LIFE'S BEST KEPT SECRET: THE M.A.P.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~C.S. Lewis
As a mother of two little ones and principal of two businesses, people often ask me how I do have it all handled without being overwhelmed and frazzled. Well today I’m going to share my secret and one of life’s best kept secrets.
Have you ever wanted to accomplish something and couldn't figure out the best way to get started, so you didn't and …well nothing happened right? It’s pretty simple, if you do nothing, expect nothing. However, that’s not what transformational success coaching is about, coaching is about producing results in areas of your life where you may have previously given up hope. You see if you don’t know the path that leads to where you want to be, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up going in circles and before long, experiencing frustration, disappointment and upset!
What if you could write your own map, plot your own route down your personal path of Life? What if you had access to a step by step plan that focused on the next right action, prepared you for dealing with obstacles and put you in a position to objectively evaluate your progress and even change direction as necessary in your journey?
Creating your M.A.P. or Massive Action Plan can give you that and more. More than goal setting, this plan is your own focused, targeted, personalized map that will lead you wherever you want to go. Why am I calling it massive? It’s massive because this plan is designed to support, prepare and empower your entire life- and that’s no small undertaking.
So Let’s Begin!
We will start by creating where you would like to be a year from now; then we will break down your yearly vision into quarterly milestones, and from there we will create monthly markers that will be fulfilled on by weekly action plans and of course daily actions. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the words you’re reading, we are talking about your life remember?!
Your Year by Design
Every year in January, I sit down and write out what the year ahead will look like for me. It never fails. It seems no matter what I put, I actualize it in one way or another over the course of the following 12 months. This is a powerful and an empowering exercise and I am excited to share this with you.
Take out one or more sheets of paper for this as you will want to have daily access to this (I keep mine in my purse!). Use colors if you are visual. Write it down, don’t type it out this is a personal declaration of the next year of your life. Be willing to take whatever time you need to complete this, after all this is your life. I recommend sitting in a space that inspires you and where you won’t be disturbed. Now imagine yourself one year from today. Imagine you have achieved the things that would make the year a success. This doesn't mean achieving all your life goals in one year! It means having taken manageable steps that stretch you but don’t break you. In all areas of your life, what improvements will have taken place that will make the year a success in your eyes?
1. Describe your ideal upcoming year in 3 words
2. What are your top 3 goals or intentions for the upcoming year?
3. What traits / skills do you need to manifest these intentions?
4. What do you need to let go of, for these goals to manifest?
5. What needs to be in your daily routine to manifest this?
6. How will you feel when these intentions & goals manifest?
7. How will you know you’re on the right path?
8. What are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
9. What are you most scared about? (and What can you do to overcome these challenges in advance?)
10. What’s your motto – or mantra – for the year?
11. How will you celebrate manifesting these intentions?
12. What’s even better than all this?
Now it’s time to capture all of this in a way that powerfully supports you over the next 12 months. Begin with the date in a year’s time. Begin each new paragraph with the prompts given. Add extra paragraphs to include other important areas of your life that you think about. Share your achievements and highlights of the year. Be as specific as you can, and share the story of how you got from where you are today to where you will be.
I am so grateful for the last year. In the last year I have…
My personal cash flow...
My job / business...
My family & friends...
My passions & pastimes...
My next year...
Before we continue with the next part of your massive action plan, you must be clear about what you want to accomplish. Clarity is essential. A vague statement such as; I want to lose weight or I want to earn more money is not going to cut it. If you are vague in your yearly vision, you will end up confused about how to accomplish such a vague goal. You also won’t be able to generate the level of intention and commitment to see the goal through. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you want, relax and take the time to discover; thinking about every area of your life, what would you ADD to your life? What would you TAKE AWAY? One of the best ways to gain clarity is to become present to your commitments. Once you are clear about what you want to accomplish, organize it into a statement that flows using the following:
I want to achieve ___________ (what)
At _______________________( where)
By _______________________ (how)
With _____________________( other persons)
Because ___________________( why)
Here’s an example from my earlier life (about 8 years ago) to give you an idea of how this might look:
I want to obtain a job at a bank earning $30,000 per year in my city of Atlanta by June 1, 2007, by showing my leadership and drive to the managers and convincing them that I am the best person for the job. I want this job because I am passionate about business and generating wealth and I know I would learn more about both with a job in banking while earning a good salary and establishing a solid financial foundation for my own ventures.
Flashback: I started work with Bank of America in June of 2007 at the salary of $32k/year in the corporate offices located in the Metro Atlanta area. Within 3 months I was the top producer on my team, earning monthly and quarterly bonuses as a reward for my leadership and initiative. I worked for BOA over the next two years in many areas including sales, marketing, and banking center accountabilities before I resigned in 2009 earning almost double the salary that I began with.
The key here is to be as detailed as possible. In the next step you will use these details to formulate your monthly and weekly milestones.
Now we’re going to take that MASSIVE year you just created and break it down into bite-size pieces for you to actualize. Below I've included an example of how I break my year down, however feel free to use whatever tools/technology works for you in this regard. The point is to have measurable milestones in existence for yourself where you can refer to it daily.
PERSONAL NET INCOME
MY FAMILY & FRIENDS
MY PASSIONS & PASTIMES
Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How do you get there from here? Take action, Review your action, Act again Now that you've got your year in manageable chunks, I recommend scheduling a quarterly review of each milestone. With each quarterly review ask yourself the following questions:
Did I meet my milestones?
If not, which ones did I not meet? How far off from my goals am I ? What was missing such that I did not meet my milestones? Is this milestone unreasonable given my current resources?
If so, are my milestones big enough to stretch me and attainable enough for me to meet with growth and development?
Will I adjust my milestones for next quarter or keep them the same?
Which milestones are no longer relevant due to a shift in commitments/achievement?
Are there new milestones that I have discovered over the past quarter that need to be added to my MAP moving forward?
Now that you’ve got a sense of what to focus on each quarter, let’s dive a little deeper and see what a weekly action plan might look like.
OBJECTIVES (List of Objectives)
TASKS (What you need to do to achieve your objectives)
SUCCESS CRITERIA (How you can identify your success)
TIME-FRAME (By when you need to achieve the tasks)
RESOURCES (What Resources you need for each task)
Again, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of design; I use this same Action Plan both for myself and with my coaching clients to great success. As a matter of fact, I used this Action Plan to write and publish my International Best Selling book; You Already Have It!, as well as included it in the book!
To be upfront and perhaps a little obvious- the key to the success any action plan is to actually use it!
IMPORTANT : As you fill out your weekly action plan be sure to only capture objectives that are in line with your commitments. I can tell you from years of coaching; if you’re not committed- it ain’t gonna happen. No matter how much you plan and strategize.
Once you have the Weekly Action Plan complete you should see a clear picture emerging of the best next steps for you to take to fulfill your goals and meet your monthly milestones.
At first using a MAP may seem daunting, but I promise you the experience of being able to capture and refine your goals, track your growth and repeat your success over and over again is priceless.
I’d love to know your favorite planning tool; digital or paper. Drop a comment and share below.