Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Three Points to Plans and Decisions

Whenever I talk to students, colleagues, clients, friends or family about presenting, decision-making or planning, I often suggest using the three-point approach. Whether you are preparing to introduce a new idea, product or service, interviewing for your first job, changing careers or improving your current career, you need to have a plan to move forward with some level of certainty. That means having to make choices and then act on whatever you decide. It can be overwhelming and frightening. The best way to communicate or act on a decision is to keep it simple and manageable. To get started on developing your three points for discovery, decisions and planning; here are some categories to consider and questions to ask:

1) Assess your tools and resources. Do I have the tools and resources I need? For a job search, these tools include: an updated, professional resume, an effective social media/online presence, authentic interview skills and good advisors who are current on recruiting trends and well networked in your industry. Do I have an active network of family, friends and professional colleagues that I am fully engaging in career conversations? Have I shared my hopes and goals with those in my network? Have I practiced articulating my personal brand statement? Do I communicate clearly and concisely? Hint: There are wise people who want to help you develop these tools and skills. Find them, talk to them, listen to them and follow-through. We all need a support system.

2) Set goals. Have you set broad goals in key areas of life? Key areas include, but are not limited to: Spiritual, Family, Relationships, Health and of course, Career. Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish in each of these key areas of life? Remember, keep it to no more than three things! What's my timetable? Are my goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic and Timely? Create action items, set dates, adjust the plan when necessary and write out the details. Keep track of how you're doing in a journal or online notebook. Hint: Review your goals regularly and share them with an accountability partner who will challenge and encourage you. Celebrate your successful milestones.

3) Look inside. What are those internal messages that hinder you? What are you afraid of? What family or financial pressures prevent you from doing what you really want to do? When and how can you change the pressures upon you? Do you have a realistic view of your job market and your profession/industry? How hard are you pursuing your passions? Do you believe you can make a living by doing your passion? Do you exercise regularly to release stress and maintain your stamina? What are you doing to renew your spirit and be encouraged? Remember, your plans and decisions may impact other people. Don't be selfish but don't use that as an excuse to do nothing. Hint: Surround yourself with positive, honest people. Do not fear those who challenge or disagree with you. We often learn much about ourselves in those moments of difficulty.

See how that works? I just used three points with important questions under each of them to write this post. I'm convinced that in seeking answers to good questions you often discover purpose or awaken a desire to move forward. Three points. It can work for so many things in life. There is no magic in using this approach. I am fortunate that I in my life and work, I have had the opportunity to help people reach inside, grab three goals, create action steps and take responsibility for moving forward. It's worked. I think it could work for you too.

What do you think about using the three point approach? Has it worked for you? Why or why not? I'd like to hear what you think. Leave your comments below.