All the traditional management material tells us how important it is to have a goal with a plan – “if we don’t know where we are going, how will we know when we have got there” and all that sort of stuff. Fair enough, I understand that. But what if you have set a goal with action steps to get there, i.e. the plan, and it just doesn’t seem to be happening? Somehow you just don’t seem to have the energy or inspiration to perform those carefully thought out action steps. What’s going wrong?
Let’s start from the top. Or as Stephen Covey so memorably called it, “starting with the end in mind”. Your vision is perhaps the most important part of the whole process. Without a vision we are indeed lost. It’s our vision that gets us excited, that propels us to get up in the morning, that makes our eyes shine with vitality.
Working back from the vision though is where it starts to get complicated because our rational mind and ego want to be the protagonists. But do they possess the greatest wisdom? It’s our rational mind that wants to start making concrete action steps which is fine as long as the heart, the container of the greatest wisdom is in agreement with these steps. If it isn’t, we will procrastinate over the most logical and best laid plans. Our heart and mind form part of our one body and are meant to work together in harmony. The energy that we need to execute our plans successfully is natural and can’t be forced. To achieve our vision we must be alert to what our heart and inspiration is telling us. Our rational mind may have set down a logical way to achieve the vision but in fact there may be a better way or a slightly different way that opens to us if we just listen to our feelings and become alert to the coincidences and hidden opportunities in life.
So, yes, devise the plan that leads you to the fulfullment of your goals and ultimately your vision but don’t get too hung up on the details. If your vision is aligned with your values, and it excites you, you will be inspired to take the necessary actions. The key is to be flexible with your plan and be mentally and emotionally open to other ways of achieving your goals.
Be focused, be clear about what you want, be proactive but above all, be flexible and listen to your feelings. You will get there in the end.