In a world full of distractions and competing demands, we are all looking for ways to balance our personal and professional goals to lead a more fulfilling life. This balance is different for each of us and changes depending on our season of life. A powerful tool to support this balance and achieve fulfillment is a Personal Strategic Plan.
Think of it as a strategy for your life
There is great value in defining your personal and professional goals to support your personal core values, your purpose, and your vision for the next 3-5 years. It’s also a fun exercise!
Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? And 60% more likely if you share them with others. Research shows that more specific and challenging goals lead to much higher results. We call this Stretching 😊
My personal strategic plan journey
My Personal Strategic Plan journey began in my twenties with an amazing mentor, Kennedy. I had been working at a Procter & Gamble plant in Augusta GA for four years and was not happy. Although Kennedy was not my direct manager, he was my advocate and wanted me to be happy. During one of our lunches, which included a lot of my tears, he asked something that changed my life, “What do you want? I would like to help, but I don’t know how.” Then he gave me the task of creating my first Personal Strategic Plan. Honestly, it was a huge assignment for me at the time. It took a couple of months, lots of self-awareness, and writing down my Personal SWOT (strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) to complete it. In the end, I realized my vision was a career change.
People want to help us more than we think
Another life-changing moment was the realization people wanted to help me. There is a book called The Secret that explains how the universe truly wants to help people reach their vision and goals. Think about it: people love to help people, it makes us feel good! All sorts of endorphins are created when we help people. Many times however, we don’t know how to help. Cyndi and I are on a mission to help people create their own Personal Strategic Plan and lead happier and more fulfilling lives – doesn’t that sound worth it?!
After P&G, I attended Harvard Business School and one of my professors, Clay Christensen, also believed you should have a “strategy for your life.” You may know Christensen from his views on Disruptive Technologies and from his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma:The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business. He also wrote a profound article, “How Will you Measure Your Life?” to help students apply what they learned at Harvard Business School to their lives. On the last day of class, he would pose three questions to his students: “First, how can I be sure I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?” Yep, ethics!
Christensen challenged us to prioritize decisions about allocating personal time, energy, and talent to ultimately shape our life’s strategy. If you say “Family” is most important, then make time for your family! Additionally, he challenged students to “Create the Culture” you want for your family. Remember, your personal Culture is defined by your personal core values and purpose.
A roadmap for who we want to be
In the end, a Personal Strategic Plan is a roadmap which enables us to be who we want to be, not what others think we should be. We also have clear that goals allow us to push through hard decisions to achieve a longer-term vision.
I have been on this journey for more than 25 years. In my most recent update, you’ll see my Personal Life Balance Goals are separated from my “Stretch Goals.” I like to color code mine quarterly and show status (green – on track , yellow – fair, red – off track). It’s time for an update!