Don't plan. Be prepared.

I’ve been following many of the people undertaking the blogging challenge this May, what’s come to be known as #b03. One post stood out to me just now as I was reading it, by my new colleague Sarah Fosterling. She talked about how living a life where you were a little bit lost was better than living one driven by goals. Check it out.

It immediately resonated with me, in a similar way to David Hood’s post about the man who points at the moon. We focus so much sometime on the finger, that we miss the very thing that it’s pointing to. Brooke Sachs also posted a beautiful piece earlier this week talking about death and how most of us are all really unprepared for that momentous moment in our lives.

They reminded me of something the wise Peter Spence shared with me once:

“Don’t plan. Be prepared.”

@pspence5 gettin started on play at #mh20

It came from a conversation we were having about goal setting, which I was leading. I thought I needed some goals at that time – not long ago, just before I started working at Yammer. His comment stuck with me and remains present in my thoughts when I’m thinking too much about what I hope will be. His thoughts were that creating goals often ultimately limits the possible and potential of the creative mind.

Instead this year, I’ve resolved to not make more plans but create habits and learn how I do that. We all form habits differently. For me, it’s been my resolve to blog more and do that daily that has been my goal. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not able to express my creativity through doing that and go where the wind takes me. Hopefully, building those habits will lead to where I’m always prepared to go where I’m taken. As Sarah says, we’re can never really be sure where our journey will lead next. Being prepared for whatever comes next is far more critical than having a good set of goals.

7 thoughts on “Don't plan. Be prepared.

  1. Love it Steve!
    thanks for the post – very insightful as a contrast to
    the ‘ Set Goals, Set Objectives, Deliver / Do, Evaluate … Set Goals, etc…’ framework that traditional
    business has pushed on us over the years.

    Definitely enjoying the #b03 series too

    1. Yeah, it’s nice isn’t it. I’m trying to borrow the #leanstartup framework to but some ‘business nous’ behind this concept. It’s hard to tell colleagues/clients “we’re just going to be prepared” but that’s honestly what gets the best results. I’ll let you know how I go 🙂

  2. Interesting concept. I think you have to do both though: be prepared AND plan. I feel that if I’m only going to be prepared it means I’m basically reactive. I’ll be responding (and really well, because I’m prepared) to external events, things that happen to me. But it seems that just being prepared doesn’t allow me to make things happen. To make things happen I still need some kind of plan to define what I am doing next (in the knowledge of course that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy).

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