Fresh Start – Update your Personal Business Plan


Well, here we are at the end of the year! To me this year went by in a blink. Someone once told me that parenting is like that, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I’m not sure who said it originally, but it has been quoted by many people, because it is sooo true!

I don’t know about you, but I need a fresh start! You can really call “Mulligan” at any time during the year, but I prefer doing it at the end of the year, right on the heels of the gratitude holiday, Thanksgiving.

Last year I wrote an article that detailed our families step-by-step process for goal setting – You can read it here, and check out the resource links at the bottom. Personal Business Planning is something we do each year, and then review monthly/weekly. I like the sailing analogy… when you’re charting a path to your goals, conditions can change, opportunities can open up and sometimes you can get blown off course. These regular check-ins will help you make adjustments to keep you on track to reach your goal or maybe even realize that your goal has changed.

This year I want to focus on writing my personal mission statement, creating my mantra and making a commitment. If you’re interested in that too, then please follow along.

Step 1 – Read last year’s post and do the exercises. In Summary: Celebrate all your successes big and small! Review things that didn’t go as planned purely to identify patterns or habits that might need some focus. Forgive yourself for any goals that weren’t reached and instead evaluate what it is you want and re-commit. Make sure all goal setting is SMART.

Step 2 – Use a planning tool to keep you on track. I personally like Google Calendar, Trello and my paper planner. Find a system that works for you, that you can easily stick with. But you’ll need somewhere to write down all of step 3 that you can reference often.

Step 3 – Now that you have done the hard work, finish strong by really crystalizing your vision with a personal branding or mission statement, an effective mantra and making a commitment to stick with it.

As people working in this industry, we are also effectively our own business. Businesses have vision statements to get clear on where/why/how they are going. They state for all to see what is important to the business at its core. This is the guiding light for everything else.

Your personal vision statement will answer the question, “Where do I see myself in (1, 5, 10, 25) years?” I like to go ahead and really let my imagination go wild, I fill in all the details about career, family, health, etc… You can do this too if it serves you, just close your eyes and daydream about a specific time in the future. Keep it positive and let yourself have everything you’ve ever dreamed of. See it how your life will be at its best. OR you can get analytical about it and make a list. Once I even did an artsy collage and spent two days flipping through magazines to find just the right image. You do you…it’s your vision.

Make sure you consider your *Core Values – pick 3-5 that are at the heart of you to focus on for this exercise. Here are some to consider:


Start writing. This is not a stone tablet, you can alter it at any time. It can be a short ‘elevator pitch’ which is my personal preference or a page long manifesto. For obvious reasons, I’m keeping the examples brief:

My vision is to be a storyteller known for being a great listener and observer.

My vision is to be a bestselling author whose book series about the gaping divide between the upper and lower class is made into a trilogy of feature films because they get to the basic humanity of all people making the difficult issues in the world accessible and solvable.

I will live a balanced life with plenty of time to enjoy my family, create art and spend time in nature; plenty of money to travel, donate to charity, be comfortable in my old age; plenty of success so that I can feel fulfilled, heard and leave the world a bit better than I found it.

Now that you have vision, you need to define what that means today and how you’ll live your life to achieve that vision. This is you, Captain, charting the path your ship will take. Here you can ask yourself, “What steps will I take?”; “What is unique about me?”; “What skills can I utilize?”; “Who will benefit from my actions?”; “What am I offering the world?”; “Who is your audience?” and “How will I do it?”

Usually a mission statement is phrased in a particular way. Do not feel encumbered by this but use it if it helps you. Fill in the blanks:

I am (Your Name) a(n) (Adjectives that describe you OR Values that you hold/display) (how you identify yourself like ‘writer’ ‘mother’ or simply ‘person’). My mission is (what you are going to do) by (how you are going to do it). (The impact this will have on yourself, your intended audience or the world).

Example: I’m Suzie Smith a strong and creative female writer with an open mind. My mission is to observe the world around me with a laser focus on inequality and uncover personal stories to inspire compelling fiction by writing every day. My passion will infect everyone I meet and soon I will have an army of allies to help spread change and close the gap between lower and upper class.

Your mission doesn’t have to be altruistic. Maybe you just want to be filthy rich?

I’m Suzie Smith a take no prisoners writer who believes in hard work and the power of the pen. My mission is to capitalize on the groundswell of support for do gooders, and write books to support that narrative making myself wealthy and rich beyond what anyone could ever spend – a gazillionaire. My audience will love me and remember me always as a pioneer and a fantastic kisser.

Famous Mission Statements:

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou

I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering. – Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, a mantra. This is a little phrase or touchstone you can go to when you find those negative thoughts creeping in or those bad habits taking you off the yellow brick road or when you just have a bugger of a day.

This should be something short, sweet and repeatable. Positivity is the key, unless the Jack Handy style mantra makes you laugh…I mean, whatever works.

I really like this article from I mean, it’s Oprah so it’s probably pretty good: So, you can just follow the instructions there.

For me, I change mine from time to time. Like, when my focus was on getting a strong body it was, “I love running.” Usually thought or said aloud right after I had the thought, “Ugh, I don’t want to run today.” These declarative statements can really have an impact. They’re great for replacing negative self-talk.

Like, just about every time I get an audition my first thought is, “Yay, it’s for me.” That’s because my kids get 10x as many auditions as I do. Then after I read the whole breakdown, I almost always think, “They’re not going to cast me.” Now my mantra is, “I’m a talented actress who is going to book that job.” I’ll just keep telling myself this, until that negative thought ceases to plague me.

I find that making a commitment to yourself or an accountability partner can have a very lasting effect. So, put it in your calendar, write it in your journal or do whatever you do but make a pact that you’re going to stick with it. Make sure it is reasonable and possible.

Here’s mine: My commitment is that each month & week I will review/update my goals and action items to make sure I’m on track, run 3 miles 3x a week, spend 10 minutes writing with pen on paper every day and learn a new scene or monologue each week.

If you want to share your vision, mission statement or make a public commitment then post it on social and tag @MsInTheBiz and me!