Your personal strategic plan

What is your personal strategic plan? Where do you want to go, and how do you plan on getting there? What milestones do you need to reach along the way? What do you need to accomplish in order to meet those milestones? And will you really get there?

Most of us have dreams, visions or goals of where we’d like to be. Yours may include a nice house, a family, maybe a summer home or vacations at the greatest resorts. Career goals may include a partnership in a major firm, or a high salaried position in a creative, unstructured, trendy organization. Your goals may be to travel the world as an itinerant writer or photographer, or to retire to a quiet lakeside cottage.

Take time to think about your lifetime goals. They will be different for different stages in your life. Some will be easily obtained; others will take greater effort and planning. Know your goals, and set your plans to achieve them. Start by considering five key questions.

Five Key Questions:

What are your major milestone goals? At each decade, your 30’s, 40’s 50’s 60’s 70’s and beyond, where do you want to be? Are your major milestone goals consistent with each other? Some goals are linear; you may want to own a condominium in your 30’s, and build equity for a starter home in your 40’s, build equity again and cash out in your 60’s to help fund your retirement. Sometimes you goals are not linear; you may want to have a home in your 30’s but become a professional sky diver in your 40’s. Whichever path you choose; the linear or the disjointed, have a plan for achieving those goals.

What is the next stepping stone goal in your personal strategic plan? Is it a raise, or a new car, or gettng a dog? How far are you from that goal? What do you need to close the gap from where you are to where you want to be? What is your strategy for closing that gap, and what is your timeline? Do you have stepping stone goals which lead to your milestone goals? Time goes by too quickly, and opportunities are lost. Have a plan for spending your time and resources; know what you want, and work to get there.

Are you in control? Assess your goals. How much of their achievement is in your control, and how much is unpredictable? If your goal is to spend an hour a day reading, you probably have significant control over that; if, however your goal is to triple the value of your investment portfolio in the next 90 days, you are likely to have less influence on that outcome. Be realistic in setting your personal strategic plan. Make reasonable projections and assumptions, set stretch goals, and have a plan in place to compensate for the factors you cannot control.

Are your future and your present in balance? Are you so focused on enjoying your current lifestyle that you are neglecting the career component to be able to afford your future dreams? Are you living beyond your means? Or, alternatively, are you so focused on career acceleration and the future that you are not able to enjoy your life right now? Strike a balance between the future and the present, between your career and personal life. You want to have the resources to enjoy the future, but there are no guarantees that the future will be there as you planned.

Are you prepared for the unexpected? Beyond the glamour and glitz, take care of your base line considerations. You need the money to finance your dreams, and you need some level of security. An unexpected illness or major accident or incident has the ability to destroy your health and/or finances, and crush your dreams. As boring as it may seem, insurance is a critical component of any personal strategic plan. Plan for the stability to support your dream.

Creating Your Personal Strategic Plan:

After reviewing the key questions. sit down and create your plan.

  • List your milestone goals for each decade of your life. Include both personal and professional goals. Be visionary.
  • Review the list for consistency and feasibility. It’s fine to have stretch goals, but keep them within the realm of possibility.
  • Assess where you are, and determine your stepping stone, or next step goals. Give yourself a deadline for each. Ensure that the stepping stones are achievable and will get you to your major goals. Some milestone goals will requre years, or even decades of planning and interim steps. Start now.
  • Set your strategies, tactics and actions to achieve your stepping stone goals. Small steps in the right direction can yield big results.
  • Don’t overbook yourself. One goal, accomplished, is better than five goals postponed.
  • Get into action. Just do it.
  • Celebrate when you reach a goal, and set your sights on the next one.
  • If you don’t achieve your goal, determine the reason, and adjust your actions or your goal for future success.
  • Twice a year, look over all your goals and accomplishments and make adjustments. Things change, and your goals will change with them. Be flexible, but always know where you’re headed.

Your personal strategic plan sets your vision, goals and actions. Think about your major milestone goals, and work toward achieving them. Some dreams take time and planning to become reality. Start now and sieze the future you want!