It’s the end of the year. We feel the pressure to make our resolutions. What should we consider when drafting plans to grow ourselves and our business in the coming year? Math may or may not be your strong suit, but planning and success are measurable points upon an X and Y axis.
1. I didn’t have a plan and I didn’t reach my goals
I didn’t have a plan.
I was not able to achieve my goals.
This may or may not be the result of not having a plan. For the coming year we would have nothing to lose by drafting and implementing a plan. The bar was set low last year and we knocked it over. This year it’s time to give setting the bar a chance, unless we want to continue in mediocrity.
Did you have a plan but you just don’t want to admit that you failed? There is something to stating your goals aloud or at least in writing. If you want to increase your achievement potential you may find some value in our video on personal organization.
2. I didn’t have a plan and I reached my goals
I didn’t have a plan.
I was able to achieve my goals.
As noted before, perhaps you did have a plan but you didn’t want to state it for the record just in case you didn’t reach your marks. Many are afraid of failure, but it is also common to be afraid of success. Don’t allow yourself to fail in planning simply because you are afraid to fail. If you are experiencing fear of failure you may find some value in our fear mantra.
You can take a gamble on not having a plan and being able to reach your goals in the coming year. Or you can take the momentum you had from last year and improve that through composing and declaring your plans for the coming year.
3. I had a plan and I didn’t reach my goals
I had a plan.
I was not able to achieve my goals.
This may or may not have been the result of having a plan. Was the issue with the plan, the execution or a failure to adapt? Having a plan does not mean that we can guarantee our results. We like to practice rigid flexibility. We want to have a plan but we must be able to adapt as we receive new information or experience obstacles.
If you crave success you will need to prepare to succeed. If you want to take yourself to the next level in your personal and professional development, it’s time to make a plan for how you are going to use the hours that you have — make a plan for what you will do with the hours everyone else is wasting.
4. I had a plan and I reached my goals
I had a plan.
I was able to achieve my goals.
Take a little victory dance. You did it. You were intentional about your approach to last year. You were able to execute your plan, adapt in the face of obstacles and persevere to the end of the year. Now that you have tasted success, can you repeat it? It is likely that the same exact plan executed in the same exact way will not bring the same result. The only constant is that things are constantly changing.
The good news is that you now have a habit for success and you have tasted the glory of it. This should provide you with a template as well as the motivation to repeat your efforts from last year and carry them into the new one.
Whether you planned and/or succeeded, this is a new year and a fresh new opportunity to chase life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In drafting your plan, consider the following:
1. Is your vision clear for the coming year?
2. Are your goals rooted in your mission?
3. Are there habits that need to be eliminated?
4. Are there parts of your system that can be simplified?
5. Do you need to adjust your structure?
When we invest in creating an end of year plan, we help to clarify and solidify our vision. If vision is tied to reality than it should filter through our personal and organizational disciplines. Vision fuels our habits. Vision combined with goals will clarify our mission.
Whether we want to grow or not, growth is essential. Whether we think we need change or not, adaptation is the root of survival. Failure is not final and neither is success. Whether last year was one of achievement or disappointment this is a fresh new year and we can change things or build on our momentum through the simple act of planning.
Prepare yourself to succeed. Success tomorrow starts with making a plan today.
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It’s a new year and we are approaching the celebration of the life, work and message of Martin Luther King, Jr. What better time to reflect on the keys to building a life of purpose that he shared as one of his final speeches.
In October of 1967, 6 months before his death by assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. Even after all of his accomplishments and his renown, Martin still took the time to encourage and challenge young people. As a man of vision and purpose, he exemplified investing in others, especially those who needed a word to inspire them to continue their journey. For this speech he spoke on the idea that like any well constructed building our lives should be built upon a solid blueprint.
Dr. King asked the students, “What is your life’s blueprint?”
Here are six keys to recognizing purpose and developing in your personal growth from Martin Luther King Junior's speech on life's blueprint:
1. Have a blueprint (clarity)
“Now each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint.” - MLK
Even though this message was shared with junior high students, the wisdom is no less applicable to any age. Those adolescent years are critical in the transition from childhood to adulthood. Our early years lay the foundation for how we will see the world and our role in it. Too many haven’t made solid foundations on a sound blueprint at these transitional stages in their lives and so they are wandering through life without a clear vision. Leadership starts with leading yourself. Leading yourself starts with mapping out a plan, a blueprint for where you want your life to go, how you plan to get there and what steps you will take to move in that direction today.
Our calling is to be people of excellence. The beauty of a blueprint is that it is not the finished product but the plan we will follow in order to build our lives upward. As we move forward in our mission we refer to our blueprint to inspire us to action. When we get lost along the way we can recall our blueprint to remind us of our vision. As obstacles arise we understand that the core principles remain the same but we adapt to new information throughout the process. Martin challenged the strudents, “Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.”
2. Understand your value (accountability)
“Number one in your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness.” - MLK
When children are raised at a disadvantage whether that be economically, socially, structurally, spiritually, emotionally, physically or a combination of all of these factors they have more obstacles to overcome. Too often our current situation influences our perspective of who we are as people or what we are capable of. The path to our purpose does not ignore our circumstances, but Martin Luther King, Jr. and those voices of strength call upon people of vision to carry forward. He says to the students, ” I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil. I urge you that in spite of your economic plight, in spite of the situation that you’re forced to live in — stay in school.”
Purpose requires courage to see past our immediate situation to work through and build for our long term goals. Vision provides energy in the struggle when the winds have died down and the power is out. Remembering that we have a blueprint calls us back to the clarity of our mission. Understanding our worth as people and our role in the bigger picture reminds us to carry on the good work we have before us regardless of the opposition facing us. Valuing our worth helps us to embrace and value the worth of others. Our great documents call for liberty and justice for all, and by pursuing that high goal in an equitable manner we find we enrich our own lives as well.
3. Determination for the pursuit of excellence (consistency)
“Secondly, in your life’s blueprint you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor.” – MLK
The cult of success causes us to idolize the achievers who are most apparent in movies, business and who have attained affluence. If the vision of your blueprint is to build a purposeful and happy existence than the result of our life’s work is no guaranteed to bring those physical rewards. Dr. King admonished the students, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
Life is progressive. As we learn and industry and build skills we develop ourselves into those who stand out for mastery in their current duties. Being teachable, consistently learning, growing in our abilities and challenging ourselves to take risks all lead towards advancement. Trust is the most valuable commodity for advancing in life and business, those who can establish and leverage trust can go far. Success should not be exclusive. There is plenty to go around for all. Achieving our goals should include building opportunity and bringing others along, as fellow citizens, mentors and co-laborers in the journey.
4. Embrace your opportunities (courage)
"And I say to you, my young friends, that doors are opening to each of you, doors of opportunity to each of you that were not open to your mothers and your fathers and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to enter these doors as they open." - MLK
Life is about opportunity not convenience. When the doors are opening they don't always swing wide and they don't always remain open forever. Understanding our value enables us to take some risks in moving from where we are to where we desire to be. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to rise to the challenge even when we are scared.
The other side of success is that living a blessed life is not just found in the attaining of affluence or accumulation of material possessions. Many have trophy rooms of their exploits with no one to share them with because their sacrifices on the altar of prosperity included the persons who would have helped and celebrated with them. Capitalism creates endless opportunities but the corrosion of personal values through devious practices that devalue others makes for hollow victories. Rise to your opportunities through the assistance of those who have invested in you and continue that cycle of mentorship by bringing others along with you. Do justly.
5. Be the best of whatever you are
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” – MLK
Worrying about what we are not will rob us from the opportunities we have in the present. Complaining about what we have not become will not help us to reach for who we are and who we can be. If you fail to build excellence in where you are currently you will struggle to build excellence in the future. Excellence is a habit and a muscle that must be exercised. Excellence starts with clarity through outlining a blueprint. Preparing to succeed does not guarantee success. But failing to prepare does prepare for failure.
It's a new year. There is an opportunity to create a fresh start and to daily take claim upon the vision and mission that you have set out for your life. Whether we are proud of our current position or not, we can still operate with excellence and move towards our goals. Whether our responsibilities are glamorous or plebeian, there is still beauty, love and justice that we can infuse into this orb while we still walk upon it.
6. The bigger picture
"And finally, in your life’s blueprint must be a commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love and justice" - MLK
In everything that we do we first have a responsibility to do it with excellence, to do all to the best of our ability. As part of the broader picture, everything that we do should carry with it the commitment to enhancing beauty, spreading love and establishing justice for all. Conversely, our work should not rob the world of beauty. Our efforts should not be without or exclude love. The building of our dreams should not forsake the justice of others but rather build such for all.
Dr. King nears the closing of his speech with this admonition, "Let us keep going toward the goal of self-hood, to the realization of the dream of brotherhood and toward the realization of the dream of understanding good will." In turmoil there is talk about what God would or would not do and what those who claim him should act like. The prophet Micah makes it rather plain and simple when he declares, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (6.8)" Doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly are not the standards for political or spiritual leaders alone, those are principles that are for all persons in their daily dealings with others.
Your mission big or small is important. Clarify your blueprint, value yourself, seek excellence and be the best of whatever you are.
Originally published as: Crave Success? Then Get Up, and Get Moving
March 15, 2017 at Restoration and Remediation Magazine (R&R)
By Jon Isaacson
At the beginning of the year, discussions about resolutions, goals and the pursuit of success are common. Everyone wants success, or at least they say they do, but what is success? Success is a moving target. The path to success is often non-linear as not all roads lead to success and neither is there a clearly marked single lane leading to success. Leaders with an entrepreneurial vision are not afraid to travel the paths that are unmarked, offer no guarantees and are less traveled by those who would rather talk about their plans for the pursuit of success.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. - Colin Powell
Because there are no shortcuts, the personal investment in success requires payments made in sweat and time, both of which will test your perseverance. Progressing through layers of success is often determined by what we do when everyone else is doing nothing as well as our ability to endure failures. There are only so many hours in the day, so we must be effective with the time we spend on the clock and creative with the time we have off the clock. Entrepreneurs are no strangers to the smell of oil burning at midnight.
Sports anecdotes are common in business as we enjoy the correlations of working hard as a team, being motivated by inspiring hard-nosed figures, fighting to the last minute, practicing our craft and being rewarded for our efforts. In the archives of iconic coaches and historic motivational half time orations, there may be none more revered than Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
“The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.” – Vince Lombardi
Who doesn’t want to win? Who doesn’t want to succeed in their entrepreneurial efforts? As you fantasize about your dreams of business accolades, do you find yourself declaring among friends and co-worker about how good you could be at something? Do you ever find yourself stating, “If I only had the time …or the money …or this one tool.”
Perhaps you are not the most objective person to be answering this question. If you don’t have the ability to be honest with yourself, perhaps you should ask an earnest friend. While the effectiveness of resolutions is arguable, there is value in setting goals. If you want to take yourself to the next level in your personal and professional development, it’s time to make a plan for how you are going to use the hours that you have — make a plan for what you will do with the hours everyone else is wasting.
If you have a family that should come first in your time off of the clock, family is the component of life that will be there whether you succeed or not so don’t burn those bridges or lose valuable time in caring for those relationships. Your values should always be God, guns, glory — wait, that’s a different article. We understand that athletes have to put in the time lifting weights, running sprints, practicing the minutia of their profession, but somehow we don’t apply this mindset to business. The will to prepare to win as laid out by Vince Lombardi involves those sacrifices that an individual makes when they are not required to be working in a structured environment. Whether you have 30 minutes a day or several hours, be intentional about making a plan and executing to the best of your ability.
The difference between knowing what you should be doing and starting the process of achieving it is one step. Stepping forward does not guarantee that you will succeed, but standing still guarantees that you won’t. If success is a moving target, how will you train yourself to hit the target that you have set for yourself? If success has many paths, and no path is guaranteed, what will you do to start moving down the road? If success is an investment in personal and professional growth which requires payments in sweat and pain, when was the last time you did so? If success is determined by what we do when everyone else is doing nothing, when are you going to get off your butt?
Let us help you build and execute a plan for achieving success in your personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer