Why does he ask you “How”?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
Steve Jobs, 2005 commencement address at Stanford University
If you’ve been following along with this series, you’ll know that we’re a fourth of the way through 24 short lessons on what exactly to do to get started if you want to be an entrepreneur or have your own business. Of course, since these are mini-lessons, there will be more to it than just the content of these articles. But at least it’s a place to start to get from where you are now to where you want to be – in a situation where you have a “business”.
I’ve hammered the point (hopefully in a nice way) that making choices and decisions that result in plans is essential for whatever you do. Without this action on your part, life will happen to you by default. Especially as change comes upon us faster and faster, as the need to stay relevant and keep pace becomes a bigger feature of our landscape, making plans becomes imperative. You can change them, but you must lay the foundation first.
In going through the steps as outlined so far, you are consciously deciding what you want in your life. You are actively choosing what you want your life to look like. You are making plans to get there. And you are remembering to check in with yourself to make sure that you feel peace, contentment, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Plan your mission, then make it so.
Here are eleven essential and helpful Planning behaviors:
1. Be honest with yourself – no excuses, no sugarcoating
2. Be accountable – drop your sense of entitlement
3. Just do it – don’t be afraid of hard work and don’t wait until everything falls into place, or else you won’t start
4. Take one day at a time with your actions, but focus on results in the long term
5. Don’t wimp out because of short-term setbacks
6. Plans aren’t the end of your life -you can change them. But first give them your all and stick with them long enough to experience success
7. Be of service. Have high intention with low attachment. Give with no expectation of getting back
8. Maintain your composure and keep your sense of humor. Roll with the punches. Be the person you’d like to be around.
9. Don’t elaborate. Simple is good. There is no need to impress anyone – under-promise and over-deliver.
10. Be proud (not egotistical.) Keep your word. Know that actions yield results. Take steps today, and tomorrow you’ll have the pedigree or credentials you think you need.
11. Be in the now. Give this moment your all rather than being in a hurry to reach some endpoint. The end will take care of itself if you give now your full attention. Understand how your actions today contribute to an endpoint you have set for tomorrow.
As important as it is to know and develop behaviors of successful entrepreneurs, some of you may want more tangible instructions. How do you get from here to there? How do you make decisions and plans that lead you forward?
Ask yourself HOW and then answer by doing the following:
Every evening make a plan for your day tomorrow.
This should be broken into components:
- Projects you plan to work on
- Projects you plan to delegate, including a completion deadline and who they are assigned to
- Tasks that need to be done
For the projects you work on, note:
- What goal they are related to
- The results
- What the next actions steps are that you need to take to keep it moving forward
Next Action Step
- Block your time. The hardest or most intimidating item should go first.
- Set a stop time! Work this one item until you complete it. It will make you better at completing things in a shorter time frame as you get used to intense focus.
- Limit your tasks to 30-60 min max. Schedule them for just after lunch or early afternoon or whenever your energy is a bit low as they take less thought and creativity.
- Ask yourself at least twice a day if what you are working on is moving you forward to your goals. Remember, you don’t want to be busy; you want to achieve outcomes that produce results you have decided you want – time, money, health, relationships, etc. While you work, keep in mind what outcome you are working towards.
BREAK TIME! Be sure to take breaks to move, breathe, eat something nutritious, or have some fun. It’s as important to nourish your creativity as it is to push forward. And at the risk of being politically incorrect (though I don’t believe that was the intention) here’s a suggestion for one of your breaks: Why do the Indians always ask HOW? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_at9dOElQk
- DO appreciate that HOW you go through the process of planning and decision making – whether you rush through it or really dive into it – affects how you get to success, or not.
- DO go back and review the steps of who, what, when, where, why in addition to this how as you work through the process of making decisions.
- DO recognize that a plan is useful only if it is implemented. The next element you need is the ability to take action so plan to stay tuned for more articles!
- Don’t forget to take some quiet time to reflect deeply on what brings you joy, contentment, peace, and fulfillment. You are creating a business to serve you – not a life in which you serve your business.
- Don’t forget to step back and look at the big picture and remember that your decisions affect your health, your finances, your family, and your future. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue entrepreneurship. In my opinion that should move you to entrepreneurship even more passionately and quickly! But in all circumstances you are part of a greater whole and in our frantic lives we sometimes forget that. Don’t.
- Get very quiet. Sit someplace with no distractions. Make a conscious decision. Decide you are ready to do the work to start from where you are today.
- Make a list of things you know how to do and things you like to do. Pick one or two short-term and mid-term goals you can reach in a month and in a year. Then pick one wild ass thing you’d love to do, be, or have ten years from now.
- Start plotting your course. Think of the one why that will compel you to go forward. Now pick three mini-targets, or milestones, to get you to your one-month and one-year goals.