Sounds counterintuitive, right?
I’ve been a planner my entire life. When I was a little girl, I’d want to know the plan for the week ahead. Was I going to pack my lunch because I didn’t like what was being served at the school cafeteria? What should I wear? What days were my activities?
As a kid, I wanted to know the plan so I could be prepared.
As an adult…a mom of three super busy kids…a wife of a highly successful and busy husband…a business owner myself…a human who must have regular connection with other humans (other than zoom)…I STILL want to know the plan so I can be prepared.
In my past, I had an important figure in my life who hated to plan ahead. This person lived in a world where flying by the seat of your pants was they operated. This person would regularly tell me that my planning inhibited their ability to be spontaneous.
For the longest time, I believed that line of BS. But, now, I firmly believe it’s BS.
When you have a clear plan for where you’re headed, you give yourself the FREEDOM to pivot and adjust based on new information you acquire.
Let me give you an example…..
When I plan a vacation, I’ll book an Air B&B or hotel…book a few day trips and secure reservations at restaurants that look intriguing. However, when I arrive at my destination and find out from the concierge or one of the locals that I REALLY need to spend some time at a particular place or dine at a certain restaurant, I’ll change the reservation to do something different. The point is – when I arrived, I had a basic framework for my trip…and then I made adjustments based on new information I learned once I got there.
When I started my business, I was thinking I would be a project management consultant. I made a business plan based on that. Then, I started working projects…and got a few calls to help C-suite level individuals with some coaching. It totally aligns with the work I’ve done in the past…made sense, and so I added coaching to my suite of my services.
I made a plan. I had goals, and then I made adjustments.
If you have no plan, then how in the world are you going to know if you’re successful? If you don’t set goals you can measure, how will you know if you need to pivot and do things differently?
Planning doesn’t have to be a big process or take a ton of time to do. In fact, I have a 3-step approach that works every, single time.
Cheers to planning to be spontaneous!
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I was having coffee at my local coffee shop, and I just can’t get it out of my head the fact that big things happen as the result of all the little things. If we want to get technical, I suppose it’s habits that I’m referring to. This morning, as I was getting my kids ready for school (I have three kids…two in elementary and one in middle school…and mornings can be HARD…waking up a 12 year old boy…sweet lord), I noticed that all the little things I had done the night before had made our morning routine easier today. For example, lunches were pre-packed…backpacks were organized with all of the things the kids needed to be successful…clothes set out…we were ready. It was all the small things that made for a big thing, and that was having a smooth morning. Because when mornings aren’t smooth with the kids, my work day has a rough start too. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
All you parents out there are laughing at me thinking, “sister, I had the meltdown of the century this morning and I was just as prepared as you.” I get it. This isn’t meant to be some “I’m a perfect mom” moment. Lord knows that’s a lie from the devil. But, rather, if we work to take care of the small things…the bigger outcome seems to happen organically and naturally…it’s just a little easier.
How do we apply this in our professional lives? I do believe James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, has it SPOT ON when he discusses that it’s our habits that get us in the mindset of achieving what seems to be unachievable…getting 1% better every, single day. Bingo. I’m sold, James.
I look at my daily habits. Those include getting myself mentally prepared for my day each morning as I drink my coffee. I review my calendar. I think about all the people I will interact with during the day. I jot down notes of what I want to be sure to discuss with them. I think about those next steps with all the projects I’ve got on my plate.
I really do pause my morning to think. I ask myself a few key questions….
1) What do I need to achieve today? What meetings do I have on my schedule?
2) What are my next steps with the people I plan to meet?
3) What can I do to help the people I’m meeting…how can I make things better in their world?
It’s the small things that lead to awesome, larger-than-life results. We just need to do ONE THING better each day and focus on that to really make a difference.