December 24, 2020

2021 – Planning in a World of Uncertainty

What Next Coaching Crystal Ball

Change is the only constant – said Heraclitus, an ancient Greek Philosopher.  

Never has that been more true that in 2020. I have a crystal ball. I really do. I used to work for Swarovski. It’s a beautiful thing, but has been of absolutely no use this year at all. Gazing into it in January I had no idea that we’d have been debating whether Christmas would or should be cancelled. 

In business we’ve been trying to plan for multiple scenarios in parallel at once, and then having to chase our tail to implement whichever scenario seemed to be closest to the latest set of circumstances.

At home planning anything much more than about a week out has turned out to alternate between being optimistic or foolhardy. 

It’s turned our stuffed full, carefully planned & over-scheduled lives upside down. It’s been challenging, exhausting and sometimes left us feeling we have nothing to look forward to. 

Yet it’s also created opportunity, if we’re persistent enough to look for it:

  • Time to re-assess the work life balance. We might not have got the boundaries right yet, in the blurring of lines between home & work, but I bet you it’s positively different to this time last year in some shape or form.
  • Time to try or learn new things & prove to ourselves we still can.
  • Time to slow down, to read, to stop and smell the coffee, or the roses. To explore and  discover new walks around us, truly live in our houses and neighbourhoods, not just pass through. Stripped of so many activities we used to do without thinking, we can re-prioritise what we actually miss and enjoyed doing and what we need to leave behind and move on from. That’s growth.

The window between Christmas and New Year is when so many of us start to sketch out our plans for the year ahead. This year with COVID uncertainty all around it would be easy to say “I can’t plan anything”. 

Not true.  

Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are Nothing, Planning is Everything”. 

Think about it. A fixed plan can be worthless in a moment if something unpredicted occurs. 2020 sure showed us that.  Knowing what underpins the plan makes it adaptable to the new scenarios. A perfect approach for 2021. 

Planning international travel might be tricky for sure, but there are so many things that ARE positively within your control as you start to think about 2021.

Here’s a few tips & thought starters:

  • Think about the really really core important areas of your life. What would “good” look like in all those areas? What would you need to do or change to make good happen?  By all means have a “with” & “without” lockdown / Covid restrictions scenario – Take a Good Better Best Approach you can adapt to circumstances.  
    • Take “Family” as an important pillar of most people’s lives. A good scenario might be a weekly zoom call, a better one might be being able to see at least another member of your family face to face at least once a month, and a BEST scenario might be a noisy indoor family party with loads of people. It might not be possible to make the latter happen, but it will make you stop and think, give you control & make it easier to be grateful for what is possible. 
  • Chunk down – December 2021 feels a long way off. It is.  Grand plans are good. We all need dreams. Make them too big though and they become threatening instead of challenging.  Make a plan for success based on what is in your control January to Easter (4th April 2021). You can review and adapt it from there.  
    • You might aim to read 20 books next year, to learn or to relax, as suits you, …but it seems a lot more do-able if you work out that that’s roughly 1.5 a month, and if you can find 30 minutes 3 times a week +/or an hour in bed or on the sofa with a book on Saturday & Sundays, there’s a good chance I’ll be able to read 4 by Easter. Or re-frame “reading” – audiobooks are great too, and mean you can “read” whilst driving or running. 
  • Make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound).  I have literally spent years of my life teaching people to write better goals be it for themselves or their businesses.  A goal with no way of knowing when you should celebrate the success and achievement, or radically course correct is pretty much pointless.  It won’t motivate you, and chances are you’ll wander off track or give up fast. 
  • Prioritise RUTHLESSLY.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew. No-one can do everything at once. Changing your behaviour, putting yourself first a little, learning to say NO to things, or aiming to run 5k – all take time to build – just like muscles.  I know first hand that rare are the Super-human individuals like the elite Decathletes! Truly the most awesome individuals I’ve ever met.  There might be lots of things in your life you’d like to change, but if you try to tackle all of them simultaneously you’ll end up failing, making excuses and feeling deflated. Much better to focus on one thing and keep at it for a period of time.  Everyone has good & bad days, that’s life, but you’ll reap the benefits if you commit and stick with it.

If you think you would benefit from some coaching to help you develop and stick to your goals for 2021, get in touch. I’d be delighted to help you and hold you accountable.

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