Imagine living your life where your concerns, fears and worries about your career, wealth, health and relationships were 80% less than they are today. Does this sound like a fantasy? It's not.
Over 5,500 people have discovered the power of creating a written plan for personal success. A consistent challenge that people face when creating their first plan for
personal success is defining the future that they desire. many people describe 'strategies' instead of describing what they really want.
A common example relates to fitness and health. People will often say
things like, “I want to lose 10 kilograms, this is the fitness and
health future that I desire.”
Losing 10 kilograms is a strategic goal and while losing 10 kilograms is
an outcome, it isn’t the 'end game'. What the person really wants is the lifestyle
that comes with being 10 kilograms lighter. That person wants to be more attractive, more able to move and have fun. That person wants more energy. That's what they really want.
Defining what people really want is something that a lot of people find difficult to do.
Understanding why you want to be 10 kilograms lighter and why that is
important to you are the keys to understanding what it is you really
Focusing on the types of activities that you want to be able to do and
visualising yourself doing them is far more powerful than focusing on a
number, such as losing 10 kilograms. Dewitt Jones, acclaimed National Geographic photographer and an
expert on the power of vision explains that the big visions in life
shouldn’t be too focused, too tight. Rather, they should be both clear
enough, yet loose enough to leave open a thousand possibilities to bring
them into reality.
In terms of a whole of life perspective focusing on losing 10 kilograms
is too tight a vision.
Focusing on being able to play with your
children or grandchildren, being able to participate in a hiking
holiday, or dancing with your friends are loose visions that have a
multitude of opportunities to bring them into reality.
Losing weight may be a strategy that is required to enable you to keep
the possibilities alive for you to bring your vision into reality. It is
at this point that focusing not only on losing weight but on creating a
new lifestyle where you can maintain the weight loss becomes critical.
At this level of personal planning you become more focused on your
goals and you take specific actions to achieve them. Actions may include engaging a
personal trainer and training four times per week. These are what Dewitt
calls ‘tactical visions’ and are more detailed and specific. They identify exactly what you need to do to bring your vision into reality
How do you know if the future you are focusing on is what you want or is a strategy to achieve what you want?
The easiest way to approach this question is to reflect on the content
of your vision once it has been created. You will discover that you have
a mixture of statements that reflect both what you want and the
strategies regarding your approach to achieve them.
For each statement in your vision statement ask yourself, “Why do I want
this? What will this really look like once I have it? What will I be
doing when I have this?” and keep asking this question for each answer
that you arrive at, possibly up to five times in a row (this is known as
the Five Whys Technique).
In a financial context people often suggest they they want to be rich or
to have ‘x’ amount of dollars as part of their vision. Once again having money
is a strategy that enables you to do want you want to be able to
do. Asking yourself, “Why do I want this money? What will I be doing
with it?” can help to uncover what you really want and makes it so clear
that taking the necessary steps to create the wealth you desire
(legally, of course!) becomes more and more doable.
Why is it that people initially struggle with this challenge?
Having assisted more than 5,500 people establish their initial OTM Plan for Personal Success®
the facts are that less than 0.1% (that is less than ten) of those
people had previously created a detailed or strategic plan plan for
themselves. The reality for the vast majority of people is that creating
a personal plan is something that they haven’t done before.
Like most things we do for the first time we are usually not very good
at it the first time. This can be frustrating for adults because we like
to think that we can quickly achieve an expert standard when we perform
a new task, even though our experience has taught us that this isn’t
really how we learn.
Learning to use iterative cycles when creating your plan for personal
success enables you to more quickly establish a personal plan that both
clearly articulates what you want and what you are going to do to
achieve your vision. This means that you develop the skill to
continually ask yourself, “Why do I want what I have just written? Why
is that important to me?”
That said, having an initial plan is more powerful than not having one.
David Ingvar’s ‘Memories of the Future’ research highlights the power of
having a written plan. In this context having a plan is far more
beneficial than not having one at all. If you create you plan and then
become disciplined on reviewing it, say once every six to 12 months and
also become disciplined at constantly challenging yourself to reflect on
why you want what you want, you will, over time create plans that are
even more powerful than your first plan. This is normal and part of the
learning process that is associated with creating and living your plan
for personal success.
Please visit here for more information on the options available for establishing an OTM Plan for Personal Success® and sign up for my regular newsletter here.