Envision a plan to make your dreams a reality
I procrastinated on this blog for a long time. I guess I didn’t have a plan. Yet, the importance of a plan is what I’m going to share.
On May 15, 2010, I graduated from Concordia University, in Mequon, Wis. I was selected as one of two students to speak in front of a packed fieldhouse that included my family and friends.
I had been working toward my bachelor of arts in business management with a minor in human resources. Although the university offered programs and classes online, I preferred the traditional instructor-led courses. So I carried an attaché case with a heavy book, three or four weekly paper assignments and occasionally a laptop to take notes as I attended a four-hour class after a long day at work.
I learned. Yes, from the classes, but I also learned about myself. Specifically, about setting goals and having a plan.
Before graduation, a co-worker asked how I could work full time, go to college in an accelerated program and still have the ability to function. At the time, I really didn’t have the answer. However, the following is a summary of the speech from the commencement ceremony, which provides the answer.
The presentation focused on an acronym: PLAN. PLAN is applicable to all aspects of life, business, work, home and community activities.
P – Purpose: Consider what you find interesting. Or the energies that motivate you. A company’s mission is a purpose. Consider your personal mission, such as preparing for a marathon, remodeling a home, or volunteering at civic and non-profit organizations. Some other common activities that would benefit from PLAN include: A rollout of a new program or project, educational courses, an exercise program; or simply organizing a cluttered room in your home. Your purpose is what you want to accomplish.
Purpose is using your personal talents to benefit others. Your purpose requires you to experiment to determine where your talents can be of the most value. Consider that you don’t craft a piece of wood or knit a blanket without experiment. It’s only after you experiment will you find your purpose.
As you experiment, you will struggle. You should also begin to be in the next letter of PLAN.
L – Learn: As you struggle while you experiment, you should learn about yourself. And you should learn for fun. Wouldn’t you like to read a book and not have a test afterward? (That comment brought some nice laughter from the audience.)
Learning means more than taking a class or being on a project team. Learning is talking to others, determining the best approach and then understanding you may need to change or clarify your direction.
Once you know your purpose and you learn about yourself, you’re ready for the next letter.
A – Action: Action is the connection between your purpose and your learned knowledge. Action requires you take those energies that motivate you and transfer them to activities and others. In this stage, you’re adapting to new ideas, such as the change in direction. If you didn’t see results from walking 10 minutes a day, the change may be to 20 minutes of walking.
Taking action can have challenges, but action should be fun. If you enjoy baseball, coach a Little League team. If you enjoy horseback riding or four-wheeling, volunteer to help those less fortunate to experience those activities. Action involves connecting with other people.
It’s hard work to find your purpose, learn about yourself and take action, but once you do, you’re ready for the final piece of PLAN.
N – Note: This is probably the most important part. It’s also the most relaxing. As the word implies, take note of your goals and analyze them. What works? What could be better?
This is a time to reflect. Strive for a sense of calm. It may be the celebration of a successful project, reaching an educational milestone, or the peace of knowing you attained your ideal health. When you take note you put the purpose, the learning and the action into perspective.
If you take Note of the Actions you have taken, you might Learn your Purpose.
That’s a PLAN!
How do you plan in your life?