Much of what I’m offering here is about making plans, making decisions, and making sure you will know where you’re going.
But there’s another vital aspect: making revisions.
No matter how much research you do, how many people you talk to, or how detailed your plans become, once you start implementing your ideas you’re going to learn new things, and that means you’re going to want to make revisions in those plans.
This is a good thing. Revisions will come as from increased knowledge and experience. They are to be welcomed. As you make your plans, the knowledge that you will need to adjust them over time should even be a comfort and a source of strength.
Filing a Flight Plan
Think of it the way a pilot files a flight plan. The pilot knows the plane is going from Lebanon, KS to Moundsville, WV. The pilot knows when to take off and has made an expert estimate of when the plane will land.
The pilot can even take into consideration that there’s a storm 50 miles out with limited visibility and that the cargo hold is lighter than usual, meaning less fuel will be required.
But no pilot’s flight plan, however well done, is going to be perfect. Unexpected turbulence, air traffic, a flock of birds, and a myriad of other unpredictable things can affect that plan. The pilot may have to make all number of small corrections to get to that destination safely.
Plan to Make Adjustments
Sometimes, pilots have to make very large changes in their flight plans. Fog has made landing at the original destination impossible, so another airport must be selected. This could be disastrous, but it’s not because the experienced pilot has planned for the possibility of such an occurrence by having more gas in the tank than needed for that primary destination.
(In fact, pilots are required by regulations to have an alternative destination and enough fuel to reach that original destination and then continue on to that alternative destination.)
This is exactly what you must do: recognize that things will go sideways sometimes. Don’t allow a situation where one unfortunate setback will gum up the whole works.
Construct a Premortem
Rather than cowering from failure and hoping for the best, plan for failure. Anticipate where things might go wrong: where you might run out of money, where that car you’re relying on might break down, or where the trusted partner in your schemes might flake out.
Some go-go-go gurus will say that envisioning failure is just negative thinking, but the reality is that planning for bumps in the road means you’ll have already mapped out how to go around them.
The real work occurs when you’re implementing your plans, so that means you want to lay out all the roads to success now during the planning stage, before you’re up against deadlines and bills. Everything you can anticipate as an obstruction now is a provision you can make for your plans later. Instead of standing there stunned when a tree falls on your roof, you can just deal with the emotional shock, nod your head, and implement the appropriate contingency.