It’s Monday 4th January, my first working day of 2016. As I look up from my laptop, I see a Christmas tree that needs to be taken down and rain bouncing off the pavement outside. It’s a typical wet, grey January day.  I’m feeling tired after the disruption to my normal routine caused by long lie-ins and late nights enjoying the festive season, and the usual over-indulgences.

I could be forgiven for being a little disappointed that the holidays are officially over, couldn’t I? And am I?

As every new day dawns we are faced with choices, and at this time of year we tend to spend more than average amounts of time reflecting and weighing up our options. Which of these did you choose this morning?

A. Hide under the duvet…… for just one more day
B. Take on the world because it’s a new week of a new year!
C. Slowly ease yourself back into things

Like most of us, I have mixed feelings that lie somewhere between wishing I was still in bed with nothing much on my to-do list for the day, and being glad to get back into some sort of routine. However, as I lay in bed this morning telling myself that soon I’d have to sit up, swing my legs round, plant two feet firmly on the ground and stand up, I had another feeling – a little bit of excitement!

This may not last to the end of 2016 but right now I’m thinking about the world of possibilities 2016 may have in store for me, and one good thing about January is that we haven’t got far enough into the year for disillusionment to set in!  One of my goals of course, is not to let it.

I heard the old adage ‘Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail’ ringing in my head.  As a former Business Studies student and now a business owner, I remind myself that I must attempt to draft a brief business plan for 2016, complete with some business goals that will no doubt impact on my personal goals too.  Good advice from many of my associates like ‘don’t just work in your business, work on it’ and ‘own your business, don’t let the business own you’ spring to mind, along with many more wise words of advice and support gained since I embarked on this journey this time two years ago.

Strangely, something else crept into my mind – a business model called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  This is one of the many models and strategy processes I studied at university along with SWOT Analysis, Porters 5 Forces and SOSTAC business planning – models that I never thought I’d use in ‘the real world’ but do, albeit subconsciously at times as I go about my day to day activities.

For those of you who are not familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper, ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’ which considers 5 stages in an individual’s development and growth.  As a marketer, I find myself increasingly interested in human psychology and its impact on us as customers, and indeed sellers.  These 5 stages which Maslow highlights are:

1. Physiological – our need for things such as food, water, shelter, clothing, and sleep
2. Safety – our health, wealth or employment status, property, family and social stability
3. Love/belonging – the quality of our relationships, intimacy and our sense of connection
4. Esteem – our confidence, sense of achievement, respect from others and for others, and our uniqueness as an individual
5. Self-actualisation – our moral code, level of creativity, spontaneity, acceptance of facts and circumstances, and the extent to which we have a sense of purpose and fulfilment in life

For most of us (but sadly not all), these initial stages are fulfilled early in our childhood years as our families provide for our physiological needs, keep us safe and shower us with a sense of love and belonging. However, during our school years and on into our adult lives, we all progress through the latter stages at different rates.  At times in our lives we also feel like we‘ve taken a step backwards in our journey, and indeed we may need to do so in order to learn valuable lessons and start moving forward again.

What stage are you at and what steps are you going to take to move your career and life in the right direction this year?

Whatever you do, keep aiming to move forward towards achieving the greatest sense of self-actualisation that you can.  That’s my plan.  There will be times when things get tough and achieving my goals or a sense of fulfilment will seem far away, but as 2015 and the years before that taught me, there will also be times of great joy, satisfaction, achievement and fulfilment that remain at the forefront of my mind, overshadowing the clouds and dark days.

Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for your continued support – it is greatly appreciated.  I look forward to a cuppa and catch-up with you in 2016.