New Year's may have come and gone, but just because you've put the noisemakers and champagne away doesn't mean you're too late to decide on a resolution for 2015.
If other concerns kept you from settling on a goal for yourself in the coming year, your tardiness actually offers you a significant advantage -- by delaying your own resolution, you've given others time to publicly share theirs, meaning there's no shortage of ideas for improving yourself or your business this year.
1. Don't take it personally.
Doing great things means pushing through a lot of indifference and outright rejection. In order to build up the necessary thick skin, it's important to remember that people's behavior toward you is often not about you at all. If they don't like your business idea (or even you), that could have much more to do with their personal preferences, quirks, or worldview than with the ultimate value of what you're offering. If you sometimes forget that, maybe 2015 is the year you resolve to constantly keep this truth in mind.
"Some people are rude, some people just don't care, and some people might hate you. Don't take it personally," instructs Carey. "If you let people who don't return your emails or phone calls upset you, you will waste your time. All you can do is be kind, polite, and honest. If someone throws negative energy your way, brush it off and move forward."
2. Remember, it's not a beauty contest.
Is looking professional important? Sure. Do those who won the genetic lottery in the looks department have a leg up? The tough truth is probably yes. But if you spend a lot of time obsessing about how you look, you're still wasting your time, according to Carey. That energy could be better spent sprucing up the internal you.
"An important lesson I learned in the startup world is that no one cares about what you look like. If you are launching a company, you are not expected to look good; you are expected to look busy. This is a hard one for a lot of people who feel more confident when they think they look good. However, the right outfit, hairstyle, or makeup isn't going to fool anyone into thinking you are a confident person; how you carry yourself will. This year, try to care less about how you look and more about how you feel," she writes.
3. Go solo.
Having a wingman (or woman) can make events less daunting, but Carey urges entrepreneurs to consider building up their confidence by facing these sorts of get-togethers alone. "How can you possibly meet new people if you are tied to the person you brought with you? Learning to approach industry peers, by yourself, allows you to test and create your best introduction. The more comfortable you become shaking hands with strangers, pitching yourself or your passions, the more comfortable you start to become with yourself," she explains.
But what if you're already a fairly confident type who figures you have conquered imposter syndrome and your self-presentation nailed? In that case, Carey's suggestions probably aren't for you. But there are other sources of resolution inspiration available that are geared more toward nuts-and-bolts business improvement and less toward personal self-help.
Over on the blog of business school INSEAD, for example, Martin Roll, founder of Martin Roll Company, has outlined 10 resolution suggestions for CEOs, such as:
4. Burn down your silos.
Do the different parts of your business communicate effectively? If not, 2015 should be the year you get people talking and sharing knowledge, Roll suggests. There are big benefits to knocking down internal silos, he argues.
"Breaking the silos to create and leverage synergies among functional departments should be a priority for the CEO in the coming years. Results still get lost in corporate silos, so this is an easy win for ambitious organizations," Roll writes.
5. Collaborate with customers.
You're probably already doing everything you can to get your team to collaborate effectively, but in the coming year you might want to draw your customers into the process as well. They're a valuable source of ideas, according to Rolls, who writes that businesses "should learn about and actively involve their customers and competitors alike in co-creating value. Such active collaboration enables companies not only to ward off unseen threats from new competitors but also to sustain their market advantage for a longer time."
Share and inspire others: What's your business resolution for 2015?