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by Donna Bennett
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December 2009 Archives

Thresholds are the places where we are offered options and choices. We can choose to go forward, we can choose to go neither forward nor backward, or we can choose to turn back to wait for the next threshold. Whatever your choice, it helps to choose with intention. One way to choose with intention is to have a plan.

Plans help us stay front and center in our lives. As companies cannot succeed without plans, it is equally difficult for individuals to succeed if they don't know where they are going, or how they will get there.

Business owners start with a plan that identifies the values of the organization (what is important to us?), its vision for the future (where do we want to be; what do we want to be doing?), and a mission (what do we need to do to get there?). Strategies that business owners and CEOs use to grow their organizations can also help you create a direction for your life.

What is important to you? (Values)
What are the principles or standards that you must have for a satisfying lifestyle? It's essential that you identify those values that are uniquely yours and not what SHOULD be important to you, or what others may think is important for you. Narrow your values to five to seven that are core to your life. This will help you lay a foundation from which to operate authentically. As you create your vision and mission, your core values will be the place to which you can return to ensure that you remain focused.

Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? (Vision)
What do you want to accomplish? What are your aspirations? What outcome would you like to have? What is your time frame?

What do you need to get there? (Mission)
What will it take to get you where you want to be? What do you need to equip you? What resources will you need? What support?

Goals and Actions
After identifying your core values and creating your vision and mission, you will be ready to write your goals, followed by action steps. The key is to set goals that are manageable AND that will stretch your comfort zone. They can be short and/or long term, and must be specific and measurable.

The final step is to include and plan for barriers that are likely to infringe on your forward movement. Barriers can include:

• Ourselves (doubt, fear, making time, feeling "selfish")
• Others ("Are you sure...?" "But, you always...!" "Have you thought about...?")

Barriers can pop up at any point in the creation of your plan. Name the barriers now that are sure to get in your way. Next, plan ahead for how you will deal with them.

Barriers can be difficult to handle alone. Who is the person you trust to partner with you through the process of accomplishing your plan? Or do you prefer to have different people support you at specific points in your journey? Who are they? How can they help?

Now, go ask them. They will be honored.