Life happens, and that’s why I don’t have a plan
Yesterday I told you I was taking my last flight out for a business trip. I was so relieved. I felt I had done my bit for the year.
I squeezed every last bit of life out of my creative mind to come up with one last mind-blowing business intervention that would leave one of my long term consulting clients with so much value that they would have no choice but to hire me for another year. And I did just that, I blew them away!
At last, I could rest…
And then life happened.
30 minutes before flying back home last night I heard that a client of mine in another city was going through a tough situation with a new manager that I had appointed for him. He needed me urgently.
I knew I had a responsibility to be there and while those thoughts of responsibility were spinning through my left brain, I was seeing flashcards, of my kids and wife’s ecstatic faces excited to start the holiday season, flashing through my right brain.
But I had all of this planned, how does this happen?
Why even bother to plan? Life just happens, doesn’t it?
And herein lies the conundrum: Do I continue planning if my plans never work out, or do I resign myself completely to the hapless happenings of life?
Luckily there have been men before us that have grappled with life long before we were even a twinkle in our father’s eyes. Dwight Eisenhower was the 34’th President of America and a general in the U.S. Armed forces and he said: “Planning is everything, the plan means nothing”.
And this statement is nowhere as clear as in business today. You need goals, and you need a plan to reach those goals. But do not be deceived, those plans will not all work out as you planned them. Its a fact and you’ve got to learn to deal with it.
Planning is all about scoping the landscape. Understanding what all the factors are that are involved in reaching your goals. Looking at all the obstacles, turning every rock to see what’s under it and whether it can kill you. It’s about identifying who and what you will need in terms of resources. It’s about playing out different scenarios and having a game plan for each.
Planning makes you focus on your strengths and eliminating the effects of your weaknesses. It’s about finding the opportunities withing the impending disaster. It’s about possibility thinking and complexity reduction.
When you’ve done all the planning and you move on your plan, you will soon find yourself in uncharted waters. You will see and experience things you have never seen before (provided you take risks, and risk is an important part of being an entrepreneur – more on this later) and you will have to deal with them.
But you will be so much more prepared for what you’re about to learn. You will know who to call in times of trouble; you will know of all the possible scenarios and what their triggers are; you will know what options you have; you will know where the end of your cash is. AND YOU WILL KNOW why you started all this madness.
Planning truly is everything and it always seems like a futile exercise. The problem is the way we think about planning. We make our plans and put our trust in our plans. When they fail, we’re disappointed and disheartened. But what if we could learn that the plan will always fail we will be in so much better shape emotionally. And if we are emotionally stable during a scenario trigger, we will be so much more creative with our reactions.
I am flying out this morning again to help my client. My family’s waiting at home on their dad who doesn’t seem to notice that it’s our Christmas holiday and doesn’t seem to have a plan.
I did have a plan, but life happened.
P.S. I drove through three big potholes last night on my way back home and damaged three expensive tyres and rims. I didn’t plan this either.
But tonight… Tonight I am back with my family with high hopes that our holiday is about to start. One thing is for certain, I will have a plan and I will make it happen.
I hope all of you have a great day. Plan well.