Planning Provides Platforms For Success
Not only should you write it all down as you go, you should write down Plan B, as well
For business success, or for any kind of success for that matter, a plan goes a long way.
Making a plan, and writing it down sets it concretely, not just in your mind, but on a physical page. Writing things down has many advantages, not the least of which is that when you flag, fail, or falter, the plan is still there.
Write down your life purpose
First of all, you must give yourself some “day-dream” time to figure out your life purpose. Many of us daydream about the freedom from debt. Or we imagine being respected, famous, influential, popular, or powerful. None of these things are your life purpose — nor, more importantly — do they have much to do with the steps you need to imagine to discover your life purpose.
Your life purpose will reflect the values you care about most. Do you care about your partner, your kids, your community? Write it down. Do you care about creating a better world, advocating for equality, or justice? Write it down. Do you adore art, or futurism, or wildlife, or music? Write it down. When you write down your true purpose, you reflect your true self. For most humans, our truest self is aspirational, a work in progress, not a negative critique of all our faults, or worse, our enemies. Eliminating debt, or finding popularity reflect what you lack. You want to write down what you can achieve, and what you can gain, not what you don’t have.
Write down all those points you can influence toward fulfilling your life purpose. If it is beyond your internal control, make a note not of what you cannot change, but of what you can do, to influence, or accept, or in any way make the most of what life gives you.
Write down short, and long, term goals
When you have a few pages describing our purpose, you can now set out some goals. You want to write down short term goals, how to put a team together, what kind of platform, or marketing ideas you like, or what accelerators or metrics you wish to have in place. Record what investment and costs you estimate to be, and what income you project. Write these down with specific numbers of weeks, or months, but don’t despair about moving deadlines.
You will also want to look at the bigger picture and write down goals for first year, second year, and even up to decades.
This writing should reflect your overall life purpose, and incorporate ideas, tips, advice collected and flexibility notes as you proceed.
Write down not only plan A, but plan B, …or the whole alphabet
As discussed, writing down specifics about your plans, and the need for flexibility is important. Flexibility is needed when any startup is begun.
This is a learning process with hundreds, if not thousands, of variables. Although it is extremely helpful to write down deadlines and preferences, you cannot beat yourself up every time one deadline is not met.
In psychology one school of thought mimics nature and is called Reality Therapy. Reality Therapy concerns your business in just three ways, often called the three R’s. They are Responsibility, Right, and Reality. Simply enough, you must allow yourself to be responsible for everything you can influence, or have a reaction to, as it happens.
You must write down what you think is right, and how to achieve your success the “right” way. You must respect reality. Respecting reality means actions have consequences. If you leave a shipment in the rain it will get wet. Write down how you would deal with that reality. If you don’t pay an advertiser, you could lose an account. Write down how you deal with that reality. Basically, write down any contingencies you fear the most, and how you would react. Then, when something completely non-planned for happens, (it will) go back to your notes and see, realistically, how you did as much as you could.
There is a another extremely useful aspect of working with reality. You have as many chances to get it right as reality will allow.
If you don’t close a deal, you don’t get steak knives, or fired, you get as many plan B’s, plan C’s, and Plan D’s as you are willing to offer the universe. In other words, write down all the ways in which you will treat yourself, and others, right, until it works.
Write down your plan for using time effectively
Time is one aspect of reality that is finite. Although you can give yourself as many chances as you want to succeed, you have only twenty-four hours in every day. Therefore, it is wise to write down as many ideas as you can collect on how to optimize your time.
Think of those twenty-four hours as a gift. Don’t look upon time limits as negative, but as a great equalizer. Every person, rich, or poor, genius or idiot, has the same twenty-four hours. When you write down ways to make the most of that time, choosing not to waste it on distractions, futile meetings, bureaucratic bogs, or wasted commute time, you can gain great insights.
Time must be broken down into supportive hours. Those hours should give you creative thought time, focused labor time, complete renewal, recreational, time, and inspiration time. Write down detailed notes on when you will stretch, take a food break, take meetings, and get out and walk around near trees, streams, songbirds, and nature.
Giving yourself written permission to do these things helps you value not just productivity in yourself and others, but permission to value what sustains productivity. It also proves you support the big picture, which is not just profit, but purpose.
Being a slave driver, to yourself, or others, doesn’t actually make people more productive at all.
You will also need to budget for shared time, and this means quality, not rushed, or impersonal, time with co-founders and/or investors, employees, customers, clients, and community. Don’t try to mix too much pleasure or too much business into one hour, instead plan them independently and don’t let one dominate over the other.
Write down your plan to stay inspired and impressed
Writing down your plans will set them in motion, and provide you with a way to check back in on your progress, reinforcing and reinvigorating your courage.
To complete this on-going process means you will also have to stay inspired to stay the course, writing down what works and what does not. It means you will value your life purpose enough to find out all the places, people, and products (or services) that serve to keep you determined.
Staying impressed means find out, and write down, what impresses you. If you are impressed by natural splendor, for example, you must keep that passion alive by returning to it again and again as a personal driver of your life purpose. If you are impressed by bright kids, spend time with them again and again, to find out what your are trying to provide for them, and what to offer the world.
This is essential to success, because burn-out is a vicious circle of non-inspiration and non-impression. We get burned out when we fail to be impressed by whatever motivated us in the first place. It is always a good idea to go back to Reality Therapy during discouraging moments, to realize you just have to give yourself flexibility and permission to be inspired and impressed once again.
If writing things down can trap you at your keyboard for too many hours, give yourself a set time. Just ten or fifteen minutes a day, will do the trick. The extra care you take will help you to influence others and stay determined to make the life you need out of the life you want.