This July I am offering a course for small businesses. The Business Strategy 101 course is based off the key premise that every good company has a plan. A business plan is a vision for where the company is going and how it is going to get there. Every good business book writes that in order to start a new business it is important to first have a plan. What is the good or service to be sold? To whom are you selling? How much will be charged? What start-up capital is needed? Where and how will the business be run? When there are issues or when there seem to be an overwhelming amount of to do’s the business plan helps us to stay focused on our goal. To succeed in the fierce world of commerce it is important to map out and stick to a business plan.
But then I got to thinking. How many of us are living our lives without out a plan? How many of us wake up in the morning feeling unfulfilled? How many of us feel there should be something more or different that we should be doing, something we should have? We can’t define what it is but we know we don’t have it now. How many of us don’t have a life plan?
Too often we live our lives like a boat without a rudder out to sea. We drift this way and that. Sometimes we land on an island that is nice and we stay there a while. All too often we bump into island after island that provides nothing to our being, our soul, or our happiness. We allow the waves and the wind, fads and family to dictate where we go and what we do. We feel disappointed that we have not landed on the perfect island . . . but we also do not set a course to get there.
In business and in life one has to know where one is going to get there. Before you get in the car and start driving it is important to know if you are going to Los Angeles or New York. If you just started to drive, where would you end up?But that is just how many of us live our lives. We are driving around without a map and without a destination. We struggle through rain, snow, and potholed roads and we think that these struggles are keeping us from happiness. But in truth, the fact that we do not have a destination is what is holding us back.
Whether you are a company or an individual to reach your goals you first need to define them. First you need a vision.
There are some people who have trouble determining what their vision. What do they want? What do they really, really want? Not the fleeting things like a 2010 Prius or Paris Hilton’s new perfume. Not even a new romance or job. Those are all things in the social sphere. The media and entertainment industry constantly bombard us with things that they want us to desire; possessions, status, prosperity, sex, and the perfect body. But what are the deep down desires in our personal sphere, in our individual soul? Only deep inside one self can the true answers lie.
To truly know what you want go into your core, listen to your heart, feel your spirit, and get in touch with your true self. The first step to do this is by Doing Nothing which I often talk about. Each day grant yourself at least 15 minutes to unplug from the outside stimuli and be with yourself. Relax or meditate and just be comfortable by yourself and within yourself. Turn off your to do’s and incessant monkey chatter brain. Just be. Turn off your logical mind and listen to your gut.
Recent research printed in Science magazine and Kellogg School of Management “highlights the value of unconscious thought, suggesting that when it comes to complex decisions, many of our best choices are made in the absence of attentive deliberation.” The concept is that so much that we do during the day does not require conscious thought. When we get out of bed in the morning we do not consciously tell every leg and back muscle how and when to perform. We do not analyze each step of the process. We don’t think about the advantageous and disadvantageous of putting the right leg on the floor before the left. We just do it. The body just does it through the instruction of the unconscious mind.
This research went on to prove that when there are simple decisions to make like choosing between four cars based on just a handful of aspects, using the conscious mind the best answer was more often provided. However when the choosing was more complex, say rating cars based on more than ten aspects, people who went with their gut, with their unconscious mind, were more successful. So who is to say that using our conscious mind is the best way to determine what our life plan should be?
Determining your life plan is a very complex decision. There are an unfathomable number of options, so as you work through your life plan pay close attention to your gut. Don’t get caught up in the mind’s analysis. What feels right to you deep down inside? There lies your true life plan and the key to your happiness. Then place a rudder on your boat and head in that direction.
It is amazing what can be accomplished once you have a vision of your life plan. Take some time to meditate on where you are going and what the perfect life would look like to you. Then share with us here the vision for your future.
Quote and research source: http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/index.php/Kellogg/article/too_conscious_to_decide