Strategic plans move in and out of favour. Even for organizations, they are often dismissed as unworkable, inflexible or inappropriately vague. To take the same principles and apply them personally can feel overly formal or downright pretentious. At the same time, the tools of time management don’t provide a lot of guidance beyond today and this week. They might nod in the direction of longer term planning, but they don’t offer a great deal of direction on how to get there. So what’s the value of building personal strategy, what does it look like and why should you care?
Know Where You Are Going
It’s all well and good to say that we should dig deep, commit to learning and move forward with intention. But move forward where? What are we trying to accomplish? What goal are we really trying to bring to life. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us are wandering around with dozens of partly-formed dreams, ambitions and aspirations that hope our future self will get around to bringing to fruition. Continuing to push those ideas past the horizon into the future makes that realization unlikely. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Many of us find the complexity of the world difficult to manage. Particularly now, we want simple answers and easy solutions. We would like to take all the mess and awkwardness and shove it under a large enough carpet that it won’t see the light of day any time soon. That doesn’t work, sadly, and simple solutions expressed confidently aren’t a substitute for the messy, difficult work of muddling through and persevering. Embracing complexity requires work and effort; that starts with recognizing complexity for what it is.