I have often talked (too often you might think) about how lengthy one’s personal strategic plan can end up becoming. We have a future in our mind’s eye and we can see the steps we need to take but it really never is as straightforward as that and I have been reminded of this in recent weeks for all sorts of reasons.
I have been setting up a couple of new websites and whilst they are both fairly simple, I have not managed to turn them around in the timescale I had hoped for. Other projects I am involved in grow and develop but, again, not in the ways I had planned. Even whilst I know that these delays and changes are inevitable, my natural optimism continues to lead me astray.
Some of the issues have been my own fault, some of them are other people’s but a good many of them are just a result of me being unrealistic about what is achievable in a given amount of time. If I had advised someone else in my position, I would have easily been able to see the flaws in their projections and put them right, but my own enthusiasm and keenness to get projects on the road have blinded me to the practicalities.
When you are dependent on other people, your planning goes even further astray. I don’t think the people I am working with on projects are lazy or incompetent; they’re just busy with their own things too. People don’t drop everything because I ask them to collaborate, they just try to fit me in and that doesn’t always match the timetable I had in my own mind.
It has been notable under the recent COVID restrictions, some things have been achievable faster than normal, whilst others have been achingly slow. I don’t see that changing much in the medium term so I would counsel anyone trying to start something new – be that a career move, a new business or a personal ambition – to work out what can and what can’t be done easily under restrictions and work around it. When we offer people solutions or demonstrate clear steps, we can make it far easier for them to prioritise us.
I have been very encouraged by the way members of the Pluralists Club have splintered off into supportive activities during lockdown. Although they aren’t seeing each other in person, they continue to bolster and inspire each other, dig through their contacts and offer useful advice. I don’t think any of us will ever be entirely realistic about planning, but I do think that we all have the resources and drive to make our ambitions realities – sooner or later.