Before you click away because you don’t plan to open a shop, let me make a case for why everyone should have a business plan—or life plan, if you prefer. First, I think you’ll find my reasons below fit you and your life and where you want to go in it. Second, just because you aren’t launching a business or hoping to sell thousands of copies of books doesn’t mean you don’t have dreams.
A dream is simply a goal waiting to be set and the intentions to achieve it.
So, what do you need to realize it? You guessed it! A plan.
Taking the time to write out your dreams and goals for your life or business may just be the best-spent time you’ll ever have. You will learn more about yourself: your values, your deepest longings, your fears, your worries. You will also find your eyes opened to opportunities all around you.
Friend, if you have a desire that you simply cannot shake, you can make it your reality … but not without careful thought, intentional planning and hard work.
That’s where your written life plan comes into play. What, exactly, can you expect to receive from a written plan? Your reward will come in the form of focused goals and directed timelines.
You will not fully understand what is most important to you until you take the time to sit quietly and dig deep within to find it.
You’ve probably noticed I keep mentioning writing your plan. That part is just as important as the thinking aspect.
Daydreams can be great. They teach us things; they broaden our minds, our imaginations.
Daydreams are also like dandelion fluff—they drift away with the gentle puff of reality.
If you want to move from dreams to accomplishment in any area of your life, you need to hold those little seeds of ideas close by, plant them lovingly, weed around them, feed them and then watch them grow into something far more lovely than you had in the beginning.
Think of putting pen to paper as planting. Writing out these dreams, these goals, these desires solidifies them as real, tangible. Reading back over what you come up with is like seeing that tiny shoot peeking through the damp earth, daring to grow—to reach up toward the life-giving sunlight—and to become a focal point for your life’s landscape.
Focus was my word of the year for 2017. I needed it! My goals were all over the place. I wanted to work on this book and that book and this story and that story. Because I had no focus, I was floundering and couldn’t get anything accomplished.
Without focus, your dream will be that seed that flies off and lands in a place where it will never take root.
It will, instead, rot and disintegrate. Don’t let that be the fate of your beautiful dreams.
Write out that giant dream of yours—this is your ultimate goal.
Now the real work begins!
Once you have a focused destination in mind, you’ve got to know how to get there and how long it will take you to arrive.
Travelers have maps with keys to understand them and to determine the length of their journey ahead. Your plan will be your map and key for life.
Perhaps purchasing a house in a better neighborhood would be a good example to use for a life plan. You know you want to move there in ten years. So, how are you going to get there?
First, congratulations—you’ve already set a deadline! For me, this is a huge step that I cannot skip. Like I shared a while ago, setting deadlines enables me to focus. (It’s the journalist in me!)
In writing your business or life plan, you will jot down all the steps you must take in order to achieve your focused goal. This is a vital step because our dreams often feel untouchable. They’re just too lofty for us to picture actually coming true. When we break large goals down into attainable ones, the process becomes a one-bite-at-a-time concept rather than anxiety over how to eat a 7-ton elephant.
Likely, your house-buying goal will require multiple financial goals to achieve. You may also need to build up equity in the home in which you currently reside. Perhaps it needs some updates or additions to make it more marketable. You may even need to change your lifestyle or take a new or extra job.
Once you have all your stepping stones listed out, you can set deadlines for each of those smaller goals. This will give you a timeline to determine if you can make your ultimate deadline or if you need to alter it.
It will also show you that giant goal is achievable after all.
Writing a business plan is similar to writing a story.
Writers have to know where they’re starting and where they’ll end up, then they begin to fill in the gaps with points to help characters arrive where they need to at the right time. Once those details get figured out, an outline gets completed with the heart of the story.
What will your accomplished dream look like?
You may have been silently yelling at your screen this whole time, “But, Joy! Dandelions are WEEDS! Why on earth would you compare my dreams to a weed?!”
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, my friend! Two of my favorite plants just happen to be considered weeds. In my eyes, though, dandelions and thistles are some of the most lovely flowers in God’s grand creation. Their beauty may not be flashy like a rose or a tulip, but they humbly adorn roadsides and meadows, provide useful qualities for those who know how to use them and splash a little color in otherwise drab areas.
Proudly let your humble little dreams splash their colors on those who will appreciate them. All it takes is a plan …
Ready to get started?
What kind of plan do you need to write? Is it a business plan or a life plan? What are your seemingly unattainable dreams right now? I’d love to hear how you break them down and make them a reality! Drop me an email any time.
In the meantime, please subscribe to receive my weekly newsletter. I will be sharing more details about my business plan in the coming months, including details on how I drafted it!