Building Your Life Plan

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If you haven’t already mapped out your life plan, take the first step now. Start with the foundation: your core values, purpose and life’s focus. List all of the realistic ways to achieve your ideal life. Break down these steps into short-term goals and make an action plan.

Write down your goals and action steps and convert them into graph form so you can track your progress. Share your Life Plan with the important people in your life.

One of the most effective ways to achieve your goals is to work with a coach (

 If you can’t do that, at least consider working with an accountability partner. Choose someone you trust and with whom you have a relationship based on honesty.

With your partner, you can brainstorm ideas, make plans and hold each other accountable. You can anticipate obstacles and make any adjustments. Make sure your partner challenges you to stretch enough so you grow and learn beyond what you would accomplish alone.

Most importantly, you should never give up, even if you run into formidable obstacles. You may have to adjust your plans but persevere. Remember perseverance is one of the character traits God points us towards regularly. Look at Romans 5:4, 2 Peter 1:6 and James 1:3. The last encouragement from James is that when our faith is tested perseverance is a product of our faith.

Keep up the faith. If you keep working towards your ultimate Life Plan objectives, over time you’ll get there.

Develop your grit – that ability to find what works no matter what. Grit is based on the profound belief that things may be difficult but not impossible. You only have to persist a little longer than most people to become a success. This doesn’t mean you can’t adjust your plans according to reality.

Of course, changing circumstances and desires mean any life plan will need to be amended over time. The goals you have in your 20s are considerably different from those in your 40s — and vastly different from those later in life.

Don’t let life just happen to you. Shape it into your ideal version — and have a nice life!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done a life plan and learn about how it helped you. Please leave a comment.

What’s been your experience as you face the challenge of creating a life plan? Most people say that it helps them to have someone walk with them and hold them accountable.

What about you?

Marc Ottestad leads MO Leadership Coaching – Connecting the DOTs of Your TRUE-Self, Your Work and Your God – through One to One coaching and peer team experience.

If now is the time to get unstuck, let’s connect. Here is my calendar for a complimentary coaching session. CLICK HERE or text at 714-267-2818


Practice Makes Perfect - Here's the Plan

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When working with a client ( personal development goals, I often suggest doing life plan. You can use a classic business strategic planning model to map out your life plan. Here are seven-steps to get you started.

1.      Purpose:
Identify your purpose (mission statement)
. Describe your life’s focus. If you’re young and just entering adulthood, this step may be challenging. Imagine you’re approaching the end of your life, and figure out what you’d tell people about a life well lived.

Your statement should reference your values and explore how you intend to spend your time at work, at home and in leisure pursuits. Outline the needs you intend to meet (community involvement is sometimes mentioned). Recognize that your mission statement will change over the years.

Seeking to connect your purpose with God’s purpose can be very rewarding. Often leaders miss the opportunity to see their purpose is about the people they work with and serve. This creates a whole dimension of impact that has eternal reverberations.

2.      Vision:
Establish a vision statement
. Describes your life at various points in the future. What happens when you live out your “purpose” well over time. This can be a most inspiring place to spend quality time exploring your mission and vision dynamically. What would happen in 3 years if we were excellent at the mission? How about 5 years? This process creates more clarity around both the mission and vision. What might God say about your vision? Is it big enough?

3.      Goals:
State the goals you must reach to achieve your mission.
Goals are general statements that (a) define what you need to accomplish and (b) cover major issues. While your vision is longer from a time perspective, goals may be mid-range (for example, 1 to 2 years into the future). Break them down into short-term steps, as well. Remember with goals less is more. What are the 3-5 goals that would be the best runway towards your mission and ultimately your vision?

4.      Strategies:
Identify strategies you must implement to reach each goal.
Your specific approaches will change as you engage in more robust strategic thinking—particularly as you closely examine external and internal environments. Aim for 1-2 strategies for each goal. Remember less is more! Keep strategies inside of 1 year and down to quarters.

5.      Action Plan:
Identify strategic action plans or goal objectives.
State the specific activities or objectives you must undertake to effectively implement each strategy in order to achieve each goal. Use clear language so you can assess whether objectives have been met. This area target is 2-3 action plans for each strategy. Here you are looking at your plan a quarter at a time. What goals need traction first? Pick a goal, declare the strategy and now action plans are using a monthly time target.

If you decide to work with a coach or accountability partner, include this as part of your action plan. Most experts agree that working with another person enhances successful goal achievement.

6.      Document:
Compile the mission, vision, strategies, goals and action plans into a Life Plan document.
This can be done as a written text or in chart or diagram form. Work to get your plan on one page. You don’t need 1000 words for description, keep it simple and engageable. You start with the “WHY” and use that in your Mission/Purpose as your “North Star.” Working the process downwards until you are looking at this quarter, month and week is where the power of planning takes place. Here you can focus on the next most important thing to do. Make a declaration for this week and quarter and watch it daily. You will be amazed at your progress. Write it down.

7.      Track Progress:
Monitor implementation of the plan; update it, as needed.
Regularly reflect on the extent to which goals are being met and whether action plans are being implemented. Use a spreadsheet or graph to monitor your progress, adjust your plan and remain challenged. Remember you can make changes as you go forward. There is no judgement. Reality is your friend.

8.      Get Help

Get light on what you are doing regularly. Schedule time with a friend, mentor or co-worker. Get a coach. Be accountable. Expand your thinking and possibilities.

What’s been your experience writing down and tracking your goals? Most people say that it helps them. What about you?

Marc Ottestad leads MO Leadership Coaching – Connecting the DOTs of Your TRUE-Self, Your Work and Your God – through One to One coaching and peer team experience.

If now is the time to get unstuck, let’s connect. Here is my calendar for a complimentary coaching session. CLICK HERE or text at 714-267-2818

Do you have a PLAN for your LIFE?

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When is the last time you sat down and mapped out a life plan for yourself? Perhaps you regularly update yours and discuss it frequently with your coach, friend, mentor or spouse. Chances are, however, you’ve never created a Life Plan.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~ Business philosopher Jim Rohn

If you’re not the one to map out your life, someone else will.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans,” according to John Lennon’s lyrics for “Beautiful Boy.”

Of course, you can listen to Woody Allen, who famously said: “Half of life is just showing up.” Per this philosophy, you get ahead simply by being present—a concept that certainly relieves a lot of pressure. It allows you to live in the moment, responding to what is rather than trying to shape your life. It also requires a hefty dose of passivity and abandonment of future possibilities. (Let it be, to quote Mr. Lennon again.)

But most of us want to influence the path our life takes to ensure we have enough freedom to express our strengths and talents. We want to control our own destiny when planning for our careers, partnerships and families.

As we head into a new year now is the perfect time to prepare for 2019 to be the best year ever. Experts generally agree that you cannot achieve your goals without a plan or road map. Given the unpredictability of love, work and the lottery, exactly how much of your life can you plan?

What does a life plan look like?

A Google search for life plan yields two billion results! Myriad life-planning experts and coaches  are advertising their services. But let’s simplify things and use a classic planning model you’ll likely recognize. It’s frequently used in business organizations and can easily be adapted for personal use.

One caveat before we start: Just because the plan is simply stated doesn’t imply it’s easy to implement. You must invest several hours of thought, and it may prove beneficial to discuss your ideas with a trusted mentor, coach, friends and family. It is in the exercising of dreams, desires, priorities and limitations that clarity arises.

Planning out your life, whether personal or career, is one of the things I work with clients on regularly. You can start by making a list of trusted people you can ask to help you with your life plan. You may know of someone or you’ll need to ask around for a referral to a professional coach with experience.

My coaching will always include your spiritual journey. What does God say about plans? He is very specific in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Can you imagine connecting with God and the plans He has for you?

Start making some notes about the things you value most, and the direction you’d most like your life to take. Visualize your life in 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 years later to help you clarify what you want. Each step of the way check-in with God! Ask Him to affirm your thoughts, add to them or move you in another direction.

In my next post, I’ll provide a 7-step process for making a life plan. Let me know what your experience has been with making a life plan.

It is time to plan for 2019. Make your declarations. Be accountable. Eliminate distractions. Call me at 714-267-2818 or CLICK HERE for my calendar to explore how executive coaching could get you going!