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Success in life and business means getting certain results.
Results have to be well prepared mentally, emotionally and practically. This preparation is called planning, from the first notion of an interesting topic to a detailed blueprint for swift execution.
Some people hate planning because they fear it would restrict their creativity or because they have experienced that plans never seem to turn out exactly as they were originally conceived on paper.
Respecting these understandable objections, I want to emphasize right from the start that plans must always breathe flexiblity and remain open for new and better ideas. But skipping the planning phase altogether and trusting only ingenious but chaotic improvisation would be a dramatic misconception.
So remember, “Failing to plan means planning to fail!” and keep Murpy’s law in mind, “What can go wrong, will go wrong!” if you leave it to chance.
Now let’s start by making a plan for our plans.
What are the phases to be considered?
1. Getting ideas means permanently brainstorming what would be worth doing or having. Let’s get out of our comfort zone and try to conquer the world of possibilities.
2. Selecting an idea means deciding that, out of ten or even a hundred options, this is the one for now, and it will get our full and undivided attention.
3. Identifying with this idea means visualizing its advantages and being fully motivated to conquer them for ourselves in the near future.
4. Making the new idea a goal means formulating the hoped for outcome in a neat and persuasive sentence, that we can write down and pin before our eyes, so we will constantly be reminded of what we are aiming for.
5. Specifying and visualising the outcome means painting an exact image of the planned outcome and defining all the properties we want to consider during the execution of our plan.
6. Finding the most effective strategy means defining the shortest and most promising path to our goal.
7. Designing the path of stepping stones means breaking our goal down into easily achievable sub-goals and mentally organizing their best sequence.
8. Finding the critical points means defining what possibly can go wrong and brainstorming for appropriate solutions in advance.
9. Getting and absorbing the necessary know-how means being aware that new goals always comprise new knowledge that we must find and take in before we start acting.
10. Learning the necessary skills means being aware that knowledge is not enough. We need intense training to really get to master the necessary actions.
11. Designing the blueprint means detailing our plan to a degree, so that everybody involved will know exactly what to do and how and when to do it.
12. Testing the blueprint means doing a practical test run through our plan before we give ourselves the final go. This will allow us, once more, to identify potential weak points and to think of better solutions in advance.
13. Adjusting the plan means reformulating the designed procedure according to the reality of Murphy’s law and, maybe, even changing our goal itself into something more realistic.
This would be the masterplan for our plan. I know, it seems quite complex at first. But we can’t skip any of its phases.
In future lessons we will smoothe out our way through this checklist and submit it to a practical test itself.
See you in the next lesson.
Personal and Business Coach
Illustration “Stairs”: © 123rf/stockfoto/Markus Gann