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Q4 Already? Strategic Ideas to Bring It Home

“The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

Chinese Proverb

The fourth quarter of the year is a tricky one. It comes up fast. It’s close to the year’s end, time to gear up for the sprint. Yet, it’s also full of holidays, school activities and events that make us want to slow down and breathe in some cooler air.

Q4 energy, if played well, can make or break how the year wraps up. When you look at this year, how do you feel you have fared when it comes to business, career or money goals?

We are three quarters in, but we aren’t done. So, what do we do about Q4 to make it a standout quarter that brings us closer to, or past, the goals we set out to achieve in January.

If you can summon up that blast of strong energy in Q4, and resist the gremlin in your head who is suggesting you just taper off and call it a year after 9 months, you will feel empowered when the holidays do come around.

How much more satisfying will it be to sit by the fire with your feet up, if you feel you’ve given it a final push and can reflect on some final accomplishments?

Here are a few suggestions to help you make the last three months your best yet.

  1. Commit to a Morning Ritual – Intentional actions, from the moment you wake up, set the stage for a great day, and it’s great days that make the quarter soar. There are times in the day where you might benefit from taking alternative, more spontaneous actions than what is on your calendar, but the early morning should be as ritualistic as possible.

Start by drinking at least 8 ounces of water. If you exercise early, more power to you. If not, there are so many wonderful ways to begin the day that will open your mind allowing you to formulate your intentions, set a positive mindset and plan for the hours ahead.

My tried and true recommendations are:

  • Journaling – Include gratitude statements and affirmations that are meaningful to you. Not much time? Set a timer for 10 minutes or commit to one page, and literally write whatever is in your head that needs to pour out (gratitude first). You will shock yourself and that is insightful and exciting, and if you don’t, that’s ok, no judging your journaling.

  • Meditation/Prayers – Meditation is a remarkable practice with fewer rules than you think. Find your method (check out the Headspace App if you need some help) – silence, music, birds chirping, incense, pillows, a dog on your lap – you decide what helps you to clear your mind in the most effective way, so you can begin the day with a mind that is primed and ready for a fresh, new slate.

  • Reading something inspirational (again, 10 minutes). I have books at the ready that I can open to a random page and find magical wisdom every time that makes me think or rethink what is happening in that day or in my life.

  • Contemplate your day and prioritize your activities. Big rocks first, then pebbles, then sand if there is time. This comes from Steven Covey and should be a daily mindset, but it’s not always easy to do. Keep a couple of big rocks on your desk for a reminder.

2. Review and Revise Your Annual Plan – When is the last time you pulled out that business success plan you created at the beginning of the year? One of the most successful women I know is constantly reviewing and revising the plan she drew up in January. It is never out of sight.

That plan is the roadmap to meeting or exceeding her financial goals, and when plans shift, either by design or happenstance, the projected income changes. She then finds ways to earn the desired revenue in new ways.

The point is that her eye’s on the ball. She is aware of where she wanted to go, where she is going, and where she needs to make adjustments. She has a puzzle to solve and is constantly moving the pieces to keep progressing.

Pull out your plan (or create one now if you haven’t) and identify your goals for the rest of the year. Figure out the strategies you need to implement and monetize your plan.

3. Check Your Money Mindset – Before moving on any more plans, perform a money mindset tune-up. If your relationship with money is a mystery to you, that’s an area you can improve that will have a lasting impact on your business and your life. This link to my site will introduce you to the concept if it’s new to you:

Your relationship with money is as complex as any other relationship in your life, so spending time unraveling this mysterious relationship and improving it is a wise, ongoing effort. Let’s take a couple starter steps here by answering some questions:

  • Evaluate how you have been thinking about money this year (positively or negatively)

  • Where is your money confidence on a scale of 1-10?

  • Do you feel you have been a leader in your financial life this year?

  • Do you have stated money goals for this quarter and year?

  • What money story would you like to tell at year end? (write this in your journal)

Remember, the past does not need to be repeated, so identify some patterns that may be preventing you from being the person in your new money story, and decide on one thing you will commit to changing.

4. Update Your CRM – We are three quarters into the year, and if there is one thing I can be sure of, it is that you have encountered a few people this year who you want to stay in touch with or have a future conversation with.

What system do you have in place to keep track of your contacts? How have you been following up with people? Now is the best time to get all the business cards, emails, Facebook and LinkedIn messages organized in a central location and systematized.

Decide on a mechanism (spreadsheet, customer relationship management system, or a sheet of paper) to keep track of connections. Schedule some time to load the names, contact information, the source of connection, dates of contact and follow-up actions, along with anything else of interest to you.

This is a perfect time to organize the people in your business world so those valuable connections are not lost or forgotten.  This exercise will help you with Q4 and forever. I like a system from that integrates with your emails nicely, so less input is required. There are many systems out there at varying price points, including free.

5. Prioritize Activities and Schedule Your Life – While I mentioned prioritizing your daily tasks earlier, you should also prioritize larger scale projects and goals. Establishing the proper sequence of business activities is crucial and takes some thought.

In addition, getting your top priorities and the lesser ones as well, onto a calendar will allow you to see if you really have the time to implement your plans.

If what you have in mind just doesn’t fit into your current Q4 calendar, again adjustments are needed or you will frustrate yourself with unrealistic expectations. See what can be rearranged, deleted altogether or otherwise reworked, to get the priorities aligned with the time you have.

Make time for what matters most. Whatever that is to you. Then, return to your plan and make sure the puzzle pieces are fitting together properly.

Take these five steps now and make Q4 of this year, one you will be proud of (either due to results or great effort). Take these same steps into next year and look at them again in January.

Reinforcing intention, awareness, tracking, mindset adjustments, and creating time for priorities are meant to give you the freedom that you are seeking, so repeat often.

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