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Book: The Joy of Strategy

A Business Plan for Life

Your life is serious business, but who says you can’t find joy along the way? As a person with your own unique gifts to offer, it is your responsibility to use your talents wisely and it is your right to enjoy the process. A successful business requires a mission and a plan, and there’s no more essential business than the business of your life. With the perfect mix of soul and strategy, Allison Rimm’s The Joy of Strategy will get you motivated, organized and on your way to a fulfilling life.

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What is a Strategic Plan and Why Do you Need One?

The joy of a life well lived – our work well done, our cherished ones well loved, our potential realized. Isn’t that what we’re all after? You don’t need to leave your dreams to chance. However, achieving this most fundamental and often elusive goal doesn’t just happen. It requires a strategy.

To create a meaningful plan, you need a structured approach that guides you, step by step, through the process of defining your most important goals and what you can do to achieve them. The Joy of Strategy is full of stories of real people who followed these steps and made their dreams come true.

The Steps

Step 1

Mission: Find Your Purpose

Every great strategic plan starts with a declaration of an entity’s purpose that expresses why they exist, what they value, and what they intend to accomplish. Your mission is nothing short of your purpose here on earth, and you’ll start your personal strategic plan by spelling it out. Here, you’ll find simple, inspiring exercises to name your mission and set you on your path.

Step 2

Vision: Imagine the Sweet Smell (Sound, Look and Feel) of Success

Next, you will paint a vivid verbal picture of what life looks like when you are using your gifts fully, doing what you love most and accomplishing what you set out to do. Your vision statement describes the point on the map you want to reach and serves as your inspiration and the foundation for your business planning. It’s your personal definition of success.

Step 3

Name Your Critical Success Factors

Now that you have created an ambitious, glowing vision, it may seem far off and out of reach. So how do you go from dreaming to doing? Now you will make a list of the elements you need to bring your vision to life. This tangible step marks real progress toward creating your personal development plan and builds momentum that moves you forward before the glow dims and you go back to the way you’ve always done things.

Step 4

Find Your Sweet SWOT

With your list in hand, it is natural to ask with some trepidation, “Do I have what it takes to get there?” A SWOT analysis gives you a clear, calm way to find out. Step Four will ask you to identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to size up what you have to work with – or work around – as you move into action on your project.

Step 5

Set Goals: Your Steps to Success

A vision is just a pretty picture until you actively breathe life into it. The next step is to determine what you need to do to make real, steady progress toward living your envisioned ideal. To do that, you will create a set of prioritized goals that gives you a wonderfully effective way to think about how you’ll spend your precious time to get the results you want.

Step 6

Perform a Time and Emotion Study

Money can’t buy me love and it can’t buy more time either. A strategic plan for your life requires mindfulness to spend your limited time on your priorities. In this step, you will assess:

  • How well your current use of time aligns with your goals
  • Why your actions and priorities don’t line up
  • How to clear the clutter and make room for what matters

Step 7

Select Successful Strategies: Tools to Set You on a Productive Path

Designing a business plan for your life allows you to live with integrity – where what you do reflects who you are and what you value. In this step, you will learn specific tools and techniques to sift through your potential strategies and select those that are most likely to fulfill your mission and achieve your goals.

Step 8

Get Going: Your Simplementation Plan

You have a plan, so how will you get moving? I know. The idea of starting to “live the life of my dreams” may be so daunting that you could feel paralyzed. So how do you suddenly burst into action? You will take one small step at a time until you build up some momentum and become an unstoppable force. Nothing begets success like success.

Step Back

Tips and Tools to Get Back on Track and Stay the Course

Though wondrous, the world is far from perfect and life can be messy. History, habits and happenstance can conspire to pull our best-laid plans off course. What’s been getting in your way as you try to achieve your goals? The techniques presented in this section help you recalibrate the way you’ll make decisions going forward. Pay special attention if you have tendencies toward:

  • People-pleasing
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Any other behavioral patterns that thwart your deepest desires

Your excuses are gone.


The pages of The Joy of Strategy are filled with stories of people who made a business plan and brought their visions to life. In this final section, you will see how your new friends made small tweaks and major transformations, one step at a time, as their stories are brought to a close. With these vignettes as inspiration, you will be sent off to create your own strategic plan and live joyfully ever after.


In her first book, Rimm helps the reader break free from inertia by choosing a mission that encompasses his or her interests and talents, envisioning what success is going to look like, getting past roadblocks, analyzing strengths and weaknesses, and making the most of our most precious commodity: time. (…) Readers who feel stuck in their lives will find Rimm’s optimism infectious.

Publisher’s Weekly, Reviewed on 05/31/2013

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Inspirational leaders know that their primary role is to create and sustain a healthy work environment. This timely book shows readers how to employ the business tools and life lessons Ms. Rimm provides to be the leaders of their own balanced and fulfilling lives. … Her work exemplifies leadership at its best. This helpful book provides a wealth of strategies that will help everyone from emerging leaders to seasoned veterans be more effective managing themselves and others.

Jeanette Ives Erickson, DNP, RN, FAAN, Senior Vice President for Patient Care and Chief Nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-author of Fostering Nurse-Led Care: Professional Practice for the Bedside Leader

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One of academia’s greatest challenges is mastering the essential art of mentoring. The Joy of Strategy not only provides the insight and tools to nurture the extraordinary talents of our young professionals; it demonstrates for mentors how best to mentor. The Joy of Strategy should be required reading for organizations that want to reach their full potential.\

Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, President and CEO, Partners HealthCare

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I’ve had the privilege of seeing Allison in action. She conveys the “why” for personal strategy development and then the “how” in a very understandable and effective manner. This book is a “must read” for anyone who would like to help improve their individual effectiveness in both work and personal aspects of their life.

James I. Cash, James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Harvard Business School

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