I Love it When a Plan Falls Apart

Last week, I wrote a post entitled, Start with the End in Mind. It was about the importance of taking the long view when creating a personal development plan. Let’s assume for the moment you do that and craft an amazing plan for the upcoming year. How will you respond when your plan doesn’t come together as you envisioned?

Back in the fall of last year, I created a wonderful plan for my life and leadership in 2012. Today, as I begin in earnest to work on my 2013 plan, I realize 2012 did not go as planned – for me, it never does.
So how do I leverage my 2012 experience to create a better 2013? The key for me is to learn from the past but never live there. It’s also critical to remember something Howard Hendricks taught me years ago:

Experience is not the best teacher; EVALUATED experience is.

Following are some of the key questions I use in my planning process; I hope you’ll find something here to help you make 2013 the best year of your life.
What did I learn in the last 12 months?
As I reflect on this question, several things come to mind.

  • I must continue to leverage my strengths
  • If I don’t put my priorities on the calendar, time will evaporate
  • I do my most important work in the white space on my calendar
  • Daily disciplines are critical for me

There’s much more I learned, but I’ll not bore you with the details.
What did I accomplish this year?
Even though I didn’t execute my plan as written, I did…

  • Celebrate 30 years of marriage!
  • Have great times away with my family
  • Launch a new book and finish the first draft of my next book
  • Write 140 blog posts to date (3 per week)
  • Visit a lot of Chick-fil-A restaurants – and ate more than my share of sandwiches
  • Reach platinum status on Delta by October – this was not one of my goals.

What did I fail to do that I planned to do?
For me, my greatest disappointment has been in my Fitness and my Faith accounts. I’ve struggled with the daily disciplines I need to stay grounded and fit. These will be at the top of my priorities in 2013.
Here’s what I’ve concluded after many years of creating personal plans: if I create an aggressive plan, I won’t get it all done. On the surface, it may look like the plan fell apart. However, for me, I accomplish significantly more by having an aggressive plan.

I’d rather accomplish 60% of a bold plan than 100% of a timid one.

My encouragement to you: aim high and don’t be surprised if your plan “falls apart.” As long as you’re growing, you’re winning![GLS_Shield]


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