Human beings live in one of three paradigms where the pendulum swings and begs a question on the stately doors of survival, success or significance.
By Cynthia C Hakutangwi
The choices that we make throughout the journey of life will determine the doors we enter, the corridours we navigate and our levels of fulfilment. While strategic thinking and planning are undoubtedly critical for achieving a fulfilled life, it is tragic that this important task is very often relegated to an unforeseeable future simply because it does not register urgency within our prioritisation matrix.
The term strategic is derived from the Greek verb stratego, which means “to plan the destruction of one’s enemies through the effective use of resources”. With this understanding, it is important to establish that the life that every individual has is the greatest resource which has been availed to them.
It is within this life that other resources such as time, gifts, talents, skills and abilities are provided. The continued success of an individual is therefore dependent on their ability to consistently evaluate if they are making the best use of all the resources that have been availed to them. In committing to making better decisions in the present, individuals become greatly empowered to live an abundant life where they can leave an enduring legacy and an inheritance to succeeding generations.
A tangible and measurable product of strategic thinking is a simple tool often referred to as the strategic life plan. This tool is designed to prepare for the future ahead of time.
In previous articles, we established that “we are all bio-psychosocial spiritual beings as mankind.” Since the dimensions of life are all interrelated, decisions in one dimension can positively or negatively influence the other areas. For this plan to be meaningful and effective, it must therefore target a minimum of these six areas: family and home, financial and career, spiritual and ethical, physical and health, social and cultural, intellectual/mental and educational.
In this first part of the series, we will consider five key components which are the pillars of the process. We will then conduct a brutal self-introspection as we examine these foundational areas of our plan.
Vision: When you create your vision, you are considering the big picture. What type of life do you envision for your children’s children? What mental picture do you have that will inspire, encourage, energise, motivate and stimulate you into making what you see a reality?
Mission: Your mission speaks to your life purpose. What problem have you been called to solve? Consider your life as a seed. In what ways have you been called to plant your gifts, talents, skills, and abilities that will extend beyond your lifetime?
Strategy: Your strategy is your plan to effectively use what you have been given to make the vision and promise of your life a reality. What is in your hand and within your reach? What do you really do well? What do you need to consider doing differently?
What opportunities are available to you that you have not even considered?
Goals: Your goal is the intended end of your strategy. It is specific and helps to direct your attention on what you desire in the future. What goals can you begin to work on now that can positively impact succeeding generations? What goals can you consider setting for your children and children’s children that are to be achieved beyond your lifetime?
Others may not necessarily understand the difference between a dream and a goal. The difference is distinct. Goal-setting is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and devising a plan to achieve the result you desire. Writing down the goal(s) is a critical component here. A dream on the other hand can continue to enjoy free occupation of one’s mental state void of any plan of action. Specific timelines can be immediate (within 12 months), short term (1-2 years), Intermediate (2-10 years), Long-term (over 10 years), Next Generation -1 (your children) or Next Generation -2 (your grandchildren).
Budget: Your budget is your resource plan. Some of your resources include your time, gifts, talents, skills and your money. Your vision needs provision. What will it cost to bring the vision you have embraced to come to pass?
Strategic planning and thinking require courage, time and effort. We tend to procrastinate when we put off things that we should be focusing on right now, usually in favour of doing something that is more enjoyable or that we are more comfortable doing. This week we urge you to move out of your comfort zone and begin to develop some frameworks as you either newly-embark on or review your existing strategic life plan. As 2017 comes to a conclusion, let us be encouraged to desist from the traditional behaviour of merely writing New Year’s resolutions and instead, commit to thinking and planning strategically.
l Cynthia Hakutangwi is a communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. Looking at improving balance, energy, organisation, health fitness, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies and simple steps you can implement today to become a better, more balanced, happier version of yourself. E-mail: email@example.com. Facebook: Wholeness Incorporated.