“That was the thing about the world:
it wasn’t that things were harder than you thought
they were going to be,
it was that they were hard in ways that you didn’t expect.”
Picking up from our last post….
If you didn’t do the “homework” from the last post, this one may not make sense to you. So, now you have your expectations and goals all lined up. You have checked in with yourself to see if these are things that are truly important to you, and you know why they are important. You have checked in with the people who will be most impacted by the changes you plan to make. And now all the world is aligned. The moon is it’s seventh house, and Jupiter’s aligned with Mars…
Remember that the best way to set goals is to word them as simply as possible, but specifically! That way you can measure your success without trying to guess. You will know if you have hit your taget or not.
The next step on your road to getting the balanced life you want is to figure out the “HOW” of achieving your goals. Remember that your expectations and goals must be realistic or you will never get to where you now know you want to be! Now it is time for your to figure out just how realistic your expectations and goals are, because you have to make a do-able plan to achieve those goals!
Let’s go back to our example to see how these things all fit together.
“My goal is to get a job with one of the Top Ten banks in the U.S., as a Bank Manager, by May of 2015″
To establish a workable plan for this goal you would need to consider the following questions.
- What are the top 10 banks in the U.S.?
- How do you find out what jobs are available at each bank?
- Are you qualified for the Bank Manager jobs in any of these banks?
- Will these job openings require that you move your family to another location?
- Are there job placement agencies you can use to find these jobs and arrange for interviews?
- Do you have an up-to-date resume?
- Do you have the appropriate wardrobe for this job?
- Do you have good references?
- Does your family and/or significant other support this decision?
- Is it realistic to expect that you can research, find and get this job by May, 2015?
You can probably think of a dozen more questions that you will have to find an answer for. But, this list will give you some idea of the considerations involved in pursuing just one of your goals.
For every single goal you set, you will have to think about how reasonable the goal is, how achievable it is and exactly how you plan to accomplish it in the timeframe you have set for yourself.
When it comes to the goals of your family and friends, the emotional attachment and desire to do the right thing may make it difficult to think clearly and to accurately plan for how and when these things will happen. This thought alone may dissolve your will. But it is vitally important to be brutally honest with yourself and with each other about how these decisions will affect everyone. And by all means include your support network in the planning.
Get some support. Ask your family to help you come up with ideas about how you can accomplish these things that are important to you. Brainstorm and leave the door open for may sound like crazy ideas. You will be amazed at what can be uncovered by approaching the issues in this way.
Then sit down alone, and pick through the plan and decide which ideas will work and which must be discarded. As you begin to execute your plan, be sure to make time to you review it occasionally to ensure that you are still on target and determine if you need to change anything.
You may find that as you progress, you may have to change some of your timetables and tasks to incorporate the unexpected vicissitudes and vagaries of life.
For example, you may plan to take a job that pays less, but frees you up to have more time at home to help care for an aging parent. But, if that parent requires some sort of catastrophic care or expensive medical treatment, you may need to keep the higher paying job to earn the money you need to cover the expenses.
If so, you can look around for some community support services and low-cost, high-quality caregivers who can come in to work a few hours every day so that you can continue to work the longer hours at work to pay for the care. If not, there may be sime family members or friends who can pitch in for a little while until you figure out what to do next. Does your parent have a home that can be sold to help pay for the extra healthcare costs? Remember, there is always more than one way to look at and solve a problem.
Do not panic and do not completely give up on your work/life balance goals.
Keep looking for another way to accomplish them and be realistic about whether you can achieve them in the same time period that you originally set up. Or does the timeframe need to be adjusted? Perhaps you need to extend your timetable a little to accommodate the new developments in your life. That doesn’t mean you won’t get there.
Just knowing that you have a contingency plan in place, or that you are willing and flexible enough to make one, will keep you afloat and moving forward.
Remember: PLAN is not just another four-letter word!