I was recently speaking with a friend who was considering selling his business. I asked him what’s next, if he did end up selling; he shrugged and said, “no clue”. I told him a story about my friend who retired a few years back. When he retired, he had no worries as he was financially set for the rest of his life and then some. By “no worries”, I mean he flew to Florida to buy an luxury car that cost as much as a house, and drove it back home. Not bad. The challenge was that he got bored of retirement rather quickly; He went from being a workaholic to having very little to occupy his days, and with no plan in place for how to spend his time, he ended up getting bored and going back to work. He also retired during the winter in the Northeast United States, so not only did he not have a plan, but the cold weather limited his opportunities for activities. He did advise me not to retire during the winter, though his second retirement was in January. ?
Not long ago I went to see my doctor, and during the appointment he nicely suggested that I lose some weight. I let him know that I had recently started a diet and was working on it. He was happy to hear that I had already taken the initiative and followed up with, “what’s next?”. He explained that if I was not careful after I lost the weight I wanted to lose, I would gain it back and then some. He simply suggested that I have a plan in place to maintain my goal weight.
Having a plan for what’s next is essential. We all know this and prioritize it in our professional lives but many of us forget to plan for what’s next in our personal lives; I know I am guilty of this. For instance, at J2 we do an annual planning meeting. This meeting helps us determine what our goals are going into the following year, and we develop a plan to ensure these goals are reached. We went into this year with a plan and then had to course correct as needed; but having the plan helped, especially in times of uncertainty. But on a personal level, I did not have much planned. As travel had many restrictions, I could not fly, but thinking back I realize I could have pivoted to taking day trips to clear my head. Instead, I went from doing a trip a month to nothing; I had no plan.
Having a plan in place provides us all with a sense of direction. Imagine if we made devising a plan for what’s next a priority in our personal lives! Maybe my friend would have enjoyed his retirement if he created a plan of action to keep himself occupied (taking a road trip in that awesome car is one idea that comes to mind). Of course, sometimes plans need to change direction; maybe once I’m able to travel again my plan for maintaining my weight loss will have to adapt to being in a new location. Our ability to adapt and change course is what keeps life exciting while helping us continue to grow.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you plan everything down to the detail…just broad strokes. After all, spontaneity makes life fun…At least it does for me.
So, what’s next?
“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” ― Winston Churchill
Have a great weekend-