The "Importance of Planning" is hyped all over the place. We all know that achieving our goals/dreams/next paycheck requires it, and sometimes we even get to it.
But I wonder - how many of my readers have planning sessions on a regular basis? And among those, how many of you are looking forward to these sessions?
People avoid planning for many reasons. Here the most common, in my experience:
Reason 1: THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS
As you plan, the fact that your plans might not become reality gets pretty harshly shoved in your face. You’re an entrepreneur, so your goals are probably very close to your heart.
Often it’s not just what you do, it’s who you are.
Being a Visionary you can imagine all too vividly a number of scenarios when plans FAIL.
Sometimes on an epic scale.
The very plans that are so strongly tied to your sense of self, to your sense of self-worth.
Really, it’s pretty damn scary. (My parents will disown me. Everyone will know I'm a useless fraud. My kids will be embarrassed to talk about me at school. I will end up in debt jail, alone and forgotten).
When you plan, the FEAR OF FAILURE is just beneath the surface.
What to do:
In my experience, two tactics can help:
As woo-woo as it sounds, telling yourself “it’s not real, it’s my fear talking”, takes the edge out of the mental image of living in a dumpster.
2. Find someone to plan with.
Often, when we voice our plans out loud, they seem more tangible and achievable. Fears, on the other hand, tend to sound stupid when brought to the surface. And that's before we mention accountability.
Reason 2: PLANNING CAN BE TEDIOUS and BORING.
True. Writing down lists and figuring out logistics is not often a strong-suit of the Visionary type.
What to do:
1. Speak it out loud
Try talking, rather than writing stuff down. You can edit it later. Talking doesn’t feel as restrictive, it’s easier to start, and therefore increases the chances of you having an actual, fruitful planning session.
2. Make it ENGAGING.
Imagine the outcome as vividly as you can, using all your senses (we’ll talk more about next time, in a few days). Dreaming up your next product in all its colorful brilliance is more fun than writing a list. You’d still have to make the list (later), but now you gave your brain a natural path to identify steps. The list-making will be connected to the pleasant experiences conjured up by your imagination.
Reason 3: THE SENSE OF SHEER UNENDING-NESS.
Just sooo much to do… Paradoxically, planning session can create a strong sense of overwhelm, making it easy to slip into doing “very urgent stuff”.
What to do:
This one is short: pick 3 things. No more. Three is better than none, which is what you get if you don’t plan. And there is a surprising bonus: when you have planned three things, you may realize that you actually have some energy left to plan a couple more!
So there you have it.
I have tons more to say about Planning, it's one of my favorite subjects.
But for now - what are your own personal obstacles to Planning? Let me know - I might write an entry that addresses your struggle directly.