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

VII. Goals

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

Yours in Health & Prosperity,

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54 Responses to “Strategic Planning and Tall Trees”

  1. Hi Beth,

    I enjoyed your analogy between a tree and an individual’s planning.

    A strong base allows you to weather the storm while reaching higher. Strong trees also have huge networks of roots which stabilize it and reach out, just like a person with a strong foundation who attracts many like minded folks. Their “roots” grow deep, and wide.

    Thanks for sharing a detailed analysis of your plan. All the best!

    Ryan Biddulph
    .-= Ryan Biddulph´s last blog ..Follow These 5 Proven Steps to Become Rich with a Home Based Business =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Ryan! Yes, a strong base is essential to weather the storms that will, without question, pass through all of our lives! And yes, networks….love that addition. I look forward to connecting with you more ~ I’m not sure what I’m missing, but I tried to comment on your blog and couldn’t. I saw others comments, but didn’t see a place to leave them? Anyhow, let’s connect on FB. Thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  2. Hey Beth ~ I had never really considered a Personal Strategic Plan, I have goals and a vision but to tie things altogether like this is amazing! And so much more involved which to me only means greater results!

    I am going to check out Gary’s site to learn more and see what can help me over there.
    Thanks so much for sharing this fabulous info, it’s always great to connect with people who can help with strategies like this.
    cheers
    Nat
    .-= Nat´s last blog ..My Personal Strategy – How Replying To Comments Is Not Just About Replying To Comments =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Hey Nat ~ Sounds like you are in a similar place I was ~ lots of goals and a strong vision, which is AWESOME! And I must say, this course blew me away. Not only the learning and growth I experienced through the course, but the end product is beautiful and inspiring. Have fun, and feel free to call me on skype if you have questions or just want to chat. :)

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Beth–

    Sounds like a great trip and one that also gave you an opportunity to reflect on things.

    I developed a plan this summer with a business coach and it really is an important step in taking charge of your future. I’m now beginning to implement my plan while struggling with how to balance it all with the unexpected, rush projects that come my way — a good problem to have, of course, but something that requires a flexible approach and the ability to get back on track once the crush has passed. This will always be a work in progress but I think the key is to keep learning, keep adapting and keep persevering.

    Paul
    .-= Paul Biedermann´s last blog ..Don’t Be a Beige Brain =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, it really was a great trip and great time of reflection, thanks Paul. And congratulations to you as well for taking on a business coach and developing and implementing a strategic plan. Yes, there will always be the unexpected twists and turns, and that is why strong roots are essential! Keeps us from getting blown over, you know? :) The winds might be strong, but with a clear vision, you’ll always find yourself upright in the end. Keep rockin, you’re doing awesome from what I’ve seen so far!

    [Reply]

  4. I like your trees and story better than my tree and story. I can only wish that I knew this stuff when I was your age. OMG, Columbus had just discovered America. But kidding aside Beth, do not stop with these post. They are so important for those who putting the future aside to revel in the moment. Great content and a great Lady presenting it.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Oh Nelson, you’re story was brilliantly shared as always ~ I just think the trees in my story are happier! :) Anyhow, thanks for your support, friendship and sense of humor. I will definitely keep at it, glad to know it’s well received!

    [Reply]

  5. This is one of the best posts I have read in a long time. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it.

    I believe it was Brian Tracy who said.

    A genius will get lost in any country with out a map, but put a man with average intelligence anywhere in the world and give him a map he can easily find his way to anywhere he needs to go.

    Your PSP is your road map.

    Rob
    .-= Rob Franta´s last blog ..Know Your Why – How to Succeed in Network Marketing – Module 3 =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Well that’s quite a compliment, Rob, thanks so much! I love writing, so the time is enjoyable! Great quote…..a road map is essential! But that reminds me of another quote, not sure who by ~ “you can learn a whole lot more by travelling a road that you can by consulting all the road maps in the world.” I think the point of all of this is that the road maps serve as the foundation, and then it’s your actions that will get you there. :) Thanks for your contribution!

    [Reply]

  6. Hi Beth,

    Lovely post. So well written. I was sat amongst the trees for a while there!
    You’re right, we need a plan and not the scrap of paper variety, a proper plan with detail.
    I’m a believer in starting with the end in mind and being prepared to adapt as we encounter obstacles and blockers but I reckon you’ve more than covered the bases! If our goals represent what we truly want,we shall truly strive to get there (with a plan!).

    Thanks again,

    Andrew
    .-= Andrew Sayers – Personal Development´s last blog ..Get Your Mind in Gear =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Yes Andrew, a scrap of paper plan is better than no plan, but we get there much faster with a well-thought plan. Glad you feel I’ve covered all the bases….it’s really Gary Ryan Blair who has! :)

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Beth. As someone who has spent his career helping companies create business plans that serve as a roadmap for their organization, I loved your article. This sounds like a powerful personal planning tool that every entrepreneur should prepare. I am going to check it out today!

    Thanks,

    Scott Pollov
    .-= Scott Pollov´s last blog ..Flirting With Business Continuity =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Oooh yes, I would imagine this would be right up your alley Scott! I would love to hear your thoughts on this plan. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  8. Hi Beth, another great post. I agree completely that a plan is critical in any business. Isn’t it strange that when we are asked to help others we immediately start working on a plan, whereas when it concerns ourselves, we don’t. It has oftentimes amazed me what a gap we create between how we treat our own business vs. that of someone else.
    I have made a plan for several year now, and I have to say that I have gotten better with time. I still laugh about my first plan, which was so ambitious that I can still get tired just thinking about it.
    .-= karin@social bookmarking´s last blog ..Why I use Disqus as the comment system on my blog disqus comments =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Mmmm, yes. That is an interesting phenomenon of humans, isn’t it? We always see things in others and do for others in ways we often neglect in ourselves. In my opinion, that gap exists until a person fully gets their value in the world. Once that happens, the neglect simply can’t continue.

    And last thing…I don’t know that I think your first plan was too ambitious. Big dreams are what keeps us pushing to be, do and have more in life and love. Sometimes progress seems really slow, and sometimes you can move forward light years in a second. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Karin!

    [Reply]

  9. Hey Beth,

    Glad to see that you took some time with your family to get away. It is so important to do that and have that time together.

    I agree that a personal strategic plan is critical for everyone to have. I have made one back at the beginning of this year and as September is upon us I find my self tweaking the tactics and strategies of some pieces and making sure that I am on the right course in all that I do.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us all. Many blessings for your great success in all that you do.

    Make it a great day!
    God Bless,
    -ed

    PS – Love the pics of the red trees. I have a story about visiting them once to share with you sometime.
    .-= Edward´s last blog ..How are You Dealing with Uncomfortable =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Hey Edward! Sorry for my late reply ~ found this in my spam folder for some reason. Yes, so smart to have a plan and then be conscious throughout execution so you know when you need to tweak! Thanks for stopping by, and keep rockin’ your plan. :)

    [Reply]

  10. Trees are a good analogy the way their roots grow deep and wide as their branches grow high and wide. I believe that trees are the oldest living things on the planet. Unlike plants, trees protect the topsoil from being washed away by rain. They create topsoil and create a lot of oxygen in the air. When you are around a lot of trees like that, there is a higher level of oxygen in the air.

    Now if you want to talk about dedication, Julia Butterfly Hill spent 2 years living in a tree to keep it from being cut down.

    “Hill is best known for living in a 180-foot (55 m)-tall, roughly 1500-year-old California Redwood tree (age based on first-hand ring count of a slightly smaller neighboring ancient redwood that had been cut down) for 738 days between December 10, 1997 and December 18, 1999. Hill lived in the tree, affectionately known as “Luna,” to prevent loggers of the Pacific Lumber Company from cutting it down.”
    .-= Chuck Bluestein´s last blog ..Latest News- Breast Cancer Cured! Treatment &amp Prevention =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, trees have infinite wisdom as the oldest living things on Earth! I love the oxygen rich air of forests. It is really magical to me. And Julia Butterfly definitely made a mark ~ my husband lived here when she lived in the tree, and says the energy around it was intense and electric. I have no doubt! Thanks for visiting, Chuck!

    [Reply]

  11. Hi Beth,

    This is a great connection between your trip and your PSP.

    It is something I will have to consider putting together to help me iron out some of the bumps of my business.

    I use a 90 day plan and I don’t quite follow it the way I should.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tommy D.
    MLM Prospecting Hero
    .-= Tommy DiPietro | MLM Prospecting Hero´s last blog ..MLM Sales Strategy For Your Home Based Business Top Five Ways To Have An Impact in Forum Marketing =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Tommy! Creating a Personal Strategic Plan definitely ironed out the bumps for me! I’d love to chat about your 90 day plan ~ I do 90 day blitzes in my business, and find them really effective. A big plan with smaller chunks to work around works really well.

    [Reply]

  12. Hey Beth,

    I am happy I came across your blog as part of TSA!

    The universe is trying to tell me something about getting more clarity on what I want and where I am going.

    First I am directed to Bill Phillips program “Tranformation” the other day and now here I am reading your story about PSP.

    Thank you for sharing the link. I am looking forward to diving into Gary’s information and taking a hard look at my own PSP.

    Great to connect!

    In Success,
    Howie Perks
    .-= Howie Perks´s last blog ..Do You Have Wide Eyed Cows =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Well I’m happy to have been on your path, Howie! This is a one of my favorite programs that I’ve worked through in self-study without question. Let me know if I can help in any way. To our massive success! :)

    [Reply]

  13. Hey Beth thanks for sharing that. I have never considered a PSP. What a great idea. We’re traveling all over California now and in Palm Springs area for the winter but one thing on my list is to visit the Redwoods before we’re off the Hawaii. Thanks for the reminder.

    Michael

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Sure thing, Michael. It’s a great thing to consider to truly your life to its maximum potential! Sounds like you’re doing a great job with your travelling adventures….just what I love to hear! :)

    [Reply]

  14. Hey Beth,

    This sounds like something I would love to do, we will have to chat about this sometime. I too really love sitting amongst nature. There is something so soothing about be close to roots and wind and leaves and peacefulness.

    I love your thoughts around planning and the time it saves you in the long run.

    Beth :)

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, let’s chat about it for sure Beth. I can’t wait until we meet. Maybe a family camping trip to some exotic place is in order? :)

    [Reply]

  15. Beth,
    “A Self in evolution.” That’s one to carry in your wallet with you! The PSP concept resonates with me big time. Darren Hardy’s “Design Your Best Year Ever” follows basically the same concept. He recommends that you have a minimum of a weekly review of your goals. Like you, I’ve let that slip through the cracks a bit.

    Nature affords such energy and solace. The ocean renews my soul just like the mighty Redwoods did for you. I find clarity of thought and purpose each time I dip my feet into the salty water of the Pacific.
    .-= Darlene Davis´s last blog ..As Your Servant =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Mmmm, I loved that too Darlene. I know Darren Hardy’s work as well ….. yes, great stuff. I too am an ocean girl, living 2 blocks from the ocean. :) Soothes my soul and definitely recharges my energy. Perhaps we’ll share a dip of our feet sometime. :)

    [Reply]

  16. Beth,
    Well now, isn’t this a timely post as I sit in my cave. I’m sure it’s not coincidence that you wrote this and I came to visit to find this waiting for me.

    All of life is a process…a journey. As Arnold Palmer once said as he was walking along the golf course, “you have to take time to stop and smell the roses”.

    Sometimes our life can look and feel like a runaway train. Before you know it so much has happened and gone on but nothing has been accomplished. Consistent evaluation of our plan and the place we are at on it is always a breath of fresh air.

    Be it a cave or the Redwoods we find inspiration when we stop and reflect, regroup and move forward again. Thanks for sharing your message. I enjoyed it.
    .-= Don Enck´s last blog ..Ouch! My Brain…A Science Experiment =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Awww, Don! How’s the man cave treating you? Yes, perhaps I wrote this for you. :) I’m thrilled to be on this journey with you, in times of runaway trains and times of inspiration. Look forward to always moving forward with you….

    [Reply]

  17. Beth, Great post about having your own personal strategic plan! We all need one in order to become successful in life. If we don’t have a plan of action it’s like driving without direction. Thanks for the great reminder!
    .-= Michael Feil´s last blog ..Blogging for Beginners – The Tribe Tab =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Mike, it’s so great to see you here! Having a PSP has moved me forward at speeds that I could have previously only dreamed about…..and with a confidence and energy I’ve never experienced. Yes, driving with directions is sure to get most people lost. :)

    [Reply]

  18. Not only do you share great success principles, you share a personal part of you and the wonderful practical approaches you practice. That’s just one thing I like about stopping by. Thanks for this snapshot into your journey.
    .-= Robin Lynn Brooks´s last blog ..Powerful Healing Strawberries! =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Robin, I really appreciate that! Stop by again soon, I miss you! :)

    [Reply]

  19. Hey Beth

    I thought I had a personal plan until I read your post.

    Looks like I am going to have to dig a bit deeper.

    Thanks for sharing your plan and your story.

    Peter
    .-= Peter Fuller MBA´s last blog ..Are You Making This Mistake When Setting Your Goals =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    I know the feeling, Peter. My plan looked great to me before I discovered my PSP! Enjoy the digging….

    [Reply]

  20. Beth,

    That is a really detailed plan! It’s important that we have a plan or nothing is going to get done that is important. Everything can get out of control quickly if we don’t have a plan to take care of it.

    Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story!
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..A Fun Way to Avoid Proctrastination =-.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    It is, isn’t it? To be honest, when I first read the overview I thought it was over-kill, and then as I worked through it, and experienced shifts in my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual AND financial lives….well, I was sold on the detail. :) Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

    [Reply]

  21. Beth, your passion and enthusiasm for life and your business is very inspiring! Spending time with nature certainly makes me feel good also, and those big trees sound amazing.
    Julieanne van Zyl´s last blog post ..How Do We Overcome Our Fear

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    So glad to hear that, Julieanne. Yes, I’m pretty passionate about business and life! :) I have no doubt you enjoy nature considering the beauty where you live! If you’re ever in norther california, definitely visit the Redwoods. They are amazing.

    [Reply]

  22. Hi Beth,

    I really liked what you said here “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.” I think that’s key – we waste a lot of time second and third and gazillion guessing ourselves that we become immobilized or worse moving in directions that make no sense for us or our ultimate goals and aspirations.

    If you take the time to make and review the plan like you are talking about you seriously reduce this problem and can move forward with great purpose and success. I’ve definitely seen that in my own life and in the lives of those I’ve worked with – and I’ve seen it change with even smaller planning. Beautiful planning like you are discussing would lead to even more terrific gains. Great post! – Rob
    Rob Wilson´s last blog post ..Graphics added to Membership Site and 24 Hours for Water and Celebration

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Hey Rob, you are absolutely right. Having a clear and strategic plan saves a TON of wasted time and spinning of our wheels! I agree that this plan is on the vast and detailed side, and great things can come from much simpler plans! This one just gets really deep into the nitty gritty of our legacy and stuff, which I just loved. :)

    [Reply]

  23. Great tips, thanks for sharing. I hope the legacy will live. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Terrific post.It is good to know that some people still put in an effort into handling their websites. I’ll be sure to look in again real soon. I am rather sure this post has helped me save many hours of reading other similar posts just to find what I was looking for.
    Once again: Thank you!
    Sheena from inspirational stories of faith´s last blog post ..The Story Of A Housemaid

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Oh the legacy will live! :) Thanks for visiting, Sheena, I’m thrilled to hear you’ve benefited so much from this post. It would have save me a ton of time had I discovered the PSP years ago, but it’s all part of the process. :)

    [Reply]

  24. I like how you have used the tall trees to illustrate this. Just like the trees how tall we grow depends on how deep our roots are. Building a strong foundation is good for us as it helps us to be able to face the things that come our way as we grow.

    [Reply]

  25. Your Personal Strategic Plan is great it’s a life changing plan that will help us to light the fuse on a performance explosion and personally experience successes we only dream about.

    [Reply]

  26. Good point. Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail.
    Eddie@Real Estate´s last blog post ..Townsend Real Estate- Maine real estate listings

    [Reply]

  27. Hi Beth,
    Your posit is Bang On! It’s great to have goals, and goals can change if they are no longer relevant to us and we can take up opportunities that come along and be flexible, but those core values and the code of ethics have to remain solid.
    Sophie Baulch@strategic planning´s last blog post ..Is Planning Damaging Your Business?

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Hi Sophie, thanks so much! And you are absolutely right. My goals have changed so dramatically over the past several years as my family has grown (my WHY changed!), but I continue to make the necessary revisions and continue moving forward toward accompishing my goals. Always within the context of my core value and code of ethics, which remain the same. I appreciate you stopping by!

    [Reply]

  28. This is a very invigorating post, bethallen! There is really nothing wrong with effective planning and strategy about anything, in fact, a man who does not know how to plan is wasting his time.
    Chad @ Medicare Supplemental Insurance´s last blog post ..What is Medicare Advantage?

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks, Chad. Isn’t it sad how many people spin in circles over and over when they could set a plan and launch themselves forward toward their dreams?! When I am operating with a plan, I probably accomplish my goals 50-75% faster than when I’m not. Strategy and success really do go hand in hand.

    [Reply]

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