Kirsten Lowis

It’s Planning Time…

I’m in the process of mapping out my business, travel and study calendars for 2021 and thought I would invite you to my desk and share with you my planning ritual.

When I begin the process of strategic planning, I always ask “What is my preferred future?”.  Generally speaking, I draw on the following parameters:

  • What are my current beliefs, mission, and environment of my business (I say current because as the years roll on, they often develop and change)
  • I describe what I want to see in the future (I often draw pictures or a line to represent time and space)
  • I am specific to each division of my business, travel or study plans
  • I stay positive and inspiring with my words
  • I am always open to dramatic modifications to who I work with and my current routine, methodology, techniques etc. Why? Because I have learned that life rarely goes to plan, but that doesn’t stop me from planning.

When I write my vision it has to encompass by my beliefs, which:

  • fit with my non-negotiables in my life regarding self care & health, time, people and income
  • must meet my business goals (ready, attractive, profitable, managed)
  • are a statement of my values (push against my workaholic tendencies).
  • are a public/visible declaration of my expected outcomes (marketing)
  • must be precise and practical (S.M.A.R.T)

Once I have clarified/reviewed my beliefs, I then build on them to define my mission statement which is a statement of purpose and function which:

  • draws on the belief statements.
  • must be future oriented and portray my life as it will be, as if it already exists.
  • must focus on one common purpose.
  • must be specific to my life and business – never generic.
  • must be a short statement, not more than one or two sentences. In my case, my mission in business is to create “An online school for the business-minded”

If you’ve got this far into my planning ritual, you might be inclined to view this process as useless, vague and superfluous and way too hard… No?  Well, stick with me. The truth is that my planning is a habit that took me many years (and many personal and professional life changes) to implement effectively.  It is a foolproof activity that takes the guess-work out of my year ahead, and allows me to put my thoughts, wishes and ideas down on paper (which a copy sits in the back of my diary). I guarantee you that the long-term benefits are substantial.

Out of all of the business-planning I do, my planning ritual is productive because:

  • It breaks me out of boundary thinking.
  • Provides continuity.
  • Helps me identify direction and purpose approaching the end of Financial Year.
  • Alerts me of areas/people that must change.
  • Improves my interest and commitment to my business and study.
  • Promotes laser-like focus.
  • Encourages unique and creative solutions.
  • Builds my confidence.

If my planning ritual has inspired you to engage in the visioning process, I want to just alert to the following vision killers:

  • Tradition – we must break away from old ways
  • Fear – be strong and fight against any doubts
  • Complacency – planning takes action, and procrastination is not acceptable
  • Short-term thinking – reactive planning leaves time and money on the table

I hope this helps you take the time to sit down and scratch out a one-page plan using this framework.

“See it in your mind and let it manifest”

Have a great year!

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