Do you have a plan for your life? If you hope to achieve success in any way, you should. Did you know that designing such a plan for your life is a lot like erecting a building? Here’s how:
When you design a building, you do not just start throwing materials together in hopes that it becomes something great. You must first start with a plan and a vision. Some people may only want a single story home, and some people may want to shoot to be tallest building in the world. Either one is ok, but they both start with a plan. Similarly, while living life, you shouldn’t just be doing an assortment of random things in the hopes that something sticks and leads you down a path of success. No matter how big or small your end goal may be, there is always a course of action that will better prepare you for reaching that goal as well as many other activities that have the potential to hinder your progress.
When you have your plan figured out, then you must start by building a foundation. If you just want a single story house, your foundation could be as simple as a slab of concrete or a basic basement, but a skyscraper would require a deep basement and support structure to keep it steady and upright. The same is true for your personal life. If you are happy living a simple life, then your foundation could be as simple as supportive friends or family and a basic education. But for someone looking to reach a higher goal, his or her foundation would be much different. They will go beyond supportive friends and family, and seek mentors in the field they are pursuing. They will often seek higher levels of education, and they will do a lot of self-study in an effort to make their foundation as strong as possible before building up.
After you build a solid foundation, you start building up. First, you work on the outside- what people will first see in you; then you work on the inside-developing habits that will help you succeed. Sometimes as the inside changes, upgrades to the outside of the building (your life) will also be reflected.
As the outside structure and internal support systems start becoming finished, you are then able to start laying out the rooms. But there must be a plan for these as well if you want to avoid frustration or confusion later on. Just as you wouldn’t want an architect to randomly place rooms in your house or building, you also do not want to live your life all over the place with no rhyme or reason to the decisions you make.
The rooms in the building represent the different areas of your life that you will also be building upon as you grow toward your goals. The rooms could represent things such as your work or family life, spiritual and personal growth, financial status, relational status, and more. These should all be part of your plan. How do you envision each of these life areas looking? When you invite your interior architect in to fine-tune the details of your rooms, what do you hope to see? Are you going to shoot for perfection, elegance, efficiency; or will you be satisfied with an average looking room, somewhat organized, and relatively clean?
Just as you would not accept a bunch of disorderly rooms in a luxury skyscraper, you also don’t want a bunch of dysfunctional or average performing life areas pulling you down if you are shooting for the greatest success.
Now as you build, you will likely come across challenges that disrupt the plan that you have set out. They may just slow you down, or they may require you to revise your plan so that it works with the new circumstances you face. Whatever the case, because you have a plan and an end goal in mind, you should be able to work things out to realign yourself to the goals set. Without a plan in place, a simple disruption has the potential to ruin your whole project / life and it would take that much longer to regroup and start again. Your plan must have room for deviations, or the “what if’s” in life. Without preparing for the occasional hiccup, you run the risk of setting yourself really off course if something were not to go according to the plan you set. You won’t always be able to prepare for every obstacle that comes your way, but if you set aside that extra time, or resources needed to cover yourself in those situations, then you should be able to handle most problems effectively and move on toward your goal.
Here is another nice thing about having a plan, especially if it is an ambitious one: even if you run out of money or for some reason are unable to complete your building to the way you hoped, the person building a skyscraper is still going to be further along than the person just building a house. A sky scraper could temporarily capped off at whatever level it ended up reaching, and if done right, could be continued by someone else down the road to bring it too completion. In your life, if you encounter a roadblock on the path to reach great success, it’s not usually the end of the world. The plans you have would have still likely gotten you further than if you played it safe and stuck with the simple/ security focused life style.
It is OK if your plan is just the “single story home” life style, but it still requires a plan to be successful. If one day you were to decide to build up, it may require you to start completely over to form the foundation you need to do so; unless of course you were to plan for such actions ahead of time; “just in case.” That is not saying build a full 10 story basement, if you think you are only going want a two-story house in the future. But, if you do prepare for that extra floor in the beginning, it’d be less work needed to expand later if the need arose.
To conclude, I’d like to mention that even the most basic living situation, living in a box, still requires a plan to be successful. You must find a secure foundation-something not muddy, wet, or on a hill. You must plan your support systems, in this case, where you are going get heat, food, water, and weather protection. And ideally, you should have a backup in mind if for some reason your box is removed or destroyed.
So no matter what stage of life you are in and whether you are satisfied or not in being there, a plan will always be needed to get you to where you want to be. Don’t just rely on a perfect alignment of circumstances to get you where you want to go. Write down a goal and figure out a plan to reach that goal. What sort of foundation or training are you going to need? How do you envision the different areas of your life to look as you move forward toward your goal? What will your life look like when you reach that goal? As you start picturing yourself living the life you hope to have, your motivation will increase, and the plan you have in place will be more likely to come to fruition. So make your plan today and watch as great things start to happen.