Plan Your Way to Success

Success isn’t an intangible dream that only happens to other people who have become successful by luck or chance. Success is a direct result of knowing your goals, knowing what actions you’re going to take to achieve your goals, and knowing how to overcome obstacles in your path.

In my last column, I described the first step to success: Know Your Goals. Your goals must be written, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible. Once you have established what your goals are, the next imperative step to success is to develop a step-by-step action plan to implement and achieve your goals.

Step Two: Know Your Plan

Having and following a clear, written plan to achieve your goals is an absolute key to success. Verbalizing your plan or having a mental picture of your plan is only the beginning. Writing you plan down is essential. A written plan is the difference between achieving success and just thinking about success. Having a written plan crystallizes your thinking, helps you see obstacles that otherwise wouldn’t have been anticipated, creates innovative ways to achieve your goal, and develops urgency that drives you closer to your goal.

Another essential aspect of having a written plan is assigning deadlines to each step of your plan. Without deadlines, no sense of urgency is created, therefore, you have no incentive to push forward in your plan and achieve your goal. Deadlines help you to concentrate on your objectives and they create a feeling of challenge that spurs you to conquer and obtain your goal.

The following steps will guide you in developing a clear, written plan for your success:

  1. Start With Your Goal and Work Backwards

Visualize yourself achieving your goal. Then, starting from your goal, write down what steps must be taken to ultimately reach your goal. Then, write down what actions must be taken to reach that last step before your goal, and so on.

We recently moved into our new home we had built. It took us approximately 12 months to complete from the time we broke ground. The amazing thing is that there isn’t any significant aspect of the house that we would change. The house turned out almost exactly as we had visualized.

The key to that success was having a clear, accurate, and complete set of blueprints. We spent over a year planning the home before we ever broke ground. It was through this detailed planning that we were able to build the exact house we wanted without making costly changes during the building process. From the time we broke ground until we moved in, every step was planned and written down. Of course, we encountered problems along the way, but we were always ready for them.

  1. Identify the Obstacles or Challenges That Are in Your Path.

By exploring and writing down what obstacles you may encounter while attaining your goal, you can help eliminate possible threats to your success. The key to overcoming obstacles and triumphing over challenges is to know what those challenges and obstacles are in advance. Obstacles might be either personal or environmental. By defining what kind of barrier is in your way, you can more effectively conquer them. Someone once said that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Well, success can be thought of as preparation meeting an obstacle.

Spend a good amount of time brainstorming and identifying every possible barrier to your success that you can think of, no matter how remote. Once you have taken this step, you can then find ways to go around, over, or through your obstacles.

  1. Develop Solutions to Overcome Every Obstacle.

After identifying your obstacles and challenges, you can begin to develop ways to circumvent these barriers to your success. Take time to think and write down every possible solution you can imagine to overcoming each and every one of your obstacles. Writing out solutions will help you to develop innovative and creative ways of solving your problems. Instead of making excuses or blaming conditions for your failures, you will discover workable solutions that will lead to your success.

Take time now to begin Step Two and to know your plan. The sooner you have clearly written goals and plans to achieve these goals, the sooner you will achieve the success that in the past you had only dreamed of.

By Randy, Slechta, CEO / President of Leadership Management International, Inc. a global leadership and organizational development company.

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