What's Your Destination?: How To Plan For Success

Some people wait for the future to happen. Others create their futures. The former depend on the luck of the draw while the latter cut their own deal.

How do you create your own future? By forming a vision and expressing it through a mission statement. Your dream now glitters on the horizon of the future. But you are standing in the reality of the here and now. How do you close the distance? You can't dream your way into the future. You must have a plan. You have to know where you want to go and decide how you're going to get there. The important word is "how." The word "if" won't take you there. You must approach your future with a sense of certainty that your dream is achievable.

Hannibal, the great general from ancient Carthage, once asserted: "We will either find a way, or make one." Be like Hannibal.
A plan will establish a route to your destination. It will prevent you from drifting aimlessly through life. A good plan will have these characteristics:

  • It will specify actions. By deciding what actions you will take to bring your vision to reality, you take control of events instead of responding to them.
  • It will set a timetable. Without a specific timetable, your plan loses cohesion and never gains momentum. Nothing gets accomplished "sooner or later." It gets accomplished at a specific time and specific place.
  • It will be flexible. You can't anticipate every event and circumstance that might have an impact on your future, but you can allow for contingencies.

You formed your vision in the creative right side of your brain. To create a workable plan, you need to bring the logical left side of the brain into the picture. Use your left brain to pass ultimate judgment on the ideas you've generated, to set priorities, and to devise workable action plans.

You begin the planning process by revisiting your vision and reviewing your mission statement. Assess your present circumstances and measure the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Then follow these steps:

  1. Set goals.
  2. Set priorities.
  3. Develop strategies.

Your present circumstances establish a starting point, but they don't determine your destination. Where you are very quickly becomes where you've been. So keep your eyes focused on the future and where you want to go, instead of on the past and where you've been.
Have a good trip.

Dr. Nido Qubein is an international speaker and accomplished author on sales, communication, and leadership. He is president of High Point University, which was recently featured in US Airways Magazine. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company.

Published: January 11th, 2012

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