What is Your Approach?

Conflicting WaysWhen you look at your long-term goals how do you plan to meet them?  Are you one of those folks who have a detailed step-by-step plan to get where you want to go?  Are you someone who sets your vision and then figures it will all fall in place as it was meant to be?  Or are you somewhere in between?  Leaders need to have a balanced approach to making their vision come to life.

Personally, I am somewhere in the middle.  I like to have some idea of how I’m going to achieve my goals and yet I like to leave some wiggle room for the unexpected detours that always seem to come along.  This gives me flexibility to adapt to new situations and opportunities.  I’ve done a lot of adapting over the years and some of the best experiences where unplanned.

I know some great people who have everything planned out and it’s great, until the unexpected happens.   When things don’t go according to plan they fall apart, it can show up as anger, panic or complete withdrawal depending on the person.   This can be a very rigid approach to life.

As well there are other fantastic folks I know who just go with the flow.  They ride along with a general idea of what they want and where they are going but they let things happen.  At times these people struggle because life isn’t going in the direction they envisioned.   They become confused and sad at the direction their life is taking.  This approach can lead people to become perpetual victims.

The approaches to reaching your goals that are at both extreme lead to additional stress as well as dissatisfaction with life and what you’re doing.  Neither is healthy in the long run.  Life is about finding balance in what you are doing.  As a friend recently said he found that balance meant doing less of some things instead of trying to fit more stuff into his life.

If you are more rigid in your approach to life goals cultivate some flexibility and adaptability to the things that life throws your way.  You never know, you may find a new path that is exciting and interesting.  Sometimes really interesting and fulfilling opportunities appear in unexpected ways and places.  If you focus too closely on one path only you will miss these chances.  Who knows what might be out there.

If you are more likely to go with the flow cultivate proactivity.  Start identifying steps you can take to reach your goals.  It’s not necessary to plan every step in detail, look for 3 to 5 things you can do in the near future that would move you forward.  Write them down and go do them.  You may be surprised by the doors that open in response to your initiative.

Creating the future you want means knowing where you want to go, taking the initiative to get the journey started and being flexible enough to seize new opportunities that arise along the way.  This is a balance approach to taking control of your life.  Leaders need to develop a vision, get things moving and adjust to circumstances along the way.


Filed under Leadership, Time Management

5 responses to “What is Your Approach?

  1. aprilml

    great post, carol. i think i too fall somewhere in the middle. now. there was a time when i was tied to my schedules and plans (and even experienced bouts of “perfectionism”). i am proud to say that in recent years i have learned to invite more spontaneity and flexibility into my life. and it’s been a very enjoyable (and productive) shift!

  2. April – Good for you! It’s hard to find the right balance and I often find myself drifting towards one extreme or the other depending on the situation. I do believe life and leadership are journeys so adapting to changes in plans is important.

  3. Pingback: What is Your Approach? | Coaching Leaders | Sco...

  4. Dr. J

    Balance is always good. I am a planner and admit to feeling frustrated when things don’t go accordingly. But the idea of going with the flow, which is custom where I live, doesn’t work either. Balance is the key.

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