Organize.Write. Success! Wk 5

We did, we did it, we did, Yay! (Song from Dora the Explorer)
I did it, too. My mini course has come to the final post. I hope you enjoyed it and even if you fizzled out like I almost did, this mini course will be here on the Internet for ever! Likely. How cool is that?
Last week, we worked on the bulk of our Strategic Plan, remember? I left out ONE FINAL piece to the plan and while part of it is fairly simple, the other part, not so much.
Come up with every possible obstacle toward reaching your goals. Now, for each one, come up with the plan to mitigate and overcome said obstacles.
I call this DISASTER PLANNING or HURDLE BLOCKING.
Remember, track and field hurdlers know the hurdles are coming. It’s not a matter of if but when. They then both have to mentally prepare their minds to get over it and their bodies must be in formation, ready to jump over it when they reach it. What’s more, they’ve encountered them before. What a disaster it would be if they had to do it blindfolded. Can you imagine that?
We all have hurdles and disasters that occur. What we fail to come up with are
1. Blockers and
2. Contingency plans or plan b, c and maybe d.
We do come up with the hurdle blockers/plan B but only AFTER the hurdle presents itself. This is a solution but it’s not the best one because, it’s really just an action to a reaction and thus impromptu and temporary and not always the best. It’s not the best simply because given time, you probably could have come up with something more sound and lasting. Quick fixes don’t address the larger issue. How to mitigate things from cropping up (you can’t ever get rid of it completely) and minimize the negative impacts.
So list five hurdles/disasters in your plan
List a solution to each of the hurdles AND
List the triggers for the hurdles (what are the build up signs)
What are some of the things you’ll do to make mincemeat of hurdles that present themselves to you?
What if it’s not just a silly hurdle but an all out disaster?
It’s easy to give pat answers for these questions. Some responses may include:
Take a break
Take a nap (my personal favorite) and
Relax, Ask for help…. and all those will work but they seem temporary to me
Seek out what’s worked in the past and try that
If you will list the triggers, you’ll be aware and may be able to head things off BEFORE they turn into full blown disasters.
Next, planning for them now, means you’re able to think more clearly and have more time instead of finding a solution when you may be stressed and better solutions have no time to be used and due to your stress level, you’re not firing mentally on all cylinders.
In my new book Pack Light:Thoughts for the Journey, I have a saying “if you can anticipate, you can mitigate”. That does NOT at all mean that just because you’re thinking of a problem, you’re then attracting that very negativity to you, that’s not my goal but even as you think about your worst case scenario while all is calm, think about your solution. Some of my own worst case scenarios include:
Illness (actually occurs almost annually)
Sudden Job loss – it’s through some portion of my steady 9 – 5 that funds some of my writing/promotion. But guess what, I’ve been off work for an extended time or two due to illness and with the time off came a deep desire NOT to return not only because my ill ness wreaked havoc on my day to day but because my abilities grew weaker and I had to move on.
To those two possible hurdles, I’ve had to then:
Determine the new plan if I’m no longer employed full time with health benefits
I’ve listed but I try to recognize signs that tell me “impending illness coming-triggers” and if I get on with the screening/doc visit/diagnosis and treatments and etc., sooner, I can head it off so it doesn’t take me out for so long. There may be things in my diet, or things I don’t like but need to do to optimize my recovery and mitigate illness.
I know, all this sounds like a standard issue example. But how many times have you ignored little tiny issues and warning signs only for them to blow up in your face later and they could have been mitigated had you resolved small fires sooner instead of waiting.
Other standard issues triggers are mounting frustration, being involved in things that are a time suck – how will you mitigate (procrastination) stuff that seems little at first, but then snowfalls and has a domino effect?
For time suck, I try to make trade offs in the day that goes awry, this or that. It’s like no bread or soda with dinner so you can eat dessert. If I need more time (because of procrastination or something else took longer than I anticipated) then I evaluate the schedule and see what I can move around.
Other good ways to come up with hurdle blockers are to ask yourself:
How can I automate things?
What can I delegate?
How can I make time for some things I do enjoy that renew and rejuvenate and keep illness at bay if I omit them somehow?
Finally, what are the usual things that have kept me from reaching the goal all these years. Why?
Dig deeper into fear outright, self deprecation, unpreparedness and doubt. What are the mitigators and hurdle blockers to these types of things? It could be an accountability partner, or a supportive writing/critique group or partner. You know your own style? Some people don’t like to share this type of thing with others and are their own cheerleader. In that instance, there is still something to be had with connecting with others around shared goals or even phoning a friend, no matter what personality type you are.
The bottom line is the more you are aware of your own unique brand of potential setback, hurdle and detour chronic in your paths, the more you can prepare for them, the more you can minimize their devastating impacts and move them, address them and clean them up faster and faster to keep going.
Take time to include this in your plan and you will have a well thought out map toward your goals.
Finally, but of the utmost important is that the plan is nothing, absolutely NOTHING without constant reference, viewing and tweaking along the way. All that effort and you tuck it away somewhere? How sad.
Keep it close, review it monthly, quarterly but not less than annually. Set the dates to review NOW – check in to see how you’re doing. Look, planning date/setting reminder = hurdle blocker, see? Make an appointment with yourself and set aside a few hours of real review, update and planning.
Now, watch the distance from “conceptualizing/planning” TO  “goal achieved”, get shorter and shorter.
You can do this! Good Luck!

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