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A Future of Success

To create a successful future, whether it's for yourself or your organization, it's essential to have a plan.

To create a successful future, whether it's for yourself or your organization, it's essential to have a plan. In their book Play to Win!, the authors suggest the following six steps to help you develop a solid plan for change.

Identify your values

What do you believe in deeply? To what are you passionately committed? What are your values? Values are ideals, principles and morals that shape your view of how you believe the world works. These values lead to creating priorities, and to the choices and decisions you make. Examples of values include accountability, beauty, comfort, fairness, family, fun, health, integrity and loyalty. What are your top-10 values? List them in order of priority, and attempt to eliminate those that conflict.

Identify your talents

What are your physical and mental strengths? What comes easy to you? What are you drawn to? You are either born with your talents or have been able to develop them so well that they come naturally and easily. Are you articulate, athletic, creative or disciplined? Are you a good listener, speaker or judge of people? Take a moment to think about your talents and list them.

Create your action statement

Your action statement is your purpose. It's the part of you committed to making a positive difference. It defines what your life is all about. A compelling action statement is easy to remember, and can get you back on track if you lose your way. When you have a challenge, ask yourself if your response is consistent with your purpose in life. Your action statement should help you make choices that are in harmony with who you are and what you want to be. An effective action statement is concise and clear, and has no more than three simple sentences. It is written in the present tense and is easy to understand and remember. Fitting your values and using your talents, your action statement should inspire you. What is your purpose? Write a few drafts of your action statement before accepting a final version.

Develop your personal vision

Values, talents and purpose define who you are. From this core, you can develop a plan; but before you do, create a vision of how you want that plan to turn out. A powerful vision gives a reference point from which to make key decisions that are consistent with where you want to go. Your vision expresses your dream of how you want things to be. An effective vision statement defines a specific point in time a year or two in the future. It is written in the present tense and is short and compelling. Your vision fits with your values, talents and purpose. It includes all aspects of your life: personal, professional, family, mental, emotional and spiritual. Like your action statement, it inspires you. Is your vision to take more risks? Is it to spend weekends with your family? What is your personal vision?

Create your plan

The next step is to create a plan that will bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to go. Your plan will include strategies and tactics. First, determine broad initiatives that will set the general direction of your plan without a lot of detail. To keep them manageable, write a maximum of four strategies with one idea per strategy. An example for someone might be to go back to school to finish a degree. What four strategies will help you achieve your vision? Tactics break each strategy down into basics. Using the previous example, when will the person start school? What school will she attend? How will she pay for it? For each of your strategies, what are the important tactics - the who, what, when and how?

Identify obstacles and support

Because the world is unpredictable, something will likely require you to amend your plan. It is helpful to think about possible obstacles in advance, and plan how you will deal with them. What obstacles to your plan do you foresee and how will you overcome them? Creating and executing your plan will require support to overcome obstacles and keep you motivated. What kind of support do you need? Work through these six steps, and you will have a plan of change and how to create your optimal future.
Reference Wilson, L., and H. Wilson. Play to Win! Bard Press: Austin, Texas, 1998.
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