3. Put a Plan in Place:
“A vision is a dream with a plan” (Courage to commit)
Businesses have lots of plans—long-term strategic plans, annual operating plans, plans for each division, etc. You only need one because you can have some long-term goals and some short-term goals in the same plan. You can keep it simple and you can craft it to fit your needs, but the difference between having a simple plan and not having a plan is dramatic.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to Fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
The hidden challenge of plans—they are a set of commitments. Making a plan is a key part of being the author of your life. The sneaky challenge is that you must (1) decide what is important; (2) commit to action in a period of time; and (3) do it—act and persevere—“hold the course.” This is being the author in word and action.
In business people plan together. As a teenager it would also be useful to plan with others. You might all be working on your own plan, but you would enrich each other’s plans significantly.
- Your goals—what do you want to achieve, create, become? For goals that might take a long time, you can add interim goals (milestones along the way). You can add definition to your goals by defining how you would know if you had achieved the goal (sometimes that’s useful and sometimes the goal is clear enough by itself.)
- Key strategies/actions – what will you actually need to do in order to achieve your goal? A goal may only require a few actions, but other goals may require a bunch of actions.
- Your timeframes—by when do you want to achieve your interim goals or final goals? This can vary a great deal from goal to goal and sometimes you find that you have to extend the date, so don’t worry if that happens (unless it happens too much).
- Your supporters—who can help you reach your goals? Remember, heroes don’t go alone. Adults pursuing corporate goals also need supporters, so get used to creating a web of support.
That’s about as simple as it gets, but simple is good in most cases. Once you have started planning you will probably find that you keep discovering ways to improve your plan and make it more useful. There are other elements you can put in a personal plan, such as resources required or barriers to remove, but the five noted cover most of the territory most of the time.
- This is for me
- This is about me being the author and creating my life
- This is to guide me in reflecting on my life and what I can do.
- This is not about “completing” a task/plan
- This is not about complying with adult expectations
There are basic planning templates with guidelines that you can use in the Worksheet section. There is a very simple format and a more complex format. Whichever one you use, remember that they are only examples and you can adapt them to fit your approach. Adapt them to make them work for you.