What’s the Plan?

February 10, 2015

I think it’s safe to say that almost all of us, in each cycle of our lives think we know what we want.  Too often though, we don’t really think about the steps to take to get us there.  Regardless of what you want, you have to have a plan to make it successful.  So I ask myself and others “What’s the plan?”

Throughout my almost 50 years of work experience constructing and modifying and just overcoming life’s daily and business challenges, I’ve always tried to create a plan. Rarely do things follow the plan I’ve set though.  I have learned three universals for me. Even with a plan:

  • It always seems to take longer that I planned
  • It’s often more difficult than I first thought
  • It always costs more

So whatever it is in life that you want to accomplish, there has got to be a plan. It should be in writing so that you can constantly tweak it as you work to overcome any barriers. This way, you can keep your end goal in mind, but still be able to work out any kinks that arise. This sounds so simple but few people take the time to write simple, personal plans for themselves.

When I was involved in the design, engineering, installation and certification of a Jacuzzi inside of the bedroom of a large aircraft, we had to have plans with sub-plans and back up plans! The only way we were able to complete that project successfully was having a well though-out plan that we could then modify as the project went on.  In the end, we were able to install a working Jacuzzi and make our client happy.  A wise man once said, “A fool with a good plan has a greater chance of success than a genius without a plan.”

As we enter into the New Year, I hope that you will write your plan and reflect on what is truly important to you and your loved ones.  Over the years, I have given young people a form that helps them make a plan at the end of each school semester and the start of each year. However, these thoughts are relevant to everyone. Some of the things I have included are:

  • What went right?
  • What went wrong and why?
  • What will I do in the future to get better and stronger?
  • What do I want to do for fun in the next year?
  • What will I do to improve my relationship with my parents?
  • How am I going to spiritually grow over the next year?

Hope alone is not a successful approach, but hope combined with action, planning, and faith is a very strong strategy.  Regardless if you are planning a project, a program, an event, or your life, you must have a plan!  Without a plan, you are similar to a ship without a rudder; you will go somewhere, but it probably is not where you want to end up, and you might get stuck on the rocks. Think about your plans as I do.  I know that in 40 years of some pretty complex aviation projects, the best ones were the ones that were best planned.  I pray you find your plan.