What Floor Are You On?
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
How many times have you stepped off an elevator only to find yourself
on the wrong floor? You have the best of intentions. You have a vision
about where you want to be. You have a positive mental outlook. You
suffer from no lack of energy to accomplish your objectives. Yet no
amount of vision, determination or hard work will help you arrive any
sooner because you lack the proper roadmap to guide you to your ultimate
Unfortunately, too many of us find ourselves stuck on
the wrong floor when the elevator doors open. Too often we overlook the
important step of developing a personal business plan that will enable
us to pursue and, more importantly, realize our dreams and implement our
vision. Like a roadmap, a personal business plan helps us define our
objectives, plot the best course to reach our destination, and make
appropriate choices along the way.
It matters not your station in life. You have the ability to grow and
enhance your personal and professional life by taking the time to
develop this plan. The process is not overly complex, yet few have
mastered the discipline. Following are the 12 "Be's" of effective
- Be intentional. Begin with a personal mission statement, a
statement of purpose that spells out who you are, why you are here and
where you are going. A good mission statement is what you might want to
appear on your tombstone. It constitutes the ultimate control system,
the standard against which all initiatives, challenges and issues will
be judged. A good mission statement acts as a foundation for the
development of the goals you want to achieve.
- Be grounded. A good personal business plan will be rooted in
the roles and responsibilities you have established in your life:
parent, spouse, friend, employee, entrepreneur. By listing them and
making them an integral part of your plan, you will assure each gets the
priority it deserves or that you assign to it.
- Be balanced. Make sure that your plan encompasses all areas
of your life that are important to you: family, professional, spiritual,
physical, social, and personal development.
- Be written. When football coach Lou Holtz found himself
unemployed early in his career, he wrote down the 100 things he wanted
to accomplish. Included on the list was to coach a national champion
team. Years later, while at Notre Dame, he fulfilled that objective. In
fact, on a recent count, he had succeeded in accomplishing 97 of the
goals. Committed to paper, a personal business plan gives you the focus
you need to make a commitment to achieving it.
- Be consistent. The planning process should ensure the goals
you establish are something you really want a must-have, not a
nice-to-have. Furthermore, your personal business plan should be
grounded firmly with your values and should be achievable.
- Be in the present. Your plan, and the goals it contains,
should not be stated as something that will occur in the future. This
makes it too easy to put off action. When you say, "I will lose
10 pounds," you are always meeting your goal even though you never
arrive at your objective. A better way to state your goal would be to
envision yourself weighing your ideal weight. (I weigh 195 pounds). In this way you always know whether you are on track or not.
- Be positive. Goals should be positive. They should be
motivating you toward improved action or behavior, not moving you away
from undesirable behavior. For instance, instead of saying, "I will stop
watching so much television," wouldn't it be far better to say, "I
spend one hour a day reading?"
- Be specific. Too often goals get bogged down in the
grandiose. "I will be happy. I will lose weight. I will spend more time
with the family." All lofty goals but next to impossible to measure.
Over-arching goals should be broken down into a series of smaller,
- Be high enough. Too many people fail to live up to their full
potential by not having the courage to dream. Stretch your goals and
you will achieve more. A whole lot more.
- Be flexible. Do not remain in one place for too long.
Continuously evaluate your progress towards your goals to make sure
you're on the proper path and that they still make sense in light of the
current path you're traveling.
- Be affirmed. Read your plan preferably at the start of every
day. Carry a copy in your wallet. Post one on your bathroom mirror or
your sun visor. Any place that is visible and where it can become
embedded in your conscious. Read it. Commit to it. Let it become the
rudder by which you steer your boat through the day.
- Be visual. Corny as it may sound, picture yourself with the
goal (or goals) completed. How would it feel? What would you be doing?
Where would you be? How would you be interacting with other people?
Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Don't assume that
everything will magically fall into place. Plan it and make it happen.
There are three types of people in the world: those who wonder what
happened, those who watch it happen, and those who make it happen. By
developing a personal business plan, you can be one of those who make it