There ’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’t is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.
Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act v. Sc. 2.
This time of year is for many of us quiet and busy and full of expectations. Many of us our preparing to celebrate a holiday, and all that entails. Some are getting ready to do last minute shopping; some are getting ready to cook and buying the necessary ingredients. Some therapists are getting ready to take a vacation; some patients are getting ready to face the holidays alone or with family they find challenging. And after the Christmas day, and Boxing Day if you want to push it, much of the world slides into a week or so of winding down until the New Year hits.
I enjoy Christmas, but I have always found Advent much more interesting. Advent as you may know if the Western Christian season that marks both the coming of Christ and the end of the liturgical year. It is the season of quiet expectancy. There is silence, there is waiting. A candle is lit each week until Christmas, and there are these great advent calendars, with doors for each day that you open one at a time to reveal the picture or treat underneath. And for the techies and gamers amongst us, the best example of this sort of advent calendar is the one from Angry Birds.
This is NOT going to be a post about the Christian Advent or religion, but it IS a post about business, and the spiritual concepts that can (and I think should) be applied to your business.
I am looking forward to celebrating the holiday season, and yes I plan to rest and reflect. But unlike Congress I am not sliding into a lame duck session. I am using these last two weeks to get ready. I’m getting ready to teach a course on psychodynamic theory, getting ready to right a series of blogs on ludology and tweaking the business plan for 2011. My friend and colleague Susan Giurleo is getting ready to do her latest teleseminar with Juliet Austin on Social Media Marketing. My friend and colleague Carolyn Stack is getting ready to ramp up her new website with a blog. My clients are busy doing their interim homework for me on building their therapy practices, and MIP is rolling out a whole bunch of workshops.
Ok, so what are you getting ready for?
You knew it was coming if you’ve ready any of my blogs before. Mike gives examples and then pounces, asks me what I’m going to do. Yep, what are you getting ready for? Do you have a workshop in the works? A satellite office day? Twitter script for a CBT adolescent group? Are you teaching a course at a local university, or doing a public forum for colleagues on something you are expert in? Writing a chapter, article or blog? Joining a political activist group? Adding a new skill or modality to your repertoire? Learning about Skype? Getting on Twitter to check it out? Or if you want to be a gamer-affirmative therapist, picking a free trial of a game, downloading it and playing around in-world?
Now some of you naysayers in the back are probably saying: forget it. This has been a hard year, health care reform has sucked, my patients have tired me out. My work is demanding, I deserve a break. I’m going to rest up and plan this stuff next year. Of course you deserve a break, I hope you scheduled yourself some vacation time. But let’s not kid ourselves here. The next two weeks has lots of room in it for both work and play. I’ve been winding down work the past week and managed to grade my papers, read a book, and still level a character in WoW to 85 (and yes I am proud of it!)
Please please please don’t end the year on a down note! Because I guarantee you you will start the new one off with a defeatist attitude. The boundary between 12/31 and 1/1 is in many ways an arbitrary social construct. Now is when you should be getting ready for new projects, when you have some flexibility in your schedule. Because then you’ll be out of the gate running when the first work week of January starts, when many of our colleagues are just sitting down to their desks to brainstorm. I want us all to be ahead of the pack.
And a note to those of our colleagues, who probably don’t read this, who have already decided they “know themselves” and that they are going to stick with what they have been doing, you’re setting yourself up. Health Care is changing the way you will be getting paid. If you don’t know what an ACO means and how global payment model could put your private practice out of business, get your head out of the sand and start surfing for info. Please don’t be like my colleagues who chatted with outrage about the health care changes in MA as if they were political discussions all summer and fall, or even worse ignored the issue, and then FREAKED OUT when they opened the first payment from BCBS that had slashed their fees drastically.
Strong words I know, but I want us all to have strong businesses. Change is coming, advent is here.