The Value of a Clean Slate

aaeaaqaaaaaaaawfaaaajdizmjnly2fllwi1mzetndcxzi1imwu2lti1zwmwnduzy2y5maThe first day of a new school year is like New Year’s Day for me. Seeing the new notebooks, highlighters and pens so carefully packed in the dirt-free backpacks symbolizes a new beginning—a chance to start with a clean slate, so to speak. For a brief moment, I forget all about the endless nights of arguing over homework, the fights with friends and the seven pairs of gloves lost somewhere between the bus stop and our front porch.

“This is my year,” I say to myself in the mirror.

But, before long, the school year begins and the fresh, clean notebooks are soon tattered and torn. The schedule gets hectic, the homework gets hard and my children and I find ourselves longing for the lazy weekend afternoons which never seem to appear. I guess that’s why I have always cherished those first back-to-school moments—they give me that rare opportunity to fix all that is broken or achieve all that is hard by simply putting a piece of chocolate in a lunchbox or stuffing backpacks full of brightly colored mechanical pencils. Nothing seems impossible with a good pencil and a fresh pad of paper.

It’s sort of like starting a new business, isn’t it? When you first get the idea you are filled with excitement–you see nothing but the opportunity and the success. Then, the real work begins.   Your calendar fills up with tasks and appointments, your desk is piled with papers and folders and to find a pen that works becomes a small victory in your day. Just like a new school year, the busyness of a new company can override our enthusiasm.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

That feeling we have at the beginning of a new school year or initiative stems from the planning. In addition to helping you be prepared, planning gives you focus, it fuels your confidence, it gives you new insight. As one article stated, planning stimulates you—it “makes you concentrate on what you know is productive and promising.”

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and bogged down by the tasks of your business—or the tasks of the school year, life, etc.—take some to plan, to dream to think. Spend time thinking through where you are, where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

Want to move your business to a new city? Make a plan to cultivate clients in the new location. Have a book inside of you that needs to be written? Plan a meeting with a ghostwriter. Looking to expand internationally? Create a plan for learning a new language.

Whatever your goal, develop a plan to get you there and soon you will ignite—or re-ignite—the fire in your belly.

This week, as students throughout the U.S. plan for a new school year, get yourself a new notebook and some pencils and carve out time for personal/professional planning.  You will soon discover that without distractions, your mind will be clear to focus on the big picture of your business and life, and you feel revitalized.

Nothing like having that “clean slate” feeling all year long.


PattiMinglin_BaleeImages_v2by Patti Minglin
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