There is a popular adage that states, By failing to plan you are planning to fail. Most people know the importance of planning as a key endeavor for achieving their goals and dreams. There are plenty of workshops, webinars, and videos to show us how to write an effective plan. You may even be one of those people that is proficient at planning and yet planning to succeed is not a guarantee for success. There are plenty of people that have formulated great plans and still get derailed at the first setback and struggle to get back on track or worse, never recover.
How do we assure success with our plan? How do we setup to avoid upset? Rarely is it one big thing that keeps us from achieving our goals, it’s the accumulation of the little things along the way that gets us stuck in the weeds or wandering off course.
Turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones by planning AHEAD
Even once we have a plan we must still plan AHEAD to improve our chances of succeeding. This is where most people fail before they ever get into action. They create a beautiful plan, become motivated, take action, make progress and then…become distracted, interrupted, or disrupted by a temptation, opportunity, or choice that does not lend itself to the achievement of the plan. For this very occurrence we need a plan as well. Don’t just plan for success. Plan for the potential of failure points too.
By planning the fail, we improve our plan to succeed. Here’s how we can plan AHEAD to avoid possible failures.
A – Anticipate what areas we may have a hard time with or maybe even fail. If we decide to lose ten pounds, what are the known and unknown challenges we will have to overcome? What if we are invited to a party where there is cake and ice cream and we love cake and ice cream? If we need to make a certain number of sales this week, what may prevent us from getting those sales? We must do our best to imagine the potential obstacles before us.
H – Have a plan to handle the obstacle. For each anticipated obstacle imagine two or three ways of how to handle it. Have alternatives. How will we say “no” to the cake and ice cream? What will we choose instead? What are the possible objections a prospect may give us to not buy our product or service? If we anticipate them, develop ways to handle the objections we improve our ability to make more sales.
E – Envision. When we envision, in our mind, the handling of a situation successfully we have the opportunity to be more resourceful if the actual event comes about. When we imagine, we are not under the same pressures as when it really happens out in the real world and therefore may be able to think more clearly. In the heat of battle, it can be a challenge to fully access our best strategic thinking. If we see ourselves gracefully declining the cake and ice cream and partaking in a specific healthy alternative, we have a far better chance of enacting our willpower in the moment of the actual offer because we have been there before in our mind and have a mini plan to deal with the situation. If we have role played and practiced handling a prospect’s possible concerns to moving forward, we gain an edge when it comes time to be together in person.
A – Act with confidence – It is easier to get into action with a knowing that we can handle whatever may come about. If we anticipate the possible setbacks, develop a plan to handle them, and see ourselves handling them effectively we elevate our certainty and confidence to take action and keep moving forward.
D – Decide to keep on keeping on. Inevitably there will be obstacles and setbacks we may not be able to anticipate nor plan on how to handle. When that occurs we must remain committed to the vision of our big plan and calibrate accordingly. D is also for Don’t give up.
We must take the time to anticipate the obstacles that could trip us up, develop a plan to handle them so we can see how they actually help us get to where we want to get to instead of seeing them as blocks in our path. When we plan and when we engage in each project or action associated with our plan we must be sure to plan AHEAD as we move along toward our success.
Make it up, make it fun, & get it done.