For me, the end of the year is filled with lots of reflection. I like to pull up the list of resolutions I’ve made for the year and figure out whether I still have time left to accomplish them. Often, I’ll carry items over to the following year — and I’m fine with that because some things take time to accomplish. As I put the finishing touches on my plan for 2020, I already know several resolutions that I’ll be making. Here are five that I believe should be on every entrepreneur’s list.
1) Don’t put up with things that are broken
Recently, it dawned on me that there are so many minor annoyances in my life that I put up with. They range from a broken light switch at home, to enduring an annoying ankle pain, to a difficult relationship at work. I know I’m not alone — when we have a lot on our plates, it feels daunting to deal with little nuisances. There’s that feeling of “I don’t have time to fix that.” It often seems easier to just live with something rather than taking the time to resolve it (especially if it means rocking the boat in the office). I’ve realized that when small issues begin to grate, they have an impact on everyone’s focus and productivity. We should all vow to no longer make those tradeoffs.
2) Do something out of the ordinary
For many years, I really only had one focus (work), and I didn’t feel that I needed any outside inspiration to keep my innovative ideas flowing. But I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to constantly refill your well; otherwise, burnout is inevitable. To help spark joy, it’s important to focus on an area that I broadly think of as spirituality (it’s anything that brings new meaning to your life). An easy way to do that? Aim to do something impulsive at least twice a year. This could mean taking a trip, attending a conference, or picking up a new hobby. Last year, I learned to box and practice yoga. Next year, I am attending a ten-day silent meditation and trying heli-skiing.
3) Read and Write Daily
Creating a habit of reading and writing something each day has served me well. Writing has helped me sort through multiple business ideas, and since I started blogging, I’ve come up with a concept that I’m now pursuing. Writing is a great way to focus, clarify your thoughts, and even unearth pain points. When it comes to looking outward, reading about different industries is one of the easiest ways to examine industry dynamics at a fundamental level. This year I read, The Way to Wealth, Origin of Species, and Six Easy Pieces — respectively, they taught me the principles of wealth creation, the value of exploration and the essentials of modern day physics. In 2020, I plan to dive into The Wealth of Nations and The Eighth Day of Creation. Sometimes it’s tough to make time for these things, but just 15–20 minutes a day of writing and reading can keep your brain energized.
4) Champion a Social Cause
My daughter has been vegan for close to two years. Last month she looked at me and said, “you have no right to get mad at people who don’t believe in climate change, when you aren’t doing the most basic things like going vegan.” That gave me pause. Later, I spoke at Yale School of Management, and a business student asked me, “So do you just care about wealth creation or do you care about any social causes?” That was more like a smack on the head. I got the message that it’s time that I started using my energy to take a stand on issues that are important to me. These days, when the world is divided on so many issues, it feels good to fight for something. Business people need to do this more often, because revenues, profitability, market share and crushing the competition don’t mean much if you’re not serving others and giving back. For the past two months, I’ve stopped eating meat and dairy — and plan to stick with it in the New Year.
5) Focus on Creation not Consumption
I’ve been on a book tour for the last two months. During my talks, I’ve been chatting a lot about the importance of being in creation mode rather than in consumption mode — How many people are stuffing their bellies, binging on Netflix, or filling up their closets and their homes? Creation is a rare commodity and there is less and less of it in the world. I’ve been monitoring how much I create on a daily basis, and I’m proud that this past year has been fruitful — I published a best selling book, built relationships, and worked on a new business project. Next year, I want to double down on leveraging my creativity, but I’m not pressuring myself to start something huge. Creation can take the form of anything — a painting, a new friendship, or a business plan. You don’t have to measure your creation by its size or its impact. Just continue to flex the muscle and it will get stronger and stronger everyday.