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Growing up I used to love watching the television program, The A-Team. I would plan my entire daily schedule around the show’s airtime. Now, for those of you too young to remember the show, it was a group of wrongfully accused military personnel who were hired to complete seemingly impossible missions by individuals who had tried everything else to get justice. The missions the team went on were fantastic to watch, especially for a young boy who loved the adventure and action. At the end of every show the leader of the team, Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, would chew on his cigar and say, “I love it when a plan comes together.” At 6 years old I had no idea how profound that statement was, and how it pertained to every aspect of life, both personally and professionally, until I was much older.
In today’s fast paced world it seems that we all have too many “things” to get done and often feel overwhelmed, especially if the task we’re facing feels like an impossible mission. So, why do some people seem to be able to achieve phenomenal results, while others barely make ends meet? The answer is simple – those able to achieve great things in their personal and professional lives have a plan!
Being intentional and disciplined about the life and business we want to create are the cornerstones of achieving that success. Now, you may have a different definition of success and that’s okay! Success is different for everyone which is a good thing; otherwise we would all be striving for the same things which would make life pretty boring. Having a plan allows you to do more than you may have thought possible because the action steps you need to take are broken down into smaller chunks, and with persistence and execution the goal that seemed impossible becomes possible. Here are a few reasons planning works.
1. Time Savings – For every 1 hour you spend planning, you save 3-4 hours in execution. Business owners often tell me there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Interesting comment when you consider we all have the same 24-hours in a day and people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Sir Richard Branson have built successful companies given the same time constraints we all have. The difference? Strategic planning and valuing their time above everything else
2. Clear Target – Without a clear target, how is anyone supposed to hit the mark? When was the last time you scheduled time out to sit down and get clear on where you want to go? Most people spend more time planning their family vacation then they do planning for personal and business success. By getting really clear on what it is you want to achieve and why it’s important to you, the “how” becomes easier to identify and execute. Remember, clarity is power!
3. Control – The only things we can control are what we can control. There are a number of external factors that come into play which can leave you feeling lost, but everyone in your industry has to deal with those external factors. By mapping out the potential obstacles and planning accordingly, you can mitigate some of the challenges that may pop up along the way. Having a well thought-out plan allows you to pivot quicker than those who do not have a plan in place, and think of the advantage that gives you in the marketplace.
I challenge you to make the time to get out of your business for a half-day or full day and get the plan in your head down on paper. If you really want something you will find a way; if you don’t want something you will find a reason not to. You have to get really good at planning, and if you are not quite there yet find a coach or mentor who can help you develop your planning muscle. You will be glad you did!
Author: Drew Schwegman, Business Coach in Fort Thomas, KY