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Resolving your Sh*t List This Year

This year, what is going to keep you from feeling

“thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”

(Bilbo Baggins)

The New Year offers us motivation and an opportunity to “reset.” It feels exciting and full of potential. It feels like a chance to put out with the old, and foster all of the changes we didn’t get around to last year.

What it does not offer is a magic wand for the problems that got in the way before. The new year feels refreshing but it does not suddenly make underlying dysfunctions any different.

Look, I get it. I use the New Year as motivation too. It does feel like an opportunity to make things different. And because of that opportunity, I don’t want to fudge it up by carrying over all the same sh*t that blocked me or stalled me last year.

Here are the top two things I recommend organizations do so that your toast lands butter-side up this year.

1.) The sh*t list

I practice what I preach, and I spend a lot of time identifying my strengths (so I can do more of that), and uncovering weaknesses so I can work through or around them (the sh*t).

I complete Organizational Performance Audits for other organizations because “you can’t read the label from inside the jar.” Those leaders need an expert to help them have a 30,000 foot view of everything. And I tap into my own outside resources to shine a light on the dysfunctions I can’t always see in my own business too.

When I look at my list, some of my Elephants exist in business operations, some of them exist in my own limitations, and some of the issues I see are best mitigated by taping into the team of people around me.

It really sucks to sit in a place of not knowing and continuing to see problems perpetuate. When I get a chance for an “aha” moment (by myself or with the help of the team around me), a chance to know… I do something a little like this

And because change is a process not an event, I know that I cannot solve everything at once. So I need to have a high-level view of what is happening, why it is, and what the implications are, and use that to make decisions and prioritize my next few moves (how to improve and resolve).

And that, my friends, means that a plan is important.

2.) The plan and the backup plan

Some leaders and owners tell me they don’t think business planning is useful because things change anyway. And they are right, things will change. Things will not go exactly as anticipated because there are so many factors outside of your control. And that is why you do need a plan.

We don’t have control over everything, but what we do all have is influence. We have influence on our situations, and how we respond to them.

Do I know everything that will happen between now and December 2023? Absolutely not. But I know what I am after and I have a plan. And I have a plan for when my plans don’t go as anticipated (“if this, then that”). Admittedly that plan may involve screaming into a pillow… but then I go about using what I do know in order to make decisions, take actions, and choose the next best move.


Do you know all of the things that got in your way last year? Could there be things that you can’t see yourself? How will you uncover those?


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