“Let us endeavour so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker
will be sorry.” Mark Twain
A life is that maximised is a life that has a plan. A life that is wasted is one that never had a plan. When I look at the salvation story in the bible from when man was created to when man and from how Abraham was called to the building of the Israel nation until the coming of the Messiah, I am fully convinced that God is the primary example of a life planner. No wonder He said “for I know the For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” We therefore have to learn from God this great secret to success. This is because it is likely for a man who has a planned life to succeed faster than a man without plans for his life who may likely not even succeed at all.
Sometimes we blame the government for not provides conducive environments, our parents for not sending us to good schools, our teachers for not teaching us well, and all other conditions and situations for our failures. One thing we forget to do is to look inward and see if we have even ever prepared to succeed on our own terms before by planning our life. We just leave on life to chances, thinking that what will happen will happen. Dear, nothing happens on its own. There must be a force exerted on anything if it to acquire motion, that includes achieving success in your personal life.
All through this period of my life, I have met very few life planners. Most are passive spectators, watching their lives unfold a day at a time. They may plan their careers, the building of a new home, or even a vacation. But it never occurs to them to plan their life. As a result, many end up discouraged and disillusioned, wondering where they went wrong. It happened to me until sometime in the early 2000s when I began to learn about life plan. That was the first time I started setting goals for my life according to my life’s plan. Recently I picked my diary where I wrote some of my goals for 2016 about 5 years ago. I was amazed that I had knowingly or unknowingly achieved about 70 percent of those goals and yet I have more than 2 years to go for the rest of about 30 percent of them. I felt energised that I had made some progress on a list of 21 goals. That is the beauty of having a life plan. It enhances your capacity to dream and believe the impossible. It gives you the strength to keep pressing; it places you among the most successful in your league without your knowing.
So what is a life plan? According to Michael Hyatt, who has written on this subject, a “life plan is a short written document, created by you and for you and describes how you want to be remembered. It articulates your personal priorities and provides that action plans necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life.”
A life plan contains your answers to three powerful questions:
– How do I want to be remembered: To answer this, you have to fast forward to the end of your life and then look back. In his excellent book, The E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber makes the ultimate application of this principle. He says,
“I’d like you to imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important occasions of your life. It will be held in a room sufficiently large to seat all of your friends, your family, your business associates—anyone and everyone to whom you are important and who is important to you. Can you see it? “The walls are draped with deep golden tapestries. The lighting is subdued, soft, casting a warm glow on the faces of your expectant guests. The chairs are handsomely upholstered in a golden fabric that matches the tapestries. The golden carpeting is deeply piled. “At the front of the room is a dais, and on the dais a large, beautifully decorated table with candles burning at either end. “On the table, in the center, is the object of everyone’s attention. A large, shining, ornate box. And in the box is … you! Stiff as the proverbial board. “Do you see yourself lying in the box, not a dry eye in the room?”
After reading this and imagining it was my funeral, the question I’d like to ask myself is “what will they say when I am dead?” This exercise forces you to think about the things that matter most. You need to ask yourself, how do I want to be remembered by God, your wife and children, your friends and your colleagues, etc? And when you think of that you must write them down and keep them where you will always see them to remind you of those commitments.
– What is most important to me? In creating your life plan, you need to identify the main categories of your life and prioritise them. They are called life accounts. Your list does not have to look your brother’s or sister’s or your very successful Dad. It is your list and it is left to you to really determine what are most important to you and in what order. If you are a Christian, God obviously comes first. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). He is the ultimate priority. Until He is first, everything else will seem out of kilter. Also, it is important to know that it is right for you to come next on your list of what is important to you. It is not pride or selfishness and there are reasons for that. It’s because YOU can’t take care of anyone else unless YOU take care of YOURSELF first. This is how to look at life in creating a life plan. You have to attend to yourself first (second only to God) in order to be spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically available to others. If you have trouble with the semantics of putting yourself second, think of it as preparation to serve others. You must then list other areas of your life in order of importance and make them clear to yourself in your life plan.
– How can I get from here (my current level) to where I want to be (my desired next level)? A life plan is like a GPS navigating system. GPS gets to where you want to go faster and with less hassle. The whole purpose of any plan is to get you to where you want to go. GPS asks you to input your destination. If you don’t know where you are going, it cannot get you there. This is the same with your life plan. It will not do you any good until you answer that first question of how do you want to be remembered. This just like inputting the destination you are aiming for on a GPS. GPS also determines your current location. That is where it always begins. It is same thing with a life plan. You have to be honest, recognise where you are and you have to acknowledge where you are now (your current level) before you can move on to the next level. GPS plots the best route to take you there and that’s the whole idea of a life plan. It gives you a path to follow from where you are to where you want to go. A GPS helps you get back on track when you take the wrong turn. When you get off track in your life’s journey, it becomes easier and you can always trace back at what point you missed it if you have a life plan. ABOVE”, your life plan won’t work, simply put, without a signal from above, it is going to be tough to navigate through this life. Remember, Jesus’ life plan was endorsed from above when the voice pronounced publicly “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Remember this is just a draft. So you must be open to God’s direction as you draw up your plan and ensure that God’s view is fully considered in developing your life plan. You must be willing to give in to God’s view at any time knowing that He already knows you end from your beginning. A GPS also requires an investment. A life plan is the same way. It may not require investment of money but it will require investment of time and internal resources like thinking intentionally, , assessing, asking questions, etc. A GPS cannot work unless there is a signal from above. That is a pretty clear reference that unless you get a signal from “
So in creating your life plan, it is simply creating an action plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. It is a series of action plans built around each one of the priorities you articulated in step two above, consisting of an envisioned future, your current reality, and specific commitments you need to get to that future.
I will indulge you never to go into 2014 without a template, a manual, a life plan of how you want your life to be by 31st December, 2014. This is not one of the wishy-washy talks on New Year resolution. It is more than that. This is a commitment to achieving a successful and meaningful life that will impact your family, society and generation. I will see you at the top in 2014!
Prayer: May God give you the vision for your future and the grace and mental focus to plan towards achieving them in Jesus name, Amen.