I’ve been self-employed since 1987 and in “sales” of some sort or other since 1980. A time-honoured tradition through all those years has been the sleep-interruption – one or two nights before work recommences after the Christmas/New Year break. For me it was last night. In bed at a reasonable time after two weeks of R&R. Wakes at 03:00 in a cold sweat, thinking about the year ahead – the opportunities seem good but (in the dark) the challenges seem bigger than they really are. Like light refracting through a pond and making a goldfish look like a shark. The lack of light in the early hours magnifies the roadblocks ahead and I lay there for a couple of hours running a loop in my head of “Oh my God, here we go again, how am I going to pull it off this time?” Sleep finds me eventually and I wake at 09:30 this morning (the last sleep in) feeling exhausted by the night. Today is a national holiday and I’ll bet that lots of self-employed business owners will be investing some time in preparation for the year ahead. The consensus is that we are going to have to work a bit harder for our success in 2011. Annie reminds me that we had the same conversation a year ago – resulting in my best ever year. In the same way that a Premier League football team have to “keep winning” – we have to pull all the stops out to stay ahead. It IS tough at the top – and football teams get to buy new players – you and I have been selected for every game in our league for years now – no footballer could match that!