Here we are, staring down the barrel of a new year. Fresh and shiny and unspoiled like the newfallen snow.

I find it really helpful to focus on the opportunity, to use this as a chance to be optimistic. If that leads you toward making resolutions or reviewing your plan, wonderful!

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YOU HAVE THE BIG CHANGE you’re trying to take your organization through. You’ve created the wonderful slides which explain why it’s necessary, how the org chart is changing, and even why life will be so wonderful after the change.

And then having all the employees actually change what they’re doing … it slows to a crawl. You even see instances of reverting back to the old patterns.

What the heck is going on?

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I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but for me this is a great time to avoid doing hard work. It’s cold. I just got back from vacation. Everybody’s out of the office.

Don’t get me wrong – we all need to have some relaxation and downtime.

But we know that most of these reasons are bogus excuses.

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RECENTLY I HAD the opportunity to participate in a discussion about the newly emerging specialty of investing – called Impact Investing.

The idea is basically that you, as an investor, can decide to put your money where it will advance the causes that you’re most passionate about. It’s obviously an outgrowth of specialized investment funds which focused on avoiding fossil fuels, or promoting societal contribution, or whatever. That’s been going on for decades.

But Impact Investing is newer and more sophisticated. It’s especially interesting for mission-driven companies, because it addresses questions like:

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BUSINESS OWNERS ARE GETTING OLDER, as is everybody. But as you near retirement age – whatever that’s going to look like – you’re going to be faced with the Big Question.

What does your exit mean to the future of the business?

Most owners would like to see the company survive, and even thrive. After all, you’ve put your heart and soul and passion into it for years, even decades.

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NO DOUBT YOU SPENT many years in this classroom situation. Sit up. Pay attention. Take notes. Be quiet.

And there will be a test in a few weeks.

I’m not a fan of this model for adult learners like you and me. Why? Because it ignores the fact that the best learning is active collaboration.

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PART OF THE REASON someone starts a business is because they want to be free of corporate work.

That’s wonderful, but then you find that you’re even MORE constrained by what it means to run a company. And, of course, you’re the last one to get paid.

Here’s the funny thing: the freedom is all in your own mind. How so?

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SOME DAYS YOU WONDER if it’s even worth getting out of bed.

Yes, frustration happens. Customer problems. Employee problems. Inventory screwups. The bank called. That lovely notice from the IRS.

This kind of stuff can send you into a serious tailspin. For weeks.

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WE’D LIKE TO THINK that planning takes away all the risk. But as soon as I say that, you know it’s not true.

The world is changing. People are unpredictable. And … stuff happens.

So, while planning is useful and necessary, it doesn’t remove all the risk. So why bother?

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WHEN YOU THANK SOMEONE, you’re doing a great service. They feel better, they relate to you more as a wonderful person, and it build the relationship.

That’s fantastic. But gratitude is also something you give to yourself.

How so?

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