Commit To Making 2018 The Year You Want It To Be

The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to reflect. It’s time to ask yourself: Do I want next year to be different or do I want more of the same? Do I want to grow or stay at this level? Is there something I’d like to work on that could make me a better leader? Are there classes or certifications that could make us a better company that offers better service? Is there a recurring issue in our company that we need to nip in the bud? Is it time to put systems in place?

Asking these questions and reflecting on the answers can bring enlightenment and awareness, but don’t stop at reflection — commit to the change you want to see. Don’t make a resolution — make a commitment. Don’t decide that you’ll try to do something, decide that you will do something.

We’ve heard the greatest minds say this, including our little green friend, Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” But knowing this doesn’t stop us from pretending, does it? It doesn’t stop us from half-heartedly setting resolutions or goals, without any sincere or thoughtful plan for execution. We do it all the time. We say “I’m going to start eating better.” But do we clean out the fridge and make sure that the house is filled with healthy food options? Or do we keep the bag of Cheetos conveniently within reach and justify ordering pizza “before the coupons expire?” There’s a difference between committing to change and hoping for change.

Intention Vs. Determination: What’s The Difference?

Think of a time when you really wanted to do something; when you felt like you’d just die if you didn’t do it. Did you do it? Now think of all the New Year’s resolutions you’ve made and not kept over the years. There was a difference in your mindset and your level of commitment, wasn’t there? What was the difference? One was a determination, while the other was an intention.Dandelion-Growing-In-The-Sidewalk

Intention will get you through the easy times, but when things get hard, you need more than that. You need resolve. You need commitment. You need determination. Intention only gets you halfway there. With intention, if it’s easy you may do it; with determination, even if it’s not easy, you’ll do it, or at least give it everything you’ve got. And really, that’s what determines your success: whether you push through in the hard times.

So put some thought and purpose behind 2018. Think about the changes you’d like to make, the goals you’d like to reach, and the things you’d like to accomplish, but personally and professionally — but take it further. Plan how you’re going to get there and put safeguards in place to help you maintain determination and drive when the going gets tough.

Tips To Help You Succeed This Coming Year

Here are some tips as you head into 2018 with intention and commitment:

  1. Brainstorm and write out some actionable steps you can take to get you closer to your goal. Start small and detailed. Breaking a goal down into actionable steps can take time, but the thought and planning invested up front will pay off greatly over the long run. If you only give yourself big, vague steps, you’ll feel overwhelmed and a bit aimless and unsure of what to do next. Visit this list regularly.
  2. Tell friends and family about your plans and ask them to hold you accountable and provide encouragement and support. We all need encouragement and a little extra push from time to time, but if no one knows what you’re trying to achieve, no one will be there to provide that support and push when you need it. So, share your vision and your plan. Tell your employees, your family, your friends — someone you know you can count on to provide tough love and hold you to your word.
  3. Start and end your day with focus and intention. Whether you write it on your bathroom mirror or just take a moment to think about your goal when you first wake up, you need to make sure it’s front and center in your mind at the start and close of your day. Keeping your eyes on the prize will help you stay focused and driven, day in and day out.
  4. Do it for future you. It may seem kind of silly, but think of the future you when you don’t feel like working towards your goal. Think of, not just reaching your goal, but how that will feel and what it will mean for your life, your family, your employees, and your community. With that in mind, you’ll have an easier time seeing the hard work through.
  5. Celebrate milestones and successes along the way. Don’t just celebrate when you reach the big goal — celebrate all the little victories, too. Taking the time to reflect on the progress you’ve made and enjoy how far you’ve come will help prevent burnout and give you a real sense of accomplishment that you might otherwise lack. Even if you don’t reach your end goal in the time frame set, if you celebrate all the successes along the way, you’ll see how much closer your hard work is getting you to your goal and have the zeal to keep up the hard work.

Are you ready to get started? An old Chinese Proverb puts it this way: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” There’s no time like the present — get to work! Best wishes for a great year ahead. See you in 2018!

Grateful & Looking Forward: A Word From Taylor & Carter

Taylor & Carter here. We’ve had several conversations this year about all the things that have come our way and how grateful we are for the opportunities we’ve been given to work with the greatest clients in the world and the best employees a company could ever hope to have, and for the relationships that have been formed or solidified this year. Without a doubt, it has been another great year, personally, and in our business. Looking back, here are some of the ways our company has changed, shifted, and come into its own this year, and what we look forward to going into 2017.

The Vision Summit & Client Tour

One of the things we are most grateful for this year is the people around us who have continually pushed us to get better, be better, and get ready for the next chapter. Early in 2016, we received some very wise encouragement to really look at our business from the inside-out, and started by closing down our business for two and a half days. During this time, we gathered the Spark Marketer staff off-site, in order to hone in on what is most important to us, and define our Core Values, Purpose, and Mission. We called it our “Vision Summit,” and it was amazing what came out of those sessions! We are now very clear and intentional about our company’s Core Values, and what our Purpose is, which is “To build a better world by strengthening Blue Collar Businesses.” If you haven’t done this for your business, I would highly recommend doing it in 2017.

Taylor-Hill-And-Avery-Soderman

Taylor Hills & Avery Soderman of Wells & Sons

Taking a client tour up the East Coast and through the Heartland this summer was also an eye opener, giving us a glimpse into the challenges that many of our clients face. While a lot of you are in the same industries, it doesn’t mean you all have the same marketing challenges. It was incredibly insightful to be able to spend some time with our clients, one-on-one, and to hear their unique challenges. This tour has made our commitment and resolve to staying in front of any changes in online marketing that much stronger, in order to help our clients at the highest level possible.

What Drives Us Forward

Developing our Core Values, Vision, and Purpose, together with our nationwide “Tour of Clients,” have been the two driving forces behind our plans as we gear up for the future. Getting clearer on who our customers really are, as well as who and what we want to be for them, has been the most important thing we have done to date. It has impacted the focus of the podcast, Guys In Trucks, as well as the future products we would like to create to help blue collar businesses better serve their customers.

It’s Personal

But there is something every business owner knows, even if he won’t admit it: Your business cannot grow or change unless you do. This year, Carter and I knew we had some work to do personally in order to lead Spark Marketer and Guys In Trucks into the future. We attended quite a few conferences, seminars, and groups this year to help us become better leaders, planners, and doers , and to get us to the next level. We also hired several coaches to help us stay on track, because we know we can wander around a bit if we’re not careful.

So what exactly are we doing? It’s really simple: We are preparing ourselves for what is next. Working towards the future with great intent. Getting as many ducks in a row as we possibly can, knowing that ducks don’t walk straight. Why? Because we’re going big! That’s right. We have decided to dream big and go after it, just like we talk about on Guys In Trucks. We now have a mission and a purpose that are clear – and they are big. They are much bigger than just the two of us, in fact. And they are powered 100% out of a desire to impact the world, not just grow our personal net worth.

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Taylor Hill & Carter Harkins

A Big Purpose Requires A Strong Focus

In fact, the decision to pursue our stated purpose means that there will have to be more changes very soon. In order to better align and focus our ongoing projects and platforms with this purpose, we will be changing the name of our podcast to The Blue Collar Proud Show early in the first quarter of 2017. We are writing a book by the same name (just drop the word “show”), and who knows what other opportunities might emerge. If it helps us fulfill our purpose, then we are open and willing to consider it.

One Life

We’ve all got one life to lead, and we decided we want to live ours doing what we love: Serving others. We can’t think of a group of people that deserve that service any more than blue collar business owners. So, we are dreaming big and we want to do big things for this industry. We love you guys and believe it’s time to start a movement. We are Blue Collar Proud and hope you are too!
Happy New Year!

-Taylor & Carter