As summer begins, many of us are gearing up for a busy wedding season but also taking some time to work out the knots of winter through long walks, weekends, and talks with friends over al fresco lunches. I personally like to spend the summer planning for the rest of my year. Where am I now? Where is it that I want to be in six and twelve months time? These are never easy questions for me to answer, at least not when I am giving them the attention, time, and focus they deserve.
Think about it: We often hear about the importance of having dreams and goals, but how many times do we sit around thinking of all of the wonderful–yet abstract–things we hope for without actually coming up with a plan of action? How can we take the necessary steps to move from dream to reality when we don’t have a clear idea as to where we are going?
Here are a few things I have learned through my own mistakes:
We Must Have More Than a Concept: As with design, strategic planning starts with an overall concept that must then be followed with a few “renderings” so to speak. Having a general idea about where you want to be is not enough. Write, draw, or paint it out in detail. What does the goal look like? What are the key elements in the overall design? What materials, skills, and support will you need to build it? Break it down. As my CFO, Anne, says, “If you want to own a blue house, you are going to need to buy a house, a paint brush, and some blue paint.”
There is No Reward Without Research: We have all heard that knowledge is power, but how so? It allows you to access the information that will help you prepare for obstacles, avoid making some (not all) mistakes, and likely serve as an inspiration resource you can utilize to polish your own path, reputation, or profession.
Speaking of Obstacles, What Are Some of Yours? Make a list of some of the challenges you may face and then come up with two or three ways you will deal with them.
Track Your Progress: Just as you would track your sales and web traffic, paying attention to your movement will not only help you stay focused, but it will also highlight what is working for–and against–your success.
Fail Fast: If you recognize that something is not working for you, cut your losses and move in a new direction. Moving further down the wrong path while hoping to stumble on a fork that will put you back-on-track takes the control of your own destiny out of your hands.
Dare To Make Your Dreams Come True,
(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)