Do you want to be “rich and famous”? Do you want to spend more time with the ones you love? Here’s another secret that the experts don’t tell you… you can’t do both.
People who reach the pinnacle of financial success, in any profession, have sacrificed the other things in their lives to reach that ultimate level of success. That ultra high level of achievement requires intense dedication and focus on that one single thing.
I was once upon a time focused on being “rich and famous”, but once I discovered that I needed to sacrifice being a dad to my kids and a good husband to my wife, I re-evaluated my life’s goals and found a balance between my family and my career. I have been happier and more content ever since.
Contentment… That is MY definition of success. (Tweet This)
Your Life Plan
Are you ready to have some fun? Architects and creative professionals are born dreamers, so I am pretty sure that you are going to like this session of the Entrepreneur Architect Academy.
I hope you had a chance to listen to the first episode of The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast. I launched it on January 12th in honor of my 12/12/12 Project. If you were inspired by the discussion that I had with Christopher Pollard and want to pursue your dream, this is how you can make that happen. Your Life Plan is your road map to what you are truly meant to be.
Since reading last week’s Academy post, we now know how to manage our Personal Productivity and get the things done that matter most. Its now time to figure out what those things are and how we are going to get to that place in our lives. Use your new time management skills and find a place on your schedule to work on your dreams. In terms of Stephen R. Covey’s matrix, this task is “Important and Not Urgent”, so make it happen.
And, what better time than early January to dive deep into your hopes, dreams and desires. This post is about preparing your personal and business plans… Your Life Plan. As Entrepreneur Architects, our life and our business are not separate. Our business is a critical part of our life and we need to plan them together.
What do you want your life to be? Who do you want to be?
Michael E. Gerber, in one of my favorite books of all time, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, introduces an exercise to help us better understand what we’re talking about here. He suggests that we imagine how we would want to be remembered at our funeral. Yes. Your funeral. You are no longer here on earth with the rest of us. All your family, friends and associates gather in your memory to pay tribute.
What are they saying? What have you left behind? What have you done with your life? How do you want to be remembered when you are gone?
This is where your Life Plan should begin.
Start with Your Dreams
If you had unlimited funds, what would you be doing today? Dream big and be honest… Don’t be afraid. Dreaming is free.
Before we can get to the planning part, we need to know what our lives could be…”if only”. Dreams are “big picture” stuff. Dreams are up in the clouds. Look at your life and business from 30,000 feet. Can you see everything? What does it look like? What could it look like… “if only”?
Author, speaker and talk radio show host, Dave Ramsey says, “Visions are dreams brought out of the clouds.”
When our dreams have more clarity, they become visions. Our vision, of both our life and our business, is a critical part of our future success. With no vision, there will be no business and we will never accomplish the things we want for our lives.
Now it’s time to start having some fun.
Once you have your dreams written down, I recommend expanding those dreams into Vision Narrative. A Vision Narrative is the big dream of what you want your life and business to be in 5 or 10 years from now… with some definition. How does your future business look and run? How many employees? Locations? How does your business work with your personal life? Have you found a balance between your firm and your family?
Don’t limit yourself here. Take your time and imagine your future. If done right, it may just someday become “true life” (as my kids would say).
When complete, prepare a short summary of your Vision Narrative, with no more than a couple of paragraphs. That’s your Vision Statement.
Set Your Goals
With a clear vision of what you want your life and business will look like, its time to set some goals.
The late motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, spoke about his Wheel of Life. Mr. Ziglar said that we should divide our time, effort and focus on several critical areas of our lives. He recommended setting goals for not only our careers and finances, but we should also set spiritual goals, family goals, physical goals, intellectual goals and social goals. He explains that if we neglect any of these areas, the wheel will become flat in that area and our lives will not be the smooth ride that we want it to be. We must truly have balance or our lives will get noisy, like a flat tire.
If we focus only on our strengths and neglect the other areas, those that do not receive the attention will pull from the others and our lives will be out of balance.
So, its time to set some goals.
Set several goals for each of these areas in your life. Goals should be very specific, have clarity and a deadline. What will you do? What is the definition of success? By when will it be complete?
Track each goal so you know how you are progressing. When you meet your set specifics, you will have accomplished that goal and it will be time to set more goals in that area of your life.
What is Your Why?
Our business and personal mission statements define our direction. Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal, says, “Mission statements turn a lightbulb into a laser.” Our Mission will give focus to our vision and goals. It will define why we are doing what we do. It’s an “out of bounds” marker for our life and business. It describes who we are… as well as who we are not.
We learned in Session 001 that we have very limited time. In fact, we only have 168 hours each week… and we should be sleeping for 56 of those hours. That leaves us 112 hours each week to get all our most important things done. How are we going to spend those hours? What are the things that will move us toward the dreams, visions and goals we set above?
Our Mission will help us decide what to spend our time on. With a clearly defined Mission, decision making becomes very efficient. If the task in question meets with our Mission, then it’s worth doing. If not… no way.
Why do we do what we do? Why does our business do what it does? That is our Mission.
I wrote about ten business plans, before I finished one. It was always so overwhelming. It doesn’t need to be and I recommend starting with just one page.
Start with your dreams and write your Vision Narrative. This was my favorite part… I’m proud to call myself “a dreamer”.
Then take one sheet of paper and write out your Vision Statement, all of your goals and your Mission. Done! One complete business plan.
With that one page business plan, you can then expand and develop it with any other sections you feel are important. This is your plan. Don’t get caught up in what others say a business plan should be. Your plan is whatever you say it is.
Now… repeat the process for your personal plan.
Remember also that this is an ongoing process. Your plans should be reviewed often and updated annually.
If you are not loving Monday mornings, then its time to make a change. Planning is how we’ll do it. Planning gives us the power and permission to proceed with our dreams and pursue our passions. (Tweet This) It conquers the fear and let’s us accomplish the things we thought could never be pulled from the clouds.
If you are unemployed, your Life Plan will help you make the decisions necessary to get you where you want to go. With your dreams, visions and goals clearly defined, you will be prepared when the offers finally start coming your way.
Success is not easy. Achievement takes very hard work and planning is how it happens.