The bigger picture

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. It is the first step into achieving a set goal. It is a road map designed to get you closer into the realization of a future that you would want to become, a future that you would want to be living in; the future that you imagine. I am quite a peculiar planner – I plan for almost anything and in all my life-long years of experience about planning I learned 2 things:

Bad plans are those that do not accept modifications

Good plans are when you plan for actions instead of planning for results

I remember when I was about 9, I planned my whole day, every hour of it – from waking up, eating, when to take shower, when to brush my teeth and the littlest thing. I ended up so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t keep up with my day’s plan; which was insane to say the least. Another time, I planned my wardrobe for a month and actually writing it down on the calendar. I planned for a matching shoes, bag and accessories to go with it. I stuck to that plan even if I didn’t feel like wearing those clothes I’ve written on some days or even if it doesn’t exactly match the weather; which was totally stupid. I realized that bad plans are those that do not accept modifications. Tweaking parts of your plan does not mean cheating nor was your plan a failure. It’s simply change.

As I matured, so did my planning prowess, well, that’s what I’d like to think anyway. At that time, my plan was to finish school by age 21 – a very specific planned result. That was by far the most life-changing plan I’ve had so far compared to planning my day’s activity by the hour or planning for a month-long wardrobe. So then I carefully thought about what could stop me from finishing school at age 21 – financial problem would be top reason, failing the course would be another reason and may be early pregnancy could be a factor too. To ensure my plan becomes reality, I took a scholarship to fix the financial problem. I decided not to entertain any suitor until after college so I can concentrate on my study. Well, a year before I finished, I was kicked out of school for failing a subject. My dreams were shattered because the plan was to be done school by age 21. I realized then that good plans are when you plan for actions instead of planning for results. I could’ve simply created an effective study plan which would’ve made more sense right, rather than over thinking possibilities and negativity and trying to prevent them from happening.

And so after college, my ultimate plan was to work in audit firm and work my way up to being a partner on that firm. For 6 years as an auditor, I was happy. I was able to accomplish some remarkable achievements; I was able to effect change for a more effective business operations; I grew professionally and socially as I gained so many good friends. I did feel happy but at one spot in my whole being, it felt like I’m missing something.

Finding out, from some silly childhood experience that bad plans are those that do not accept modifications, I decided to quit my job and redesigned my road map to a new venture for success. Finding out that good plans are when you plan for actions instead of planning for results, I thought more about the things that I need to do to achieve that professional contentment that I’m searching for. My new job was much more exciting. I was able to acquire new knowledge being in a different industry; there were more opportunities to showcase your expertise and is not limited to just the usual debits and credits of accounting; there were avenues that cater to employees’ interests outside of work so I was able to participate in event planning committees, public speaking clubs and project publications.

When we think about planning we need to consider that plans aren’t written in stone. And even if we are on track in terms of our original plan, it does not mean we ought to stay on that track. Plans are guide and never a written destiny – it can be altered. When we think about planning we need to consider planning the ways to achieve something because having a goal is not tantamount to planning. Planning the course of action is your actual climb towards your purpose.

**
I wrote this speech for the third Competent Communications project – Get to the Point for the Toastmasters. The objectives of this speech project are:

• Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes
• Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes
• Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes
• Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel

Photo credit: http://www.freshtracks.co.uk

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