I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!

by Karen Morey, Best Year Yet Director of Training

This was a favorite saying of my dad’s – one we heard many, many times.  And yes, he definitely was a planner and an articulate intellectual.  But in this case, he was actually quoting Hannibal Smith (the George Peppard character) in the television series “The A Team,” which was his unlikely choice for favorite TV show of the 80’s.

I see a quirky irony in the fact that thirty years later I, as his eldest daughter, have made a career out of helping plans come together!  I too love it when a plan comes together, but I love it even more when a plan WORKS together.  Here’s what I mean by that:

A Best Year Yet plan is made up of four components:  Guidelines, New Paradigm, Major Focus, and Top Ten Goals.  When I help clients create their own plans, I encourage them to see how these components work together, integrating behavior, mindset, focus, and action to effect real change in their lives.  It isn’t always easy to draw those connecting lines, but when it happens, the impact is exponential.

I experienced this phenomenon in my own plan last year, and it motivated me all year long.  The connections began early in the process when I chose as a guideline “Read, Write, and Think,” based on a lesson I had learned in the previous year about the importance of setting aside time to contemplate deeper truths.  I am an avid reader of fiction, but I wanted to include more philosophical and meditative books on my reading list.  In addition, I wanted to use journaling as a way to record my own thoughts as I read.

When it came time to examine my biggest limiting paradigm and choose a new mindset for the year, I decided my biggest roadblock on the way to exploring the next phase in my life was my belief that

“Everyone depends on me to keep doing what I’m doing,
and I can’t let them down.”

This conviction, coupled with the idea that I’m nearing retirement age and “should” be slowing down, was definitely holding me back.  So I created my new paradigm:

“I’m in my prime and moving on”

as a way to shake off those limiting beliefs.

But then came the question, “Moving on to what?”  What did “moving on” mean?  Since I had no answer to that question yet, it was clear that what I needed was to move on with the exploration – to figure out what I want the next phase in my life to look like.   And to do that, I needed to give myself time for that exploration – for thinking about it, reading books that help me dig deeper, and journaling about the process.

This is where my Number 1 Goal comes in:

 #1.    Schedule ‘Prime Time’ weekly for reading, writing, and thinking.

Of course, there were nine other goals in my plan, related to growing my business, working with clients, volunteering for projects, planning a reunion, and managing my health; but the one that really captured my attention was this idea of Prime Time.  I was determined to follow through on this!

At the beginning of every month, I blocked out a half-day each week on my calendar, usually on Friday afternoon, and labeled it ‘Prime Time.’  I created a space in my home office with a big, comfortable chair and ottoman, a fleece blanket, a small table, and a lamp.  I selected from my bookshelf a few books that I had always intended to read and stacked them on the table, along with a journal, a pen and pencil, and some Post-Its.  Each week, when Prime Time arrived, I made a pot of tea, stepped away from the computer, and sat down in this new space to slow down and turn my attention to bigger things than responding to email.

Okay, okay, truth be told, it didn’t really happen every week.  Out of the 52 weeks in the year, I cheated myself out of Prime Time at least one third of the time; I scheduled a meeting with a client right over that spot; I decided to run an errand or two before starting – and used up all the allotted time; when I was the only one on a team who didn’t want to meet on a Friday afternoon, I gave in.  But over the course of the year, my commitment to Prime Time never lagged.  I always put it on the calendar and week after week, I renewed my determination to be accountable – to myself!

I was conscious all year of the synchronicity I felt between

          My Guideline:  Read, Write, and Think.

          My New Paradigm:  I’m in my prime and moving on.

          My Goal #1:  Schedule Prime Time weekly for reading, writing, and thinking.

And now I have moved on to my new plan for 2012; I have new guidelines, a NEW new paradigm, and new goals.  I did not keep the old ones, much as I liked the idea.  I forced myself to think of new ones, based on my most recent experiences, including the fact that I read several thought-provoking and inspiring books, wrote several articles and journal entries, and established Prime Time as an ongoing commitment in my calendar – a commitment I will continue to honor, at least two-thirds of the time!

And best of all, I DID gain a clearer understanding of what I want that “next phase of my life” to look like, and the top ten goals in my new plan are all about taking the first steps to make it happen.

I LOVE it when a plan works together!

Want to begin 2012 with your own Best Year Yet plan?  Click here to get started!

Karen Morey has been helping executive teams shift limiting behaviors and mindsets and achieve extraordinary results for the past decade. Combining the latest tools in planning, team development, coaching, and communications with her 25 years of experience in front-line management, she consistently helps clients develop strong, innovative, and focused teams that achieve breakthrough results.

Karen has a proven record of working with corporate leaders and teams to overcome their limitations and achieve their vision for the future. She leads them through the creation of a structured, results-based plan and coaches them to achieve and exceed the goals they have aligned on.

With 25 years of corporate leadership experience, Karen brings to her clients a credible, practical approach that builds high-performance teams, whether corporate or non-profit, large or small. She has worked with clients in manufacturing, financial services, medical systems software, and mail order distribution, as well as numerous local and regional social services and religious organizations. Karen specializes in an adaptive approach to coaching and uses a thought-provoking method of questioning that leads her clients to draw meaningful conclusions that can be readily applied to their personal lives and working environments.

In addition to her work with organizations and executive teams, Karen trains other facilitators worldwide to use the Best Year Yet system of planning, tracking, and follow-through with their clients. She has also designed and delivered training in leadership, performance management, customer service, and sales management.