Do you want to win? You better learn how to plan! Almost nobody wanders into success. Success in any arena takes intentionality. A successful life requires intentionality across all dimensions of life. Zig Ziglar summed these up as the seven spokes in the “Wheel of Life:”
In order to have the type of life we all dream of having we need to plan first to have time to devote to all seven dimensions, and then have a plan in each of these arenas, both short-term, and long-term, if you really expect to achieve results in each area.
Finally, you must realize that a plan is only a plan, subject to change. A friend of mine who has retired from a distinguished military career including combat command says the army has a saying about this reality:
Fight the Enemy, Not the Plan!
We have to realize that no matter how in-depth and detailed our planning is, that when we go to execute on the plan, things change. The enemy defies our expectations, unforeseen external forces come into play, we forgot to contemplate a variable altogether… What do we do at that point? If you want to win, you cannot run, you cannot wave the white flag… We have to adjust the plan and press forward to our objective, even if that means a temporary retreat to re-engage under better circumstances. Just because you made a plan, don’t be married to it! You did not take a vow to serve the plan “til death do you part.”
With the liberating thought that plans are made to be changed, let me throw out a few challenges for planning across the dimensions of the wheel of life:
- Career- How are you doing on executing this year’s plan in your current career role? Do you know your next step for promotion at your current employer, or advancement by moving on to another? If you are an entrepreneur, what will take your company to the next level?
- Social- Who are you planning on having over for dinner in the next month? What are you doing to create or tie into a network of friends that you can enjoy life with when your kids have flown the coop?
- Financial- How are you doing at living within your budget this month? Does every dollar have a name? Are you telling your money where to go before the month begins, or wondering where it went when the month is through? What is your number to reach financial independence so you can literally do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life? How long until you get to that number?
- Family- Do you have time set aside on your calendar each day to connect with your spouse? Do you have a weekly date night? How about a night for a family devotion with the kids?
- Physical- How many calories can you consume and maintain your weight, or how many do you need to cut to get to where you want to be. What will you eat today to reach that amount? How much will you need to exercise if you eat that Krispy Kreme? Is there time on your calendar set aside for exercise? Could you maybe combine that with time with your spouse, or time to pursue intellectual pursuits with audible books or podcasts?
- Mental- What are you doing to expand your knowledge in your specific career track. Who are you reading or listening to in order to become a better leader, better spouse, better father, better person? Can you make use of that awful highway commute by tapping into the information superhighway? Can you listen to podcasts on your commute, your run, or on the elliptical?
- Spiritual- Do you have time on your calendar each day to pray and meditate? Could you turn your car into your prayer closet? Is there a group of like-minded people at your work place who might like to study scripture or a book exploring scripture, together. What are you doing today to answer the most important question in life? When you stand before the maker of the universe and he asks, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”
The biggest part of successful planning is committing to do it. If you want success in an area of life that you are not winning in today, MAKE A PLAN!