It’s interesting when I ask people about their future plans. They tell me things like “my plan is to be debt free in three years.” I respond by saying that’s a terrific vision, so what’s the plan to get there?
I often see a deer in the headlights kind of look.
That indicates to me that most people don’t understand that merely having a vision does absolutely nothing to ensure you achieve it. A vision of your future come from dreams and the attainment of that vision comes from planning.
Almost all people believe having goals is important. Many actually have written their goals down. Few however, have any kind of a formal plan for how, and when, they will achieve those goals. They can only hope it will somehow magically happen.
I suppose it’s possible but personally I’ve never seen hoping for magic actually lead to success.
The development of a true plan requires a complete examination of your starting point, your “As Is” or current situation. You need to be very honest here and not sugar coat the starting point on your journey to success. If you try to fool yourself in this step every other part of your plan will be wrong. You’ll demotivate yourself before you even have a chance for success.
You also need to have a clear vision of your future. Where you are going and why you want to go there. This is the “Should Be” part of your plan. Keep in mind, this is not your goals, this is where you end up when your goals are achieved.
Now that you have that end result in mind you need to decide what you’re willing to give up to have it. Life is a trade off. Many people think in terms of what they are willing to do to achieve their vision. They fill their plans with all the things they will do to make it happen.
But they forget they only have 1440 minutes a day. If they are busy people most of that time is already used up. If you’re going to do new things to achieve your vision then you’ll almost certainly have to let some of the things you had been doing go. Build those into your plan as well. Be realistic about the time you’re willing to commit, failing to do that will result in the failure of your plan.
Now you can set some goals. These goals are the stepping stones on your path to success. You’ll want some short term goals, some medium term goals and some long range goals. All the goals must align, what that means is that the accomplishment of each short term goal should get you closer to one of your medium term goals.
The accomplishment of each medium term goal should get you closer to a long range goal. The accomplishment of every goal should move you closer to your actual vision. Be careful when setting goals, if they stretch you too far you could give up on them. If they don’t stretch you far enough then you’ll likely never see that vision come to life. Be realistic!
Now the truly important part. The timetable! When will you begin? I mean exactly when will you begin? Spell this out down to the minute. Not next month or next week. The plan must say I will begin at 8:03am on Monday the 27th of June. Be precise.
Every goal needs a precise start time and achievement date and time. I’ll begin working towards this particular goal on July 13th at 11:51am and I’ll have accomplished it by August 21st at 2:02pm.
Your plan also must include the ultimate accomplishment date. When EXACTLY will the vision come to life.
Imagine the motivation that comes from knowing exactly what you’re doing everyday and exactly why you’re doing it. That’s powerful.
Now, here’s where most plans go off the rails. “Stuff” as they say happens. And that’s perfectly okay because part of your plan includes periodic reviews to adjust the time frames for the goals and maybe even adjust some of the goals. The most common mistake in planning is tossing the plan in the trash as soon as the first unplanned obstacle pops up.
Adjust, adapt, innovate and keep moving towards your ultimate vision.
The most successful people are steadfast in the pursuit of their goals but they are flexible in that pursuit. Let the “stuff” happen, but don’t get stuck in it.
On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”
My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there.
You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.