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Looking back from perfect

UST three years after launching Blue Eyed Sun, we won the Gift of the Year Award for Best Cards for Design-Led Shops and our sales doubled for the second year running. As exciting as this sounds, my wife Jo and I were overloaded and the experience was incredibly stressful for us. We were too busy to hire more staff and also worried about hiring the wrong people as well the fi nancial strain of not having enough cash – because the growth curve was so steep.


These were just of a few of the issues that led to long hours and a lot of strain, and the situation came to a head one night when I took a rare evening off to meet up with an old friend and his father to see a basketball game in Brighton.

After the match Jo joined us in our local pub after working all evening. When she arrived my friend’s dad, Andrew, asked her how the business was doing – Jo burst into tears.

It was a real turning point in our lives as we realised that, having set the fi rm up in 2000 to give ourselves a better quality of life, by 2003 we were living to work, rather than working to live. It turned out Andrew was the perfect person to meet at that point in time as, and a few weeks later he introduced Jo and I to an exercise called Looking Back From Perfect, which changed our lives and helped us to reach our goal of freeing up time while increasing our income.

Having recently shared this at the annual

Giftware Association Member’s Day, I thought you might like to read it about it too – it’s also on my blog at from-perfect

When people fi rst read the title

Jeremy Corner is the owner of greetings card publisher @Blue_Eyed_Sun and wedding stationery experts @IvyEllen. Read his blog for greetings card retailers at


they could be forgiven for thinking I’m advocating some kind of perfect way of living – but this exercise is about focusing on YOUR perfect day/ week and aiming to live it on a regular basis, not living someone else’s idea of a perfect life. So, before you watch the video or read further,

it’s worth taking a moment to think about your perfect day or week. Who would be in it? What would you be doing? Would it fulfi ll you? Would it fulfi ll your loved ones? Would it be the kind of life you could live until your dying day and be proud of? If you’re

Looking back from per ect

In business and in life, everyone has dreams – achieving those goals is manageable if you get yourself in the right frame of mind and take some simple steps, as Jeremy Corner explains.

your imagined success, spend a moment refl ecting on some of the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve this goal and reach this point. List them out as they come to mind.

What Jo and I found so incredible about this mental exercise is that we already knew many of the things that were in our way. You will too.

Once you’ve

already living your perfect life, read no further. If you’re not, then this perfect week is a major goal in your life you have yet to achieve. It may be fi nancial, time-related, or may be something more personal like a relationship you’d like to improve or you’d like to lose weight or get fi t. Write this goal down now. Make sure it’s

specifi c, measurable, achievable, realistic and you aim to achieve it within a set time frame. Now, let’s say you have set the time frame a year from now. Fast forward in your mind and imagine you’re sitting drinking champagne 12 months on and celebrating having achieved this goal. Try to sense how you would feel at this point in time. Picture the detail of how your perfect week would work for you.

While you’re sitting there basking in the glow of

● Winning can cause problems - Jeremy and Jo with their first Gift Of The Year award, above, and Jeremy at the GA members’ day

identifi ed these obstacles you need to assess them in two ways. Firstly, work out how important each obstacle by working your way down the list comparing each one. Secondly, assess how well you

are currently overcoming each obstacle in comparison to the others. Again,

work your way down the list comparing the points until you’ve built up a picture of what

you’re doing well at and what you’re doing badly at. Now you can now fi gure out what to take action

on fi rst. For example, if you have poor sales but better ones are the most important way to achieve your goal, that’s what you focus on, and leave the least important stuff until later.

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