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Article > Countdown to the Holidays – time to get MAD

Article kindly provided by Duane Alley

Imagine you are traveling on a super-highway (your own personal business start-up or mega-growth super-highway) and you have been traveling along well so far. You’re probably at a good speed coming into that end of year turn and this is where the problem comes in – there’s an EXIT RAMP up ahead. Since we were kids we have been programmed to take it and so were our parents and probably our parents’ parents. We pull off that super-highway and most likely park the car and go to sleep for a month or two till at some stage we remember the highway and destination and then it’s back in the car and off to find the ON RAMP for the highway again. There’s no problem in pulling over till you get to the “getting back on” bit because it’s always slower to get back on than it was to get off.

There’s finding the ramp, waiting for those in front of us to move, merging traffic and even worse the nightmare of “What if others started earlier than we did and now the road is full?”. This is how yesterday’s Leaders can become last tomorrow. It always takes more time to get back on once you’re off track.

Had you have stayed on course you would have been a huge distance ahead and have beaten all the traffic that surrounds you now to the clear roads. Worse still, there really are always those that get up and get on earlier and if you’re stuck in the traffic jam and they’re your competitors it’s not good. There is also a very small amount of people that have worked this out or have already been coached about this, listened to the advice and acted on it. They’re the leaders of the pack and that’s where you want to be. Usually, they are so far ahead of the group… that the group has no clue they are there and certainly doesn’t understand how anyone can escape the crush.

The laws of physics apply directly to our businesses and our motivation – objects at rest tend to stay at rest (and it takes an incredible amount of energy to get them moving again). That energy could have been better used to achieve goals, move forward or to create massive results rather than just ¬re-motivating us to get back into it. When you backing off the gas at the end of the year in regards to your business or even personal results it will always take you at least an equal (and usually greater) amount of time to start up and reach the same level or speed you had before you stopped. People often start backing off about now and sometime around the second or third week of January remember they had goals, dreams and results to achieve so start the hard road to rest-recovery (that’s recovering from their rest time) and sometime around March they are moving along well again. When you start to see it like this you realise some people are leaving almost half the year behind them by not performing at their best.

The good news is stopping this debilitating pattern and continuing the momentum forward instead is easy. First up we need to recognise there are a couple of elements to this. First, it is a fact that most people push themselves so hard throughout the year they literally need to take some extended rest from sheer exhaustion. This has to stop. Looking after yourself, your health, your rest and your ability to “deal” with life (however you do that – spiritually, mentally, emotionally) is critical throughout the year not just at a big-ass holiday at the end it. There are many ways to do this and strategies to put in place that make it easy and a joy to do. Second, we have to stop the stop. Maybe our Team Members are on holidays or Customers/Clients are busy with their “rest-stop” but that doesn’t mean we shut down everything. The end of the year is a time when we can clean up, get sorted and really invest our time and energy into ensuring we will power ahead in the New Year further and faster than ever before. To do anything else is to buy into the excuses that are going to hold your competitors back.

Like any major change to your results and performance it takes only 4 major steps:


Even better news now – you are already there. If you’ve read this article and you are like the 99.5% of people out there taking the off ramp you know this is a fact and it has taken it’s toll on your business results in the past. I imagine that you also know if there is a problem then there must be a solution and there is – that’s what the next 3 steps are for.


Once we are aware of the problem and its ramifications we can pay attention to what causes it and what is going to solve it. Here are some questions to answer to get you thinking:

What are your business or personal goals that in the past could have been affected by “The Ramp Down”?

What things do you normally stop doing (or pause) during “The Ramp Down”?

What things could you be concentrating on continuing that will keep you on track during the times everyone else is “Ramping Down”?

What resources or help can you attract to ensure you are ahead in the New Year?



Nothing happens without commitment to achieving it. It’s another way of saying Goals… and that’s what you need right now. Goals for this period and a re-energised set of Goals for the New Year. Some more q
uestions to think on and Actions to take:

Remember this time is one of investment of your time and energy – research, development, structure, systems, planning etc.

What do you want to launch into the New Year with to super-charge your business or personal performance?

What results do you want to achieve next year?

What Goals can you set for the next 3 months that will allow you to achieve those Goals in a bigger way than you ever thought possible before?

Where would you be next year if you did none of this and took “The Ramp Down” instead?

Now contrast that to… Where will you be next year because you set these Goals, took actions and stayed powerfully on your path?

And imagine… What will that mean for you in your business and/or personally during next year and beyond?

What resources or help can you attract to ensure you are ahead in the New Year?


So it’s time to do something about it.

This is it… you have some Goals in place and you know why this is critical. It’s now time to plan and follow up – keep committed and take the actions you need to over the next 3 to 4 months to ensure next year is the best year you could ever imagine. And there’ll be no imagining… it will be your reality. There is always a group of people and businesses every year that have the same question asked about them… it’s time you stopped asking the question and became the one the question is asked about… “How did they grow/change/develop so much this year?’… usually the answer people give themselves is those “Winners” must have been lucky some how – you know now that’s not the truth. They were smart and took no “Off Ramps”.

I was blessed to have worked for years in businesses that only got busier over the holiday season. For me, there was never an option of slowing down let alone stopping during this time of the year. When I stopped working for other people and started my own Coaching, Training and Consulting business I simply kept doing what I had always done. Kept busy and did what was needed to make sure my business and my self kept growing and improving regardless of the time or month of year. And over the years the results have proven this a winning strategy. I never really thought about it as something else other than “just what I do”.

I watched a video interview last year in which a friend of mine, James Schramko, was asked if there was one piece of business advice he could give the viewers what would it be… James’ answer, “Do the right things.” He said so many people do things but they’re not the right things… they need to do the right things that will make the difference.

When I worked in retail operations, 10 years ago, the CEO used to talk about “M.A.D.”– those actions that Make A Difference – and in my mind that’s exactly what I was hearing James talk about. I know now that has been worth millions to me over the course of my business career.

See, we can all do things, but not all “things” are equal… It’s the “things” that really Make A Difference that count… Like keeping on the highway when others are slowing down…

What are they Make A Difference Things (M.A.D. Things, M.A.D. Actions, M.A.D. Goals, M.A.D. Strategies). And it’s this time of year – November through to March/April that truly Make All the Difference to your next year and the one after that and the one after that. This is the time when you need to do the things that count, that will Make A Difference or as James said simply “the right things”.

So… over to you...

What are you going to do?

When are you going to do it?

How are you going to make sure it gets you what you want?

Who are you going to get to keep you accountable?


If you have any questions about this article or the exercises, please contact my office at

Green Lights and Full Cups everyday


Duane Alley


About the Author

Duane Alley
Speaker | Trainer | Author | Coach

Duane Alley spent the first 15 years of his professional life working with some of the biggest and fastest growing retail and franchise businesses in the country; he then spent 5 years as Head Trainer & Coach for one of the biggest Personal Development companies on the planet.

He has combined his extensive experience from the business world in delivering real world results with his success and study of personal development, rapid human change and shifting consciousness.

As a Master Trainer, Author, Speaker and Performance Coach he now works with businesses and entrepreneurs quickly and easily improve their businesses and make more money and with individuals, couples and families to make simple changes and take small steps to live better lives day by day.



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