Things are very different today than they were even five years ago.
We used to think the one year and five year plan were essential . . . and I still think they are important.
But, it’s also clear that ability to respond to opportunity in the moment is far more important than a tight and detailed plan . . . and responding to opportunity usually means trashing or at least revising the plan.
I think the best plan is to have a picture in mind of where you want to end up and of what the next big milestone in that journey will probably be. Then have a short term plan that will move you closer to that milestone.
It’s like the road trip across country I took when I was 21. My pal, Geary Cagle and I left Atlanta with a big picture in mind: our destination – Humptulips, Washington. But the first big milestone was Estes Park, CO and the Rockies. Each day we planned a route, a stopping point, side trips and breaks but we only planned a day at a time. Each day took us closer to that first milestone and so, closer to Humptulips. In Jackson Hole, WY, the rear end fell out of the Fiat. Getting parts and doing the repair took 5 days: an opportunity we responded to by getting deeply into the Tetons and the Snake River. It was one of the best parts of the trip.
Where are you headed? What’s the next big milestone for you? And what are you going to do today, this week and this month to get you closer to that milestone? And oh, by the way: what are you going to do when you finally reach Humptulips?