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Planning for Success:
The First Ingredient
“It is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You’ve heard the old adage, “you can be whatever you want to be.” Nice, right? But a more accurate quotation would sound something like this, “you can be whomever you work to become.” The goals we seek in life demand work. Those who understand this — and are willing to work hard — are generally the people who succeed. There is nothing secret about success. No magic formula, mysticism, or Irish luck. Success comes from planning, discipline, and execution.
Part IV of our BLOG postings focus on the first ingredient of success: planning our respective goals and tasks. Planning is the direction we set to achieve our objectives.
Architects plan before they hire someone to build a house. They design blueprints that illustrate step-by-step tasks that the contractor must undertake to build the dream house for the buyer. Contractors could build a house without a blueprint. But what would the final product look like? Possibly a structure unlike what the buyer envisions and desires.
This example also applies for goals. The planning phase becomes our architectural blueprints that detail in a step-by-step fashion the tasks to achieve a desired effect or outcome. We begin by segmenting the planning ingredient into three phases:
- Planning Phase (1): Forethought of our objective or life achievement.
- Planning Phase (2): The plan of action – goals, benchmarks, and tasks – that we must undertake to achieve the objective.
- Planning Phase (3): Recognition of benefits.
Let’s briefly review each component.
Planning Phase (1): Forethought
What is your objective or life achievement? What do you want to do with your life? Do you have a financial goal that you want to achieve? What kind of a career are you going to have? We all have personal achievement goals; whether marrying someone rich, starring in a blockbuster movie, or perhaps climbing the corporate ladder of a Fortune 500 company. Goals make up our dreams, wishes, needs, and desires.
Remember Dave Mansfield, our ambitious young man introduced in the first chapter? He began his planning process by identifying the single thing that he wishes to accomplish — being elected the President of the United States. That ‘thing’ becomes his life objective and is placed in the pinnacle section of the Justwyn Model illustrated earlier. The objective becomes the vision representing what you want to become or to achieve.
Planning Phase (2): The Plan of Action
Dreams will remain dreams unless you act. If you dream to become a professional baseball pitcher, your plan of action requires that you eat, drink, and sleep professional baseball and pitching. You will awake early in the morning to pitch. You will rush home early from school to pitch. You will skip the neighborhood games to pitch. You will expense many hours day and night pitching, pitching, pitching to get you from point—here (the dream) to point—there (the mound at Yankee Stadium).
Designing a correct plan of action requires that you first identify the goals that will accomplish the objective. Then you prioritize the goals so that lower goals help achieve successive goals. Referring back to our young baseball pitcher, most people would advise this young man to practice, practice, and practice. Practice is an important goal — and is rightfully the most important goal that will achieve the young man’s objective.
But there are other young men throughout the world who will also practice and will be competing for the limited positions available in the big league. There are many other important goals required to make the big league. Can you identify them? Once identified, how should these goals be prioritized? Which goals will best support goals on a different achievement level? Identifying and prioritizing these goals are important concepts in the planning process.
Planning Phase (3): Recognition
The third and final component of the planning phase is recognizing the benefits. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What are you achieving? For example, a goal to run one mile each day should give you a more active body. A goal to read the Wall Street Journal each morning should develop a better business-educated mind. A goal to write each day should increase your articulation of ideas. Are these the benefits that you expect and want? If yes, you need to recognize them.
These anticipated benefits become the driving forces that prompts you to work. If no, then your plan of action is not achieving the desired outcome and you may need to revise your plan. With these concepts in mind, next time we will turn to the Justwyn Model to illustrate how to use these three components — forethought, plan of action, and recognition — to plan your path to success.
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