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Gary Ryan Blair
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Why Create a Personal Strategic Plan?

"A quality life is an example of what can be accomplished
when thoughtful attention, careful planning, and purposeful
action come together without compromise."

A well-defined plan, properly executed, is your meal ticket to success. You significantly increase the odds of success in any endeavor if you know who you are, what you want, where you are going, how you will get there, and what you will do once you arrive.

Consider these questions: "What makes it possible for a casino to turn a profit? Do the odds favor the house or the gambler?"

Even avid gamblers recognize that the odds always favor the house. Most of the people pulling levers, shooting dice, and playing cards lose most of the time. It's a safe bet that, in the view of casino managers, you are going to leave some of your earnings in their hands when you leave.

It may be something of an exaggeration, but you could say that when you walk into any casino, you sport a big "L" for LOSER on your forehead. Now matter how sexy it appears, a casino is a competitively hostile environment, with the odds consistently favoring the house. This ensures that they win the majority of the time... and you lose.

The same can be said for your life. Try to achieve anything without a well-defined plan (even with a commitment to achieve) and you go in with a big "L" on your forehead.

The competitive odds are always in favor of the prepared, the focused, and the committed; they will outperform, out-hustle, and outplay you.

Though it may seem like common sense, this point is often overlooked: your life will not go according to plan if you do not have a plan.

Far too many people and organizations are unprepared, undisciplined, and unfocused. And because they disrespect planning and lack preparation, discipline, and focus, they will repeat yesterday's mediocre performance today, tomorrow and the next day. This self-imposed purgatory must be stopped, as the consequences of poor planning are utterly ruthless.

Why not create history rather than repeat it? Why not commit to having the best year of your life? Why not create a plan that allows you to experience exceptional growth?

Get serious about your life and career; tilt the odds in your favor for a change. This is all possible through the discipline of personal strategic planning.

The accommodation of success is preceded by long negotiation, made possible by intensive preparation. In addition to saving you 10 to 1 in execution, the creation of a personal strategic plan offers a host of other tasty benefits as well.

Among the most important:

  • Planning Promotes Focus. Planning is a disciplined thought process that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape who you are, where you are going, what you do, and how, when, and why you do it. All of this is done with focus on the future.

  • Planning Coordinates Efforts. Planning allows you to engage in best practices. Being best briefed and best prepared with the best information allows you to create the best strategy.

  • Planning Provides Standards. Planning helps you size up your performance and measure your progress. Evaluating what you expect is more than a progress check; it's also quality control.

  • Planning Prepares the Planner. It takes a good head to determine what you're going to do and why. And it takes a strong stomach to stick with decisions when you hit the inevitable bumps in the road. Planning teaches you to cultivate these qualities, so you have a better chance of succeeding.

  • Planning Reveals Roadblocks. Planning provides a reality check on the good, the bad, and the ugly of achieving a particular goal. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, as one way to ensure victory is to be prepared for challenges and obstacles, and you do that through planning.

  • Planning Stimulates Thinking. Planning provides the stimulation you need to avoid dead ends and blind alleys. Comprehensive due diligence serves as a catalyst for new insights and ideas.

  • Planning Fuels Confidence. Planning helps you to reduce the paralyzing effect of fear. Planning is the safety net for your future. Lack of it is like walking a tightrope with a blindfold on and no net below.

  • Planning Offers an Exit Plan. Planning gives you a sneak peek of the price you must pay for success so you can determine if it's worth the risk. It serves as an early warning system, allowing you to bow out gracefully rather than be thrown out later on.

The benefits of personal strategic planning sound almost too good to be true, but this time, the hype is legitimate. Effective planning allows you to do things better, faster, and definitely cheaper.

Perfect the use of planning and you will win many battles by default. Planning means doing your homework... running twice as fast. A lawyer works out the opposition's legal arguments. An entrepreneur puts himself in the shoes of a contractual partner. The successful negotiator is the confident negotiator, bolstered by advance knowledge and planning. As you practice and master planning, it will become second nature.

In every aspect of your professional and personal lives, the discipline of personal strategic planning will help you to think critically, examine your options, and devise a detailed action plan that will enable you to achieve more in the next year than you have in the past ten years combined.

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