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As I get ready for 2019 and reflect on 2018, I realize that I was very intentional on preparing my family, and my life, for our personal off season. I took deliberate steps to ensure that the time that all three of my kids were home would be uninterrupted and free of distractions to take advantage of the small chunk of time we had together. I made a list of three things that I consciously did that I feel contributed to the success of our families off season. And then I took it a step further and thought about how I could use the same three steps to make sure my professional off season is just as successful.

Schedule It

One of the first things that I did was figure out and schedule what dates all three of our kids would be home. I put this in our calendar in big red marker and highlighted it. This time was blocked off. Nothing else was going in this window of time. When people would ask me to do things like attend schedule birthday parties, or go golfing,  or anything else during that time, I could confidently look at my calendar and give them a hard no. This time was blocked off and reserved for family time, and nothing else was going in this space. I was more than happy to schedule outings and work meetings and other things before or after this specific block of time, but I was unwilling to compromise my time with my family for other things. As a successful businessman, I live by my calendar. I keep my calendar handy on my phone at all times and look at it multiple times a day. It helps keep me organized and focused. Anything that is important and needs to be remembered goes in my calendar. So my personal off season went there as well.

Busy business leaders live by their calendars. Whether it is an app on their phone or good ol’ fashioned pen to paper, a calendar keeps meetings, deadlines, goals, and important information organized. Your professional off season needs to go in your calendar. Right now. Go write it in there. If you don’t, there is a chance that something ‘“more important” could get scheduled in that space and your off season could be pushed back indefinitely. You can tell a lot by a person by looking at their calendar. Things that are important to you going to your calendar. Your off season needs to be there too.

Warn People

Another thing that I did, almost subconsciously, was warn people about my personal off season. I let the people in my inner circles know that this specific time was going to be spent with the four people I love the most in the world. I let them know that if I didn’t respond to their texts right away, or was a little off the grid, that it was nothing personal and they had nothing to worry about. I was just being present with my family. I learned that by warning people ahead of time that I was going to be unavailable for other activities, that I got a lot fewer interruptions. It also helped to quiet that nagging voice in my head that tempted me to reply to work-emails or return non-urgent phone calls during this time.  It even sparked conversations with friends and acquaintances about the benefits of an off season.

I heard from multiple people over the holidays that printed out the free off season planning page, and they were all impressed at how a single resource could help them take the first step towards a successful off season.  I actually heard from someone over the holiday break that they implemented an off season into their life after listening to our off season audio download. They are excited for 2019 and report that it has changed the trajectory of their life. That is a big deal!

One of the biggest distractions from growth and development during your professional off season is your inner circle. You love these people, care about these people want to spend time with these people. These are your golfing buddies, your family, your neighbors. These people may see your professional off season as a “break’” and unintentionally interfere on this important time. Before you start your off season, tell the people around you. Explain to them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it so that they can give you the creative space you need without interruptions. Warn people ahead of time that you may not answer texts as fast as you normally do, that you may be “off the grid” for a short period of time, but that you’re fine. More than fine, actually. You’re devoting your time and energy on things that will get you to the next level.

Practice Saying No

Believe it or not, even though my off season was scheduled in big bold letters in my calendar and I told people about it, I still got invitations for outside activities during this time. However,  over the years I’ve learned that saying yes to something means saying no to something else.  If I were to say yes to these outside invitations, I would be saying no to fishing trips with my kids, late-night chats by the pool, and other precious memories that I wasn’t willing to give up. So I said no. And I said it often. More often than not, people completely understood my reasoning for my personal off season and respected my boundaries. I saw the power of no reflected in my kids as well. There are a hundred of other things that they could be doing during this window of time when they are not in school, but it made my heart happy to see that they felt confident saying no to those things as well. And not because we were bugging them as their parents, but because we’ve instilled in them the importance of family time and creating memories together.

People understand personal off seasons. They get that you want to step away from work and spend time with your family. However, sometimes they don’t understand a professional off season. They don’t get why you would step away from work, to work on work.  People who don’t intentionally schedule off seasons into their lives typically see any time away from work as a vacation. Help them to understand the benefits of a powerful offseason, but continue to say no. The time you have to focus on your business, to analyze and plan and brainstorm and create and focus on your vision is very limited, and saying no to outside interruptions will help you maximize this time.

My personal off season with my wife and kids meant the world to me we are sad to see them go. But I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work after this priceless family time. As I sit at my computer to jot down my thoughts, I am excited to get back to work. I’m excited to work on the one thing that I am so passionate about: motivating and inspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs to get to the next level.

I sincerely hope that your holiday season and personal off season has left you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on 2019. One of my favorite Bible verses talks about how there is a time for everything; a season for building and a season for tearing down. Your season for building up great things and breaking down bad habits is now. I’ve also put together a few off season resources to help you plan a professional off season that will make you feel the same way.

Cheers to more family time, productive off season, and growth and development in 2019 like we’ve never seen before!

A productive and powerful off season will involve you addressing things that are challenging, that require you to do some serious self-reflecting, identify your weaknesses and inspire you to take risks. But there’s one question you need to be asking yourself to ensure that your off season is taking you in the direction you want to go.

“Will this advance me to the next level?”

If done correctly, your off season will help you strengthen your foundation and identify weaknesses that could be holding you back from success. If, before you made a change or decision regarding your next steps in business, you asked yourself “will this advance me to the next level?” you’d be surprised at how many things you think you need to be doing that aren’t actively pushing you towards the next level. There are three  ways to ensure your off season stays on track and that your focus is consistently on things that will launch you to the next level:

The 1 Page Planning Sheet

This easy to use, single page resource is designed with your off season in mind. The simple yet dynamic layout allows you to write down an visualize your goals, your game plan and the gaps in your life that you will need to eliminate in order to achieve your goals. This page can be tucked away in your planner or posted to your refrigerator, either way, it keeps your mind on the things that will get you to the next level.

Studies show that there is power in writing things down. Writing down your goals and your action steps makes them more tangible and therefore makes you more inclined to work towards them. If you find yourself writing things down on napkins or on the back of cereal boxes, you may want to level up to a more professional and dynamic resource that will allow you to track your progress and hold you accountable. Dreams are just dreams until you write them down, then they become goals.

The Off Season Audio Download

This resource offers insightful and relatable action steps to help push you forward to the next level. This audio download can be played in the car, while you’re working out, or as you make dinner for your family. It takes an in-depth look at the reason an off season is so important, a step by step guide to planning your off season, and the results you can expect from your off season if done correctly. The easy-to-listen-to guide will get you excited for what you can accomplish in your off season, and will inspire you to keep asking yourself “will this advance me to the next level?”

If the answer is no, you’ll learn practical yet powerful ways to let go of the things that aren’t contributing to your success.

The Off Season Training Course

For those serious about maximizing their off season results, the full Off Season Training Course is your next right step. This comprehensive training course comes with a detailed workbook, 24/7 access to exclusive off season videos, a detox plan for your business and so much more. Equipped with this course along with the other two resources mentioned above, you are destined for an off season packed with purpose and power!

Have you planned your off season for this year yet? Have you blocked out a window of time specifically for working on your business, your mental and physical health, and your relationships? If not, you are doing your business a disservice. Decide today to implement an off season into your business plan and when you ask yourself “will this advance me to the next level?” the answer will be 100% yes!

They say that when the haters start popping up out of the darkness, you know you are on the right track. But the assumptions and opinions of others can still create doubt and uncertainty in even the most confident business leaders. Here are 4 things they’ll probably say and a few ways to handle it.

You’re Tired

An off season is not a result of being overworked and depleted. It is actually a proactive step to make sure you don’t get that way. Of course, there is no shame in being tired; it happens to the most successful and hardworking industry leaders. But an off season is not a sign that you can’t keep up or that you’re unfit for the amount of work it takes to be successful.

People often deflect their own insecurities onto others, so when the haters assume that your off season means you easily get burnt out, it could be a reflection of their own fear of not being able to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of business.  

You’re Overwhelmed

An off season is not a result of being overwhelmed or in over your head. It does not mean you are incapable of the job you have set out to do, or that you bit off more than you can chew. An off season is an intentional time to look at where you’ve been and where you are going. It gives you time to plan, reorganize, re-work and rethink how you are running your business so you can work smarter, not harder. An off season allows you to let go of the things that aren’t working and strengthen the things that can send your business to the next level.

The people close to you might give you a hard time for taking an off season and assume it is because you’re overwhelmed and overworked. If this happens, remind them, and yourself, that your off season is to prevent professional fatigue. It’s a planning session, brainstorming session, a way to realign your business so that you can stay in control and focused on what you need to do next.

The haters who tell you an off season must be a sign that you’re overwhelmed may be seeing your momentum and your progress as a threat. They may be hoping that this is a sign that you aren’t doing as well as you look. They’re wrong.

You’re Stuck

An off season is not a result of being stuck, confused or lost. It is not throwing your hands up and giving up when things are hard. Your off season is a way to get a fresh look at what you’ve built and see new pathways that will launch you to the next level. Your off season is your time to look at your business and your relationships in a new light that allows you to keep moving forward.

A lot of the time, your haters won’t look like haters at all. They will be well-meaning family members who don’t understand your passion or your dreams and feel intimidated or uncomfortable with your courage to step out of the box. Don’t let their fears become your fears. You’re taking an off season because you’re not okay with being stuck in a rut or settling for mediocre. Your off season is what separates your future from theirs.

You’re Failing

Your off season does not mean you’re failing. It does not mean you’re not good at this, that it’s too much or too hard. You deciding to take an off season gives you time to look at the times when you didn’t make the right decisions, to look at the setbacks and mistakes that you’ve learned along the way, and learn from them. You have failed before and you will 100% fail again. But you get back up and you keep going, which is why you are next level bound.

Your success is a threat to other people. If it wasn’t, they’d be cheering you on instead of finding ways to knock at your confidence. They may not say it, and they may not even know it, but your failure would help them feel better about their own. So they assume, or hope, that you taking an off season means you’re down for the count. That this big dream that makes them feel insecure and small is a no-go. Prove them wrong.

There are a million things small minds will say to discredit or discourage you from doing big things. And it can be hard not to take what they have to say as truth, especially if they are close to you. But when you know the reason and purpose for your off season, you can walk into this strategy session with confidence. You will know it doesn’t mean you’re tired, overwhelmed, stuck or failing. It means you are making a smart business decision that is going to set you apart from the rest.

Hater’s gonna hate. It means you’re doing something right.

Your off season is a time to reflect and recharge. It doesn’t mean you put a halt on all of your responsibilities or go on vacation. Your off season is intentional and deliberate. It is a part of your game plan, not a detour from it. Here are 10 ways an off season will significantly improve your performance when you’re back in.

Honest Assessment Of You And Your Business

A step back from the everyday grind of your business allows you to do some serious self-reflection. An off season enables you to get out of your own way and see your business and your role within the company in a new light. This fresh perspective can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of both the company and your leadership style and serve as a starting point for improvement.

Planned Time To Focus On Strategic Growth

An off season allows you to analyze where you started, where you are, and where you want to go. This time gives you the opportunity to focus on how you can grow as a leader and how your company can get to the next level. As you hone in on building your business, make sure you’re investing in each of the four primary growth strategies:

  • Diversification
  • Product Development
  • Market Development
  • Market Penetration

When you have a handle on these four growth strategies, you’ll be on your way towards future growth.

Get Bigger, Faster, Stronger

An off season allows you to get stronger in other aspects of your life that will ultimately improve your performance in business. Whether you use this time to learn a new skill, focus on your physical health, develop your relationships, or get more connected with your faith, this intentional time of rest and reflection allows you to pour into areas of your life that may have been neglected in the hustle and bustle of growing your business. Athletes don’t sit around and eat bonbons on their off season; they find different ways to build the muscles they need to be an impact player during the regular season. You need to do the same.

Action Plan Creation

Sometimes a new action plan is all you need to feel motivated and excited to move forward in your professional life. Creating a revised action plan will refocus your attention on your goals and give you practical steps to achieve them. If you’ve been working off of the same action plan for a while, your off season is a great time to revisit it and make sure it’s the best course of action for where you are at this moment.

Business Plan Refresh

When was the last time you looked at your business plan? For many business owners and entrepreneurs, it was the day they wrote it. Go back and find that business plan and see if it aligns with your core values and practices now. You’ve learned a lot since you wrote it, and it may need an upgrade. An off season is the perfect time to give your business plan a facelift and make it relevant to the current trajectory of your business.

Strategy To Boost Sales

Once your business plan has been refreshed, you can start to critically think about a strategy that will help improve sales. This could mean getting honest feedback from past clients, asking for referrals, revamping your social media, holding a special sale or promotion, or consider adjusting your prices. Your off season gives you the chance to crunch the numbers and see where you could make changes to boost sales.

Improved Vision and Culture

What does it feel like to work for your company? Are people excited to come to work? Are YOU excited to go to work? Are people there for a paycheck or because they believe in the vision of the company? What can you do to boost office morale, build professional relationships and create a team of people who feel valued and appreciated? Use your off season as a time to improve the culture of your company and make sure everything you are doing aligns with the vision of your company.

Analyze And Implement New Marketing Strategy

Is your marketing plan the best it could be? Have you made any changes or tried anything new recently to reach your target audience? If not, now is a great time to look carefully at your marketing strategy and make adjustments.

Determine New Habits And Rituals

Think of your off season as a fresh start right in the middle of the game. It’s a time to develop new habits and rituals that will make you a better leader. You don’t have to wait until January 1st to make a commitment to self improvement. Use your off season to work towards quitting a habit that is holding you back or starting one that will help you feel better, look better and be better. During your off season you could:

  • Start exercising every day
  • Quit smoking
  • Start going to church again
  • Stop checking your phone during dinner
  • Work on being on time/early
  • Stop interrupting people
  • Be more patient
  • Start a journal

There is no better time to develop a new habit or rituals than during a time made specifically for self-reflection and self-improvement.

Execute A Plan Of Attack

Your off season is your time to get as excited and pumped up about your business you were the day you created it. Use all of the things you’ve learned in your analysis of your business to create a new plan of attack to launch your business to the next level. When you come back to work after your off season period, you will have a fresh perspective and new tools and strategies to implement to make your business the best it’s ever been.

An off season is not a sign of weakness. It’s not time off because it’s too much or you’re overwhelmed or you can’t handle it. It is a strategic part of running a business that results in growth, progress and productivity.

So when is your off season?

 

Have you ever noticed the cadence with which Americans great each other and connect? It is remarkable that we all have this rigid habit of asking every new person we meet the same questions in the same order: “What is your name?” quickly followed by, “Where are you from?” and ultimately heading toward the only real question that intrigues us, “What do you do?” We value and esteem people in our country by their occupation. That is why America is such a work-centered culture—all we do is work. In fact, many professionals brag about how many vacation days and sick days they haven’t used as if it is a badge of honor. As parents we are guilty of perpetuating the same culture and teaching our children the value of this same work-first culture. We teach our kids to get good grades, a degree and a good job so they can work hard for the rest of their lives and then die.

That is what it is all about! I am not against work because we must work hard but I am also very interested in living life. The reason why we should work hard is to create an amazing lifestyle that we can eventually enjoy. What I am against is the degree to which work is prioritized in our nation. What I am preaching is working smart as opposed to just constantly working hard. The reason you need to take an off-season break or your own personal sabbatical is so you won’t get burnt out on work and it won’t subsequently suffer. If you don’t your personal confidence is at stake, your legacy is at stake and your lifestyle is at stake. We don’t need to work any harder as a nation; we need to work smarter. So our off-season concept is a chance for you to regroup and come back stronger than ever. An off-season allows you to work on your life. Imagine if every year because of your successful off-seasons, you improve your overall life by 10%? Suppose you did this five years in a row? An off-season is not a vacation. It is the perfect sabbatical for your life to make sure you stay in control, become the true master of your fate and life your life by design and not from crisis to crisis.


Start planning your off season with the Entrepreneurs Planning Guide & CD

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