Year-end pressure. You work hard all year as a business owner, but as December 31 looms larger, you might be asking yourself…Did I hit my goals? Are my year-end numbers where I want them to be? And what does it mean for me if the answer to both those questions is “no?”If your identity and self-worth are wrapped up in your results and numbers, it often leads to an unhealthy pressure cooker that can result either in pride or crushing shame.
Neither response helps move your business forward.
Instead, the healthiest way to approach year-end pressure is to detox it out and reframe your mindset.
Here are 5 tips to do just that:
1. Root Your Identity in Christ
As the year comes to an end, don’t let your business’s performance define you. For example.. sales meet expectations = you feel on top of the world. If they don’t, you feel like a failure. But neither is true. As a child of God, your identity and self-worth is from Jesus alone.
When you root your value in worldly measures like money, status, or applause, you build your identity on shaky ground. Self-worth rooted in anything other than Christ crumbles at the slightest tremor. Attach your identity to Him instead. He says you are loved, chosen, forgiven, and sanctified by Him – no matter your circumstances.
Staying rooted in Christ ensures no year-end high or low can shake your core identity. Evaluate what your mind goes to when you feel pride or shame. Do you turn to God or to your works? Ask Him to align your heart with truth. He loves and delights in you, not because of what you achieved, but because of who He made you to be.
2. Celebrate Your Wins
It’s easy to get so focused on the results you want that you forget to celebrate the progress you’ve made. Goals can feel like a moving target, especially when you don’t quite hit the mark. So instead of being energized, discouragement nips at your heels.
Set aside 10-15 minutes to write down your wins from this year, no matter how small they may seem. Here are a few questions to guide that reflection time:
- What is at least one way you grew this year…personally? as a business owner? in your relationship with God?
- What is something new you did in your business this year?
- How is your business different now than it was a year ago?
Every bit of progress is worth celebrating because it gets you one step closer to your larger vision. Progress compounds over time. Each win, while not the end goal, is evidence that you’re heading in the right direction.
3. Don’t let a date be a dictator
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of hitting goals and milestones by specific dates. Reaching a revenue target by year-end or getting a certain number of clients signed up before December 31st can turn into an anxious race against the clock. However, connecting your success too tightly to dates like December 31st creates unnecessary stress.
When it comes to reaching business goals, the point of a deadline isn’t to reach it or else… (It’s not a success or failure thing.) The reason you set a deadline is to create a target to work toward and to focus your efforts. Not drive a nail into your business coffin if you don’t reach it. God isn’t mad or disappointed with you if those goals aren’t reached by a date you set. He’s more interested in you taking obedient steps toward that goal.
It’s why you want to….
4. Focus on Controllable Actions Instead
Pressure results from trying to control things that are out of your hands. You can’t force people to buy from you or control how quickly your business grows. There are outside factors you simply can’t change. (For example, the Lord might slow your growth to spiritually grow you so you are better prepared for your next level. He’s more interested in that than your business’s bottom line.)
Shift your focus to the daily actions and behaviors you can take that move your business forward. These are within your control.
Ask yourself – what can I do today to grow my business? Here are some examples:
- Reach out to 5 potential new clients
- Create one new piece of content
- Improve one product listing
- Follow up with past customers
- Brainstorm innovations and new offerings
When you focus on those actions, notice what happens to the year-end pressure.
5. Review past decisions and focus on the year ahead.
Your year end results reflect the actions and decisions you made months and months ago. When you aren’t hitting your targets, it can help you identify where you need to course correct going forward.
Take some time to prayerfully analyze what worked well this year, and what didn’t go as planned. Ask God to help you…
- Look at your wins and losses objectively.
- Evaluate the choices led to your biggest successes.
- Examine decisions that negatively impacted your goals and revenue.
December 31 does not have to equal year-end pressure and stress. The key is to keep re-centering your identity in Christ and focus on the growth you did achieve, no matter how small. Celebrate wins, keep taking purposeful actions, learn from the past year, and prayerfully plan with God for the future. With an intentional mindset and reliance on His strength, you’ll build exactly the business He’s called you to.