The first quarter always offers a glimpse into the rest of the year.
When March rolls around, we all get the springtime jitters. We seem to always be thinking ahead to the next day, the next big event, the next vacation. A forward-looking attitude is great for entrepreneurs and visionaries, presidents and world leaders, but if you are constantly looking ahead, you overlook the present.
March is an important month because it marks the end of the first quarter of the year. Before falling into a daydream of yourself relaxing on a beach in the tropics, take a moment to assess the year thus far from a personal and business standpoint. By this time, you should clearly understand what your objectives are. This check-in is designed to highlight those goals and objectives you set at the start of the year and measure your progress. A fundamental principal of psychology is: “If you can measure it, you can change it.” Progress is never linear, so take note of points you have reached along the way and how you can adjust your lifestyle to move closer to achievement.
Patience and persistence are two virtues of a true go-getter. If you want to achieve something in your life, you need the determination and perseverance to do so, and you must be aware that progress doesn’t happen in an instant. It takes an understanding of where you currently are and a vision of where you want to go to reach your goals. Use this time to assess and plan your next move.
Imagine yourself as a baseball player in the outfield. The job in and of itself is pretty boring, waiting pitch after pitch for some action. The mindset of the outfield must be calm and collected, yet ready to pounce at any moment. The outfielder is an expert at situational analysis — he must be tuned in before each pitch and know how many outs there are, how many base runners are on the field, and what the hitter’s strike and ball count is.
Simply being mindful of the situation at hand is half the challenge. The outfielder must also know what to do if the ball comes to him; if the ball comes to his left, which infielder will he throw it to; if it comes to his right, which infielder will he throw it to; if there is a big hit and a runner is attempting to score, he needs to decide if he can make the throw to home plate on his own or if it would be faster to relay the ball there. All these scenarios and more must be thought through and analyzed in the 30 seconds between each pitch.
The outfielder must also consider his positioning before each pitch; is the hitter a slugger or a speedster; is the hitter’s count in his favor or the pitcher’s favor; does the pitcher throw 100 mph fastballs, which the hitters would be late on or 67 mph curveballs, which they would be ahead of? The list goes on …
Crack. The ball comes your way and it is time to react.
The parallels between the mindset of an outfielder and yourself should be strikingly obvious. March is the month to analyze your current situation, while, at the same time, outlining all possible actions to take in certain scenarios. Reaching your goals can be as simple as planning your next move. As the first quarter of the year ends, think about that next move and always be ready to react when you hear the crack of the bat.
MAXIMIZE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES
Follow this checklist to maximize your opportunity to succeed.
1 Dissect your first quarter income statement. Are your results better than they were this time last year? What costs stand out to you? Are you able to nip rising costs in the bud?
2 Reassess your business goals. Do you have expectations for sales? Will investment in equipment or personnel help generate more sales? If expansion is a goal, what actions are you taking to enter new markets and reach more people?
3 Consider your personal life. Are you sleeping at night? Do you take work home? Are you exercising enough to keep your body healthy and your mind fresh? Are you spending time with your family and friends? Balance is a key to success.
4 Write down your objectives. Have you shared your business goals with your team? Have you told friends and family of your personal goals in order to receive encouragement? Take this opportunity seriously, because you often cannot do it alone.