In times when I’ve wished for a faster manifestation of my goals and plans, I’ve always drawn inspiration from Abraham Lincoln, a masterful strategist, whose slow-but-sure effort in attaining some of his most challenging goals reminds us of the fable of the tortoise and the hare.
Contrary to how we live in today’s fast-paced world of fast-speed Internet, fast-food, even fast dating, its moral is still relevant today. You see, when you want to be consistently successful, steadily prosper and want your business to thrive, the fable serves as a valuable reminder – rather than be a 21st century hare – be a tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race.
Interestingly, the moral is in stark contrast to the advice numerous business coaches have given me and other entrepreneurs with a burgeoning business. “Build the plane, while you’re flying it.” is what we’ve been encouraged to do.
Whilst I understand the thinking behind this advice of ‘get your services or products out there quickly, so you can make money quickly’, it has never resonated with me.
Having watched some entrepreneurs and coaches run their business this way, I’ve seen how little time is allocated to create the product/program properly. Attention to detail is ditched in favour of ‘get the product/program out there quickly’. What is sold to the customer/client is often sub-par with some mediocre customer service served on the side. The consequence? The client/customer is left feeling disappointed, regrets the purchase and will never return.
On the other hand, I’ve seen other entrepreneurs endeavour to create high quality products as they try to ‘build their plane, while they’re flying it.’ Sadly they often become overwhelmed and stressed beyond their eyeballs because there is simply too much to focus on. Obviously, when the plane is not fully built, only the bare essentials are in place.
Inevitably something goes wrong. Attention is taken off building the plane to focus on the left wing that’s about to fall off. Not surprising though. It was secured hurriedly, with only the bare essential nuts and bolts to keep it in place.
The flight is stressful for the pilot. Needless to say it’s bumpy and frustrating for the passenger. Worst of all, depending on how much or little of the plane was built before it took off, it may just plummet out of the sky never to arrive at its destination. It’s crazy when you really think about it. All this unnecessary stress, pressure and exhaustion just so you can launch a new program/product quickly and make money quickly. And, stay ahead of the game and your competitors.
(Yes, you will probably make more money in the short term but continuing with this strategy will often impact long-term profitability. Never mind the dissatisfied customers you will have accumulated along the way. They won’t invest their precious time and money in any of your offers any time soon.)
By now you will have guessed correctly, I don’t ‘build the plane, whilst I’m flying it.’ Those of you who have worked with me know that if it can’t be done properly, and with care, I don’t bother. 🙂
No matter what programs and courses I’ve created and launched successfully it’s come down to three core elements:
1) Carefully plan (or, as I like to say, care fully as you plan).
2) Create a rock solid runway for your plane to take off.
3) Construct and build your plane properly. Yes, it takes time but it’ll be worth it. Your passengers will have a comfortable, enjoyable, and smooth journey with you and arrive at their destination. They will want to book another trip with you. Actually, they’re already looking forward to it!
Right now some of you may choose to plot a new course in your life.
You could be relocating to a new country, take your existing business to its next level, or untie the straps of your corporate straight jacket and finally forge ahead with plans to live your life with more passion and purpose.
As we begin a new year, I thought I’d share with you some very simple and easy to follow steps, so you can carefully plan, as you prepare to plot a new, and maybe even more exciting course for yourself this year.
As you do, keep Abraham Lincoln’s sage advice in mind.
For us to live a purposeful and successful life requires that we carefully plan ahead and be more thoughtful and more deliberate about what we want to create and achieve.
As a starting point…
1. Make a choice to increase your levels of self-awareness.
Really come to notice what your thoughts are about, whether they’re worthwhile giving energy to or not. Then manage them accordingly. When you do, your journey towards the goal you seek to attain will be more enjoyable, exciting and easier to achieve.
2. Know what drives you to do what you do.
It requires self-awareness to know what you truly want, need and seek and why you want it. To quote one of Simon Sinek’s book titles: Start with Why. Once you know what that is, take a step back, and be strategic about attaining it.
3. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin’s powerful idea never gets old and reminds us to focus on the outcome, prepare, carefully plan, then execute our plan of action. Here are some guidelines to implement:
- Clearly envisage the outcome you want to achieve. Focus on what you will see and how you will feel once it’s attained. Carry that vision and feeling with you, as you consistently take action towards the attainment of your goal.
- Review your expectations. Make sure they’re aligned with what you want.
- Be more strategic about your efforts. Do what you need to do, delegate the rest.
- Take the time to put all the necessary elements in place. Test them to ensure they create a solid runway from which to launch your plane – that you’ve already built. 😉
As you launch your product or service…
Exponentially increase your chances of success and avoid failure by reviewing the action you’ve taken.
Ask: ‘Is what I’m doing bringing me closer to my goal or further away?’ If it’s taking you further away, change your approach.
Once you’ve changed track, review your action again, and ask the same question.
Remain flexible, open-minded and be creative. You may need to change your approach, your mindset and tools for tackling the boulders occasionally obstructing the path towards your goal.
Pause, ponder and plan.
Roll out the plan.
Review, and make any necessary adjustments to the plan as you journey towards your goal.
Relish the outcome of the plan.
Before you act – carefully plan.
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