02 Sep Finding the Future in an Uncertain Time
Personal and Professional Planning Re-Dux
By Sylvia Luneau
Planning for the future right now seems daunting. How can we make realistic plans if we still have no clue about our year-end reality? As humans, we are creatures of habit; we thrive in the known and the knowable. From that perspective, 2020 has been explosive.
More than likely, you’ve been hearing this phrase a lot lately: focus on the things that you can do. Well, what can you do? You may not be able to plan out next year, but you CAN plan, and that may help in more ways than you know. In the now immortal words of Frozen II: “Do the next right thing.” Seems like there’s a Disney quote for everything!
So your plans for next week keep imploding. You rework them, only to get entirely derailed – did anyone else have to drop everything last week to think about a fire evacuation plan for the first time? Consider looking further into the future. Plan for 2025, or even 2030, as an exercise, to assist with developing a stronger long-term focus and help lower the stress you feed when you get bogged down in the day-to-day hardships. This can be an exercise for your personal or professional life. There is strong data that points to long-term planning as a powerful tool for growth.
On the Business Side:
Several years ago, A.T. Kearney conducted an in-depth study with over 2000 companies. Their goal was to determine if longer “planning horizons” (planning further into the future) created stronger returns. In brief, they did. For more information about the study, click here.
Get your head out of Q4 for an hour. We all need to survive these times, but what were your plans for business before this all hit? It may take longer to get there, but that’s all the more reason to get started now. Orient your mind toward where you want to be. There is no shortage of templates and examples of one page business plans out there to help you get started planning for your company’s future.
On the Personal Side:
I am likely not the first person to tell you this, but if you write down your goals, they are more likely to come true. This may sound like magic (and who couldn’t use a bit of that right now), but it actually has a lot more to do with clarity and motivation. To write down a goal, you need to be clear about what it is you are aiming for. It forces you to nail down specifics and put real language to what might have been a vague idea floating around your head. Writing down your goals, also serves to motivate you to complete them. Don’t believe me? Try it out!
A great thing is that once you’ve written them down, goals can become a roadmap for your future. There are so many ways to approach long-term planning on the personal side depending on how you best process information. Perhaps you want to format your life goals after a one page business plan. Or, as your personal life is multi-faceted, you may want to consider a vision board addressing many different areas for growth. The nine areas of focus of the Feng Shui Bagua can be a useful template to work from and focus your plans.
Not interested in a visual vision board? Take the categories of the Bagua, and write out five to ten goals/aspirations under each category. Save the list in a location where you can refer to it regularly and read it out loud.
When planning five to ten years into the future, it is possible (even likely!) that your plans may need to be drastically altered. Just like with anything else, that plan can be revised. And just having a plan may give you some peace of mind.
This too, shall pass. Plan for a time when it has.