Planning To Plan

Actions speak louder than words is an ancient truism. Planning to plan is a convenient way to avoid responsibility for doing nothing.

Avoiding responsibility is a weak career move.

Planning involves change

Changing is never easy because most of us overestimate the value of what we have, underestimate the value of what we might have, and vastly overestimate the effort required to get the better future.

Changing is forever and planning merely selects an optimal path.

Just do it

Nike is famous for many things including the “Just do it” idea. When you stop and think for a moment, you realize the value of that idea. Sure, you might be wrong, but you will learn something. You will be closer to being able to do it. Most things in life are not binary. On-Off, Yes-No, They are a range of outcomes based on skill, attention to detail, practice and many other factors.

There was a time when Tiger Woods had a 20 handicap. No one leaps from weak to strong in one move.

Planning is organized common sense

Planning is continuous. You do it every hour of every day. It is the implementation that is a bit sketchy. Think about driving to work. Today is slow and you notice they are working on a street you travel. It looks like a week long job. Tomorrow you will take a new way.

Automatic. You don’t think of it as a planning. You just do it.

The first step in planning is Observe.

In financial planning it means observing where the best income possibilties may be, what financial markets are about, what employee benefits you have at work, how banking works, how your lifestyle is presently composed and how you would like it to be, your relationships, how others like you have proceeded, and dozens more factors.

You know these, at least some of them, at an intuitive level. You may need to learn about some of the others. It would not hurt to clarify some of your intiuitive ideas while you are at it.

The second step is Anticipate

Consider what your observations mean. What have other people like you done and achieved? What have they failed at? Where were the successful people you can see when they were your age? Did they have different skills, or other resources? Does you spouse share the0 visions you have? What liabilities will children create? How is your industry moving – Decay or growth? Competitors?

In essence, what do your observations mean for you.

Suppose you need a course to get a promotion at work. You have observed the income increase, the time required to achieve the result, the fees, the opportunities beyond the next step.

The third step is Organize

Changing is like quitting smoking. There must be a new behaviour to replace the old one. Organizing helps replace the old behaviour. Redirect money and time. What will you give up to make the next step. Perhaps you must wait to get the money together or readjust your time committments.

The fourth step is Act

Find if there are packaged solutions to your problem or opportunity. See if you customize them to your specific case. You probably will need to ask for help in this step, but that’s okay. People love to help ambitious people.

A well crafted plan not implemented is worse than useless. Not only did you not get the result you hoped for, you made inaction a possibility. Inaction becomes a habit very quickly. It is the heroin of failure. Quickly addictive and always deleterious to success.

The action could be wrong. Always true. At worst you will learn a little and your next action will be better. Plus, it makes acting your habit.

Learn to be critical of your performance. Critical review is always effective in improving future effort. I have watched a professional golfer hit more than a hundred 2-irons in practice to fix a minor swing problem. Professionals don’t get it right the first time either, but they recognize problems quickly and work constructively to repair them.

After action review

You are not finished until you have assessed the results. The weak and the strong and the things you found that you had not anticipated. All of these inform future decisions and are easily lost without the review.

You learn best what you experience, but only if you observe. And so back to the top and on to the next step.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. 705-927-4770

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