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Planning for a Bigger Purpose

Planning is a funny thing. End of financial year planning, start of financial year planning. End of the calendar year planning, start of a New Year planning. Lots of ends and beginnings – all, which remind us that planning is important.

Planning is most effective when it is linked to why you are planning – your purpose. When planning is linked with purpose it is easy to set a vision. A vision of what life looks like: the when and what? And my most favourite combination – ‘when, what, so that’. So that… you can… achieve a grand vision perhaps? Your grand vision will bring your purpose to life – your measured future state. But how can you possibly bring forth your grand vision, your measured future state, without a good cunning plan?

With no pun intended I cannot think past the obvious life metaphor of why planning matters without sharing the change over time to my eyesight. My eyesight was perfect until, as you might guess, my late 40s. I am now a bifocal wearing gal who plans everyday carefully around my glasses. Over the past week I have upgraded one pair, broken another and now lost my computer readers – all accidental without a backup plan – resulting in a productivity impact to both my personal and business plans. Perhaps my plan of waiting a couple of months to order new computer readers was a bad one. After a few headaches this week I do believe this to be true. It took me about a year to get used to wearing glasses and finding the perfect bifocal that did not make me dizzy.

I think about this all the time as I know the financial investment I have made in my eyes over the past four years and how blessed I am to have the means to afford these wonderful glasses. Without my glasses I know for sure that my purpose and vision would be blurred – I would not have an as effective life.

how can you possibly bring forth your grand vision, your measured future state, without a good cunning plan?

A seemingly insignificant story but if you’re a person who leaves their glasses at home, or breaks them, you know how this alters your day, if not your week. And what does the person without the financial means do when they need glasses? Do they live life through readers never really having clarity of sight? This is why helping those who cannot afford glasses is a plan we all need to consider.

Seeking the Bigger Purpose

So the simple metaphor swings me back to what I am really alluding to. I have changed. My values have changed so that I can live a bigger purpose, a bigger vision and my planning has also changed. Changed because a new variable has been introduced, my changed eye sight, which has required me to plan better – each day.

Planning for purpose, literally on purpose, will by default lead you and those around you to create the culture that enables your business and your life to achieve its big, audacious goals. Planning with your variables front of mind will lead you to success. Ignoring them leaves you with blurry vision that may get you to your destination but not to the grand future state you envisioned. Ask my daughters who used to moan when I asked if they saw my glasses, now they are on the team of finding my glasses when lost and picking a new frame when the time is right. The culture in our household has changed from one of being annoyed by losing those readers to a deep respect for those bifocals.

I recently published a vlog on the topic of strategy that has resonated with many. I think it is because of its simplicity and it’s acknowledgement that we live in a noisy world. Blocking yourself from the noise around you and your organisation is important if you want to plan to live your life on purpose. It helps you stick to your plan and not be derailed by the extremely noisy world we live in. Have a look (www.youtube.com/watch?v=USZvFDnw_ow) and if you are interested in receiving more vlogs please sign up on my website (karentjames.com). Hope you enjoy the vlog, that your financial year starts well and that you set yourself up with a great plan for the coming months.

Karen James is a social entrepreneur who has risen through the ranks of the global corporate world. From building with her team a 10,000-strong community of women within a leading bank, to integrating not-for-profit leadership lessons into corporate boardrooms and growing a company from a turnover of $9 million to $100 million. Her debut book, On Purpose, applies the same pragmatic logic to timeless questions around creating purpose and building an organisation with humanity at its heart. To read more about Karen James and to purchase her book, go to: www.karentjames.com