Far too many people do not have a plan for their lives. They wake up, go through the motions, and dream about a different life. They hope things will get better, but are not actively working to make things better. Please see the quote to the left….
You have to have intention behind everything you do. When I coach my racquetball players, I constantly remind them that EVERY shot has to have a purpose. You start with a game plan or basic strategy to execute. But you are not just biding your time waiting for an offensive chance, you should be playing good defense to assist your efforts as well. You should be adding to the mileage your opponent is running, evaluating their steps, their footwork, their effort level. NEVER TAKE OFF A SINGLE MOMENT. Life is the same way; you need to have a plan, a roadmap to get you where you want to go. Don’t hope for the best, put some structured intention behind your effort.
If you want to get out of debt, you need a solid approach to doing so. Bankruptcy ain’t it for most people, grab a shovel instead. Start digging your way out. If you need help structuring a plan, I can tell you from personal experience that the Dave Ramsey approach is quite effective. My wife and I did this together, and we am on the downhill side of paying off over $60K in debt, a large chunk of which was student loans and credit cards. My whole life I kept thinking “one day I’ll make enough money to pay off my debts and be in better financial shape”. That was hope. Dave taught me a strategy.
Want to change jobs? NEED to change jobs? Map out a plan. There are many things to evaluate in this process, so start today and figure it out. You’ll need to look at how viable a candidate you are in the market. Do you need to bolster your education or get certified in a new skill? How much flexibility do you have financially to make this move, can you make less money to up the happiness quotient in your life, but still pay your bills? Do you have to find a job that pays more to take the pressure off month after month? Should you be working with a recruiter to find a new gig, or be shopping around yourself the old fashioned way? All of this and much more needs to be looked at in advance. You can’t sit in your cubicle and hope another job is going to find you.
Any time I have a new goal on the horizon, I employ a couple of tactics to assist in the cause. My bathroom mirror is one of them. I write on the mirror (in dry erase marker…learned that one the hard way! ) the thought, concept, or specific target I am aiming at. This means that every time I walk into the bathroom I see it. It helps keep this omnipresent in my mind. For example, when I was pursuing the TedxTalk, the mirror message read: Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the Tedx Gilbert stage, Darrin Schenck. After 60 days of seeing that message over and over, I was sure I was going to get chosen. I narrowly missed that goal, finishing very closely behind the speakers selected for the event. It was a great learning experience, and I got a lot out of that little adventure despite coming up a little short of the end goal.
Another trick I use, which if you have read some of my other blogs you may have already noticed, is Public Declaration. I will make a public declaration of my goals for two main reasons:
Accountability – Maintaining my integrity as a man of my word, I have to chase something that I make a commitment to and statement about to its fullest. I can’t throw around flippant statements, never follow through on them, and expect people to take me seriously.
Assistance – I believe that the more people who know what I am trying to accomplish, the more help I can recruit. Whether you want to look at it from the angle of “The Secret” and have the universe bend things in your favor, or you just have a bunch of other people aware of your goals and they may be able to help push you in the right direction, keeping an idea all to yourself is a bad idea in my opinion. Nothing is ever accomplished alone.
Bottom line is this: Take control of your life by planning things out. You don’t need to have every moment of your life pre-scripted, but you do need to at least put some bumper rails in place to keep you headed the right direction. The more you can refine the plan, the shorter the distance to the goal. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to, learn from other to lessen the learning curve. Recruit help, write out your plan, and start walking down the path to get there.