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Ok, so I’m an optimistic kind of gal – I like to put a positive spin on things, as those of you who know me can attest.

But in these early days of the New Year, in this moment of new beginnings, fresh ideas, seed planting, possibility and potential…

I would like to offer some advice on what NOT to plant in this fertile soil, how NOT to make yourself unnecessarily crazy, and what unhelpful patterns you can practice LETTING GO OF in 2016.

Because sometimes you just need to say no more.

Sure, you can set powerful intentions and actionable goals, but if you are bogged down in the same old patterns and habits that have slowed you down for years, you may never achieve what you desire.

And that’s not what we’re going for here!

So here are four things NOT to do this year in your business (and of course some ideas of what you might do instead).

1.  Hiding From the People You Want to Serve
This means failing to put yourself and your work out there for fear of rejection or failure, because you don’t want to seem pushy or “salesy,” or because you think that people will just flow to you magically even if they don’t know what you’re doing.

What needs to shift inside of you to make you comfortable, no, thrilled, to put your work out into the world? To trust that there are people who need what you offer, and that you are actually doing them a dis-service by not telling them about it? What will it take? Courage? Self-Compassion? Trust?

The first step is simply normalizing it. You are totally normal if you have fears about marketing and putting yourself out there. (No one I like wants to be a pushy, salesy, jerk!) So what’s going to shift the pattern? Check out Overcoming Marketing Dread for more on this.

2.  Being Vague and Fuzzy
Perhaps you are trying putting yourself out there, but you’re getting stuck because you don’t know how to speak clearly about your work. Your work that you know is powerful and impactful.

Or perhaps you aren’t putting yourself out there because your message is so fuzzy you can’t quite get it out of your mouth.

The fuzzy message actually stems from a fuzzy sense of your niche (what you’re doing, who you’re doing it for, and how you are uniquely doing it).

Here’s the problem. A confused mind always says no. That’s a common marketing phrase we hear about the people on the receiving end of our fuzziness. If they don’t know what you do and who it’s for, they’re probably not going to buy what you’re offering.

Not only that, you are wasting yours and other people’s precious time by not being clear.

Let’s get clear and to the point this year and make life easier for everyone! (This is what I focus on a lot in my coaching).

3.  Burning Out Attempting to Serve Everyone
Intimately related to not have a clear niche is trying to serve everyone. The marketing problem with this is outlined in #2 (people can’t clearly understand what you do and who you do it for if you do everything for everyone – you need something to be known for).

But the other part of trying to serve everyone is the whole running-around-like-a-chicken-with-your-head-cut-off thing.

I’m personally done trying to do everything. One of my guiding business growth questions is what do I do best, and how can I deliver that most efficiently and simply?

We are a society addicted to productivity and doing it all. But the reality is that You Can’t Do it All.

What is your one top priority this year? What can you ditch, downsize or delegate? What deep-seated patterns do you need to shake to really believe that it’s OK not to do everything? To believe you’re truly enough?

4.  All Plan and No Play
Of course I am all about planning.

But as with everything, there is a balance – an ebb and a flow. If you get stuck in planning and vision mode and don’t balance that with revenue-producing activities (like putting yourself out there and marketing clearly), you’re not going to get very far.

If we don’t make (sometimes imperfect) decisions and drum up the courage to act, our businesses don’t move forward.

So watch yourself this year that you don’t use back-end administrative work, the constant creating of new programs you don’t yet have capacity to run, or taking ever more courses to perfect your craft, as an excuse for not getting out there and taking business-building action.

Do you have a big dream of creating something but it’s not quite ready yet? What’s the beta version of that program you can run this year? What’s the minimum amount you can do to simply get started?

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just takes some courage to do it anyways.

Old Habits Die Hard
Trust me, I understand that shifting old patterns and habits is hard work. It goes beyond reading a personal growth book or taking a spiritual workshop, beyond a few coaching sessions, and beyond hoping, intending or praying (and by the way, I’m all about ALL that stuff).

Continuously noticing and slowly shifting our underlying patterns is the real, nitty-gritty work of transformation, and we must tend to it constantly if we are to make changes in our lives.

But it’s worth it.

Here’s to a transformative 2016.

What will you transform this year?