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Failing to plan is planning to fail

Failing to plan is planning to failAfter the shocking results of the EU referendum and the ensuing panic and chaos, I couldn’t help but think of this well known phrase: failing to plan is planning to fail. You see, in my opinion, the biggest problem of the leave campaign was that they didn’t have a plan for what they would do if they were to win the vote. All they did was present the people with reasons why the EU wasn’t working, but they didn’t have a plan of what they were going to do instead.

In business and in life it’s quite the same. I know plenty of people who just love to moan and complain about all the things that are going wrong, but when you ask them what they would like to do instead, they don’t know. But when you don’t know what you want, you will never be able to get it. It’s like going into the supermarket with a list of things you don’t want. It just doesn’t work.

So you need a plan. In life this is often called ‘having goals’ and in business this is called a business plan. And in order for the plan to work, it has to have both a very clear end goal, as well as a well defined road map of how to get there. As a business and career coach, I help people with both of this. People often come to me when they’re feeling a bit lost and they don’t know where they want to go. I help them find their destination, and design the route to get there.

I suspect that quite a few people are feeling a bit lost right now, so here are the three steps to creating a good plan:

1. Start at the end
Think about what you want to achieve in the end. Some useful questions to ask yourself here are:
* What sort of business or life do you want to create?
* How much money do you want to earn?
* What sort of legacy do you want to leave?
* What and who is important to you?

Goal setting is the most important part of the coaching process and can take quite a long time, so there are plenty more questions to ask and points to define, but this gives you a bit of an idea.

2. Identify the gap
Now that you know where you want to go, look at where you are now.
* How far away is your destination?
* How long do you think it’s going to take you to get there?
* And what do you need to do to get there?

3. Design the map
If you think of your business (or life) plan as a road map, then once you’ve identified where you are now and where you want to go, you can start to create that map. Think of all the steps you need to take to get there. Identify all the little steps, and also put some milestones in place – ones that you can celebrate along the way. This is obviously the hard bit, but one that you can do with the help of your coach.

Once you have your plan in place, you can start taking the necessary actions to make it happen. Remember to:
* measure your success by the milestones you reach
* be prepared to change the route if necessary
* regularly review the final destination to make sure it’s still what you want

But most of all: enjoy the journey! Because if you can’t enjoy the journey, you probably won’t enjoy the destination.

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