yes, successful people. You simply can’t succeed alone. Get yourself networking. Not those awful stuffy events where everyone is standing around with a glass of flat prosecco practising a well honed elevator pitch in their heads, only to fluff it up the minute a real person comes along. There are literally hundreds of great resources on the internet from specific business coaching ideas to personal development and beyond. Research and join one or more of these communities. Even just subscribing to a blog you like (may we suggest this one ;)), or an online course, or a video series will give you the sense of belonging and being surrounded by people who just get it!

You might try and hook up in real time with other creatives in your local community. Whatever it takes, don’t leave yourself out in the cold. It’s often hard to find support and understanding from loved ones not in creative industries, however much they want to help you, simply because they live and work in a world very different from yours. Another reason to surround yourself with like minded and successful people is that it makes you automatically raise your game. Allow yourself to be inspired and swept along the motivational wave your community offers.

It’s not a one way street

Although you can gain an enormous amount just by being passive and reading and listening to the community you have chosen, effective networking is not a one way street. If you feel moved enough to ask questions or leave comments, do it! Once you feel secure in your chosen communities, take an active part. This is both rewarding and useful to your future business success.

Extend your community out to your customers. At every interaction with potential or actual clients you should be gathering email addresses. Take the time to nurture repeat customers that will keep your business alive and well. By having an email list you can keep in touch with your customer community, be it to inform them of new products or events, special deals or just an update on you and your work. We’ll expand on this topic in a later post, but try to communicate with your clients in a way that is not intrusive or spammy but that let’s them know you care about them and their custom. And for the record, I have found that an occasional thank you never goes amiss.

Invest in Your Education

In addition to the excellent communities available to you out there, there is also a wealth of really helpful and vital information. Better still, a lot of it is free. There is so much in fact that its rather overwhelming. Its important to find a place where you feel safe, understood and well served. Many online coaches and teachers have vastly different personal styles, some of which may appeal and some not. Shop around and settle in communities that match your vibe. Some topics are so important that I’ll address them specifically in future posts. Many topics, however, are extensively covered already and I’ll endeavour to  summarise and review some of the resources out there to save you the frustration of searching. Help me help you by letting me know what you feel you need to know to move forwards and what problems or obstacles are getting in your way.

2017? Bring it on!

I’d like to express my personal thanks and appreciation to all the members of this community and I wish us all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

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