There are lots of ways to formulate a plan of attack. My own planning is usually constructed through mind-maps and process-oriented thinking. I work backwards from the goal, considering the step I need to take that directly precedes the desired result.
You Can Start Planning Right Away
I use Mindjet software (free trial here) to help with this, and you can see a real world example below of how I first began brainstorming the development of this web site.
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My plans have changed somewhat since this original outlining, but that’s normal. What’s important is to get a good outcome in mind and start planning towards that. Think through all the aspects of your goal — what you need to do to make it happen, how you’ll define success, what you’ll need to overcome, and whatever is appropriate to your own plans.
This can be extremely useful in clarifying what you want and how you’ll get it. However, before you spend the rest of your life planning, make sure you understand that thinking about something will only take you so far.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Act
When it comes to acting, I prefer the Ready, Fire, Aim model. With this model, you don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you start working towards your goals. In fact, you don’t wait very long at all. (You can read what some others have said about this here and here.)
Here’s some real-world examples you can use to get started on your world-changing vision. If none of these apply to your own plans, well, make your own ready, fire, aim strategy.
Small Business – Put something up for sale on eBay right now. Register a domain for $10 right now. Contact someone in your field about a joint venture right now.
Personal Development – Buy some good books on Amazon right now (or visit your local library). Listen to a good language podcast—with 20 minutes a day, you’ll make a lot of progress within just a few weeks.
Art – Finish the painting that’s been taking so long. Start another one. Go outside and draw something. Register for a class.
Exercise – Go outside and run three miles. If you can’t run three miles, run as much as you can and walk the rest.
International Travel – Think of somewhere you’d like to go, and buy a ticket. Don’t spend too much time on the research; you can always go somewhere else later. If you don’t have money for the ticket, maybe someone will give you some.
School or University – Finish the paper you’ve been putting off even if it’s not as amazing as you’d like it to be. If you haven’t read the books you need to read to write the paper, skim them.
Public Speaking – Think of an event you’d like to speak at. Then think of someone you know who is somehow connected to the event. Ask them to recommend you.
World Domination – Invade somewhere small, like Lichtenstein or Lesotho. You can always scale up and march on Canada later.
Starting is usually the hardest part.
After you have ran the first three miles or set up the first web site or invaded the first country—or whatever you’re trying to do—then you can sit back and ask yourself the kinds of questions most people ask before they begin the attack.
- What’s my target market?
- What can I ultimately achieve with this?
- What sacrifices will I need to make to do this?
- Am I really good at this?
- What’s the next action?
These are good questions, but without any experience they can often sidetrack or intimidate you into doing nothing. Nothing is almost always the worst thing you can do.
In the long term, your three-mile run will enable you to run a marathon. You just have to keep repeating it, and then start expanding it over a series of months.
If you don’t invest much to begin with, your business project won’t fail even if it isn’t a huge success. You’ll learn something, and have something to show for it. Even better, you might end up with a sustainable project that does far more than you expected.
Process map planning is great, and will help you think through where you want to go and how you’ll get there. But don’t wait to get started with your plans to take over the world. You can always refine the invasion later.
I like this quote from George Bernard Shaw:
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”
A life with mistakes is also a lot less boring than a life doing nothing. How will you formulate your plan of attack? Don’t wait until tomorrow.
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