Yes! Absolutely they do. But here’s the catch:
Those good things that come while you’re waiting? They aren’t always the good things you were hoping for. The vacation you patiently waited for someone else to arrange was lovely, but it wasn’t the destination you’d had in mind. The promotion at work? Certainly a sign that they value your contributions, but you’d been dreaming of moving to a different department.
Good things may come while you wait, but if there is a specific good thing for which you are waiting, then don’t confuse waiting with patiently and persistently pursuing a plan. If good things come to those who wait, and if patience is a virtue, then the path of patient planning is road that truly leads to the good things for which you are waiting.
As an acronym, Patiently, Persistently Pursuing a Plan, may cause some laughter. PPPP! Say it out loud and you may at first think it sounds like a spluttering car engine. I prefer to think of it as the revving sound you make because you’re so excited about your plan that you can’t hold back from the starting line. Go ahead, try it again. Don’t you feel like a race car, ready to roar?
Once you’ve hit the ignition and your engine’s roaring and your tank is fueled with your plan, it’s important to ease your foot off the pedal and slow down. If you continue at breakneck speed, you’ll miss a turn and crash you plan. Patiently, persistently pursuing a plan means giving yourself enough time to see each step and adapt as needed.
Here are 3 more Ps to keep you moving, slow and steady, toward your goal.
- Planning tools are essential, whether they are simple T charts for evaluating pros and cons to make a decision, or elaborate SWOT analysis for making a long-range strategic plan. They can be digital, or they can be pen-and-paper. They can be expensive systems that connect to communities of users, or they can be one-offs that you design for yourself. Whatever they are, none will be perfect. Pick one that fits your basic needs and then modify it to make it fit. A friend just gave me a planning journal system that I think looks exciting and I’m going to try it out myself. I’ll be sure to take notes on what i needed to modify, and if the tool seems valuable I’ll share it with you at the end of the 13 week trial.
- Partners are key to planning success. I have a client who believes herself to be very resistant to planning. She is a very adaptive, reactive person. She lives very in the moment and thinks in kind of a big-picture, stream-of-consciousness way. But get her talking to someone who thinks strategically and long-range, and all that big-picture, stream-of-consciousness brilliance can be turned into a plan. Sometimes planning requires a partner. Even when we’re good at making our own plans, sticking to them often requires the kind of accountability that can only be provided by others.
- Plasticity is another P you can add to your revving-up. Your plan needs to be flexible enough to allow for change. Commitment to your goals is key to attaining them, but a willingness to evaluate along the way will help you see whether your goals have shifted. You don’t want to patiently and persistently pursue a plan that takes you to someplace you’d rather not be at the end.
In my next post, I’ll give you some tips on making plans, but I’m also interested to hear from you about the planning tools you find useful. Have a system you find particularly helpful? Leave a note in the comments!
Not sure how to get started with your own plan? I can help!
“Don’t Wait” sign image used courtesy of an Creative Commons license: Title
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