Table of contents for The Most Important Project of Your Life
Stage 3 – Plans are great fun, but without action it’s just a waste of a bunch of postnotes. Take a small step forward each day in the direction of your goals and you’ll certainly be farther along than the family that just spends time perfecting their plan. Here are a few strategies that will increase your speed on your journey.
Step 1. Anticipate Change
One things for sure, things change! Don’t expect life to unfold according to plan. It’s been said that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Expect change – in your family, your situation, and the world in general. When change happens it’s helpful to ask “What does this make possible that wasn’t possible before?” Then look for the gift hidden in every seemingly negative occurrence. Losing a job sometimes brings the family together, with everyone pitching in to conserve cash or share the responsibility to earn income. Ultimately a better job may be on the horizon, perhaps including a move to a new location that opens up even more opportunities that weren’t previously imagined. Of course a change can signal nothing but bad news, but interpretation is reality, and considering what a negative event makes possible can open up new possibilities not previously imagined. When the startup company where I worked went completely out of business in 2001 I never imagined it would lead me to my dream job, which it most certainly did.
Step 2. Manage Expectations
Although sustained commitment to your family’s fabulous future has a high probability of leading to success, disappointment is a hazard that you’re likely to face along the way. Things take longer than we imagine, setbacks delay progress, and we’re tempted to give up from time to time. That’s perfectly normal! Manage your expectations, and anticipate that there will be times when your goals and dreams seem a long way off, out of reach, or even receding. Achieving your family’s dreams is more of a marathon than a sprint. Commit to staying in the race of the long-term, and prepare to weather the inevitable storms that may tempt you to give up before reaching your destination.
Step 3. Learn From Experience
Along the way you’re sure to make mistakes or operate in a less than optimal way. Don’t despair, that’s evidence that you’re in motion towards your goals! Learn from experience. Take time to pause and reflect on the following questions from time to time:
What’s working well? Keep doing it, or do MORE of it!
- What’s NOT working? Do less of it, or STOP doing it!
- What’s missing? Add it!
- If anything were possible, what could you change to be more successful in your journey?
There’s no shame in making mistakes, but be sure to make new and more exciting mistakes, not the same old mistakes over and over again! There’s a difference between 10 years of experience and one year of experience 10 times. Aim to be an example of the former.
EXERCISE, NOT READING, BUILDS MUSCLE! Put one foot in front of the other, and lurch in the direction of your dreams. Even if you get tackled along the way, make sure you fall down closer to your goal – and then get back up!