Strategic Planning and Tall Trees
I spent 4 days this past week up in the beautiful Northern California Redwoods with my husband and son, enjoying some quality family time before the school year begins this Tuesday. It was beautiful, invigorating and the perfect way to wrap up summertime.
This is such an exciting time of year to me! Don’t get me wrong, I think summertime is TONS of fun, but often at the cost of productivity in business. Can you relate? I’m sure many of you can, especially the parents out there!
Well the gears shift in September, with the family reunions and vacations all behind us and the kids back in school. This is the time of year where people get fired up about business again, and it’s those who prepare for it that experience the greatest success! As Benjamin Franklin so wisely stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
So what do we do to best prepare?
I highly recommend creating a Personal Strategic Plan (PSP) if you haven’t already. I had an absolute blast creating my PSP at the beginning of the year. I followed a structure taught by my favorite Results Coach, Gary Ryan Blair. Yes it took quite a bit of time, but don’t all great things take some time and effort?
Now I have a vision SO crystal clear that I can make decisions and take actions without struggling and wondering if this is moving me forward or not. It is so incredibly refreshing to make choices with complete confidence and ease!
A PSP is basically an adaptable framework and guide for who you are, where you are going, what you do, and how, when and why you do it. It’s not something set in stone …. It’s really about having a plan so that life GOES according to plan! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with changing directions along the way, as long as you know what you’re doing and understand your reasoning.
The benefits of a Personal Strategic Plan are many:
• Provide direction, meaning, and purpose for your life.
• Create a personal vision that is filled with hope and opportunity.
• Guide your career for maximum growth and contribution.
• Make decisions that positively affect your future.
• Clarify your legacy and the necessary efforts you must make throughout your life.
• Become a better human being that adds value to society.
• Focus your energies on what’s most important.
• Achieve the greatest results in the shortest period of time.
• Significantly increase your level of performance.
• Enjoy more time, money, balance and freedom.
• Eliminate uncertainty, anxiety, doubt and fear.
• Leverage your skills more effectively and efficiently.
• Prepare for all life stages to include retirement.
• Enhance your quality of life, and overall peace of mind
• Be more, do more and ultimately to have more from life.
It’s important to keep in mind that this plan is a means to an end, never an end in itself! It’s a tool that, when followed, implemented and reviewed, can create opportunity and growth at an exponential rate.
So I took a few hours to myself while on our trip, and found a sweet little grove of Redwoods and began reviewing my PSP. There is something so incredibly grounding about sitting amongst the big trees! In fact, trees are such amazing and powerful reminders of what I’m talking about here….of the importance of creating a really strong foundation. As their roots reach down deep into the Earth, they can then reach higher and higher. And so it is with humans! It is SO important to remember to dig down deep, create a firm foundation, and THEN (and only then!) to reach higher.
It is when we get really clear about our core values and deepest passions (our roots) that we can move forward with unwavering certainty and faith. From these roots, we can rise up and display our impressive presence and towering strength (our trunk)! Finally, because we continue to dig deeper and deeper, we become a storehouse of wisdom and infinite expansion (our branches). I love this analogy of trees and humans…not surprising I suppose that Tree Pose in yoga is one of my favorites!
So I sat with the trees, absorbing their life-affirming energy, and began to evaluate the strength of my roots. I first re-read my entire Personal Strategic Plan, which consists of 12 parts:
I. Vision Statement
II. Legacy Statement
III. Mission Statement
IV. Personal Philosophy
V. Core Values
VI. Code of Ethics
VIII. Plans, Strategies, and Timelines
IX. Strategic & Behavioral Themes
X. Personal Board of Directors
XI. Personal Maintenance & Performance Review
XII. Personal Reasons Why
As I spoke these words out loud, I sat with the amazing energy that ran through my body. Yep, I’m still on the right track!
I looked at the places where my planning and actions were not aligned. The times I wish I’d risked more, been more and done more. I spent some time journaling about what I was allowing to hold me back, and what benefit I received from that allowing.
I also looked at the places where I met (and sometimes even exceeded!) my goals, and made sure to celebrate and acknowledge myself. Please never forget this step! We can so easily get caught up in the ways we could have done better, which is why it is so important to acknowledge ourselves when we’re rockin’ it!
The more consistent you are with your Review, the more growth you can expect. A monthly review works best, not only so you can continually refine and update your strategy for maximum effectiveness, but also because there is POWER in reading your Vision, Mission & Legacy Statements on a regular basis! It was exhilarating actually!
I have to admit this was only my second review since writing my PSP in January (and the first was in Feb….oops!) ~ but I am fully committed to my monthly review from here on out. It’s time to take things up a notch and have even more reasons to celebrate!
And if you’re thinking that you don’t have time to create your own Strategic Plan, I’ll just wrap up by sharing something that I learned and have found to be absolutely right on. And that is, that for every 1 minute you put in to planning your goals, activities and time, you will save 10 minutes in execution of those plans! That’s a 1000% return on your investment….and who doesn’t want that?!
Whether you are in the creation phase of your plan or it’s time to review, now is the perfect time. Don’t get to the end of the year and have that feeling that you could have done more. Dream it now! Plan it Now! Do it now! I’m definitely ready for an extra-ordinary final quarter of the year, and I hope you’re ready to join me!
“There will never be a day that will not require dedication, discipline, good judgment, energy, and the feeling that you can improve. Each day offers you an opportunity for improvement and each moment serves as an advance or retreat in the pursuit of your goals.
Personal development is a lifelong pursuit because life is a work in progress. You never totally arrive; there’s always some polishing to do, knowledge to gain, and love to deepen. Self-development ends only when we run out of time. You are, and will always be, a Self in evolution.” ~ Gary Ryan Blair