When Children Plan Like Their Parents

How many parents do you know that would tell their high school age, son or daughter, that they didn’t need to plan for college or not to worry about what they are going to do after high school?

How many people wish they had started their retirement planning sooner or their children’s college fund sooner? You might say, “Well we were younger back then and didn’t realize how important it was.” And yet, are you really making actionable plans today for your future?

What if our children planned their futures like we plan our businesses? Do you have specific goals for next month, quarter or even next year? Do you have any idea of what you need to be doing now in preparation for reaching whatever goals you have? Are you organized, and prepared? Do you have a plan, a real plan, a plan with dates and calculated resources attached so that you can effectively and realistically implement the plan?

We believe in planning when it comes to other people. We have told others, you need to plan what you want to do, the career you want to reach, while all along your own goals and plans are not clear, not specific, not realistic because there is no way to know if you are reaching or achieving what you say you want to do.

We have a perpetual “Someday I’ll!” Someday, I’ll have this or that, go here or there, buy, become, do… blah, blah, blah! But someday never seems to arrive. It just keeps moving ahead of us with the empty promise.

This year, take the advice that you give or gave to others, to your teenage children. Set some real goals not just add-ons of some percentage and steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat. Evaluate your potential and seek out excellence no matter what your age or circumstance. Determine that this year will be different.  And that difference…

Start NOW! Don’t play and don’t delay! If you need help find someone who can help you and work with them, listen to them and then do it!

Stan Broesder, MBA — Crossroads Consultants — “Because All Business is Personal!”

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Why is Planning so Hard?

Few actually plan

Studies have shown only 3% of the population, actually do any serious planning. However, almost everyone agrees that there is great benefit to planning and would also agree that the more important an event or complicated a task is the more important it is to plan for it.

How to plan is easy.

There are so many books written on the subject of planning it is very likely you have more than one in your own personal library. So it can’t be that we don’t know that we should do it. And it can’t be that we don’t know how to do it. The “how” is easily found for anyone who wants to know. But the reality is that planning is just hard. It is not fun or exciting, and usually not a very pleasant experience. It is like your taxes, you feel good when you are done not because of the great pleasure in the task, but the fact that it is over.

So why is planning so hard?

You can see that it isn’t hard physically, and it really isn’t all that hard mentally. The problem is that planning is extremely hard emotionally. I know we might not like that answer, but just think about doing some financial or other type of planning. Eventually you will feel it, that “in the pit of your gut” feeling.

Embarrassing questions

Proper planning asks a lot of questions. When we don’t have answers to these questions, we’re embarrassed, we don’t feel so good. Our security, confidence and self-esteem slip a little. When we don’t have answers to our questions then our future becomes a little more in jeopardy. We feel like we are being judged. “What do you mean you don’t know which is more important to you? If you don’t know, who does?”

Everyone has plans.

We plan to retire, go to the islands, learn how to paint, write a book, etc. But the reality is that we don’t really plan. It’s more like having a dream about things. Now according to recent statistics 18% of Americans over 60 years old are very confident in their future and retirement. However, a full 37% have less than $1,000.00 set aside for retirement. Are they planning to retire?

Beginning to see reality?

When you start to really plan, you begin to see reality and it often isn’t as pretty as we had dreamed that it is. Proper planning forces us to see reality and not just our dreams. Proper planning shows us where the real obstacles are in our dreams. We have to face them in order to fix them and that is really hard. I am beginning to feel a little sick myself just thinking about it. Are you with me?

Planning scares me!

I am afraid of the truth. I am afraid to face my own inadequacies, weaknesses, and blind spots. Proper planning makes me feel vulnerable. It forces me to remove the mask and look in the mirror of reality. When that happens I am afraid others will see me, the same way. One of the biggest reasons that businesses guard their strategic plans is because it can show their weaknesses.

I feel ignorant.

Proper planning also reveals my ignorance. There are holes in my road map to the future, gaps within my GPS and the unknowns are risks that I don’t know how to handle. When you can’t answer a question in your planning it becomes a potential threat. What will you do if…? How do you prevent your competition from…? What do your customers think about…? It’s what you don’t know that can hurt you, and that can be a little scary!

Secure your future.

The good news is that when you have identified your weaknesses, the holes in your map, the potential risks, threats, etc., you can now begin to solve them and eliminate them. When your future becomes clearer and the road you are on, more secure, your life will dramatically improve. I know this is a backward way of thinking about it, but if nothing else, planning will prevent things from getting worse. You may not feel better, but the truth will, shall we say, set you in the right direction.

There is an emotional struggle

The sooner that you are willing to admit that there is an emotional struggle to really putting the effort into proper planning, the sooner you will have a plan and be prepared for the potholes and detours of life. Start simple if you have to, even a short “To Do” list is better than nothing. But push on, and move to the more emotionally risky questions and address all the aspects of proper planning. When you are done you will feel better because, one, it is over (at least for today). And second, because you will have the confidence you need and also the energy to move in the right direction. You will sleep better, play harder, and work smarter. Your competition will be less of a threat. Your customers will be more satisfied. And your business will have a much brighter future.

Quick Plan

Here are four simple steps to start (plus one):

  1. Write out your goals.
  2. Be honest in your assessment for where you are now.
  3. Try to understand the obstacles and inventory your resources.
  4. Create a path of tasks, responsibilities and benchmarks.

Plus one: Get some help if you need it!

 A man (or woman) with a plan is far more confident and focused than a man with just a dream.

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