Plan for Action

If you really want to do something, it is going to take action on your part. Therefore, the question becomes, “What are you going to do?” If you’re going to go anywhere or accomplish anything you have to start by putting a proverbial step forward.

How are you going to do it?  Your step forward could be writing for an hour a day, researching ideas, or finding others who share your interests and coming up with plans. However, how you start your trek towards your future self is up to you. It should be something that you can do regularly, something that you like to do, and something that could put you closer to where you would like to be going.

One of the crucial questions is, “Who are you working with?” It might be friends in the neighborhood, or it could be some mentors who are professionals in the area you are looking to excel in. Or, it might be other business people who are helping you to find sound business footing and possibly some funding.

One of the biggest questions you’re probably going to ask yourself and consider carefully is, “Why is this going to work?” Considering the number of businesses that never make it out of the starting gate and the number of companies that failed to last 5 years, what is it that you are doing or others need, which will keep your business going for the long run? If you believe that it will work that is a good start. What you want to add is some data to back up your hunches. What are you going to look at?

So that leaves us with one question. Where do you Market? Is this a brick and mortar store item? Something for eBay or Amazon?  Do they buy from your website, and if so then how do you spread the word and advertise?  Who will buy this, and why? And, How do they even know you are out there?

Today, rather than giving you answers, I gave you questions to think about.  I know this looks hard.  The truth is the more you get into it, the more firm your entrepreneurship becomes.  And, if you work for the right answers during this exercise, the work you do can have positive results.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Your Plans Hands-On

I have a hard time believing we have been talking about plans for the last week. It seems like we just started on Monday. And although we have barely scratched the surface, being here today is a perfect thing because you cannot only read or talk about planning. To actually learn about planning, you have to get out and try it for yourself.

Is planning easy? That depends on what you’re planning. Is it foolproof? Not for anyone that I’ve known. Yet if you practice, and you work on planning, it will get better. You will learn what to anticipate, what you can account for, and things like the weather which you absolutely have no control.

The more you plan, the better you will get at it. The trick is to start early and start small. Plan how you want your bedroom to look. Start planning for yourself and your family. It is you get used to planning reach out for larger projects.

You may have heard that forgiveness is often easier to get than permission. Here is something else you also need to know. The higher you go in your profession, the more difficult forgiveness becomes. A worker on an assembly line is more likely to get leniency and mercy than a supervisor. A level one manager is for more likely to have an error overlooked then someone in the board room. This does not mean you should want to make mistakes, but they do happen, and it is not the end of the world.

The trick to making affirmative plans is to keep everyone in the loop, making sure they understand the goal and the means to get there. Not everybody will be thrilled at first because change is a hard thing for some people to accept and do well. If you work with them, they will come around.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Are Your Plans Working

We’ve been talking about making plans this week. Even though most plans will fall apart, the fact that you built a strategy gives you knowledge and forethought that will still help you to win the task. The question you want to ask yourself is how good are your plans, and how successful are they.

Your plans don’t have to work precisely as written to be valuable. Your ideas should be a good start and the basis of you completing the task before you. There will always be some rough roads and even some blockades as you execute your plan. And you will have to think on your feet to overcome them. This is true whether you are speaking with the customer, in the board room, or working with your own staff.

There are many people who, when hit with their first obstruction, call it a day and fail to even try to continue. When you run into insurmountable obstacles, you need to quickly look for a plan B, C, or D, and move off in the new direction. If you can keep your momentum driving forward, you have a chance of overcoming and succeeding.

The trick is to have faith. Faith in your product, your people, and your goals. If you believe you can, and are willing to do what it takes, you can do almost anything. The trick is to not give up on yourself.

Is this easy? Not really. Is it foolproof? No. Is the planning absolutely guaranteed? There are no guarantees in life. Yet, if you try this and you work at it, you may find these ideas to be useful tools that will help you as you plan what you want to do and where you would like to go next.

As with all my suggestions, there are no guarantees. Try something in small increments and if you find success try a little more. You will know what works for you and what does not.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Planning It Right

If you are reading this right now, I’ve got a pretty good idea that you are a human. As humans, we have a tendency to plan for things we are going to do. We do this knowing that when we put the plan in motion, the probability of our plans staying intact is very rare. Why do we plan?

We plan because doing so keeps us on our toes. Making a plan is a decisive action. It allows us to understand the aspects of what we want to do, what the ultimate goal is, and at least an idea of how we can get from start to finish. The more we plan, the better our knowledge concerning the needed actions becomes. Because of our planning, when an initial plan falls apart, it is much easier to recognize that fact and adapt based on various bits of information we learned while developing different scenarios.

A person who has not planned at all will have a much harder time adapting and overcoming when their first ideas fail. They will not understand the lay of the land, the resources available nor the variations in actions which could help them. Planning allows you to snatch victory from the teeth of defeat.

Planning is very economical. Planning saves you time in actually completing a task. It saves you money by knowing upfront what you need and procuring it ahead of time. A plan will actually save you worry because you know what is required and you have made arrangements and accounted for those needs. One thing that no one who ever won, completed, or participated in a project did was regret planning.

Next time you have a project, define what the project is, what the end goal should have within it. And then develop a plan of how to get from the beginning to the end. This works for all projects, both big and small. Don’t take my word. Try planning and let me know how it went.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Make a Plan

We’ve been talking this week about many things to do, and I can understand how easy it is to get overwhelmed with all the tasks we need to do day-to-day. Yet, we don’t have to do everything at once. With a little mapping and planning, you can balance the load. Checklists and roadmaps that you can develop will go far in helping you to attain your goals.

Can you buy the checklists filled out and ready to go? You can’t. You can’t reach out to some other agency and purchase something that is strictly for you. Can you read books and get help? Yes. Can you draw a map of where you are and where you want to get to and then fill in the steps between here and there? Sure. If you put something on paper, you’re more likely to get to where you want to go. Just remember each individual is different and the chances of your checklist looking like anybody else’s is probably very low. And that is okay. After all, as you go along, you’ll find out it is the trip, not the destination that really matters.

Figure out where you are and what you have. Then figure out where you want to end up and what you will have there. Do your research. Not only finding out about the destination online, find people who actually are there, and talk to them. Find out from them if they are experiencing and doing the things that you want to experience and do when you get to your final destination. You don’t want to take a long trip to somewhere that is going to disappoint you in the end.

Once you know where you are and what you want to do, break the work up into significant milestones. Look at each section is a shorter goal within itself. Understand what you’re working for and why it is essential to your overall goal. And ensure that everybody who’s going with you understands how vital each milestone is to the entire trip.

Everybody’s on a trip to somewhere. If you take the time to document where you want to go, where it will take to get there, and what the benefits and rewards will be once you’re there, you will probably have a smoother trip. A trip that can be a lot more fun and enjoyable.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Got A Plan?

No matter how well we plan and how secure we think we are we never really know if the good times will last or not. We have great government jobs, and the government shuts down. We save and invest what we earn in great wealth, and the market turns on us, or technology makes our investments fruitless. Sometimes we just cannot count on getting a break.

If you can see yourself as someone who has these worries, do not despair. There is no easy Street, for even those who we think live on easy street often have stresses and heartaches that would break the average person. What you do have and can become more aware of in your life is your great ability for resilience.

Resilience is a great thing. Think of resilience like the old Timex™ watch commercial, it means that you can take a licking and keep on ticking. It says that no matter what is thrown in front of you, you’ve developed a plan of action to get you where you want to go.  You have made contingency plans that if something happens, you have a workaround or a what to do next.  You are on top of it.  Do you have those plans?

You may not get to your final goal, however. If you don’t hit it, you’ll probably come close. That’s what insightful planning does. And if you do not get to where you want to be, at least you have a plan not to get to where you would hate to be. You know how to be resourceful, and you know how to be committed. Are your plans in place?

Have you considered weather, government, and global financial tragedies and set contingency plans accordingly?

So, I have to ask you, of what you have read so far, is this who you are or who you would like to be? Although most of us are aware of many of these problems and the fact that there’s going to be good and bad in all of our lives. We plan more seriously for where we want to go and much less for what could happen along the way. I don’t wish bad for anybody, yet I sincerely hope we all at least have some ideas of the what ifs.

If you are interested in information on planning for your future growth, please send me a quick reply. I will send you some info.

Thanks for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Pace Yourself

When I see new things, I want to do them. I’m a very kinesthetic learner. This means I want to see, do, touch, try, rip apart and put back together. I want to know what it can do, what it could do, and where both it’s positives and negatives begin and end. If you aren’t sure, I am one more of those tumultuous ENFP people.

The problem is, I often find myself overbooked and tied to so many commitments and due-by dates, I cannot get anything done well. I am not the only person like this. I know many people in the corporate world who face this type of problem on a daily basis. Luckily, I once worked for the smartest Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force. When I found myself wrapped up in commitments, he would tell me to slow down.

When my Chief Master Sergeant told me to slow down, I had a tough time initially understanding what the Chief was trying to teach me. I was running full speed 12-hours a day, and I could not keep up. I had no idea how slowing down could get everything done. One thing I did know was that he never frivolously told anybody anything. If he told me to slow down, it was because he had been there, and he knew how to get out of the hole.

When a Chief Master Sergeant tells you to slow down, he is telling you to take grasp of your commitments. If something is needed and doable, do it. If other items are more urgent, do them first and get a reasonable extension for everything else. Have a plan of what you will do and when. Every time a new request or commitment comes in, put it into the plan. Does this mean your plans will change? Yep. A calendar or plan of To-Dos is never absolute. Plans and schedules are only directions that are hoped for until the next crisis or higher need shows up. You have to stay flexible in an ongoing situation.

This whole system only works if you are genuine to yourself and to those who are counting on you. You will need genuine communication skills to keep everyone you work with, and all your stakeholders in the loop. When a Chief Master Sergeant tells you to slow down, he is not telling you to take it easy. He is advising you to get yourself and those who count on you organized.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

 

Prepare in moderation

We had a beautiful snowfall last night. It clung to the yard and even to the street. We knew what was coming, we just did not know how much snow we would get. Sometimes life is like that. We know something is happening, we just don’t have knowledge of how intense it may be or how much it will affect us.

The trick in dealing with the question of amounts is not to get carried away. Being prepared is always good. Just don’t plan or spend for something that would cause pain if it did not happen. Think of it as a measured response in everything.

 

It is easy to get carried away. I remember the first year I was in Alaska with the Air Force. We had significant snow early in September, and I went downtown and had studded snow tires put on my truck. What I did not understand, because it was my first year in Alaska, was that the snow would melt right away, and we did not get another heavy snow until late October. So, I had spent money on snow tires that just weren’t needed for another couple of months. I would be better off if I purchased the tires later when I really needed them.

I know we all take such actions, trying to stay ahead of the circumstances before us, and often spending to procure things we don’t need right away. I think that’s the way we are as a society. We are often looking forward and planning. Although it is good to look ahead and prepare, there are also some problems that can be caused in some related actions.

We need to be careful not to purchase too much, for it may not all be required. Even worse, we can buy things too early, and by the time we need them, we cannot remember where we stored them. Then we have to go out and spend more money to purchase them again.

The trick is to find moderation in preparedness. We have the things that we usually use, and maybe a few items for just in case. We need to not go overboard one way or the other, and we should have a plan to know what’s where.

 Just by putting in a little bit of forethought, we could spend less, enjoy things more, and have some real preparation of what may come, without spending too much.

Just one mean old master sergeant’s thoughts.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Transition

It feels like this may be the last hot day of the season. Coolness starts to come back tomorrow along with the possibility of rainstorms in and out for the rest of the week. More and more our weather puts us into not one season or another, instead, into a state of transition.

No matter how much we strive to find a permanent place, whether it is work, home life, or even the climate, more and more we find ourselves in a state of transition. We often fight transition wanting to stay where we are, doing what we know, and living the life we have. Believe it or not, we actually want to stay where we are, whether we like it or not.

The trick is to embrace transition when it comes. We want to get out in front of the change. Why? Because failing to do so puts us at the whims of the winds of fate. We can either enter transition not knowing where we will end up and having to live with the consequences or when change is upon us we can plan and research and act in a method which will help us to end up where we want to be. The choice is ours.

When I was 42, and just out of the Air Force, I actually built a layoff business plan. My dad was Army, I was Air Force, and I really didn’t understand how the civilian world worked regarding employment. I did know, to find a job I wanted, I had to go out and find one.

Although the factory I worked at did not close for 14 more years, the fact I had written that plan, served me well when needed. The fact that my family and I made it through those times and grew better because of them, I believe, proves that with a little fore-thought, guidance from above, and faith, transitions are not to be feared.

Transitions merely keep us excited about what is to come next. Change can be large or small, or better or worse. More than anything else change is what you make it.

Protocols

It’s another day, and my list of things to do is growing, and growing, and growing. I was explaining to a good friend yesterday a portion of what I was trying to do. The conversation helped me to realize how much I’m trying to accomplish and made me ask the question, “Am I actually accomplishing something, or am I just continuing to add to the heap?”

Often, I feel like I am trying to level a mountain, and it just keeps growing under me. How does this come to be? Not being able to say no very well. Wanting to do many things. And the biggest of all not having a robust set of procedures to help manage my personal and professional life.

Most successful people have some plan to help ensure good self-care. Good self-care helps to ensure you are ready to do good for yourself and others.  They start with a set of protocols for self-care. They have a process and a time for preparing and going to sleep. They have a set of actions and a time for getting up in the morning and know what they’re going to do to prepare for the day. These protocols may be identified as morning rituals, standard operating procedures, processes, or something else. It doesn’t matter what they’re called the only real question is whether or not they work. Protocols only work if they are used.

If you don’t have protocols for self-care, it is never too late. You set your mind to the fact that you will try something and stick with it.

You can set a time to go to bed, and prepare for that time by curtailing the use of interactive electronics about an hour before then. You could choose to write or read instead of playing computer games. Sleeping in a cool room without much light gives you better rest.

Plan when you will wake up in the morning and what you’re going to do. What do you need to do to feel good at the start of the day? Take a shower? Shave something? Exercise? Grab caffeine or something to eat? Go over your plans for the day?

You can do many things to improve life and make it work in your favor. Only you know what is best for you. You are the one that will know for sure. I can tell you that a little planning and commitment can go a long way in helping.

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