Planning is boring. Planning is sometimes arduous. The awkward few that do like planning are almost social scourges to the rest of the world that hate planning. “There she/he is. . . the person that PLANS everything.”
However, everyday life and history point to the absolute need of planning on both the professional and personal fronts in life.
On the professional side, I am amazed when meeting with teams and organizations how few actually have plans, genuine thought out plans, of where they are going directionally. Most can articulate “purpose statements” and inspiring vision pieces. However, when you actually ask how this noble vision is going to take place, essentially how do you plan to accomplish this vision, vague and choppy explanations often ensue.
What will success look like for your organization/team this time next year? In 5 years? In 20 years?
In light of your purpose statement/vision, what needs to happen this week/quarter/year to get you going in this direction?
These and other questions are often followed by either bumbling, unintelligible answers or awkward silence.
One of the leadership clichés of which I often quote is, “if you shoot for nothing, then you will hit it every time.” I know this is a little trite and simplistic, but I do find great truth in this statement. Planning, real planning, not just vision platitudes, is essential to the success of any organization or team.
On a personal level, it is equally important to know where you want to be as a person and have a plan as to how to get there. If you want to be excellent in your chosen field, you must plan accordingly. We all get this. If I want to be a lawyer, I must first study for the LSAT, perform well in law school, and position myself to be hired at the firm of my liking. Same goes for those in education, business, the pastorate, and pretty much every other legitimate field.
I am convinced we need to take this way of professional planning to the next level and implement this in our personal lives.
Do you want to be a person of character, intelligence, compassion, and/or personal influence? Then you must set a plan in motion to get to that point.
The people I know whom have great marriages have ongoing, clear plans of how to continue to grow together. Where planning is absent in families, often indifference and/or lethargy sets in.
The people I know whom have time tested rock solid character have worked to get there. It didn’t just happen. If you want this, then you need to intentionally place yourself in environments where outstanding character is present and demonstrated. You need to surround yourself with people whom you admire and want your life to look like. Choosing good mentors and friends is not just something for children, but rather something that is critical for our entire lives.
If you want to grow spiritually, then you need to a plan for this also. It doesn’t just happen one day. You will almost certainly need to sacrifice time on stuff like TV and add in time in the Bible and other such helpful resources.
This all seems so simply, so intuitive, and it is. However, it is not easy and is rarely done well.
In my own life, where I have been intentional in planning for areas of growth, both personally and professionally, I have done well. It really is that simple. However, I still can get careless and lazy and let life come to me. I lose a sense of intentionality; I loose the practice of planning in areas of growth and life. These are the times I regret in life.
What do you think about planning on a personal level? I would love to see your thoughts and comments. . . .