Getting connected to your inner planner means that you will understand why your strategy is working or not. Consider this… If you like fresh, new and exciting why would you add a year-long business club to your product portfolio? If you do, you may find that after a while you are bored and not able to deliver what you promised your clients.
Instead by understanding your inner planner you may find that running a series of short programs excite and motivate you more. Which means you will love what you do and deliver great value to your clients.
If you consider how conscious planning fits into your life and business and get connected to your inner planner, then you will know what to effectively focus on. The first thing to consider is that planning isn’t an extension of the past. Yes we can learn from the past, and that feedback can be relevant and useful, however, we want to focus on who we are in the now and what we want.
Not what we think we want, more the deep down scary thing we desire with all of our hearts and souls.
I get that achieving your big scary hairy thing right now might not be appropriate. You may, for example, have a job which pays the bills while your heart is in an entrepreneurial business venture. That’s ok because at least you know what you want and you can lay the foundations. You can plan for it. You may want to build an build an online course, retreat and coaching process after exploring options.
The other scenario could be that you have a vague idea of what you want, something is pulling at you; something is lurking in your subconscious. That’s ok too because you can explore and experiment and use that feedback to feed into your plan.
There is never one size fits all, and there is not one way of planning. There is your way, as I have discovered. The more I analyse how I do things, and I mean in an honest way, the more I scare myself with what I discover. That is, scare me in a good way. The realisation of why, what and how I honestly do things and owning that is powerful. It also means that when I am aware, awake and alive to me and my stuff, I can accept my flaws and take action to change and to make conscious decisions. Do I stay doing what doesn’t work or do I get off my backside and change my habits and rethink my strategy?
So what do you think I am going to do? Damn right – change!
What is conscious planning?
First. let’s consider what a plan is:-
- A technical drawing
- Intended actions
Let’s pull that apart – a drawing. Mmmm I like that. As a mostly visual person, I like to see a picture of what my plan is.
Intended as in intention. Once I have my drawing I can set my intention about what I do with it. Yep, I like that too.
Next, think about conscious.
- Awake, aware, alert and to know.
Together then I am looking at creating a drawing, from which I will set some intentions to take actions of which I am fully awake and aware of. Plus, I am going to tap into a knowing to enable me to make decisions about this plan. So far so good.
What about the speed of change and the impact of our plans?
When I consider what my technology looked like when I entered the IT industry in 1981 to what I have today, I can see the rate of change has been immense. Will that continue? I don’t know, but technology plays an important part in how we all work today. It can seem that to get what we want we have to embrace all of this ‘stuff’. We don’t. There are some tools that will work for us and some that would be nice to have and others that are complete time wasters. Pick your technology wisely and don’t rely on it, as I have learned to my cost.
What about the resources that Mother Earth has taken millions of years to create? It appears that humans can deplete them in what seems a nanosecond. What then? Our conscious planning must then take into account the environment that we find ourselves in and the available resources. What can we do to ensure no harm when we develop our plans? That is no harm to all and the environment.
People change. The way that people buy is changing, or at least I’ve noticed how I feel about sales techniques changing. With social media comes a clumsiness and I often feel bombarded with crass messaging and approaches. Sometimes I think I must be overly sensitive. Many approaches appear to still be fear-based marketing and formulaic, and yes you need a process and a map, but it doesn’t need to be automated to death and lifeless.
What I see and I guess that is because of the kinds of people I surround myself with is, the rapid change to people wanting a deeper more personal connection, they want to feel the pull of someone’s energy rather than have products and services pushed at them.
What do you notice about how you feel when you are being sold to?
That will tell you about how your inner planner needs to develop your sales and marketing strategy.
Many businesses have their eye on a cause and include something cause related in their planning model. Cause can also mean purpose, your big why in this world.
My cause is being heard, especially around healing. In January 2018 my spine fractured and I was poured into a sausage factory and I was not listened to. I fought to find the root cause of my osteoporosis and from there I knew that I had to help other people heal naturally. My inner planner knows how to develop and deliver my message around this cause.
As we consider these aspects then how about considering how these impact your approach to planning and the impact your plan and actions have on the people around you and globally?
Remember you do not have a crystal ball, and although you have a vision and a plan, things can change. Be prepared in the best way that you can.
What kind of planner are you?
I use a tool for my clients called what kind of planner are you. It provides insights for both of us when working out how to get the best out of our relationship. Naturally, I also become a witness to them and soon learn how to support them. However, it’s one thing being good at spotting how others plan and another understanding how I plan. You will probably have discovered the same.
I have a pattern to how I plan and there are areas I struggle with. In becoming more conscious of this, I have been able to put actions into place that excites me. We all have patterns, typical ways of doing things.
To be more productive and effective, we need to understand ourselves and the habits or patterns we have formed.
It is vital that when you begin to plan you understand your preferences, as this will help you not only to get started, but also to finish.
How we think, feels like a ‘natural’ part of us. You may be unaware of these non-conscious patterns until you learn to recognise them. Become a witness, and you will soon learn to identify them through your language and behaviour. This is often why projects fail – people simply do not know why they may become overwhelmed or lose interest or motivation. It’s all down to your preferences.
Having a preference for a particular pattern of behaviour can be very beneficial when that pattern is useful in a particular context. On the other hand, you might find it difficult to adapt your behaviour, even when that way of doing something could be more beneficial.
Consider how being more flexible with your thinking and behaviour may lead to more productive outcomes.
There are many types of planner. You may recognise yourself in some of these descriptions. I would invite you to take a good look at how you plan, consider what excites you, where you usually stop or pause and why, what keeps you motivated, what overwhelms you or what makes you want to not plan at all.
The type that loves post-it notes and big rolls of brown paper or expanses of white walls to put post-its on.
Slow it down. Take time to reflect, but not much, organise around three core projects (this reduces overwhelm), reflect, craft a strategy for each and keep everything in achievable chunks. Look for connecting patterns in your three core projects. Go back to your wall quarterly (or monthly if you must) and do a refresher based on what happened and what you learned. This will keep your excitement and motivation high. Take one project at a time and apply detail. Yes, ouch detail…
Not necessarily a fan of the big picture. You use planning tools and like to know what is happening now. You like to see your whole day planned out to within an inch of its life. You may be a daily, weekly or a monthly detail person. Whichever you are everything in your life and business is planned out.
You might not like to see the big picture; I would still encourage a planning with your outline plan on it and review it daily, then, go to your daily planner. You can put as much detail on as is necessary for you. Maybe do this quarterly so that you don’t get big picture sickness.
The over planner
You might do post-it notes, but more than likely you have a set of planning tools, and you just keep planning. You might even use planning to procrastinate. I’m going to suggest that you create a planning wall, from which you apply your planning tools, map out the big picture, apply detail and set a timer.
Break your year up into monthly chunks and then divide into quarters. Using your planner outline your strategy for each month and create links between activities, outcomes and the next month and quarter. Add in feedback loops. Step back and review. Then if you feel inclined, update your planner, and do it. Now take one thing and implement it. Feed it back into your plan. What was it like to stop planning and start doing?
Plan, who me, inner planner, who?
Ok, so you never plan, and things rarely get finished.
Have a go at the brown paper or white wall and post it notes, then try a planning tool, and give yourself one hour at each. Then ask which did you get the most out of. Stick with that for one week and work on one thing. How did it go, what did you learn, did you get anything done? If yes, why, what worked and if no, why not. Adapt what you learn and make it work for you. Ask someone to hold you accountable and dig deep to make the relationship and what you want to achieve work.
There are many more planning types and variations on these themes. My point is that you will have a style, understand it, know you and then flex it and you so that things get done.
Your planning wall
Regardless of what kind of a planner you are, if you can see your plan and you reflect on it each day, you will do things. How do I know? This is something that I have implemented in many businesses when I worked as a marketing consultant. While some of the team members kick and scream to start with, eventually they can see that
- they are part of a team
- they can see the bigger picture
- they can often solve other people’s problems
- they know how to make the plan work
- when something needs others resources understand how the business works and how sales come in or not.
Every day go to your planning wall and review for 15 minutes, get deeply connected. Then you can move stuff onto your weekly and/or daily planner. Make time daily to craft a to-do list. I like to see chunks of my projects in time slots and other things I have to do as a list. I play Focus@Will for 60 minutes and then take a break. That is usually a walk in the rambla with my furry companions. This gives me time to reflect and recharge. Then it’s back home top up my water and grab a cuppa and back to my next thing.
Tips for conscious planning and your inner planner
C – connection to your inner knowing
Know how you like to plan, your preferences and how to keep yourself motivated. Sort out your back up – your accountability buddy, one that knows you and will hold you and hold you accountable. At all times check in with your inner wisdom. If it doesn’t feel right, find out why and always make conscious decisions.
O – own your plan
If you don’t own it how can you execute it? It has to feel good and exciting, achievable and something you want to celebrate doing.
N – natural
Never force yourself to follow someone else’s planning methodology. Review how others do things and learn. Find your natural way. Look at things that could do with changing and work out how so that they too become natural to you.
S – senses
Keep your senses aware, awake and alive. Tap into your intuition and ask what is working and what isn’t. Your senses are designed to support you and your decision-making process and your ability to stay motivated and on track
C – cause
Find your purpose, a what, a why and a cause. There is something very special about adding something to your plan where you can give back.
I – intentions
Set your intention to carry out your plans. Remember plans are not set in concrete, they are fluid and can change in a thrice. Set your intention to go with the flow and to change as appropriate based on feedback.
O – observe
Always be a witness to what is happening to you as you execute your plan. Observe your feelings, your physiological state as you do things related to the plan. Notice what happens around you when you do things. Use observation as a feedback tool.
U – Universe
Put it out to the Universe. Create your plan, own it, place it in your heart and send its vibration out. Your energy and intentions need to reach the people that need what you offer the most. Notice what comes back and again use this as a feedback tool.
S – system and strategy
Create a system and startegy that works for you. Know you. Change what doesn’t work so that you create better habits. Know why your system and strategy works or doesn’t and tweak it. Systems and strategy only work, at least for me, when I know why they work. When I know why I do what I do, I can plan to ensure that I stick to it.
We haven’t talked about setting goals
No, I haven’t, and the reason is that I would like to invite you first to consider your planning style we will look at conscious goal setting another day.
In corporate life, I would never have let a plan slip. My marketing plan was fundamental to how my team and I would support the sales team and the business in achieving our turnover and profit figures as well as aligning with corporate social responsibility. As a solepreneur, there is only me, and I have to wear many hats. I get overwhelmed and scared and want to run away. This is only natural. What I have learned is that without that big picture and my daily review I am lost. I use a Business Planner. What works for me is visuals, daily to do, journaling and regular reflection. I’m lucky in that I know me, warts and all, and I make myself do things because when I start I know I am going to enjoy it and I am working towards my goals and dreams. But also that I do not want to let myself down.
My accountability buddy/coach is fabulous, and I am in a support group and a mastermind. I need people to bounce off and hold me to account. Otherwise, I’d write all day interspersed with doggy walks and some cake baking. A girl needs cake for her planning review sessions.
I love to know how you plan, what works for you and what you have had to make yourself do to make your planning work.
PS: if you are planning to write a book, developing new products and services, setting strategy, leaving a job then planning and getting to know your inner planner is critical to your success