Yesterday, I played tennis with my husband, Doug, and my son, Liam. When we first started, both of them were hitting the ball as hard as they possibly could, but not necessarily keeping the ball on the court. After one particularly huge swing, which resulted in the ball leaping over the 10 foot fence, I looked at my son and said, “So what’s your plan here?” To which he laughed and shrugged his shoulders.” I laughed, too, and said, “OK, why don’t we start with simply keeping the ball on the court and see if Dad will make a mistake?” That plan worked out, or at least it was better than the “hit the ball as hard as you can” plan.
Having a plan—for everything—is important and, some would argue, critical. It’s just as important for corporations as it is for an individual. And it may be the single most important tool we use on a daily basis to achieve success. Planning is the act of setting goals and defining the actions required to achieve the goals. Planning puts us in the driver’s seat with a clear vision of what we want to accomplish. Without it, we wander aimlessly, which is unequivocally not the best way to achieve success.
Today, pick one goal you want to achieve (it could be a promotion, weight loss, or something even simpler, but pick one). Now write down you best-guess as to how you will achieve this goal. What is the best possible route? What are some of the possible pitfalls? Who will hold you accountable? I am not telling you this will be easy, but I can assure you of one thing: swinging as hard as you can is not a plan and it will surely result in you getting tired and frustrated quickly. So make a plan. Execute the plan. Makes changes along the way. And for goodness sake, laugh! This is supposed to be fun! We got this!
PS I recently wrote an article that was published in Thrive Global on this topic. Check it out here: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/stop-drifting-through-life/