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Book excerpt: The Plan: Personal Balance, Career Success, Financial Strength

female executive at a work board looking back

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The following excerpt is from Chapter 1 of John M. McKee and Helen Latimer's The Plan.

Chapter 1: Time To Put Your Toe In The Water

Think about some of the successful organizations you know. Do names like Google and Apple come to mind? Or perhaps Mattel or Whole Foods? Colgate-Palmolive? The Red Cross?

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These organizations are all in different businesses and all have different "personalities." What they have in common is they are all successful. They are all leaders in their fields. And they all plan. Each and every business unit in these organizations has a plan and the day to day activities are measured against the plan. The people working in and running these organizations know what they are trying to achieve and how they are going to do it. We're convinced that is one of the keys to their success.

We've both spent years (and years) working in the business world. We created and implemented many business plans. We know these plans were essential to our business successes. The breakthrough for us came when we discovered that the elements of planning we applied in business worked when we applied them to our lives, worked beautifully, in fact.

We've learned through experience, ours and that of other people, that when people treat their lives with the same respect that the people running a company give to the company's success, they see amazing results!

THE PLAN IS LIKE A BUSINESS PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

Creating a Plan is deceptively simple and is based on an approach to developing business plans that is used across the globe. Creating one for yourself will change your life.

Here's another way to look at the idea of creating a Plan.

Imagine your dream is to have a beautiful, colourful garden. A lush and thriving garden filled with flowers and shrubs and trees. Perhaps you see yourself sitting in a chair in your garden, watching butterflies visit.

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There are many ways you can achieve the garden of your dreams:

  • You could hire someone to design your garden, oversee the planting and do all the maintenance.
  • You could do all the work yourself.
  • Your family members could do all the work while you sit on your porch sipping chardonnay (Helen's preference).
  • You could move to a house where all the work is done.

Over time, any of the paths will result in you having your dream garden but the steps to get you there, and the experiences you'll have, are very different. This is how The Plan works.

As we help you create your Plan, you'll figure out your dream, which path you want to take to reach it and what steps you'll need to take along the way.

We've met people who want to make changes in their lives but don't know how to begin. They don't like where they are but sometimes, we've noticed, they are scared to commit to something better. Some of them feel overwhelmed. These are people who are stuck and don't even realize it.

The Plan is a way to get "unstuck."

We're going to show you how to bring your dreams, your goals and your plans together into one dramatic package. A 'take your breath away' kind of dramatic. When you've created your Plan, it will help you become more successful and more satisfied than perhaps you've ever been.

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Our process is simple - but it's not easy.

Creating your Plan is not without work. You may hear ideas that make you feel nervous, or you may feel scared about making changes. But creating your Plan will also be an adventure! You're going to learn things about yourself you didn't know or maybe had forgotten. You'll have fun and discover the process is its own reward.

There are 6 steps in The Plan. As you take each step, you'll be exploring your personal, financial, and career lives. You'll be figuring out the gap between the life you're living and the life you imagined you would be living. You'll be taking a look at yourself, what you're good at, what needs to be strengthened and how. You'll day-dream and think about your goals and desires. You'll get down to the nitty-gritty and create a step by step plan for the next 12 months, all the steps that lead to your goals.

Of course, this doesn't happen overnight. Figuring out your dreams and how you're going to achieve them is not the result of a few hours of work, that would be wishful thinking. You need to give yourself time to really understand where you want to go and to figure out all the steps to get there. This is time incredibly well spent and we can promise you, you'll enjoy the process. Successful people and successful organizations don't scrimp on planning and neither should you.

It's likely going to take you about 4 to 6 weeks to complete your Plan then we'll help you put The Plan into action. Think of this as your life's dress rehearsal.

Throughout the book you'll find worksheets, online tools and resources to use as you see fit. Most importantly, we also provide lots of tools and support to help you stick to your Plan. We know how difficult is can be to change how we behave. We know it's nearly impossible without help.

As we move through the process, we'll share some real life success stories to inspire you.

Here's one we especially like:

A woman, "Janice," is based in the Western United States. When we first met her, Janice felt that her life was going downhill fast. A mom with 3 delightful children, she was also a business executive for a large television corporation. Despite her outward success, Janice was feeling dissatisfied on both the home and career fronts. After taking the time to create her Plan, she was quickly able to "check-off" nearly all of her first year objectives. She regained her confidence, appearing on TV and getting a promotion on the job front. Seven months after creating The Plan for her life, she was energized and able to enjoy more quality time with her 3 children. She was also able to cast aside much of the "baggage" she'd been carrying on her shoulders at home. She got back into athletics and regained her spiritual beliefs as well. She told John that she had "reinvented herself" and "I love who I am becoming."

The Plan is truly going to change your life and we'll be with you every step of the way.

Excerpt of The Plan is courtesy of John M. McKee and Helen Latimer Copyright © 2010

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