Friday, 27 November 2009

Want to be successful? Have a plan!

Oddly enough the most difficult thing about being a success is figuring out what you want to be a success at. It’s strange, isn’t it, that we are as a species so undecided. I know a few people whose talents were so obvious at a young age that they have just followed their dream. But it’s certainly not the case for everyone. But working hard at figuring out what you want to excel at is so worthwhile. Because once you have a goal you have a chance of being successful.

Of course the difficulty is the choice. There are so many things we can do, could do, or perhaps would do if we had the time/money/figure for it. But there are relatively few things we can really excel at, and it’s figuring out what we love doing, and can be really good at that enables us to enjoy real success.

Assuming you know what you want, a big assumption I know but let’s assume for the second, the next stage is to plan. Plan in detail what’s needed to be successful. Plan what could go wrong. Look at other people doing what you want to do. Consider the risks. Figure out how long things might take. How much they might cost. What assumptions you have made that might be incorrect. Go through the whole shooting match of thinking through what will be required. It takes time, quite a lot of time, but will pay you back a thousand fold.

Gandhi said “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes”. Planning is a formalised and proven way of thinking through and refining thoughts into something actionable.

Pooh Bear said “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

As a bear of little brain I know exactly what Pooh Bear meant. I’ve spent a few days this week on business planning and its tough going, but oh so worthwhile.

I’ve bought Richard Stutely’s book “The Definitive Business Plan” and highly recommend it. He’s seen businesses come and go, worked on plans and budgets for UK plc (he worked at the Treasury) so comes at the subject with some authority.

So if being successful at something matters to you, have a plan!

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