Planning for the long haul

train_mountainsStudies show that a key behavior of a successful person is that they plan for the long haul.

You will hear them sometimes talk about what they are working on for the next 12 months, their plans for 24 months, 5 years and if you press them they will probably tell you their 20 year vision. Then you may hear them talk about the legacy they want to leave.

Interesting isn’t it that thinking and planning for the long haul is a common behavior of many successful people.

Back in 2006 I started to explore the possibility of setting up my own coaching business. It was a radical idea to change up my career but I was passionate about what I could see coaching could do for people and organisations.  So I spent a lot of time creating my vision for what I wanted my business to look like eventually in all its resplendent glory. I dreamt about what impact my organization would have on people, businesses and the world. I created a presentation to give to a group of potential investors and supporters, which really helped focus the visioning giving it language and giving it structure of how the vision would actually manifest and out play itself in the world.

The ideas I had then were crazy big and were not confined to impacting just one country or culture. Seven years later, here I am. It hasn’t been exactly the seven years I expected. I spent part of it living in America and attending a leadership school. However, when I look back on that presentation I created all those years ago, guess what…. it still stands. Everything I am doing fits into that vision and my mission remains on the whole unchanged. The methods I am using to move towards that vision are not always the ones I expected; many times they are exactly what I planned. My point is that creating that vision gave me a long term plan. The details are getting worked out along the way, but the vision is embedded deep into my subconscious mind and my heart.

What do you think will happen? I don’t know, I am completely open to this vision changing, but unless it does it is what is (for the moment) guiding me.

I am clear and becoming clearer as the years goes by of what the legacy is that I want to leave behind.

I share this story to challenge you and ask you in what way have you planned for the long haul? Day in and day out I coach people and help them figure out what they want their future to look like. Time after time the future they begin to envision is the future they move towards and start making decisions towards right now. The results of this have been astounding; ideal jobs have been found, life dreams have been achieved, businesses have been started, books written, songs written, organisations started.

So my question is if you don’t plan for the long haul and have a vision for what you want your life to count for, what you want your organization to count for, how you want to impact the world, what actually ends up happening?

What potential inside of you is wasted? We all have unused potential. Start to unpack some of your unused potential by simply thinking about the next 12 months, 24 months, 5 years and what you envision for 20 years’ time?

It doesn’t matter if the 20 year plan feels impossible. If it feels possible quite frankly it’s probably not ambitious enough. Who you will be during the next 20 years is difficult for you to believe right now. The potential impact you will have on the world will be hundreds times more than it could be today. Consequently your 20 year plan needs to have bells and whistles on it! Have some fun with it. Dream up the craziest life story you can possibly imagine.

Then start to talk about it with people that won’t shoot you down. Watch as doors of opportunity open. Wait for fresh ideas to come to you to help you prepare and implement your vision. Enjoy the people who love the sound of it start to come along side you and offer their help.

If you’ve never thought this way, try starting. Bring more specifics to your ideas, the who, the why, the where, the when, the how. Become one of those successful people who has a plan for the long haul and enjoy the ride!

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