February 3, 2016

The Top 3 Mistakes Keeping You From Making Things Happen

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I am definitely a goal person. I love to set them, I love to think about them. I love to work toward them. But for a while there, I was getting overwhelmed by them. And I was even getting a little bit defeatist-feeling about them.  I was talking to my business coach Kim at the very beginning of January, and I was telling her that I was kind of feeling like I just kept missing the mark as far as my goals were concerned. That I would set these big intentions for what I was going to work toward, and it just never felt like I was moving the dial on them. I would get too busy, I would get too overwhelmed at the size of the goal in front of me, I would let busy work steal my focus from the work that really needed to be done. And then another month would slip by without much (or at least as much as I had hoped) happening. And as we sat there together on Skype, blinking back tears I told her that I knew something needed to change.

Well, just one month later, I’m here to tell you that something big DID change. In a major breakthrough, this is FINALLY firing on all cylinders sort of way. And in the last couple of weeks of January, I have accomplished more towards these big goals than I have in the past six months. And through that, I have realized that there were Three Major Mistakes I was making with my goal setting that were keeping me from getting things DONE. Let’s take just one of those BIG things I accomplished in January as an example.

For those of you who don’t know, I am starting the work of writing my first book this year. And around July of last year, I invested a good chunk of money to buy the Michael Hyatt 21- video (!!) course “Everything You Need to Know to Get Published.” I was SO excited to start it. But week after week, month after month…I didn’t begin. Life got busy, our calendar got full, and those videos continued to sit in my download folder mocking me. Soon Summer turned to Fall, and Fall turned to winter, and 2015 turned another year older. And still, I hadn’t started. So when Kim & I sat down at the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to have finished that course-all 21 videos– by the end of January. And on the morning of January 31st, with a hot cup of coffee in my hands and a book full of notes, I pressed play on the 21st video and finished what I had set out to do six months ago. So what changed? Simply put, I realized there were Three Big Mistakes I was making in my goal setting that I changed up in January, and here are what they were.


1. Not Setting a Deadline. Michael Hyatt actually talked about this in his course (which I LOVED by the way). He said it’s one thing to say “I want to write a book,” and it’s a whole other thing to say “I want to finish my book proposal by February 15th.” There is something about having that looming deadline, something about the clock ticking, that forces us to get it in gear. When I told Kim I wanted to have finished that course by January 31st there was something in me that finally snapped into action, because I just could not stand the idea of coming back to her & saying I missed that deadline. When it was just a general goal, it was easy to push it off month to month. But suddenly when there was something specific with a deadline, I had to get serious about it. There is a great old adage that says “that which does not get calendared, does not get done.” So think about those things you’ve been meaning to do…maybe it’s cleaning up your website portfolio or making a sample album for a venue or launching a new brand. Now set a hard deadline for the very next step. Say, “I will clean out my portfolio by Feb 15th” or “I will design a sample album by Monday” or “I will email that designer I love by the close of business tomorrow.” Now write it down. And tell somebody else about it too. And just see if that doesn’t get you moving.

2. Not Choosing a Next Level Goal. Do you want to know what I didn’t get done in January…writing an entire book. And yet, when I set goals this is how I tend to make them. I’ll write broad sweeping goals like “organize my entire life” or “be caught up on ALL business tasks.” Whatever that means! And then when I fall anywhere short of that, I feel like a failure. It’s so great & important to have your eyes on that BIG goal out in the distance, but we get there month by month by focusing on the very next thing (or what I’m calling a “next level goal.”) So for me, the very next step in eventually going the thousand mile journey it takes to write a book was starting (and then finishing) this course. For you, your BIG goal might be to book 25 weddings this year. But for February, your next level goal (or the very next thing you need to do to get there) might be to email a few people to set up a photographer referral group, or to take a planner to lunch, or to order booking gifts for the 5 couples you already have. We don’t have to do ALL the things, and in fact that is the surest way to fail. We just have to do the very next thing.

3. Not Just Getting Started. Do you want the truth? For the longest time, I didn’t start those videos because there were 21 of them. And I convinced myself that until I had the time to sit down and do all 21 of them at once that there was no point in bothering. And so I didn’t start. But the truth is- the real, honest to goodness, hard to hear but it’s true- TRUTH of it is that the starting is the hardest part. The hardest part of writing is not the actual writing, it’s sitting down at the dang desk. The hardest part of learning your flash is not figuring out how to get the “black box,” it’s taking your flash out of the bag and being willing to open up The Lighting Guide you bought two months ago and have been afraid to start reading. The hardest part of choosing new portfolio images is not actually going through your images, it’s pulling up a chair and plugging in the hard drive. The day that I finally dug through my email and found the link to the course, actually remembered my login information, and pulled up the link for Video 1…I emailed Kim and told her I had started, so basically I was already 50% of the way there. And once that happened, everything else started moving really fast.

All of this to say, whatever it is you know you want to make happen in February, don’t worry about how long it will take to finish. Just worry about what it will take for you to finally START.

Go rock it out friends!

**Are you a photographer?? We have a FREE gift for you! Just click HERE to grab your copy of our brand new ebook “Our 5 Biggest Pricing Mistakes…and How to Avoid Them”

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  1. Nilo Burke

    “Get my entire life organized” HA! That is so ME!!!! Eat the elephant in small bites. That’s the secret. THANK YOU, Mary!

  2. Lori

    Love them all, but #3 is one I’m always working on! Or, so it seems. I’m also teaching my 10 year old this. We have a saying between the two of us when we feel overwhelmed by the task at hand. “We just have to get through 10 minutes.” And, then, we can give 10 more, etc. It seems less daunting when you put it like that. Love you, Lori

  3. jamie

    love this insight + wisdom!

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