Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Planning is dreaming by visualizing the future in a direct coordinated way. There are three components that are critical to the process—passion, vision and action. Passion is the fire in your gut, what makes you get up and go forward each day. Passion wont let you go, it whispers in your ear and tugs on you consistently to do what has been nagging your heart. It’s the heart power you feel.
Action is the glue that holds this triangle together and creates the stability. When you start out with a dream, the result is a vision statement. Only action will make this move in the direction you wish. Here’s how to take action to make your dream a reality.
Developing a strategic plan helps you look at where you want to go by visualizing what the future looks like and then creating an action plan with steps back to where you set today. This is tied to your vision. What will the company look like? Who are the customers? And what are the changes to your culture? Looking over the horizon, what new products or services are needed? Look at all the company details. How can you better incorporate technology to build efficiency. This is reverse engineering the process.
Planning is much like building a house. You don’t start putting 2x4s together to make walls without a plan. Much like a building plan, there are parts that are necessary to the structure, and parts that are optional. If you look at a business or a professional practice as a house, we must determine the critical factors. Most certainly revenue and expenses, administration and marketing are a few. This is the vision as a clear picture of what your business would look like over the next few years. The further you can see out, the better.
Additionally, it’s important to write your process down for review. Without a record, there’s nothing to look at when you hit the limit, then adjust. This is where your passion comes in. When you hit a wall, it’s easy to give up, but this is the critical point in time not to give up. The burning in your gut is what tells you this is the right plan and to keep going. Your passion is the power to find solutions and take the next steps to help you reach your goal.
Many times it seems that all you see is obstacles, but obstacles are part of the reset to new stronger limits. This is also where the third component, action comes in: don’t stop. You must keep moving and trying new options and strategies. If you stop, you’re dead in the water and it takes more energy to begin again than to keep going.
There will be mistakes and changes within the timeframe, of course, but that’s part of the process. It’s commonly known that one of the greatest inventors, Thomas Edison, failed 10,000 times before perfecting the light bulb. He viewed each unsuccessful experiment as an attempt to find the solution. When faced with a mistake, no doubt he said, “That’s one more thing we know won’t work.” Consider each mistake a gift.
Once you see the long-term picture, then work your plan tactics and bench marks backward to a final solution for today’s best situation. For example, if the goal is to double revenues in the next 10 years, you can’t just divide the total by 10. You must start with a reasonable increase that is doable next year. All the parts build on the previous result, at times it will seem that you won’t progress or make the annual benchmark, this is time for review and reset. Build your benchmarks like an exponential curve, which is flat for most of the period, and to accommodate for setbacks. Then compound growth takes over and eventually it may go near vertical.
Using tactics is part of the process that will help you adjust the reset and make sure you deliver consistent results over time. But keep referring to the three components—passion, vision and action to guide your progress. Once you have all the tactics complete, its time to prioritize the processes. For example, which product is most important? Then, double the time, resources, and energy that should be allocated to the most important processes.
Planning is a creative process and nonlinear, so think outside the box. Try to see beyond the horizon and imagine what you would do to add more products to you mix, and how that affects the current mix. Which product should be shut down or discontinued? A white board, or a bulletin board with 3x5 cards is a good starting place with new information. Write everything down then re-arrange as necessary.
Remember, planning depends on the three critical areas—passion, vision and action. When you wake up at 3 a.m., and you’re trying to figure out a concern or problem, it’s time to go back to your basic triangle and all its conventions. Obstacles are normal and gifts to your success, savor them like fine wine, though it won’t seem so at the time. Take time to relax and let insights guide you in this process—spend time at the beach, or at the lake in quiet contemplation. Let your passion fuel your dream, see it, make a plan and take action to your best 2020 ever.
Charles J. Root, Jr. CFP is the founder of Double Eagle Financial. He has been in Santa Rosa for over 40 years. He and his partner-spouse, Sharon, take care of clients to enable them to build their retirement and a successful legacy. They have many happy satisfied clients. He and Sharon can be reached at (707) 576-1313. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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