2022 Plan: Set Goals & Steps



Two weeks ago, we took out a notebook and acknowledged 2021. That exercise creates the tone for 2022 and makes creating the plan for the new year easier. If you missed it, take a look at Acknowledge 2021 before starting this activity.

Revisiting your plans and aspirations is imperative to growth. Even with a three- or five-year plan, new experiences creates new ideas, opportunities, and challenges to consider before moving into the new year. When I work with clients, we revisit their plans regularly in order to adjust to changes in their thought process or environment. Annually, we enjoy the beauty of shedding the challenges of the past and creating a fresh, improved path.

There is a critical link between planning and success. As you work through the steps below, remember to look back at the notes you took during the ACKNOWLEDGE exercise.

Grab your notebook and let’s get started!

  1. What are you trying to achieve in 2022? This is the overarching goal for the year. When you look back at your plan in December 2022, what success do you hope to see? Write it down.
  2. Create ways to measure your success – SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-driven) goals. Write them down and keep them in a place where you can see them every day.
  3. Create an action plan based on the SMART goals. What actions will move you toward success?
  4. Execute and evaluate. Throughout the year, execute on the plan, and take the time to evaluate along the way. What needs to change as the result of the new information your actions bring?
  5. Succeed. You can if you execute on the plan.

Reach out to me if you need support putting your plan into writing and then executing on the plan.

Acknowledge 2021

crop man holding glass ball against forest trees
Photo by Rahul Pandit on Pexels.com


Before sitting down with the blank page to plan for 2022, take the time to acknowledge 2021. The triumphant moves, the losses, and the strategies that produced lukewarm results.

Here is what you will need.

  • A notebook, a journal or laptop.
  • Your favorite pen.
  • A favorite spot for thinking and planning.
  • Your financial spreadsheet, calendar, daily journal. Grab anything you use to keep track of your activity and results.
  • Your “me” folder. The “me” folder is a collection of thank you notes  and compliments you receive from others. This could be a virtual folder or a physical one. If you do not have one yet, start one in 2022.
  • Time. This activity can be done all at once (give yourself a few hours) or over a few days.

Consider the following prompts and take notes after each one. The notes will help you write up your plan for 2022. You can sift through them and decide what strategies or activities  you will  keep and which to dump.

  • Assess: Overall, what kind of year was 2021? Think of one or two words or themes that come to mind.
  • Celebrate: What wins or successes come to mind? How did you measure that success?
  • Kick back and enjoy the positives. Give yourself the space to congratulate yourself. Tell someone about it.
  • Evaluate Needs: How do you feel about your successes? Did you fulfill your needs as you articulated them in your previous plan? Were you on the right path for yourself and your business? What went unfulfilled in 2021?
  • Be Open to different ways to evaluate yourself. If you categorized something as a failure, is there a positive way to reframe it? Did you achieve the most important goals? Some of the activities you had no time for may be part of the 2022 action plan.
  • Weed through the year to find clarity. Were you distracted by anything in 2021? If you veered onto a new path, did it fulfill a need? Think about how much action you can execute in a given year. Did you do too much or too little in 2021?
  • What did you Learn.? Some of the greatest ideas come after a perceived failure or a big success. Create a list of the most important things you learned in 2021.
  • Determine your strengths. Looking at 2021, which strengths did you use the most? Which strengths did not get a chance to shine? Did you discover a new strength or develop a new skillset?
  • Generate a list of the obstacles that came between you and the execution of your plan. This will help you create strategies to overcome or avoid the challenges in 2022 that blocked your progress in 2021.
  • Empathy: Finally, have empathy for yourself. Acknowledge that you did your best in 2021.

In two weeks, we will talk about starting anew and writing the 2022 plan.

Contact Mary Balistreri at mbtmorebusinesstodayllc@gmail.com or schedule a free consultation using Calendly.

Self-care at Work


We talk about self-care as something we stop our work, whether at home or at the office, to do. We pause to meditate, have a glass of wine, buy ourselves a gift, or exercise. What if self-care at work was about the balance of giving and receiving?

I was a client working with my own coach last week. During our discussion of self- care, I was sharing all of the things I did and needed to do. I tend to be a giver. Not surprising, because most coaches find satisfaction in helping, supporting, and guiding other people toward success. The realization during my coaching session was that balancing giving and receiving in my work is self-care.

Rather than stopping my day to give myself the gift of a quiet pause or a treat, what if I let myself receive from others? I pondered this for more than a minute. What could I receive from others?

In my case, I realized I was spending time working on things for others (not clients) rather than working on the activities I needed to accomplish to develop more business for my company. Specifically, I procrastinated on the tasks of asking my connections to introduce me to people in their network. A colleague had invited me to look at her connections and ask for introductions that would be valuable to me. What was I waiting for?

After some self-examination, I realized I am more comfortable helping other people than I am asking for help. I can stop and eat a bag of chocolates to congratulate myself for accomplishing my work, but that is not self-care. What I need is to ask for the help that was offered to build my business.

What does self-care look like for you in your workplace? Pull out your journal and favorite pen, and answer these questions.

  • Do you tend to give more to others at work? Or do you receive more frequently?
  • Are you more comfortable giving or receiving? Why?
  • Looking at a standard day for you, what is missing?
  • Are there tasks you avoid completing? Which ones and why?
  • What would balance the day for you?

The answers to these questions will guide you to a solution. Balance is an important part of each person’s work life and home life.

For more information or to discuss this blog, reach out to Mary Balistreri at mbtmorebusinesstodayllc@gmail.com or schedule a free consultation through Calendly

Abundant Thinking at Work


We rise together. We grow as a team.  Insert a cliché – a rising tide lifts all boats; when one wins, we all win; two heads are better than one – and the meaning is the same. If we work together, we have a greater chance of succeeding. The question in business is, “what keeps us from working together?”

When working with clients at MBT, I hear one answer to the question, “Why don’t you work together on developing business?” The answer most often is, “Because we are in competition with each other.”

The structure within organizations often sets up a dynamic that pits individuals against each other. Healthy competition is a good thing and motivates people to perform. In less-healthy dynamics, competition creates favoritism, cliquey cultures, jealousy, and hopelessness.

The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.

Marianne Williamson

Much has been written about employee engagement and what is important to employees. You may have heard:

  1. People need to understand their contribution to the business and know that their contribution is valued.
  2. People want to be part of a winning team.
  3. People want to understand and be energized by the values of the organization.

What limits your team members? Look at the three things that are needed to engage employees. Do any of those resonate with you, because you know it is a strength or an obstacle for your team?

To embrace abundant thinking, an individual must be ready to let go of the obstacles and limitations that stand in the way. For a team to think abundantly, all members of the team must be ready to let go of limitations. What obstacles prevent your team from thinking abundantly? Here are some examples: Team members will find it difficult to be a cheerleader for a colleague when they believe that person is constantly rewarded or acknowledged. If the “favored” individual seems to receive the best or most visible projects, others on the team may believe there is no reward for quiet, hard work.

Think about your team and answer these questions:

  1. Are there written descriptions of the roles of each team member and what it means to succeed in each job?
  2. Does every member of the team have access to the descriptions and full understanding of the impact they make as a member of the team?
  3. Do individuals acknowledge the success of others on the team?
  4. How does the leader acknowledge success?
  5. Do team members bring problems and ideas to the leader?
  6. Are there insiders and outsiders on your team? Why? What could the leader do differently to be more inclusive?

Now close your eyes and visualize a shift to abundance thinking with your team. What does that look like? Individuals cheering for each win regardless of who succeeded. The team finding ways to solve problems without being limited by what happened in the past. Collaboration among team members who are motivated at work. What does your abundant picture look like?

Measuring Resilience: Individuals Hold the Power to Define and Improve the Team


As a coach, I hear from the management of businesses that individuals need to work on their resilience. “They are not resilient!” leadership will say. They say this because it seems individuals “become disheartened easily” when pursuing work or because they “do not rebound quickly” from losing a client or making an error.

Let’s look at the wording used by the leadership. What is meant by “disheartened” to the leader making that observation versus what it means to the person who is observed? What does “quickly” mean to the organization versus what it means to an individual who is part of the team? Who decides what it means?  

It is critical to define these words so that everyone involved has the same understanding. After all, it is the individuals on the team who have the power to improve themselves. The measure for the improvement should be focused on how the individual was performing previously compared to how that person is performing now.

Therefore, if a number of team members improve, the team improves its performance. It raises the bar for everyone.

When the leader refers to “quickly”, is there a standard that has been communicated to the employee? If not, there should be. Quickly could mean one day to management and one week or one month to the employee. How does a person show that they are “disheartened”? This is another case where the leader’s assumption may not be the truth for the employee.

Here are a few tips for leaders to use when understanding how their team members can improve performance:

  1. Take a baseline measure. To meet your business goals, what does the team need from each person? As the leader, you set the boundaries. That is your baseline. Then look at the team members, what is their current baseline? If we are talking about recovering “quickly” from a setback, your expectation may be two days and the individual has shown it takes them two weeks.
  2. Communicate your expectations and listen to feedback. Once you determine what you are seeking, make sure that your team understands the boundaries. Explain what you expect of them.
  3. Consider altering your expectation based on the abilities of the team members. Listening to your team and adjusting the boundary shows strong leadership. It also builds trust.
  4. Discuss how to achieve the results you are looking for when the boundary is adjusted. As the leader, you are still responsible for the team’s performance. Collaborate with them regarding how to achieve goals.
  5. Ask. Do not assume. Have the tough conversations and ask people what they are thinking, feeling, and needing. It opens doors to stronger relationships.

One last thought, talk with your team about resilience. What does it mean to them? When did they experience it or witness it? What do they need to be resilient?

Contact Mary Balistreri at mbtmorebusinesstodayllc@gmail.com to discuss these concepts in greater detail.

Self-Improvement Is Exciting AND Scary: What are you afraid of?

Photo credit: Copyright Dr. Seuss “What Was I Scared Of?”


Some of my clients at MBT More Business Today inspire me with their fearlessness. They seem to crave feedback. They expect feedback to be brutal and approach it with a “bring it on” attitude. After digging deeper, they realize self-criticism shows up as a motivator to improve themselves. They have already told themselves the worst things they could imagine, so hearing criticism from others is actually easier to handle.

Other clients have the opposite reaction. They go silent. Rather than continuing to dive into our sessions, they disappear. Apologizing for disappearing follows and, usually very quickly, they follow through by canceling appointments or attempting to push off their coaching sessions until “things calm down” a bit.

In a previous blog, we talked about how to “Eat the Frog” every morning. Grabbing the one thing you do not want to do and executing that action item first, before addressing anything else, every day. The reason that practice works is because you finish the abhorred chore before anxiety, and ample time for worrying, makes it even harder to approach.

In this blog, we examine why you are afraid. Let’s discover what is beneath the attempt to take on the pain of criticism as noted in the first example or run away entirely as the second example suggests. Fight or flight are both defense mechanisms. They are natural and primal ways that human beings protect themselves. In the old, old days of primitive man, using a fight or flight strategy properly was essential to survival. In our world today, both our personal lives and the business world, these strategies may have served us well and helped us survive socially and in our careers.

One of my favorite stories as a child, and now as an adult, was Dr. Seuss’ “What Was I Scared Of?” I used to call it “Those awful green pants with nobody inside them story,” as a kid. I was afraid most of the time as a child. So, I was fascinated by the idea that those pale green pants were just as afraid of the narrator in the story as the narrator was of them! And, I was inspired by the fact that they became friends at the end. In the end, the narrator comforts the one who caused all that fear. To me, it is a picture of self-soothing and self-love. If you have not read it, pick up a copy.

Now, as an adult, think about how you respond to change? How do you respond to self-improvement? Is it scary to learn what others may think of you? Does the idea that you may not be perfect cause fear and anxiety? Do you avoid working to grow and change for the better? Or do you beat yourself up with negative thoughts about yourself so much, that you do not flinch when receiving negative criticism.

As usual, my first suggestion for clients, and for all of you reading this, is to pull out your favorite notebook and pen so that you can write a few things down. Once you are settled into a comfortable safe spot, think about your answers to the prompts below.

  1. What is your reaction to change and self-improvement? Fight or flight? Are you comfortable with change?
  2. Think about times you experienced intense personal growth. It could be when you were promoted to a position where you started managing people for the first time. Or it could be when you took on personal responsibilities in your home. Write down how you progressed from where you were to where the journey ended.
  3. What was the best thing about the journey? What was the hardest thing? How did you feel when it ended?
  4. What were the benefits of the journey?
  5. Now, what do you want to change today?

Give yourself some time to think about it, and have a great day!

Contact Mary Balistreri at mbtmorebusinesstodayllc@gmail.com for more information about coaching and professional development services.

Beyond the Diversity Month: Now What?


Did you know that September is Suicide Prevention month? Hispanic Heritage month started September 15? February is Black History month? October is National Disability Employment Awareness month?

Chances are you do know about the focus of various months throughout the year. The human resources department or diversity committee within your organization may write an article, host a panel, or offer a brown bag luncheon to raise awareness. Many thought leaders on social media will speak and write about the focus of the month and raise awareness.

As an inclusive leader, you may participate in these things to broaden your cultural intelligence and model the behavior of inclusivity to your team. You may share the information with your team and invite them to attend a webinar together.

My question is, now what? What happens when the focus months end? Do you go back to business as usual? Do you move on to the next focus?

First, I applaud all the inclusive leaders who broaden their understanding of people by reading the articles, attending the brown bag lunches, and listening to the panel discussions. These are the first steps to make toward understanding people who are different from you.

One of the keys to being an inclusive leader is making a commitment to being an inclusive leader. The commitment is first to yourself. You may even choose development of inclusivity in your leadership style as a personal goal.

The second commitment to make is to others: to individuals who are different from you and to your team. You have started by seeking to understand the members of your team. As you move forward with creating a diverse and inclusive team, the next step is to think about belonging. Do the diverse members of your team feel as if they belong?

I often hear from my clients, “People of color, and LGBTQ people and women, continue to leave our organization. We make strides with our diversity numbers, so I know we are doing a good job with recruiting. What else can we do?”

This week, rather than giving you a list of action steps, I am giving you a list of action questions.

Actively think about the following. That means schedule some time to think about the following. When you finish, spend some time asking your team members for their thoughts.

  1. What opportunities do you offer diverse individuals on your team?
  2. Who is assigned to projects that create the highest visibility in your organization?
  3. Who is missing from your team?
  4. When you are in a meeting, is there a diversity of people and ideas in attendance?
  5. When meeting with your team, does each person contribute?
  6. Is there equity in pay among team members?

If you are interested in learning more about making a commitment to being a diverse leader, attend the October 8 session of “The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leadership”. You can register here.

Business & Leadership: It’s In Your Mind

From The Client Wisdom Blog Published by MBT More Business Today LLC

What does mindfulness mean to you? The first words that pop into my mind and those I have heard from clients are:

  • Awareness
  • Internal
  • Thoughtful
  • Careful
  • Balance

Now add the words business or leadership after the word mindful. Mindful business means to be thoughtful about what? Mindful leadership means to be aware of what?

Some leaders choose to be careful to bring awareness and inclusiveness to their teams. Some business people are mindful of how they balance building relationships with producing outstanding work product, and being careful to understand the company’s and the individual contacts’ needs.

Here is an exercise to help you define mindful, mindful business, and mindful leadership for yourself.

  1. Grab your favorite notebook and your favorite pen. My beautiful journal is etched in colorful flowers with a black background. I choose to write with a smooth, gel liquid pen that holds black ink. Think about the writing implements and surroundings that bring you peace and creativity. What will you choose?
  2. Now, what words come to mind for you when you think of mindful business and mindful leadership? There are some examples above. Which ring true for you or what else would you add to your list?
  3. Reflect on how these words influence your actions. Write out your thoughts until you feel you have finished. For some people, it could take five minutes. For some, it may take two hours. Do not worry about the time. It will take as long as you need it to take.
  4. Shelve your notes for one day. If it is helpful for you, put an appointment on the calendar for yourself to return to the exercise.
  5. The next day, read through your notes. Adjust them until they best reflect your thoughts and your commitment to your mindful business and leadership approach.
  6. Write down three things you will do, change, or stop doing to align with your commitment.

Remember, the power to be a successful business person and leader is in your own mind. You define the terms. You execute on the commitment you have made.

Find the Win Win Win in Building Relationships

From Client Wisdom Blog published by MBT More Business TodAY LLC

More than once lately, I have opened my screen door at home and found a bag of bras tucked between it and the door. Each occurrence caused me to laugh out loud and say, “aw, how sweet,” to myself and no one else in particular. The cause is the bra drive I am running for the month of August to benefit all the organizations who receive the products from The Bra Recyclers. The people who leave the bras for me are friends and business contacts who also believe in helping women with this simple donation.

You may have heard, “you have to give to get,” in sales or in life. Some of my clients find that phrase insincere or even predatory. They strive to be authentic in everything they do whether at work or in their home life. Authenticity will shine through when you are giving because you care about the cause. People will react to how you behave and determine your intent from your actions.

One former client told me they grew numerous lasting client relationships by working with the clients to volunteer for non-profit organizations. “It’s a win win win!” the client said. “I get to spend more time with the client doing something I enjoy for a favorite cause. The client gets the extra help working at the food drive to benefit a cause that is important to them. While we are working on this project, we are building a stronger relationship by sharing something we have in common. And the food bank gets more volunteers gathering resources for them!”

Authenticity and commitment are vital to the success of this relationship building method. For my client in the example, they are passionate about helping people who experience food insecurity. Their passion for the cause is evident in how they behave. When they recruit additional volunteers, they say, “We are so excited about the number of organizations that are donating this year! We will be able to feed more families than ever. Want to be a part of it and help put together the packages?”

Someone who was not passionate about giving their time may say, “We have to be there at 9 a.m. On a Sunday! Do you think you can do it?” The “have to” tells you the volunteer is not excited. Maybe they should find a different cause to combine with building a client relationship.

This relationship-building technique works well in strengthening a team. Ask your team members about themselves. If they were to volunteer, where would they put their time? Gather consensus and take on a project that benefits a non-profit business together.

If you ask people why they are passionate about a specific cause, you will often find there is a personal connection. In the case above, it could be the enthusiastic person was homeless as a child. Someone may volunteer to raise money through the Alzheimers Walk, because a parent possesses the diagnosis. And, so on.

Here are some tips for adding this winning strategy to your relationship building plan:

  1. Think about your own life. What has impacted you? Is there a cause or organization that receives your support?
  2. Look at your calendar. How much time do you have each month to give to a volunteer effort?
  3. Look at your prospects and clients. Do you know which causes are important to them? If you do not know, ask them? Have they asked you to volunteer?
  4. Spend an hour or so determining where to spend your time. Is it possible to work side-by-side with a client? Co-chair a committee? Look for sponsors?
  5. Talk with a few prospects about how you can collaborate and help an organization.
  6. Decide where you will volunteer your time and how.
  7. Promote the project/organization/event through social media.
  8. Do it!

How Your “Why” Impacts Your Business

Those who follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram may have noticed that I am running a Bra Drive for the month of August. Basically, I am collecting bras, and, hopefully, inspiring others to do the same for The Bra Recyclers. Their mission focuses both on sustainability – eliminating some textiles that would otherwise wind up in landfills – and humanity – supplying women who are in transition from domestic violence and human trafficking with a basic item that is so important to their survival.

A friend asked me, “Why are you doing that?” meaning the bra drive. The answer for me was simple and automatic. Because I want to help Elaine Birks-Mitchell, CEO & CSO, and her company, which helps women who are transitioning from domestic violence and human trafficking. Obvious. What was less immediately obvious to me, is that having a bra drive fits in perfectly with the Why for my business. If you have not watched the Simon Sinek TED talk about the Why, here is the link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4. This concept was transformational for me years ago when I first watched the talk, and it has been in my thoughts ever since.

Even my husband, Steve Thompson, who is a massage therapist and self-admittedly NOT a marketing or business guy said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

I am a coach. Coaches enjoy supporting people to find their individual path to success. As a coach, I support others in the search for their Why and how it co-exists with their business. For me, the simple question “why are you doing that?” led to the creation of my mission statement.

MBT More Business Today LLC is passionate about supporting individuals, teams, and businesses to reach their goals through thoughtful, mindful coaching and learning that is rooted in belonging, using the tools of Emotional Intelligence (IQ) and Conversational Intelligence (CIQ).

MBT Mission Statement

Many clients of mine have struggled with the balance between their passion and making money. The secret is, you can do both. If you have a “non-profit” heart, as one MBT client said of me, you can find ways to support people and also pay your bills. My business strategy is to gain 80% of my income from clients who are able to pay the full rates for my services, and 20% from non-profit businesses or those who work for non-profits. For them, I have a discounted rate. (To see a few of the packages I offer, please take a look at the page on my web site here). I also plan to work 10% of my time with individuals on a pro-bono basis. Not faulty math, I tend to give 110% at work. Truthfully, I have an Excel spreadsheet that maps out the hours I work and the types of clients so that I can meet my goals. I also create SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Relative Time-driven) goals so that I know when I have succeeded.

How about you? If you are looking for how your Why impacts your business, take these steps.

  1. Take a few days to think about and keep track of what motivates you. Where is your passion? What is your Why?
  2. Once you are clear about your passion, ask yourself how your current work world fits into your vision of the Why. How does what you do follow from why you do it?
  3. Think about your brand as a mission statement. Take a look at the MBT More Business Today mission statement above for help. Write your own mission statement.
  4. What are your goals now and what actions do you need to take to achieve them?

If you still need help, why not donate a bra and take advantage of the $100 coupon? We can find a package that fits your needs. Just e-mail me at mbtmorebusinesstodayllc@gmail.com to discuss further. Remember, my mission is to help you!

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