Dream Bigger Tip #10: Have a Plan

Being a multi-passionate creative women that has coached and mentored so many other multi-passionate creative women I dare to say that...

Dream Bigger Tip #10: Have a Plan

Being a multi-passionate creative women that has coached and mentored so many other multi-passionate creative women I dare to say that I know a thing or two about how we’re wired, and what we’re made of.

When it comes to ideas about all the things we want to create, we have plenty. In fact, until we learn to organize them in a meaningful way, our minds can be extremely crowded places. When it comes to taking action, we’re hard workers, ambitious, tenacious. There’s no question that when someone else hands us a plan, we put all our multi-passionate creative skills to work to make it happen.

But here’s the thing. So many of us do this for other people, but not ourselves.

We clearly have the talents to turn our own dreams into reality. Why then is it so hard for us to work on our own goals successfully?

It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. I struggled with this issue for many years. Everyone that knows me will tell you that I’ve always been ambitious, hard working, passionate, creative. I’ve always had plenty of ideas too. Things I would learn, art I would make, products I would create. There was never a lack of inspiration. But I never acted on it. Or if I did, the momentum would quickly fade away, and I’d lose interest (or so I told myself).

The truth is, I didn’t have a plan. I’m not saying that planning is the only struggle multi-passionate creative women need to overcome – we’re much too complex for that – but what I am saying is that having a plan is a powerful step to turn our creative ideas into more tangible things, and eventually reality.

How to have a plan?

Planning is a multi-layered process that can be done in many different ways. To be effective I believe that your planning system does needs to have at least these three components.

  • Write it down

A dream without a plan is just a dream. For the plan to come alive you need to write it down. It sounds trivial but I’ve seen it so many times. Multi-passionate creative women explaining all their ideas to me in so much detail and excitement, yet never actually writing them down – or acting on them. As soon as something finds its way onto paper though, unconscious processes get fired up and things start to materialize. I’m still amazed by it, but it works.

The way I encourage my clients to plan is first to get clear on their goals, then to take out a yearly calendar and map out when they’ll do what. This requires them to think about the steps, resources, time they’ll need to achieve their goals which – honestly – is the first step to achieve anything.

So find some time today to write down what you’ve been yearning to create. Then take out a calendar and map it out. You’ll be one step closer to your goals.

  • Make it a habit

Planning is not a one-off thing. It’s a habit. Writing down the steps to achieve your goal on a calendar isn’t enough. You need to go back, cut the steps up into smaller, more actionable pieces, plan those pieces out in your monthly or weekly calendar, etc. Planning is the journey to the destination, it’s that big middle part between starting something and getting to the finish line. That’s why it needs to be a habit, and why you need to be consistent at it.

My planning habits include sitting down on Sunday afternoon to plan out the week ahead in my planner, a morning review of my todos for the day, and monthly reviews to make sure I’m on track and haven’t strayed from the path too much.

My habits might work for you, or they might not. One thing I know about the creative mind is that it doesn’t conform easily. You’ll have to find out what works for you. It might take you a while to get there. Even if you don’t have a planner, or hate your todo list, try to carve out some time every day to think about what type of planning might work for you, and try things out.

  • Be flexible and gentle with yourself

There’s one big caveat to what I wrote above. When you’re working on creating a planning habit, be flexible and gentle with yourself. Don’t stockpile a million things on your to-do list every day. You’ll never get to the end of it, and will feel guilty for not getting there. Believe me, I speak from experience.

Planning isn’t about the amount of things you do (that’s productivity, we’ll get to that later in this series). Planning is about doing something consistently. One action every day, or every week. It’s about learning how your creativity works, and what she agrees to in terms of preparation. On my weekly planner for instance, I have two open days. Those are days I’m free to work on anything I want. I need that freedom in order to be able to sustain working three days based on a predefined schedule.

Find out what your creativity needs, and plan accordingly. But always be flexible, and gentle with yourself. The last thing you want is to feel guilty while working on your dreams.

If you want more Dream Bigger Tips, I’ve got great news for you! This tip is part of a series, you can find all entries here.

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