New Year’s Revolution: Routines, Reflection, Rules

Sense of Direction, Kanchan Balse

Sense of Direction, Kanchan Balse

The brief end-of-year season is closing and I find myself shifting to a January spirit for reflection, planning, and setting the pace for the incoming year. Recently, I’ve run across a few ideas that I’m incorporating into my annual reflection and planning.

1. New Year’s Revolutions, instead of Resolutions. Cute with the language. But maybe there’s something more. The revolution for ChangeMatters involves combining business and social change to create economies and cultural communities where everyone can participate. And our quite modest role in all that is helping social entrepreneurs raise money and strengthen their ability to serve and make a difference. But revolutionaries, even the tempered ones working behind the scenes, need to take practical action and at times make radical changes, which brings me to the 2nd idea.

2. Systems instead of goals. This piece in Entrepreneur magazine got me focused. To be fair, making this shift presumes having already done quite a bit of thinking through of goals and being oriented in the right direction. So if your social enterprise, like ours, is in this place at this moment, try zooming in on systems with your team. Most of ours have to do with scheduling time to focus on priorities and achieve better balance. Some have to do with marketing and business development to grow the business. Others have to do with client service to achieve the most meaningful results. But all are specific, practical steps and routines. This year, in both the business and my personal life, I’m absolutely committed to following through on certain systems and routines. Underneath all this specificity in how we work and live, however, is meaning and the why and quality of what we’re doing. And that leads me to the 3rd new year idea.

3. Remembering intention. This idea I recall from years ago having read Art of the Start about corporate mottos (as opposed to mission statements) and then later, The Creative Habit, about finding and staying true to the spine of the thing. At the root of a social enterprise is the purpose and feeling of what your team is working to create—so, what is that for your work? The prompt might be, “Everything we do around here feels like_______” or “is in service to ______” or “starts from ________.”  For ChangeMatters, our core intention is about attracting and generating more resources to make life and living better in the world, and the work feels substantive, strategic, sensible, insightful, integrated, empowered, entrepreneurial. Over the last few months, the team has been reworking the website and messaging. We’re trying to get it right and real, so that it reflects what we do, with whom, and what difference it makes. I’m not satisfied yet, but we’re working on it.

4. And then there’s the idea of ditching this for New Year’s Rulins. An old school list with drawings created by a 30-year old Woody Guthrie in 1942. Earnest, tender, and charming reminders about keeping on track with a meaningful and productive life.  A few perennials to add to 2014: Read lots good books. Keep hoping machine running. Dream good. Play and sing good. Make up your mind. Wake up and fight.