Last week we summarized the purpose and goals that introduced our first month’s topic: Personal Development.
Be sure to download this week’s workbook pages to complete the Questions for Reflection and Action Points exercises. View
We discussed the key ingredients foundational to this program being successful. We want to reiterate the points because these distinctions will be the centerpiece of our program:
– Having a plan that is doable for even the busiest of people.
– Long-term perspective focusing on the person you will become and the results you achieve one year from now.
– Having a specific focus for 30 days at a time on a core building block of success, allowing us to focus on 12 individual core areas over the period of a year.
– Using weekly e-mail to bring continuity, accountability and synergy.
– Using supplemental audio programs and book chapters for listening in the car and reading at night.
You’ve already achieved more than half the victory because you made the commitment to be part of this ongoing program that addresses core building blocks essential to success. You do not have to get in a hurry, speed things up or feel stressed when you are behind. Just realize you are heading down the right road with a predetermined plan to arrive in a better, happier and more productive place.
Part Two—The Plan
Welcome back! Again, what an exciting opportunity to be able to take this next step together on our one-year journey.
Last week we discussed the fact that this is indeed a journey, a process, a destination and an adventure we are taking together.
We also introduced our first blog. Personal Development, and the four main components that are our focus this month:
We looked at the possibilities and challenged you to accept the invitation to join together on this unique journey of self-development and discovery where you’ll set and reach higher goals, go for your dreams, change certain unpleasant things about yourself and make a significant difference in the lives of others.
This week we’ll talk about the plan. All good things in life are upstream, but the natural flow of life is that downward, negative pull. To combat that downward pull, you need a plan, a map to help you reach your desired destination. We’ll talk about the plan and break down the keys to creating and following a successful plan.
Association and Influence
We are affected by everything around us, including what we read, what we watch, who we talk with and who we spend time with. It all plays a part in how we view our world, our relationships, our opportunities, but mostly ourselves. Next week we’ll discuss the importance of our associations and the influence they have.
Now let’s move on to this week’s topic—The Plan.
As we all know, our results are only as good as our plan. A good friend taught me it’s not what happens that determines the major part of our future, because what happens, happens to us all. Instead, he taught me the key is what we do about it. If we start the process of change by developing a plan, doing something different in this next year than we did the previous year, it won’t matter how small those efforts are in the beginning. Start doing different things with the same set of circumstances—we’ve always had and cannot change—and see what miracles occur. When we start the miracle process and change ourselves, then everything changes. And here’s what is interesting, the difference between success and failure is so subtle. Let me explain by giving you my definitions of failure and success. Failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day. The man says, “Well I didn’t walk around the block today and it didn’t kill me, so it must be okay.” No. It is that kind of error in judgment after six years that has him out of breath and panting as he walks from his car to his office. You can’t make those kinds of mistakes; it will end up costing you.
Now, here is my definition of success: A few simple disciplines practiced every day. Do you see the distinction? A few disciplines…. Here’s a little phrase we’ve all heard, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And my question to you is, “What if that’s true?” How simple and easy is that plan?
The fact is, when you look at successful people, you will almost always discover a plan behind their success. They know what they want, they work out a plan that will get them where they want to go, and they work their plan. It is the foundation for success. We as humans have the unique ability to effect change in our lives; it is through our own conscious choice when we engage in the miracle process of personal development that we are able to transform our nature and our lives.
We want this first year in our program to be a success for you—a smashing success—which means you will need to have a plan, and then methodically work that plan. It is the combination of the materials and your open attitude toward learning, driven by the diligent following of a plan that is right for you, that will make this year the kind of success we know you want it to be. So let me challenge you to be no less sincere, be no less committed to the advancement of your philosophy, the set of your sail, your plan.
So, what are some good ideas on developing a plan that will work well and take you to the finish line powerfully and in style? Here are some major points to keep in mind:
Develop the plan for you
Some people are very detail oriented and they will follow an intricate plan closely. Others are a little more “freewheeling” and not really “detail” people. That is okay too. In all the years of my speaking to audiences worldwide, people have asked the question, “what plan is the right plan?” And my answer: the plan that fits you; your plan, the one you develop that is unique to you and for you. You see, each of us is unique and motivated by different factors and you’ve got to develop one right for you, one that fits you. Some plans will not be as intricate as others but we all must have a plan, along with goals in that plan, to move us along through the program. If you are a free spirit type, don’t tell yourself you have to spend two hours a day with a book, CDs and journal. It probably won’t happen and you will get discouraged! Whatever your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses, develop the plan around them! This is not a one-plan-fits-all proposition.
Establish times to spend working on the material
It may be every Sunday night. It may be 20 minutes each morning. It may be in the car listening to CDs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Whatever it is, set the times and do it. In your step-by-step plan, put down items you can accomplish every week. They should be specific and achievable. Develop the discipline and take those steps every day, to move you closer to your goals and where you want to be.
Keep a journal
Take notes. It may be on paper, it may be on a mini-recorder. My friend taught me not to trust my memory, but to write it all down, to find one place to gather the information that effects change. That advice has served me well all these years. Record the ideas and inspiration that will carry you from where you are to where you want to be. Take notes on the ideas that impact you most. Put down your thoughts and ideas. Brainstorm about where you are going and what you want to do. Record your dreams and ambitions. Your journals are a gathering place for all the valuable information you will find. If you are serious about becoming wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, unique, if you come across something important, write it down. Two people will listen to the same material and different ideas will come to each one. Use the information you gather and record it for further reflection, for future debate and for weighing the value that it is to you.
Create time for reflection—a time to go back over, to study again the things you’ve learned and the things you’ve done each day. I call it “running the tapes again” so the day locks firmly in your memory so it serves as a tool. As you go through the material in this plan, you will want to spend time reflecting on its significance to you. Here are some good guidelines for times to reflect: At the end of the day take a few minutes and go back over the day—who you talked to, who you saw, what they said, what happened and how you felt, what went on. A day is a piece of the mosaic of your life. Next, take a few hours at the end of the week to reflect on the week’s activities—I would suggest at least one half-hour. You can also spend a few minutes to reflect on how this material should be applied to your life and circumstances. Take a half day at the end of the month and a weekend at the end of the year to capture and review your experiences so that they never disappear, to ensure your past is even more valuable and serves your future well.
We’ll cover goal-setting in the upcoming weeks, so for now let’s just remember your plan is the roadmap for how you will achieve your goals. Of all the things that changed my life for the better (and most quickly), it was learning how to set goals. Mastering this unique process can have a powerful effect on your life too. I remember shortly after I met my friend he asked me if I had a list of my goals, and of course I didn’t. He suggested that because I lacked a set of clearly defined goals he could guess my bank balance within a few hundred dollars… and he did! Well, my friend immediately began helping me define my view of the future, my dreams. He taught me to set goals because they are the greatest influence on a person’s future and the greatest force that will pull a person in the direction they want to go. But your future must be planned and well-designed to exert a force that will pull you toward the promise of what can be.
Act on your plan. So many times what separates the successful from the unsuccessful is that the successful simply do it. They take action. They aren’t necessarily smarter than others; they just work the plan. Over the years, I’ve taught the time to act is when the emotion is strong because if you don’t, here’s what happens—it’s called the law of diminishing intent. We intend to act when the idea strikes us, when the emotion is high, but if we delay and we don’t translate those feelings into action fairly soon, the intention starts to diminish. A month from now it’s cold and a year from now it can’t be found. So set up the discipline when the idea is strong, clear and powerful—that’s the time to work the plan, to engage in the discipline; otherwise the emotion is wasted. And here’s what is interesting: all disciplines affect each other; everything affects everything. That’s why even the smallest action is important—because the value and benefits you receive from that one little action will inspire you to do the next one and the next one…. So step out and take action on your plan because if the plan is good, then the results can be miraculous.
Like we said last week, we are at the beginning of a fantastic journey that is going to help us become all that we want to, so let’s get going!
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!