Today I want to talk to you about: The Importance of Having a Plan.
The clock has already begun to tick for 2015. And if you want to make certain you’re not in the same place when this year comes to an end, as you were when 2014 did, you need to have a plan.
Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes said, "The person who has a plan, has their battle half won." You see, your plan is what takes you from where you are – to where you want to go. You can look at your plan as your map to your goals.
Personally, I believe there simply is no better way to fail in life, then to not have a plan. That's why the phrase "failing to plan, is a plan to fail," has become a cliché.
Too many people have this illusion, this illogical and ill-found notion that if you work hard - you'll be successful. However, I'm here to tell you, that's just not true. Because there's nothing more common – than a hard-working, unsuccessful person these days.
You see, what separates the successful, from the unsuccessful, is the fact that successful people attacked their days methodically. They have a plan. And they work their plan. Successful people don’t confuse activity – with accomplishment. Because people who succeed in life, know that there’s a big difference between busyness, and significance.
One of the lessons I've had to learn the hard way is: You can work your tail off, and not get anywhere. You HAVE to work your tail off, and constantly be angling toward your goals. And that’s where you plan comes in. Your plan is nothing more than a sequence of events, that helps you bring your goals to reality. Now I’ll warn you: Writing a plan is not easy, but I assure you, it's worth every ounce of energy you spend on it. It will save you a tremendous amount of time in the long run.
You see, too often people talk about: The Art of the Start, and give the advice: Do something. Take action. Start now. But I disagree when they say this. And here's why: Let's say you lose your job and you go home and rearrange the furniture. Well, you did something – but not necessarily something that's going to have an impact on your future income, or lack there of.
Undeniably, taking action can be powerful, dynamic and sexy! However, you need to take the RIGHT action. This is where your plan comes in. So my advice to you is, before you, "do something," "take action," or "start now," FIRST, make a plan. Because all too often, people are busy taking action, but it's the action akin to running on a treadmill - they're wearing themselves out, but they're not getting anywhere.
You might be thinking - where do I begin? And the best advice I can give you – is to start with a vision of where you want to go. Thomas Watson was once asked how he built IBM from his garage into a worldwide giant? Watson said, "I imagined what I wanted, and worked backward." Watson explained, "One has to analyze the PAST, consider the PRESENT, and visualize the FUTURE."
So write down where you want to go in life. Then write down the schedule you'll follow to get there. Write down the goals you’ll need to achieve. Then write down your plan to achieve those goals.
Because when you have a map, you'll always know which road to take. And unless you choose to ignore your plan, your plan will force you to be accountable, for your own success – or failure.
Let me close with this: There's a scene in the movie Alice in Wonderland, where Alice comes to a fork in the road. She sees a cat in a tree and asks the cat, "Would you please tell me which way I should go?" "That all depends a great deal on where you want to go," the cat responds. "I don't care much where," Alice says. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," the cat replies.