This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab
Did you know that there are more points scored in the NFL in the final two minutes of each half than the entire rest of the game? Why? Because everyone becomes laser focused on putting the score up on the board, so fewer distractions get in the way.
Think about athletes in the 100-metre dash. That race is often lost by the athlete who lets fear take over, and takes that split second to glance over his shoulder, versus focusing solely on breaking the tape.
At this time of year, the distractions can pile up and focus can be lost so easily. Holiday shopping, holiday parties and lunches, visiting family. Or simply having the mindset that says "This is a slow time of year…I will wait until January."
So, you have a choice. Be distracted. Or "Finish Big."
"Finishing Big" is all about making that final push before year end, and not letting the holiday season slow you down prematurely. It's about setting yourself up for early success in January so that you hit the ground running at the start of 2015.
Finishing Big is simply about picking up the phone, sending out those extra e-mails, connecting with past clients, choosing a small number of things to put a laser focus on, and limiting distractions as much as possible.
I got this great insight from a conference call I was on with Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, around this time last year. His message was simple:
The race can be won or lost in the final push.
It's about zigging when everyone else zags. While everyone else is going into vacation mode, keep going. You will come out winning in January.
To avoid the holiday hangover and finish big in 2014, here are some strategies:
1. Write down your top five distractions. What do you need to do to overcome these distractions?
2. What are the two or three areas where you need to do a little bit more? What are two to three ways to do a little bit more in those areas?
3. What are your top priorities for profitability?
4. Use this time of year to build your "bank" with your clients. Give, give, give. Ask your clients – how can I help you achieve your goals?
5. Change your mindset. Some businesses naturally slow down in December. (Think residential real estate). But instead of "waiting" until January to call clients, reach out now and fill your calendar for early 2015, so you hit the ground running the first week back.
So far, I think my strategy of "Finish Big" is working. I have three new business opportunities between now and the first few weeks of January, that I did not have two weeks ago. I simply took the time to do some marketing to past and future clients. And the best part is, the momentum these wins are creating is propelling me forward, to pick up the phone more, and send out more e-mails, and to "Give. Give. Give." to my clients (like writing articles!) so I can fill my "bank" for the future.
So, what are you going to do to Finish Big this year?