YOU are the only one who can succeed for you. This is your responsibility. No one can do this for you. No one can make you happy. No one human can meet all your needs. Your peace, joy, and financial stability are your responsibility. Give yourself permission to use your imagination (you know, the one that’s been packed away since you were a child), and use that ability to imagine, along with your ability to think, reason, and create, to find and fulfill the perfect plan for your life. The following steps will help you find that perfect plan. And when you find it, you’ll find all five points of true prosperity. Onward!
Strategic life plan step #1: Consider what you’ve accomplished this past year. Give yourself credit for the strides you made and for the good you contributed to the lives of others.
Strategic Life Plan Step #2: Consider the “game changing” moments of the past year. What happened that influenced your life? What good has or can come out of those experiences? And don’t say, “nothing,” because good can always eventually come out of adversity and pain. Think, reach, and you’ll find it.
Strategic Life Plan Step #3: Following yesterday’s exercise, take some time to consider the “game changing” moments of your life–good and bad. What good has or can come of them? Example, are you (or could you be) stronger, more resourceful, more resilient, more patient, etc., than you would have been without having those experiences? Do not let any pain go to waste. Be sure to do this exercise because it’s an integral part of your 2012 Strategic Life Plan.
Strategic Life Plan Step #4: What are you good at? Remember that some talents are more subtle than others. For example, are you a good listener? Are you compassionate? Are you someone who can plow through red tape to get a complicated mess straightened out? Name at least 3 things that you are good at.
Strategic Life Plan Step #5: What’s holding you back? Regrets from the past? What you’ve done? What you failed to do or could have done differently? IT’S OVER. Progress is impeded greatly by holding onto the past. You absolutely must let it go. Mentally exchange feelings of regret for peace and move forward.
Strategic Life Plan Step #6: What really bothers you? Whatever issue really grieves you, is an issue that you are supposed to do something about. “Doing” may involve educating, motivating, or inspiring others to do something. What core issue(s) do you want to impact?
Strategic Life Plan Step #7: What negative words or words have been spoken to you or about you? Intentionally declare positive statements over yourself. For example, someone in my previous life used to call me a “scatterbrain.” I have countered the criticism by saying, “my non-linear thinking enables me to find creative solutions to problems.”
Strategic Life Plan Step #8: What skills, talents, or abilities are you lacking in? Rather than spending time shoring up these weaknesses, invest time only in improving those areas that may be holding you back from excelling in the area of your strengths. Identify any weaknesses that need to be strengthened and accept the reality of the others with a smile.
Strategic Life Plan Step #9: Consider all the various jobs you are aware of. What work is the most interesting to you and why? Be honest with yourself as you imagine yourself doing that work. Would you enjoy the power that comes with that position? The interactions with others? The ability to express your creativity? The rewarding feeling of knowing you’re helping someone else? Be specific about what appeals to you.
Strategic Life Plan Step #10: Now that you’ve considered the enjoyable aspects of the jobs that interest you, consider the downside. Realistically, what would the typical day look like? Consider the stress, hours required, commute, and any other potential factors. Would this career be worth it? If not, do the same with the next hypothetical job. If you aren’t aware of the downside, try to find blogs from people doing that work for a glimpse into their lives.
Strategic Life Plan Step #11: Take a brutally honest look at your attitude. Do you eagerly anticipate good things happening? Are you cautiously optimistic? Or do you, dread what bad thing might happen next? When one thing after the next doesn’t go as we’d hoped, it’s easy to lower your expectations. If this is the case with you, intentionally raise your hopes. You’re still breathing, so you’re still in the game. YOU are your “game changer!”
Strategic Life Plan Step #12: How do you help others? Is it through listening? Acts of service? Companionship? Encouragement? Advice? What good do you almost without thinking?
Strategic Life Plan Step #13: What are you passionate about?
Strategic Life Plan Step #14: What do you know for sure?
Strategic Life Plan Step #15: If you could help people, what would that look like? How would you do it?
Strategic Life Plan Step #16: Read and evaluate every response you’ve given over the past 15 days, and see if you can come up with your personal mission statement. For years mine was to help people and organizations that help kids and families. But for 2012, I’ve broadened it to helping others create their own success. Once you have your mission statement, do and say only things that line up with your person mission. If an activity doesn’t line up, don’t do it!
Strategic Life Plan Step #17: Your personal mission statement is like the destination programmed into a navigational machine. Get in your head and heart that you WILL fulfill your mission. Live it by doing and saying only things that line up with your person mission. If an activity doesn’t line up, don’t do it!
Strategic Life Plan Step #18: Consider every area of your life–your work, volunteering, community involvement, relationships, etc. If you’re involved in anything that does not line up with your personal mission, discontinue it. If you’re committed to it, make plans to transition out in a responsible way.
Strategic Life Plan Step #19: Can you see yourself living your personal mission statement? You must be able to visualize it before you’ll take steps to make it a reality in your life. For example, I had to see myself as a business owner to develop the courage to leave my job to become a business owner. Even if you have no idea what your life will really look like, let your imagination run free with possibilities.
Strategic Life Plan Step #20: Find people who are doing something that appears to fulfill your mission (search the internet if you have to). Could you do that work or a variation of that? Could you do something in support of that work? What would that look like. Strip the limitations off your thinking and give yourself permission to daydream.
Strategic Life Plan Step #21: At this stage in the life planning process, many people get discouraged because they can see no possible way for their emerging dream to become reality. Be careful not to jump to the conclusion of impossibility. This is where belief in yourself and faith in God come in. There IS a plan for your life. It’s your job to find it and do the work necessary to fulfill it. When you do what you can and give God permission to step in, He will do what you cannot.
Strategic Life Plan Step #22: Name at least three ACTIONS that you can take to begin to move in the direction of your life mission. Do not consider limitations at this time–for example, don’t say things like, “I just don’t have time. I don’t know how to start. I need someone to point me in the right direction.” Ask God to show you the 3 actions. If you’re not a believer, imagine that some wise mentor is giving you advice about living out your personal mission statement. What would that person say?
Strategic Life Plan Step #23: OK NOW is the time to list all the limitations you believe hold you back from taking the first steps toward fulfillment of your personal mission. Here are some that used to hold me back: I don’t belong. I’m not invited or welcomed. I’ll be interfering. I’m not qualified. I don’t have the right education. Some I’ve heard from others are, I’m ugly. I’m too big. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have enough money. It’ll never work. We’re going to deal with each of your perceived limitations in the following days.
Strategic Life Plan Step #24: Now, let’s take those limitations apart. Imagine that you’re going over each of your perceived limitations with a trusted mentor. What would your mentor say about each one? Is the limitation real or imagined? Remember that the last time you considered the limitation it may have been real, but is now no longer a relevant factor.
Strategic Life Plan Step #25: If you’ve done the steps preceding this one, you should be able to dismiss false limitations, being left with only those which truly do prevent you from fulfilling your personal mission. So, let’s take a look at one of the most common road blocks, financial lack. SPECIFICALLY, what would you do to fulfill your mission if money were not a factor?
Strategic Life Plan Step #26: Answer yesterday’s question with whatever your limitations are in place of the word, “money.” Don’t dismiss this. Use your imagination. It may be rusty, but there was a time as a child when you could easily imagine something outrageous. Too many of us were shot down by others and shut down our imaginations. Reach deep. Find that ability within yourself, and imagine what you would do without the limitations you listed in step #23.
Strategic Life Plan Step #27: Don’t allow anyone or anything to steal your ability to imagine good things. Imagining bad things is effortless, like water flowing downhill. So we must intentionally counter this negative imagining, which is worry and fear, with what I call, Positive Imaginings, which is the action of child-like imagining of good things in your future.
Strategic Life Plan Step #28: While doing your Positive Imagining of your desired end result, go back to the three actions you named in Step #22 and assign a timeline to accomplishing those three actions. If those actions are complicated, break them down into smaller steps and assign a reasonable timeline to each step. Remember the old (TRUE) adage: what gets written gets done.
Strategic Life Plan Step #29: Spend time every day doing your Positive Imagining. Be careful who you share this with, if anyone. Even well meaning people can discourage a goal that they don’t understand or are unable to imagine as reality.
Strategic Life Plan Step #30: When the first steps toward your imagined reality as complete, set three more steps that must be taken to move forward. Keep doing this as many times as it takes to get to your desired goal–all the while continuing your Positive Imaginings. And do not allow others in your life, who are not pursuing success, discourage you. Have the courage to take the steps necessary to fulfill your purpose and have everything that comes along with it.
Strategic Life Plan Step #31: Keep these steps and all your answers so that you can review them next December. This strategic life plan should be done every year so that new information and developments can be incorporated into it. If you’ve completed all these steps, congratulate yourself. You are well on your way to your new reality. If you have not, print this off of my blog, which will be posted tomorrow, and work the steps. It’s never too late to take the first steps to positive life change.
I want to hear about your successes.