Your Perfect Plan
As you plan your future, whether we’re talking about your monthly sales volume, income goals, personal goals, retirement goals, or long-term career goals, do you get stuck in the planning phase, or do you take action?
"By this, I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week." – General George Patton (Patton, George S. War As I Knew It.)
I agree with General Patton that action is more important than perfection, mainly because there is no such thing as a perfect plan.
The Best of Intentions
Identifying your intentions is the easy part.
Creating the plan is more difficult.
Taking acting is even more difficult.
Allowing for detours along the way while still heading toward your goal is where most people fail.
In this article, we’ll focus primarily on the planning and action portion of the process and touch briefly on the goal itself.
In his book The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz identifies three departments of your life where you may have vague ideas of what you’d like to accomplish. They are:
- The Work Department
- The Home Department
- The Social Department
What is the vision you have for yourself in each of those departments?
"A goal is a dream with a plan." – Jeffrey Gitomer (Gitomer, Jeffrey. Get Sh*t Done)
What Is Your Dream?
Do you want to be rich? Do you want to get promoted? Do you want to live in a house with an ocean view?
Take that dream and turn it into a plan.
If you want to live in a house with a view of the ocean, you’ve already identified your goal.
Now, quantify it.
What do you want specifically? Visualize it.
Specifically, what ocean are you overlooking?
- Can you see the ocean from your bedroom, or do you have to go out onto the deck?
- Is your house close enough to allow you to smell the salt of the ocean, or is having the vista your dream?
- Does it relax you to see the vastness of the ocean? What does that feel like?
What will it take to achieve this goal?
The answer is not to win the lottery or inherit money. Achieving this goal is up to you and the plan you make.
This particular goal will likely require money and being poised to act when an opportunity presents itself.
While the perfect plan would be very detailed and include activities you can do each day to reach this goal, what good plan can you, as General Patton said, violently execute today financially to start down the path to this goal?
- Check the balance in your checking account and move as much money as possible into a savings account right now!
- Give up expensive habits that chip away at your current income
- Dial the phone right now to set an appointment with a financial planner
- Call your cell phone company to see if there is a less expensive plan
Can You Execute Some Version Of Your Plan Right Now?
What plan can you execute right now to give you the best opportunity to act when an opportunity presents itself?
- Check real estate listings to determine the best location to achieve this goal. (The TV show Beachfront Bargain Hunt comes to mind.)
- Is there an employer closer to your dream location where you can work so you can keep a close eye on listings?
- Can you begin to sell or give away extra stuff you own so packing and moving would be less expensive?
A Detailed Plan
Of course, you will need a detailed plan to achieve this goal. Of course, there is a lot more to attaining big goals than leaping before you look.
There is a tremendous goal-planning resource designed by the legendary salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. You can purchase it from the Ziglar website at the following link (I have no financial gain if you purchase from this link):
To reach your goal, you will need to break it down into activities you can do daily that will gradually get you closer and closer to your dream. Don’t substitute violent execution for lack of planning. Keep perfecting your plan. Keep making specific and measurable progress toward your dream. But don’t let the need for a perfect plan keep you from getting started.
Set your big goal. Use every resource possible to create a perfect plan to achieve it. But, more important than perfection, execute your plan.
Identify things that need to be done, and start doing them today.
Be Ready To Detour
Some things can happen that will put up perceivably insurmountable roadblocks to achieving your plan.
- A death in the family
- An unexpected reduction in income
- A medical setback
Realize that these are detours, not dead ends. Your big plan can stay; you may need to get there by going down a different road.
For example, You may have been painlessly putting 20% of your gross pay into an investment, but a job change now makes it very painful. Ok, invest 10%. Is there another luxury you’ve allowed yourself to keep when you earned more money, but you can now give up in exchange for the ocean view?
Make a detour. Make a change. Keep pursuing your goal.
Make a good plan. Execute it right now. Perfect your plan as you go.