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Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan Pt. 2

This is part 2 in a 3 part series about using a project plan to accomplish any goal you have.  Part 1 can be found here

So you have defined your goals, picked a deadline, laid out a plan and are ready to put that plan into action.

Then life happens.

Suddenly your well-laid plan, has become unrealistic.  The schedule doesn’t work, you get sick, other projects/goals pop up, or any number of things that can slow down a project.  These are things that can be expected, or unexpected, but you have to plan for them.  That’s life, and life happens.  Sucks, doesn’t it?  Well, it doesn’t have to.


Plan Accordingly

In project planning for business, it is always good to build in a little bit of extra time to the project, for any unforeseen, or unplanned, deviations to the plan.  That aspect is very important in your planning for personal goals, as it allows life to happen.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could set out to do a goal and could dedicate 100% of your time to that goal until it was achieved? YES!, but who are we kidding, that is unrealistic.

Using the 5k metaphor from the first part in the series, it is conceivable that if you worked out, 8-10 hours a day for 2 weeks straight, you would have put in the requisite amount of work to train your body and mind to run a 5k.  But aside from the professionals and the unemployed, it is unrealistic to expect that of yourself.

Your body needs time to rest, your life needs your attention elsewhere.

Instead, plan to workout for 1-2 hours, 3-4 times a week, or every other day.  Now you have a plan that does not compromise the rest of your life, while allowing you to accomplish the goal you set out to accomplish.

Be aggressive.  An unrealistic plan that forces you to sacrifice other necessary aspects of your life is not a plan you are likely to stick to.  Similarly, a plan that has you working out once a week for 6 months in order to train for your 5k is also not likely a plan you are going to stick to.  Plan for life to happen.  Build in the flex time.  Set yourself up for success.

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Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan

You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win. – Zig Ziglar

Identifying yourself as a business might seem a little strange, but let’s take a look at the parallels.  You go to work every day, to make money and provide for yourself and your family.  A business exists to make money and provide for its employees and its customers.  A business spends money on things like marketing and employee perks, in order to expand its business and make a difference in the industry.  You spend money on food, clothes and gym memberships in order to make a difference in your own life and expand your sphere of influence.  The similarities are not too far off.

I come from a consulting background where everything had a plan.  From the 4 hour project, to the 500 hour project, it had a plan.  Even our plans even had plans. But it was important, as it gave structure, guidelines and processes.  It helped us make deadlines and ensure customer satisfaction.

If these are tried and tested processes in business, why do we fail to apply them to our personal lives? We start diets and gyms, and unless it is a priority in our life, we forget about it, let it die, and move on, claiming that diet didn’t work, or that gym didn’t work.  Do you think that if we applied a project mentality to attacking the diet/gym, better results could have been achieved? Don’t you want to finish a project for yourself and be that satisfied customer?

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2010 – The Year in a Word

Across the blogosphere you will start to see many annual review posts, much like this one.  Some, will take a very different approach in recalling certain events which evoked emotion, while others will bring you a much more traditional approach, bringing you a chronological recap of the year that is past.  To take a cue from fellow blogger John Anyasor, I wanted the inspiration for my annual review to come from a single word.

For me, this year can be summed up in one word.  DEDICATION.

Dedication -n

the act of dedicating or the state of being dedicated

I found myself throughout the year dealing with dedication on many levels, from personal, to professional and everywhere in between.  Now, dedication is somewhat easy for me as I am kind of an all-or-nothing type of person.  I really don’t do (or like to do) anything half-assed.  I put my heart, soul, brain and body into everything I do.  It is that determination which has helped me become successful in my career at a young age.

Maintaining Through Adversity

The last half of my 2009, as well a the beginning of 2010 were definitely marred by a lot of adversity.  After 8+ years with the same company, moving up through the ranks, advancing my career, I was ready for something else.  Different?  Maybe.  I had to find something.  I had to take control of that situation.

I can not abandon my friends and my colleagues. I kept telling myself.

Much time was spent dealing with a project that was handled very poorly from the start by management.  As the engineering lead on the project, I took a lot of the weight and responsibility of the project, along with my boss and my project manager, who are also close friends of mine.  I felt a sense of loyalty to them.  My boss had been by my side, literally and figuratively, for over 8 years. My project manager, 3.   We were in this together, entrenched, fighting the fight.

It was taking its toll on me. Body, mind and soul.  I was working out, eating healthy, doing what I could to make sure I was giving my body the best, but the 8-12 hour days were physically exhausting.  70 miles a day, round trip, coupled with a brutal work day consisting of meetings where I was screamed at, more meetings where I was told I was fucking up, and yet more meetings where we watched the project quadruple in size, but not in budget.  I would spend my days frustrated and dejected.  I would unwind on the drive home, only to realize that I was taking out the left over frustrations on my family.  I became a shell of the person that I was capable of being.  It took me twice as long to do things that would normally be mundane tasks.  I was exhausted.

I stayed the course.  My colleagues, my friends, needed me.  We dedicated ourselves to each other.  We all knew that if one quit, the team would not maintain.  We dedicated ourselves to finishing the project to the best of our abilities.

We never got the chance.

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Operation: Consolidation is now LIVE!

I am very happy to announce that Operation: Consolidation is up, running, and off to a very promising start. There is a dedicated page at the top right of the site, where you will find an entire rundown of the Operation, from background, to current progress, goals, as well as items for sale, sold and donated.

Thanks to the support from everyone who encouraged and inspired me to do this.  This is just another step towards a better, more fulfilling life.

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Operation: Consolidation – Background

Originally inspired by stories such as Cult of Less and Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things, I needed to jump start some projects that have been kicking around in my head, and start to generate some momentum.  I needed to be someone who stopped talking about things, and just started doing them.  Without getting too crazy too quickly, I have started using a few tools such as Mint and Evernote to consolidate these ideas, generate to-do lists, and document my goals.

Two of my top goals for the near future are to be debt free (not counting house and car) and also to reduce all of the excess possessions that I carelessly hold on to for no apparent reason.  It is not out of necessity that I keep these items around, it is more due to laziness. Laziness to do anything about it.  So, with that in mind, I started the idea of Operation: Consolidation as my first goal.

Step 1 in Operation: Consolidation is to realize that I have been filling my life, and my home, with “stuff” and to do something about it.  This “stuff” amounts to nothing more than additional boxes in my attic, old childhood memories that I look at only when moving those boxes from one home to another.  With that firmly planted in the front of my mind, I have started to go through that attic full of boxes in order to filter through all of my “stuff” in an effort to consolidate what I want to keep, sell what I can, and donate the rest.

Step 2 in the plan comes here, in starting up a dedicated page and blog posts to my progress.  I will be listing out all of the items I have that fall under this umbrella, as well as a description of all of the items, links to their Craigslist/eBay postings, as well as reasoning for keeping certain items.

Now there are obviously a lot of smaller details mixed in there that I have not detailed, but I can assure you that I will be doing my best to ramp this up significantly in the next 2 weeks.

Also, coming soon (as in today) please check out the links on the top of the page, I will be posting a whole new section/page for this endeavor.

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The Road Beneath Me

Just yesterday I sat here, staring at the same “new blog” page, trying to get the creative juices flowing, trying to find something to write about other than meaningless babble.  I got to wondering what other blogs I could read for inspiration, possibly, what friends of mine maintained blogs as well.

Thank you to Amanda for the inspiration on this topic, as her blog “Caution, Sharp Turns Ahead!” gave me the necessary kick start to get this blog going.  In her blog, she writes about dealing with what life deals you.  It offers a look back, as well as a look ahead at what life holds in store for her, as well as her perspective on how to attack it.

With that in mind, it really got me thinking about the same.  The horizon ahead of me, as well as the road behind me.  The road ahead has always been easy for me, in the respect that I have always been up for an adventure, up for change, whatever it is, bring it on, I will conquer it. The road behind me offers other topics, but for me has often lent itself to a comparison with a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

But those 2 times, the past and the future, represent things that are out of my control.  What about not worrying about then, what about thinking about now? What about that patch of road beneath my feet.

With the daily rat race that most of us find ourselves in, in that eternal pursuit of happiness by way of more money, I have discovered that often the first thing I lose sight of is enjoying what I am doing at that time.  Too many times I find myself consumed by thinking about the future, how I need to plan for it, how I need to prepare for it, or thinking about the past, and what could have been, what might have changed.  The entire time all of this is going on, I am missing out on the most important part of my life, the part I am living in. The now.

I have come across other blogs that hit on this same point, basically the decision to stop living in the past, or preparing for the future and start living in the now. Now, to each person, that means something completely different.  For me, that is relaxing and slowing down to enjoy the view.  Grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting on the patio, enjoying the coffee, not pounding it as I sit in traffic to work.  That is wearing my cologne to go to the store, not only for a special occasion, or using the good dishes, because it is Tuesday, not because we have company over.

Time to start living for today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

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The Purpose of a Blog

Hey, I am just happy I am posting a blog here, well, here, after my blog was moved over from Windows Live Spaces, this will be my first official WordPress Blog. Though, unfortunately, this will be a short one.

A whirlwind of thoughts crossed my mind this morning as something I should blog about, or add to my blog, or update somewhere. For the sake of today’s technology and the advent of social networking, I guess that the blog only fills the void of the brevity of Twitter or Facebook with their limitations in character length for updates.

To that point, I think that is one aspect that MySpace had going for it, where Facebook is lacking. With that being said, more people are turning to blogs on different networks, such as Blogger, WordPress and others in order to get their thoughts, specifically those longer than 140 characters, and while I have tried to utilize a blog for many years, consider this another foray into the attempt to effectively contribute to a blog at the same time as the major social networks.

Wish me luck!

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