Written by: Ari Greenbaum, Co-founder of conXpros
If you did not grow up in the 80’s, you may not be so familiar with the television show, The A-Team. The leader of this group of outlaw former soldiers (“wanted for a crime they did not commit”), Hannibal Smith had a line that he said at the conclusion of every episode and successful “mission”. With cigar in hand, he would smilingly state “I love it when a plan comes together”. Well, who doesn’t love it when their plan comes to fruition and success is achieved? The important take away here is that to achieve success, one must first have a plan. Yes, you may reach success once in a while by stumbling upon it, but that is pure chance. Consistently successful people ever rely on dumb luck, rather we create our own luck. I have often been quoted as saying “preparation + hard work + opportunity=luck”, as this is the formula to create your own luck. This article will focus on the preparation part of the equation, because without a clear plan, it is difficult to reach the point where you can repeat with a smile (cigar is optional) “I love it when a plan comes together”.
There are many of the “gurus” of personal growth that write and speak about goal setting and one of the common concepts they all agree upon is that a goal without a plan is not a goal, rather a dream or wish. It is nice and feels good to create and even document your goal. But it feels even better when that goal is realized, which only happens with an actionable plan. Personally, I follow the WWW or 3 W’s approach to planning my success: WHEN, WHAT, & WHO.
WHEN: This is the first question we must ask ourselves after creating a specific goal and writing it down. Every goal needs a target “deadline” to be successfully realized. For example, if you set a goal to make your first million dollars but did not put a time frame or deadline on when this will happen, it is unlikely to become reality. On the other hand, when you declare that you will make your first 7-figure income by December 31, 2019, you can now actively work towards a finish line. Imagine if you competed in a running race and were not told the distance of the finish line; how would you pace yourself, how would you judge your progress, how would you mentally prepare to work towards a goal of completion not knowing when completion would occur? Some would sprint and tire themselves out long before completion, others would slowly start out and find themselves at the rear of the pack. Bottom line, without a “finish line” or target, achieving your goal becomes practically impossible.
Setting your target also allows you to create what I refer to as “markers” or assessment points along the route. Using our example of making your million dollars by the end of December 2019, you can assess your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis to make sure you are on pace & if not make the necessary adjustments to successfully reach your goal. If you are on track or even ahead of pace, you create a feeling of confidence from your mini-goals along the path towards the bigger one. This is the first part of the planning process, which like the goal itself must be documented.
WHAT: No goal can exist without a list of “what is needed to accomplish it”. This can be as long or short of a list as you would like providing you are honest with yourself in identifying everything you need to make this goal a reality. Some ideas of what you can focus on to identify the what’s are: financially, physically, environmentally, & emotionally. Often there are economic & financial needs to make a goal happen. For example, you may have a goal to write and publish a book. It would be irresponsible to believe that there is no cost associated with this undertaking. Editing, layout, cover design, publishing, etc. all require money to happen. Physical needs also are part of what is essential for a goal to be reached. I need my health and hands to physically write a book. Other goals are much easier to tie to physical needs such as goals focused on weight loss, fitness, etc. Without a quiet and inspiring environment to work on my writing, reaching my “deadlines” will become increasingly difficult. These are just a few examples of the “what’s”. There are many more that exist and it is your responsibility as someone committed to your success in goal achievement to take the time to identify all of your “what’s” and put them in writing.
WHO: There is little that any of us do in this world that we are 100% alone on. When it comes to achieving goals, the “who is needed” becomes an equally important part of the planning stage as the when and what questions. Many goals do not require the time, input, or direct assistance of other people, but rarely does a goal not require the support of the people we are surrounded by on a regular basis. In my goal to author and publish my first book, there are a few people I need to make it happen which I already made mention of in the previous section (editor, layout, cover design, etc.). Without someone to edit, this critical part will not happen. So even though it is someone I will need to hire, it categorizes as part of the “who is needed” section. The primary “who’s” that most people neglect due to their being less obvious, are the individuals in our lives. I am married and have children living in our home who have lives going on that I am a large part of. Without their support, encouragement, and respecting my needs to not be disturbed while writing, the chances of my successful achievement of this goal are an impossibility. You must identify who in your life, you need the support, encouragement, etc. of. There are not many goals that I can think of that do not incorporate this type of “who” in the equation, so put the proper thought and reflection into this important aspect of the planning stage.
Once you have the WWW, you can then fill in the rest of the address. If you only type www into your web browser, you will never reach your desired destination. The remaining address is required, just like it is essential in goal planning to take the answers to these 3 W’s and create an actionable plan that you and those supporting you will hold you accountable to. By following this process and planning your path to success, you increase the likelihood of being seen smiling (cigar still optional) stating “I love it when a plan comes together”, part of the A-TEAM. Opportunity will be there, but you must actively do the other 2 parts of the equation, preparation and hard work. This type of planning and preparation will have others that witness your finished product, remarking how you are such a “lucky” person. Never forget that you must plan to create your own “luck”. Set BIG goals, make BIG plans, take BIG actions! You will see BIG RESULTS!