All the studies and every bit of empirical evidence make it clear -- if you want to do better, make a plan. Not many people would disagree with that statement.
So, do you have one? If yes, is it clearly detailed and defined? My guess is the answer is no.
I say that because I've been asking people the same question for nearly 20 years. During all that time, the percentage of people who say they have a plan has remained very low.
Companies are better; most have some form of plan. It seems like when people are getting paid to do it, they realize how important it is. But for their personal lives, those same people never seem to get around to it. If you fall in that group -- the ones who don't have a written plan for their life -- I suggest you take some time to create one. It doesn't have to take a long time.
A great place to start is with an analysis of your strengths and your weaknesses. Next, do a review of the opportunities in your life (now and in the future). Then, finally, consider all the threats that could prevent your from being successful. This type of review, called a SWOT analysis, was originally conceived by Albert Humphrey. Humphrey was, during the second half of the last century, one of the first professional business consultants working for Fortune 500 Companies.
If you've never spent some solid time focused on the planning of your career or your personal life, you're leaving too much to chance (or, perhaps to the caring attention of your supervisor).
My advice is to set aside some time to create a SWOT analysis for your life. To help you get moving, here is one of our PowerTools . It was created for clients of Business Success Coach a few years back and has proven very valuable.
Take a little time to look after yourself -- it could save you a lifetime of problems.
John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.