Making the Most of the Holiday Season

The holidays are here! So, in this podcast we’ll discuss how to make the very most of the holiday season in terms of planning, relaxing, networking, and strategizing.

David:                   Hello, happy holidays and welcome to the podcast! Today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be discussing how to make the most of the holiday season. We’ve got a nice fire going, we’ve got some chestnuts roasting, a warm cup of holiday cheer. So, I’d say we are all set to get started. Welcome Chris.

Chris:                     Hi David. Thanks for having me. Nice to feel so warm all over, ready for the holidays!

David:                   Nice, isn’t it?

Chris:                     So you are talking about the holidays and you’re also talking about talking business. Don’t our listeners deserve just a little break?

David:                   Yes. And don’t we deserve a little break?

Chris:                     Absolutely.

David:                   Yeah, we probably do, but I think if many of our listeners are like me and perhaps like you as well, we may be thinking business even when we’re taking a break. Even when we’re relaxing, sometimes things are going on in the back of our minds. And I think a lot of us, during the course of the holiday season, we do like to take some time to sort of relax, recuperate a bit, but then as that happens we get a bit of a break in the action, and in a lot of cases that’s when some of our best ideas come to us, isn’t it?

Chris:                     It certainly is. I was writing as you were talking about back of the mind. So much happens back there, especially when we give it a break and when we kind of turn off the front end activity, doesn’t it?

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David:                   Yeah, and that's why I really love this time of year because I think it's a great combination of that. Of course you're getting toward the end of one year, so you're able to think back in terms of what worked well and what didn't work as well. You're able to think forward in terms of what do I want to have happen next year and work toward that. You maybe get a little bit of time off, hopefully you do.  Now of course this year, the holidays are falling right in the middle of a week, so it's a Wednesday, and so that sort of breaks things up. If you're able to take the weekend before and you're able to take the weekend after and you get a break during the week, it does provide some opportunity to just sort of relax a bit, think about stuff and figure out where we're going next.

Chris:                     And I think it's just a really important point to just say to your listeners: You know what? It's okay to relax. It's okay to take some time off and let that behind the scenes brain of yours work and come up with some new ideas. Give yourself permission to let yourself go a little bit for the holidays, don't you think?

David:                   Yes. Not only is it okay, I would argue that it's necessary because if you don't do that, then you never really get to that point of rest where your brain can come up with things that it's sort of free-styling in a way. When you're focused too much on work all the time, you're just putting out fires or you're thinking about what needs to come next, then you end up getting stuck. And so, it's nice just to be able to clear your head a little bit, enjoy yourself, relax, and allow some new ideas and new thoughts to pop into your head.

Chris:                     So when you think about it, what do you think the best mix of relaxation versus thinking, planning and strategizing should be?

David:                   Well, I imagine it's going to be different for everyone. Some people already relax more than others and some people tend not to relax more than others. So depending on where you are on that spectrum, that's going to impact it. But if you are the type of business owner or salesperson or business professional who is constantly engaged, who doesn't take the time to just sort of throttle back for a little while and allow some time to pass and clear out your head, then this is really a great opportunity to do that. So if you're not doing it, I would encourage you to do so. If you are the type of person who takes regular breaks and mental hiatuses so that you can allow the thoughts to come to you, then great, you're already doing it; but when we look at that mix of sort of relaxation, creative thinking, planning, strategizing, perhaps goal setting this time of year.  It's just a nice time to be able to take a little bit of time and do that.  As far as percentages are concerned, I think that's going to vary, but in a lot of cases you'll know. If you're feeling burned out, if you feel like you just really haven't had an opportunity to chill out, then maybe you need to take a little more time this year than you've taken in the past. If you have a fairly balanced existence as far as that's concerned, then maybe it's not as much of an issue and you can think about some things in terms of what you'd like to have happen in the coming year and use the holiday season to be able to start processing those thoughts.

Chris:                     I think about the person that you mentioned earlier that's going a hundred miles an hour. They're putting out fires all the time, and I think they're the ones that probably need this more than anybody else. But what do you do for somebody like that who's a pro? They're working hard and the holidays roll around, they're like, I can't turn this off.

David:                   Right. There are a lot of people who struggle to turn it off and I know I've certainly fallen into that category on more than one occasion. And even, you know, we just had Thanksgiving not too long ago in the US a few weeks ago and for that holiday weekend, I know that there were times where I felt like perhaps I should be relaxing a little more, but an idea will pop into my head; and next thing I know I've gotten my phone out and I'm adding notes to take care of things for when I get back. And to some extent it might be the nature of the beast. It's not that we need to constantly turn things off mentally, but we need to allow ourselves at least a little bit of flexibility, a little bit of time, so that our brains can relax and generate some new ideas and different ideas so that when we're ready to engage again, we've got some stuff to work with.

Chris:                     I think the other thing to keep in mind is just like we talked about, give yourself permission that it's okay for you to turn things off regardless of how that goes. Don't fight it. And then the other thing is people say you've got your phone all the time. Well, this is one of those things where you can decide what to turn off, but also take the time when that good idea pops into your head and get it into some kind of a system, someplace written down that works for you. And I think that's the other thing is just looking at this whole thing and saying, yeah, take the time to give yourself a break, but don't pass up those good ideas.

David:                   Right. And at the beginning of this podcast we'd talked about a couple of things. We talked about the idea of planning and when I'm talking about planning, I don't mean that you really have to put your head down and do a lot of hard work in terms of planning, particularly during a week like this. It's a nice time to just sort of relax and just maybe let your mind wander a bit and think in terms of what do I think I might like to have happen over the course of the next year. Right? Even that type of thing that's sort of brainstorming counts as planning. You can start to plan what you'd like your year to look like and then we also talked about relaxing, being able to take the opportunity to just chill a bit, relax the brain and allow those thoughts to come. We also touched on the idea of networking.  I had mentioned that at the start of the podcast and during the holiday season we don't really think in terms of networking, and I don't even necessarily mean it from a business standpoint, but the idea that we're going to be interacting with other people.  We'll be interacting with friends, we'll be interacting with family members, we'll be interacting with people perhaps that we don't know. It's a great opportunity just to have conversations that allow people to get to know us better, allows us to get to know other people better and to just have that sort of open communication. So even from a networking standpoint doesn't necessarily have to mean business, but if you're having a conversation and you find that you're able to help someone with what you do, then by all means those conversations can certainly be had. Finally in terms of strategizing, the whole idea of just taking a little bit of time and thinking through, "What is my strategy, what do I want to happen over the course of the next year, and then what are going to be the actions? What will be the specific things that I will do to start to make that sort of thing happen?" It's just a nice time to be able to think those things through and to start to take action on them.

Chris:                     I have two comments. Number one is when it comes to a lot of what you're talking about with the planning and the strategizing, especially; I think it's a good time to be in kind of solution mode or dream mode. You know, this is what it would be really nice to have happen in the coming year and just be a little more loose with it. Doesn't that make sense?

David:                   I think it makes perfect sense and once again, we're looking to try to find that balance between allowing our brains to rest and also to be able to generate those sorts of ideas.

Chris:                     So how do I turn my family and social events into networking events? David, I don't know that I want to…

David:                   No, I don't really know that you want to do that either. I'm not really suggesting that you do that. But what I am saying is that when you're interacting with friends and family, ask yourself how well do they even know what I do? And is there a way that you can in conversation, and I'm not suggesting that you do this instead of having normal typical conversations, but it's very likely that there are people even in your close circles who might not have a clear idea of exactly what you do or who you help. So just in normal conversations, if there are opportunities where you can find out more about the people that you're involved with personally to find out what they do and who they help so that you can see if you could perhaps help them or connect them with someone who could be beneficial to them. And likewise the same kind of thing. If they don't really understand what you do or how you do it or who you're looking to reach. If that can be communicated, then it's beneficial to everybody. And again, I'm not suggesting that you do this instead of your normal holiday interactions with friends and family. But I'm just saying that there are some times when there is an opportunity where something will come up and somebody might be on the same page with that and if that happens, you can certainly allow it to happen organically. But I'm not saying plan it and be all manipulative about it.

Chris:                     Well, and the other thing is, part of what we're not addressing until this moment is that there is a default story that networking means generating business and I think it's so sad that we don't have a better definition of,  it ought to be called relationship-making or something like that. Hey, how was your year? What'd you do this year that you were excited about? What are you looking forward to next year? Those are the kinds of things that can really be genuine and not feel like I'm all business-y.

David:                   Yeah, absolutely. And those are all great questions. In fact, I would suggest that you write those down if you're listening to this podcast, and you haven't already done that. Those are great questions to ask. The idea that networking is not just about what can I sell to someone, it's about connecting with people. And finding out needs and desires and aspirations and things like that and people are probably more likely to talk about aspirational things this time of year than they would during other times of year.

Chris:                     So let's redefine networking for everybody as connecting and then seeing what comes out of it and hopefully business will come out of it. If you have some of the systems and the things in place that we've talked about over a number of podcasts that makes it easy to follow up. "God, it was so nice to chat with you. One of the things you mentioned that you were looking forward to is X and this is what I do and it may help, or I may know a person who can help you to do that." Those are the kinds of conversations that we want to have that really generate that stronger connection and eventually lead to business.

David:                   And if you have that genuine interest in what they're doing and what they're looking to accomplish, how you could potentially help them, how they could potentially help you, all that sort of thing. If it's genuine, if it's authentic, if it flows from a place of plenty rather than a place of scarcity, then those conversations can be nice. But once again, it's not about just trying to sell people stuff. It's about trying to expand those relationships and find out where we can help people.

Chris:                     Yup. Absolutely. And I love the idea of helping, Hey, if my focus is on how I can help you, I'm probably gonna ask questions that are relevant and not come over the top as pushy, that sort of thing. Okay. Let's recap what our listeners can do to make the most of the holiday season.

Make the Most of the Holiday Season

  1. Map Out Your Ideal Scenario. What would you like to have happen in the coming year? What would make life better for your clients, family, coworkers, and yourself?
  2. Relax. Build enough time for relaxation into your daily life -- and not just during the holidays. Take some time to step away from the computer and phone. Disengage your brain and allow your thoughts to flow freely.
  3. Network with People, not just from a business standpoint, but actually connecting and building relationships that will stand the test of time.
  4. Strategize. What is the strategy you plan to implement in the coming year, and what are the tactics you'll use to make it happen?

David:                   Okay. So what I'd say is it will start with what we started with at the top. If you think in terms of four things, not necessarily in this order. The first one would be planning. What would I like to plan for the coming year? What would make life better for my coworkers, for my clients, for my family, for myself, and just sort of start to map out the things that you think you'd like to see happen in the coming year. Make some notes on that. Doesn't take very long. It can be done very informally and it will start to get the juices flowing. Second thing is relaxation. Making sure that you're incorporating enough of that not just into the holidays, but also into your day to day life, into your day to day existence. Taking a moment or two to step away from the computer. Step away from the phone. Disengage your brain so that you can allow your thoughts to flow freely and come up with the ideas that are going to allow you to get to the next level with what you're doing. Networking, as we talked about, not just limited to business, but connecting with people and providing them with solutions. Finding out what they need, interacting in an authentic way so that you can build the types of relationships that are going to stand the test of time and then strategizing what is the exact strategy that I plan on implementing this year and then what are the tactics that I'm going to use in order to make that happen. In our last podcast, we actually touched on that a bit. We talked about the idea of strategies and tactics. So if you didn't hear that podcast, I would encourage you to go back and listen to that one as well. But it's a great time of year to be able to sort of strategize, think in terms of what you want to have accomplished and what will be the strategy that will allow you to get there. So I'd start with that.

Chris:                     That is plenty to start with. Be easy about it, give yourself permission to relax a bit and just kind of flow into it and have a great holiday, right? Enjoy it. Think about what you would like your coming year to be about and I think that'll make all the difference in the world. Okay, David, what's coming up in our next podcast?

David:                   Okay, next time Chris, we're going to be talking about starting off the new year with a bang because it's coming right up. So that's going to be our next topic.

Chris:                     Excellent. Hey, be sure and go to topsecrets.com/call and find out what the team can do for you in a strategy session. Thank you, David see you next time.

David:                   Thank you, Chris. Yes, and thank you to everyone for listening to the podcast. I wish everybody very happy holiday season and a happy new year and we will talk to you soon.

If you're tired of flat or declining sales and losing business to your competitors, be sure to check out my latest web presentation entitled Programming Clients to Choose You. Who are your very best prospects currently programmed to buy from? Is it you or someone else? If you want it to be, you, visit topsecrets.com/choose and register for the free presentation now. That's topsecrets.com/choose.

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