Brass Tacks

Good morning Elevate! And welcome to your Wednesday!

It’s so great to see all of you, back after a couple of well earned weeks off… I hope it was a smooth and enjoyable transition out of ‘22 and an auspicious start to ‘23…

So here we are… in a new year… and though we can take action, make change, and grow at any time, I know that you’re all hungry to absolutely crush this next round.

There’s an old saying… “Let’s get down to brass tacks.” I think it’s still used on occasion. Back in the day when a chair was going to be reupholstered, they would strip it down… covering off, stuffing out, and get down to the bare frame of the chair… right down to the brass tacks.

So today — to start us all off on the right foot, and to set us up for success — let’s get a reminder about some of the fundamentals. Let’s talk about what it takes to lay a strong and reliable foundation.

Number one… more than anything, we need to know where the heck we’re going. There’s nothing wrong with traveling the world without a destination… but only if your goal is to be a wanderer. And it’s true, that not all who wander are lost. But what that cute meme leaves out is that those people kind of have wandering set up as the goal. They are intentionally not choosing an endpoint. They’re enjoying the “not knowing.” In business and other goals, we need to know. We need to know where we’re going because we need to know what to pack, who to bring (or not bring), who to be, and the kind of “transportation,” needed to get there. So create a vision. It can be a vision board, a journal entry dated in the future, a bullet point list with what’s and by when’s. Whatever has you motivated and connected to your path. But you must clarify the destinations.

Speaking of who to bring along… most leaders — and to be clear, that’s exactly who you are — are quite aware of the challenges and difficulties they’re up against. But when it comes to the true value of their non-financial assets? Not so much. So when you can, take a look at two of your most important values… your abilities and your resources…

By abilities, I mean all of the things you already know how to do… speak another language, drive a car, know how to bake, write or communicate well… And the list goes on. Even if it seems outside the immediate scope of your current task or project, it counts. Whatever the ability, put it on the list.

And when we talk about resources, these are the items that bring you value but are external to you. Your car, your home, your cell phone and computer… all of the tools, instruments and items — big or small — that you can leverage for value. And perhaps the greatest of these are all of the people you know… do you realize how many people you know that have abilities you can leverage?

Take a look around this screen… there are almost a hundred people right here and each of them is excellent at at least something, if not many something’s. Make a list of the people in your world and what you can rely on them for… and again, even if it’s outside the scope of your immediate needs. In other words, I could certainly rely on Aaron Pierce for legal advice and to even litigate my case. But he also loves motorcycles. So if I need to know about them, or even just want company on a ride, while I’m clearing my head during a break from the project, he might very well be a resource. And, if you have a dog, a dog walker is a resource. You get the point.

At some point on this journey — perhaps when you least expect it — your legs are going to get tired. You might feel alone. You may even wonder why you chose what you did in the first place. But that’s exactly when you’re going to take another look at that vision. And the list of all of your abilities. And all of those people who you could reach out to for support… in so many forms. And you’ll regain your footing. And you’ll be back up climbing again.

Next up, structure, routine, and time blocking… if you are like most of us, you have a lot going on. And the momentum of your current dynamic isn’t likely to change anytime soon. So while we both know that you do have the time… at least more than you typically admit… and you can feel free to push back on that but maybe we take a little peek at your “screen time,” counter on your phone… so you may have it, but if you don’t schedule it, it’ll blow away like sand in a sandstorm when one or many of those other items that clamor for your attention show up. Create fences around your time, and those frisky cattle-like minutes won’t be able to run away. The more you do this, the easier it will get.

And last but a far cry from least for this morning… Belief… it may also look like trust, or presence, or focus… but realize that in the absence of real belief in your destination, and the plan that will allow you to get there, the odds of arriving plummet. So get connected to the goal, the journey, or both. Fall in love with some aspect of it, if not the whole thing. It could be the accomplishment itself, the money or self esteem or service or impact it will provide for you or someone else, or even just the people you meet along the way.

Create a plan that makes sense to you, and then go and work it!

Clear Vision, Abilities, Resources, Structure & Time Blocking, and of course Belief!

So pumped for another year of growth in our respective businesses, and right here within Elevate!

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