“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So, keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make makes you.” – John Wooden
I always knew I wanted to make a difference in life; my problem was I didn’t know what that difference was because I hadn’t wrapped my mind around who I was. I only knew I had to start somewhere, and that “somewhere” began right where I was.
My first step toward being determined deliberate and decisive about my future began with the purchase of the book “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life” by Alan Lakein. Lakein’s book was instrumental in changing my perspective on utilizing the time I have, as well my collecting and learning from quotes. The first two quotes I collected on my new journey were:
1. “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein
2. “Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lakein
There were other books to follow, but I now had a sense of empowerment and direction. Since then, I have spoken to many people about their future, and stand amazed at how many gifted and talented people march bravely into the future hoping to make a difference without knowing their purpose or having a plan to do so.
The Paradigm shift
A paradigm shift is “an important change that happens when a new and different way replaces the usual way of thinking about or doing something.” For more than forty years, I’ve been growing in the area of helping people to intentionally bring about positive, productive paradigm shifts concerning the high probability of success when intentionally designing their future.
Your future is what you make it; working through the many variables, challenges, and setbacks we all experience in life, requires determination perseverance, and flexibility as we work through a well, thought out action plan. Developing a plan for future achievements begins with a plan for developing ourselves today, so we can grow into the future we envision.
Author James Allen wrote, “People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they, therefore, remain bound.”
The Future is ours to Make or Waste
How specific are your plans for your future? You will not be able to account for all life’s variables so, do not allow that to hinder you from starting now. Lao Tzu advises, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Regardless of how insignificant it may seem in the grand scheme of things, taking the first step toward a more certain future begins today. Planning and scheduling your personal growth may seem like a mountain at first but, remember, no one reaches a mountain peak by accident; climbers make it to the summit one step at a time.
Map out your calendar for the next twelve months. Schedule your growth plans individually. How much time will you need each day, week, a month? Once you have planned your growth through the coming year, assess your progress weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually – it’s a game changer.
How to Get There from Here Deliberately
“We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen R. Covey
Consistency is vital when it comes to personal growth. We cannot learn everything at once, but we can learn something each day, which compounds annually. Having systems in place gives stability to your growth program.
John C. Maxwell writes, “Begin developing (or refining) systems for yourself that will maximize your time and increase your efficiency. Brainstorm a list of areas where you desire to improve, are experiencing a problem or sensing an opportunity.
Try to create a system to help you for each. As you design them, make sure that each takes into account the following:
- The Big Picture— Will the system help you reach your big-picture goals?
- Your Priorities— Is the system consistent with your values and commitments?
- Measurement— Does the system give you a tangible way to judge if you’ve succeeded?
- Application— Does the system have a built-in bias toward action?
- Organization— Does the system make better use of your time than what you’re doing now?
- Consistency— Can and will you easily repeat the system on a regular basis?
Don’t be reluctant to make adjustments to systems you develop or even abandon them if they don’t serve you well. However, you may want to try out any system you develop for at least three weeks (the normal time needed to start developing a positive habit) before evaluating its validity.” (1)
You and I are responsible for the words we speak, the thoughts we think, and the actions we take, this means we have the most influence on our preparation for, and our response to future events, plan accordingly.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
(1) “The Law of Design” from The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell