Monday, August 31, 2020

The Importance of Having a Plan

Someone once asked me why having a plan is important. As I thought about that question, I thought about my experience as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. 

I work with 12 and 13 year old boy scouts and one of the things we do is learn and practice the established Leave No Trace Principles in order to minimize our impact on the environment and be safe.

The very first Leave No Trace principle is “Plan and Prepare.” Poor planning and poor preparation can lead to improper use of fires, unnecessary injury or death of wildlife, putting the boys in dangerous situations, or other harmful impact on the surrounding environment that could have been avoided.


In all aspects of our personal lives, planning and preparation can help us minimize risk and avoid unnecessary waste of resources. With time being the most precious resource of all.

You may recall the part in the story “Alice in Wonderland” when Alice comes to a fork in the road and the Cheshire Cat appears:

Alice asks the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

            “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

            “I don’t much care where—“ said Alice.

            Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, “ said the Cat.

            “—so long as I get somewhere, “Alice added as an explanation.

            “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”


Jim Rohn, a great business philosopher and personal development trainer once said, "I've discovered that you can be sincere and work hard all your life and wind up broke and embarrassed. You've got to do better than be a good worker. You've got to be better than sincere. You've got to be a good planner, a good goal-setter."

It’s a sobering thought to consider that if you don’t have your own personal plan you’ll most likely end up a part of someone else’s plan by default.         

We all have exactly 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, no more, no less. In this we are all equal. Developing a personal action plan will make all the difference in how much you can accomplish.

There are many acceptable methods in developing a personal action plan. One of my favorites is to “reverse engineer” the plan. In other words; determine the end result you want and then work your way back to the present.

In planning a scouting adventure, we first decide where we want to go and from where we want to start our trip. With that information decided, we can accurately plan and prepare all the resources needed to have a safe, enjoyable trip with minimal environmental impact.

Without a plan, you’re sure (as Alice in Wonderland hoped) to get somewhere. “If you only walk long enough” as the Cheshire Cat so wisely said. With an excellent personal action plan we can better allocate resources, recognize opportunities, and say no to the activities and distractions that can lead us away from our clearly defined goals. And achieve our goals much faster and much more efficiently.