Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hooray! It's the First Day of School!

Do you remember the anticipation you had as a kid of the first day of school?

School started yesterday here in Texas, and parents the state over probably shouted for joy, either at the idea of getting the kids out of the house or (as is our case), settling back into a solid routine. Kids also exploded with excitement over what the new year would bring.

School to a kid always meant new opportunities, new clothes, new friends, new teachers, new things to learn, and a fresh slate to start the year. While I always lamented the end of summer, the adrenaline and freshness of a new experience usually won out.

We can learn a lot from how we felt as kids and look at the approach of Labor Day as an opportunity to reflect and refresh our outlook. It's a great annual reminder to take stock in where we are (like New Year's Day, birthdays, or other milestones).

New Opportunities

The new school year always offered new opportunities. What opportunities can you take for your business or career starting now? If you started your year now, looking forward to the next nine or ten months as the time to make an impact, what could you accomplish?

Take a few minutes today to think about what you could tackle this school year. Double your sales. Take the training class that you have been putting off. Crush that next project.

Challenge yourself to do something in the next sixty days that you have never done before. Remember when you learned something totally new in class? Doing new things keeps you moving and growing. Do something new. Then find something else you haven't done and go do that. Keep moving. Keep growing.

New Friends

When you walked in the first day of your new class, you most likely gravitated towards the few friends you already knew, but also looked around and found a few new faces that you could connect with. Sometimes, reaching out to the new kid in school could result in a lifelong friendship. One of my oldest friends was new to the school in fourth grade and we met in a reading group. A few decades later, we can still trade emails and reminisce.

As adults locked into our work environments, the opportunity for an entirely new crew of friends diminishes, but we still have several options for reaching out and building a network with new people. New employees, vendors, or customers all present opportunities to interact. 

I love a quote I stumbled on a few weeks ago from Bill Nye (the science guy) - "Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." Think about that for a minute. Every single human on the planet has a unique set of experiences and knowledge that contributes to who they are. What can you learn from them?

Engage people in conversation. See what you can learn. Respect their experiences. Sometimes it may be personal, sometimes academic. Whatever it is, connect. Truly connect with people.

Clean Slate

New school years also offer the ability to start over, in some respects. No matter how your prior year went, starting a new school year granted you a blank report card. The idea of starting fresh meant that your actions from the first day forward were the ones that would shape your future.

All too often as adults, we get caught up in our history. We relive our mistakes. We let our history with projects and people plague our interactions day to day. But what if we could start over?

Every day offers you the opportunity to start over, though. Just like a new school year, your actions from today forward shape the remainder of your future. Continuing to focus on the negatives of the past will only prevent your ability to move forward and move your business forward.

All of this amounts to little more than armchair psychology, but when you focus on the present day actions that can shape your future instead of worrying about how past events shaped your present, you can make a change. You can make a difference. You can wipe the slate clean.


It doesn't matter if it is the first day of school, the first day of June, or halfway through February. You can take any opportunity to reflect briefly and seize all of the opportunities you have to reboot your situation.

Look for opportunities to improve yourself, your career, and your business.

Meet new friends.

Take the opportunity to start fresh and focus on the future.

Whenever you decide to start your new year, take the opportunities that await you and jump on them. What are you going to do with your new year? Drop me a line and let me know.