Planning For Action
I’ve been blogging for almost a year now. What started out as a Blogspot blog and a way to more fully express my thoughts, found its way to WordPress and became a brand and (potential) business. August 24th is my official blog-o-versary and over the next month and a half, I’ll be taking some time to reflect on where I’d like this blog to go in year two.
While I could look at the past year’s failures–HELLO, I haven’t posted in 19 days–I’d rather not. Instead, I’m going to focus on the progress I’ve made over the past 12 months and set some goals for the next 12.
Speaking of goals, has anyone read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi? If not, buy it now and read it fast. For those of you who don’t know Ferrazzi, he’s a business networking guru who has topped “Who’s Who” lists in Forbes and Inc. magazine, written a NYT bestseller and made a career of helping others and building relationships.
In the book, Ferrazzi talks about creating an Action Plan. The Action Plan consists of two lists: one for long term goals and one for short term actions that will help you accomplish the long term goals. (Sometimes the biggest reason we lack motivation and direction is that we haven’t taken the time to clearly articulate where we want to go.)
Here’s some questions to ask when you’re creating your Action Plan:
Where do you want to be in five years? Where do you want to be in one year? What actions can you take in the next 90 days to move closer to those five year/one year goal? Who do you know that can help you reach your goals? Who do you want to get to know in order to reach your goals? Most importantly, who can you mentor or whose career can you help further in the process of furthering your own career?
Confused? Here’s a glimpse at my list and how I answered these questions:
In five years, I want to have an established, successful freelance writing career. In one year, I want to have written at least one article for a major publication. In the next 9o days, I want to add one clip to my writing portfolio. In order to accomplish my 90-day goal, I will need to do the following:
- Blog at least three times a week
- Identify three local, three regional and three national publications that I would like to write for
- Make a list of potential story ideas for each of those publications
- Find the contact information for certain editors at those publications
- Figure out if there are people I know who might have a connection to someone at those publications
The first publication that comes to mind is my local newspaper. One of my co-workers used to work at the local newspaper. Action item number one will be to ask my co-worker who I should contact about freelancing at the paper. If he gives me the name of someone specific, I will ask if it’s alright to mention HIS name to that person. Then, I will craft an email or put in a phone call to the appropriate person at the local paper. And just like that, I’ve made progress toward my goal.
The bottom line is that it’s never too late to start working towards your goals. Ferrazzi made a lot of mistakes on his way to the top. I myself am nowhere near the top and have made more mistakes than I can count. But the real mistake would be giving up. The ones who lose, or even worse, the ones who end up spending their life doing something they’re not passionate about, are the ones who don’t try, who don’t persevere, who don’t set goals.