I’m a big believer in the power of planning to succeed in personal and professional endeavors. December’s National Business Plan Month is the perfect time to develop a personal success plan for the upcoming year.
Having a personal success plan (or personal life plan) is key to achieving goals and dreams. Such a plan will help you stay focused and motivated so you can track progress and reward yourself at high points.
In my book, All the Right Reasons, I share how years ago a colossal failure motivated my business partner and me to write a plan that set the course for success for the rest of my career.
After presenting to executives at a major U.S. retailer, I was told — bluntly — that we had “completely wasted” their time. It spiraled me into an all-time low.
We were shot down in such an embarrassing manner and absolutely demoralized that we could have told ourselves we were failures, that we had no business being in video production. Instead, we decided to use our failure as a stepping stone to our success.
During a long layover in the Denver airport, the two of us wrote a business plan on the back of about 20 napkins.
That laid the groundwork for our highly successful video production company in the years ahead. We had been humiliated, but we didn’t let the experience break us.
We still laugh when we talk about that experience. Our belief in ourselves and our positive self-talk made all the difference.
The Importance of a Personal Success Plan
Personal success plans provide a roadmap to follow and help keep a person accountable. Tailoring the plan specifically toward one’s interest is key.
It takes five steps:
- Define goals
- Break goals into smaller, manageable steps
- Take action
- Accept and overcome obstacles
- Measure progress
With the first two steps in place, it’s time to take action because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll achieve your end goal. Starting early gives you the luxury of not being rushed, which brings the benefit of reflection and refinement.
Then, once you’ve taken action, it’s important not to let obstacles or setbacks deter you.
Being shamed out of the room by those executives motivated us to write a business plan in the airport with a firm determination to excel.
Last, but certainly not least, you have to track your progress and celebrate milestones. That keeps you motivated and on track. Measuring and applauding accomplishments boosted us forward to higher levels. Those celebrations kept us going.
Life’s a Journey
We spend our lives on a journey instead of at a final destination. This is why I define success by The Journey Principle: Success is about the experiences you have, the relationships you build, and the lessons you learn. A personal success plan will keep you on track for achieving greatness.