Anyone who knows Susie and I know that we have totally different perceptions of the immediacy of approaching events. Susie begins to talk about Christmas plans in July. We often laugh when she says in July that people are already working on their January calendars. I on the other hand tend to think about January 1st on December 31st. I am fine with making New Year’s goals the first week of the year. After all we have 51 more weeks to work out the kinks.
As I age and mellow I have come to see the wisdom in looking further down the road. I thought I was making a lot of progress when I decided to start seriously looking at 2020 last week. I was thinking about what I believe God wants 2020 to look like in our lives. I am 41 days ahead of my normal schedule so I am pretty proud. Susie on the other hand just rolled her eyes and probably thought “We are making progress… but in very small baby steps……”
So why now? Forty-one whole days early. There are so many platitudes and wall plaque sayings that I could list. Failure to plan is planning to fail. Shoot at nothing and you are sure to hit it. Instead, I’d just like to have you think about five concepts as you begin planning and dreaming about 2020.
First, the most basic thought I have today is a mixture of a quote by Jared James and my own personal beliefs. We have the privilege and opportunity as entrepreneurs to CREATE WHAT YOU BELIEVE GOD WANTS YOU TO SEE IN 2020! As entrepreneurs we have the privilege of determining where we place our efforts. Who we work with. What our activities will be. How fast or how slow we go. Let that sink in. So many people I watch have their careers and goals and their daily routines determined by someone else’s priorities and goals. That makes me cringe and get depressed all at the same time. Take advantage of the privilege and the opportunity.
Second, Acknowledge Assessing the Components of a Dream Takes Time. If you need to change course it takes planning. If your dream is a little foggy it takes time. Start now to put the picture together in your mind’s eye. Paint the pictures in layers. Add and take away until the picture of next year is crystal clear.
When I look down the road and dream I try to answer the four basic entrepreneurial questions:
1. What do I want to see happen as a result of my endeavors in 2020? What milestones do I want to meet? Who do I want to see most affected? Remember – planning is not only about achievement it is about developing influence
2. Why am I doing this? Why do I want to see my goals become a reality? This should be tied to what you really want to see your life be about.
3. How will my goals happen? Is there a logical way that this vision I see in my head can be brought to reality in logical steps? I know we cannot predict how God will move and what He will bring into our lives. We have to leave plans for Him to do the impossible. But at the same time there has to be a basic logical plan. You cannot say I want to make it to goal X, and just keep doing what you did that only got you to goal B. We need a plan!
4. Who do I need to involve in my plans and dreams? No entrepreneur works in a vacuum. Look around and ask yourself “Who needs to be a part of my plan?” Who needs to be a part of my inner circle? Who can help give me the encouragement and motivation I need? Who do I need to help keep me on track?
I keep these questions in front of me and give them thought. I find that time and prayer allow things to come to mind. If I try and answer the questions in one hour, one day or even a week my vision is very limited. Give yourself a couple of weeks of consistent thought. It will make your focus, your resolve, and your direction so much clearer.
Third, Put a Time Frame Around Your “Dreaming and your Planning Period.” I am all for dreaming but I know it’s possible to spend so much time dreaming that we never spend time doing. Dreaming is so important. It keeps us motivated, it allows us to create a picture and work towards it. But too much dreaming does nothing. I remember early on in my wife’s Mary Kay career someone told us that a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming about their business, they just don’t spend a lot of time doing their business. Ouch! But so true. We need to put constraints on our dreaming and say, “At this time, I have to start moving, I have to start doing.”
Fourth, as you dream and plan Make Sure You Don’t Spend More Time Focusing on the Results than You Do on the Process. I realized very early in my business life that I can have a goal but there is no way I can control whether I reach it or not. I cannot control results. I CAN ONLY CONTROL MY PART OF THE PROCESS!! I think we all have things that we want but “wanting” something never gets anything accomplished. Doing does.
Fifth, Ask Yourself WHAT DO I HAVE TO CHANGE TO GET MYSELF TO MY GOALS? Honesty is the best solution here. We really do know the answer to this question. Sometimes we don’t want to admit it but we do know. Now have the courage to do something about it.
Lastly, what are the realistic day to day activities you are going to need to do to get you to where you believe you should go? I am amazed at how often I try to skirt the law of averages. In real estate there are a certain number of calls I need to make each day. At the school there are a certain number of people I must contact and teach to see the business grow. In Susie’s business there are a certain number of faces she must “wash” each week. But, how often do I find myself giving myself a pass and thinking “If I don’t do the dailies, it will still happen”? If you find a planet where this happens, please let me know.
Oops, one more. Having new goals does not get you off the hook for the next 41 days! 2020 starts now! Even if your 2019 goals and resolutions have gotten away from you, you cannot coast and think “I will start January 1st.” The activities of today, of this week, of this month are your set up for 2020. What you accomplish today lays the foundation for weeks and months to come.
Begin the dreaming now! Take the time and exercise the gift that entrepreneurship gives you of being able to dream and then bring your dream to life. It’s such a privilege to live this kind of life. That privilege comes with responsibilities. I believe one is to plan early and give yourself time to paint the full picture in your mind. 2020 can be a masterpiece or a hurried and incomplete sketch. Now is the time when you decide which you will create.