If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s going to be tough to get there. Just like the organization you work in, you need a business plan – for your life. Taking the time to consider what you want to accomplish and how you will do it is essential to ensuring that you live a life of purpose. A solid plan is often the missing ingredient to focusing your efforts on what is most important and the key to unlocking a lot of potential.
Every great strategic plan starts with a declaration of an entity’s purpose that expresses why it exists, what its members value, and what these people intend to accomplish. Your personal mission is nothing short of your purpose here on earth, and you’ll start your personal plan by spelling it out. I know that sounds lofty, as though we’re trying to find the meaning of life. But the answer to the question “What am I here to do?” isn’t as remote as you might think. What do you love to do? What are you good at? Your personal mission is where you can use your talents and passions to address a need in the world – it’s as simple and profound as that. Consider these questions for yourself as you read about Danielle, whose story unfolds in The Joy of Strategy: A Business Plan for Life.
In the first several years we knew each other, I rarely saw Danielle fully dressed and never saw her completely happy. Our lockers were located near one another at our health club and we chatted every morning as we dressed to go off to work.
While I’d usually be excited about a talk I was giving or an interesting client I’d be meeting, Danielle was not so enthusiastic. She worked in the fashion industry and would often regale me with outrageous tales of her company’s clueless leadership. Her job was eating away at her spirit and each day she dreaded going to work. One day she came to the gym more excited than ever – she would be laid off in a few short months. She was free!
A few weeks later, she was offered a promotion and she was actually considering staying with the company she couldn’t wait to leave. It was clear Danielle was allowing herself to be swept away by inertia rather than taking the lead role in her life and writing her own script. I suggested she participate in my Business of Life Workshop so she could step off the treadmill and think about what matters.
Breaking Free From Inertia
In the middle of an exercise in that workshop, Danielle couldn’t squelch an outburst when she discovered that her job of 20 years didn’t allow her to use her talents fully or to work on any of the things that gave her real pleasure.
What are Your Talents and Passions?
Think about what you love doing and do well. Call to mind an accomplishment of which you are very proud. It could be anything: the killer presentation you gave at work, the deal you closed, or the salsa party everyone loved so much they’re still talking about it years later. Got something in mind? Now think about what is it about you that made you so successful. Those are talents you can put to use. Bonus points if you had fun doing it. A wonderful benefit of creating a mission built on the foundation of your talents and passions is that you’re likely to craft one that comes to you naturally, with relative ease.
Joyfully Dipping Into Her Future
After some exploration, Danielle discovered a passion for cooking and found that creating artisanal chocolates and beautiful packaging gave her the perfect outlet for her considerable artistic talents. Now, doing work she loves, Danielle is excited to go to work every day.
You Don’t Need to Leave Your Dreams to Chance
Finding small ways to use your talents in the job you already have can make all the difference in how you experience your work. But if a tweak won’t do it, find the courage to find your mission and go after it with all you’ve got. And, of course, make a plan so you’re likely to fulfill your mission.