Fourth Quarter Intervention: Are you where you wanted to be in 2013?

We’re over halfway through the fourth quarter of 2013, and I’ve got two questions for you:

  1. Looking back, did you accomplish what you set out to this year?
  2. What can you do in these last few weeks of 2013 to hit your goals and kick off 2014 right?

The first question is pretty serious – I don’t know about you, but it automatically made me think about all of the ways that I fell short this year. The projects that I haven’t completed yet because I set unrealistic timelines or (I don’t know…) life happened, the miserable client work I slogged through because I didn’t sign a contract or didn’t value my time, the fun well-paying projects that I had to turn away because I was working for other clients practically, and sometimes actually, for free.

But this self-induced panic attack actually gave me two opportunities: to figure out what the actual hell went wrong and to think about what I did right and how to voice it to myself and others.

Now that I’ve re-evaluated my year, I’ll probably write at least one blog post about the mistakes I’ve made in my business and how your race team can learn from them and avoid them – think about not leaving money on the table and getting sponsors to chase after you. Because, after a few Jack-and-Ginger’s, I was able to move on from beating myself up for my mistakes to learning about what I could have done differently and how I’ll do that in the future.

Because the cold, hard truth is: if you’re not happy with where you are right now, it’s your own fault. But taking ownership of the mistakes also gives you ownership over fixing them.

And that, my friends, is power.

So you know what you need to do: change it.

How? I propose a 10-step program to getting you closer to where you want to be. (<-Just kidding. Get out of here with that.)

Here’s what I actually propose: write down all of the things that you wanted to accomplish and didn’t. Then, cross out all of the items that aren’t within your control (anything lottery-ticket-related goes). Then, cross out anything that you’re not logistically able to accomplish between now and the end of the year. (Wanted to win four more races? Sorry, the 2013 ship sailed on that.)

Keep in mind that there is a big difference between what you want and what you have to do to get what you want. This topic also deserves its own write-up, but for example: if what you want is to get a big sponsor, then the things you have to do to get a big sponsor might include finding the right person to talk to, reaching out to them, having lunch with them, putting together a proposal, etc.

This list is long and will probably freak you out. It sucks, but it’s reality.

On a separate piece of paper, take everything that’s left on that list and write down only those things that you could (and will) do between right now and smooching under the mistletoe.

And throw everything else away. Because those things, the trips to victory lane you didn’t make, the owner you didn’t call for the ride you didn’t get, the sponsors you never met…they’re all the things that are holding you back.

Because 2013 is almost past and you have to let go of the past to move forward. Any time or energy you spend worrying about it now is just taking time and energy away from things you can actually do.

Just get started on moving forward, even if you don’t know all of the gory details. Stick to it, and you’ll be surprised what you can figure out. (Have questions? Email me or ask in the comments below. I’ll do what I can to help you, and I bet others might have the same question or a different answer to share.)

Even if you don’t cross off every single thing on that list, you’ll still be closer to where you wanted to be. And that will feel good, maybe great, maybe even inappropriately spectacular (the way we like it. Wink.)

By the way, in case I didn’t make it clear earlier, this feeling of failure or mediocrity happens to all of us. Sometimes you need a reality check to move on and get real shit done, but I think you also deserve this reality check:

You probably accomplished a lot more than you think you did this year. And you deserve to feel good about that.

A few weeks ago, I heard a driver get asked about how his season went. He said that it was fine and that he ended up fourth in points at his local track. His response pretty much blew my mind because, although it was the truth, it was nowhere near accurate from the outside looking in. For god’s sake, he doesn’t even race for points!! Statistically, he accumulated more, better quality wins than ever before in less races than he usually runs. He also got more sponsorship than ever.

When describing his season, he measured himself lower than others on a scale that he doesn’t even aspire to win at.

Shockingly enough, I told him exactly what I thought of that and, even though I dabble in having super powers, I couldn’t read his mind. But I could tell he felt better, even more accomplished than a few minutes earlier. Which brings me to my final point:

We are what we think.

So after you beat yourself up over what you didn’t achieve, think about the things you actually did win at (checkers with your grandma counts) and what you can do to add to that list.

Because we all deserve both a kick in the ass and pat on the back now and then.

xo.

Kristin

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.