Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

I first heard the phrase “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance” when I was seventeen.  I had arrived at college a few weeks early for field hockey pre-season and had just met Jenna Boutin.  I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I’ll never forget her sassy, matter-of-fact response, “well, proper planning prevents poor performance, so it’s her own fault.” I imagine my eyes getting wide and a small smile crossing my lips in a “damn, girl!” reaction.

Let’s be honest. Have you ever heard a more true statement?  It’s pretty impossible to argue with and yet, we like to blame anything, other people, the weather, the dog, you name it for when we don’t meet our own or others expectations.

What would it be like to properly plan so that you could never blame anything or anyone else?  What would it be like to take 100% responsibility for our lives? Well, it would look like being a badass Powerful Lady.  It’s hard to be the hero of your own story when you give other people and things all the power over your life. That’s exactly what happens when you blame them. Passing blame is the same thing as passing your power.  Why would you ever give your power away? F-that ride. I’m of the belief that I need all the power I can get and if that means I have to swallow some jagged pills every once in a while and woman up, well that’s what we gotta do.

Now don’t get me wrong. Taking 100% responsibility isn’t always fun.  Not not fun to own up to the fact that what stands between you and your dream life is you.  It’s not fun to own up to the credit card debt, relationship status, or the lack of hours at the gym.  It’s not fun to own up to the small things either like always being late, choosing to hit the snooze button.  The bonus to taking on all things that we’d like to improve are that we not only get to take 100% credit for what we’ve already achieved, but we also get to take credit for being the doer behind a life of our creation.   
My advice is to take 100% responsibility for your life NOW.  Start right now. Don’t wait another minute. Assess what’s really going on, create a plan to make changes, and do it. The sooner you take this on the sooner you put points into your Powerful Lady bank.

Here’s how you can start right now:

  1. Make Your Victory List

Start by giving yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished. Because we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others or where we expected ourselves to be in life, and we don’t notice our small victories, it’s rare that we actually acknowledge what we’ve achieved.  I recommend starting a list of your achievements from the age of five. Did your eyebrows just raise? Does listing your accomplishments from age five seem like it will include a large amount of insignificant or obvious victories? Good. From ages zero to five a lot of development is occurring in your cognitive, physical, emotional, and language abilities. Five is critical age from when the choose your own adventure of life begins, when your awareness of you verse others begins to take place and as a result our individual paths start to be defined.

Take 2-3 minutes and write down all the things you’re proud of, what’s working and what you’ve accomplished.

2. Make Your Obstacles List

Make a list of what you think isn’t working in your life, where you see failure and what you want to improve. Think about disempowering statements that you hear yourself making regularly and include them on the list, too.  Things such as negative thoughts you say to yourself or when you find yourself saying “sorry” to people in your life. While the end result will give you a lot of power, making this list can suck. As best you can make this list as fast as possible. Like quickly removing a bandaid. To make it easier and still keep it honest, I recommend prepping with some self care and actions that put you in a really grounded place. What makes you feel the safest and most at peace?  Maybe a cup of tea and blanket on the couch? Maybe after a hot bath? Maybe out in the sunshine with a great view? The goal isn’t to beat yourself up. The goal is to get on paper and out of your head the areas you want to change. Once you see them written out you’re able to decide what you want to do next. You get to decide the outcome because you’re the hero of your life. Just like the accomplishments list, I recommend starting from age five and only taking 2-3 minutes the first time. Once you have an initial list you can always go back and add on more areas as they show up for you.

3. Review You Lists & Convert to Ownership Plans

An ownership plan is your new view & game plan for taking 100% responsibility for your life. While it’s probably clear why you need this for your Obstacles List, it may not be clear why you may need some Ownership Plans for your Victory List. More often than we realize, and statistically more for women than men, we give away or share our accomplishments with others.  Sharing is great. Not giving yourself credit is not great.  Until you know you’ve got that accomplishment or skill in your tool belt, you won’t use it either practically or metaphorically.  

The goal of the Ownership Plan is to create “Proper Plans to Prevent Poor Performance.” What does that even look like, right? Well, there are three things to think about for each item to build the best go-forward plan possible. The first is a question, basically what were you blaming the results on before? The second question is why doesn’t that excuse and outcome suit you anymore? The third step is writing out your new plan that empowers you. You are now responsible for creating a plan that works for you instead of giving away your power to outside forces. If I’m betting, I’m going to bet on you, not anything or anyone who’s not the hero of your story because I know you’re a Powerful Lady.

HERE is the link to download the free Powerful Ladies: Convert to Ownership cheat sheet with the four questions to ask yourself for each area you want to take 100% Responsibility.

I’ll also walk you through a few common examples.

Example A:

Recurring Statement I make: “Sorry I’m Late”

Why in the past I would say it keeps happening: “LA traffic is so unpredictable”

Why that doesn’t work for you as a Powerful Lady: “traffic will always exist. I don’t let traffic stop me from getting to the Justin Timberlake concert, so why would I let it prevent me from being on time to anything in my life? Blaming traffic is not taking responsibility. I should just leave earlier.”

My 100% Ownership Plan: “I am unstoppable. Going forward I will leave an extra 30 minutes in advance, put leave time into my calendar to get an alert, use an app like Waze to avoid traffic, and bring a book to read if I get there early.”

Example B:

Recurring Issue to Improve: “I’m never going to lose these 20 lbs”

Why in the past I would say it keeps happening: “There’s no time to work out. I’m too busy to keep up with planning my meals. I need to be able to enjoy live vs stressing about diet and exercise.”

Why that doesn’t work for you as a Powerful Lady: “achieving this goal will boost my confidence. I know I can do it and that I haven’t been as disciplined or dedicated as I can be.  I want to use this as a stepping stone to tackling bigger things on my vision board.”

What 100% Ownership would look like: “I am unstoppable. Tonight I will schedule my gym sessions in my calendar for the rest of the month, text some friends to join me on hikes this weekend so that I can bring fun into my fitness goals and commit to removing 1 thing from my diet that I know isn’t good for me (ex: soda) and adding 1 thing that is good for me (ex: water) for the next month.”  

4. BONUS - Accountability Buddy

Goals are always faster achieved and self-reflection is always more honest when you include someone committed to your greatness - i.e. someone who loves you so much they’re willing to be honest with you :)

Ask someone in your life to be your accountability buddy to review your Victory List and Obstacles List. We’re often our own worst critic and too humble, so having an outside view will help to make sure we’ve honestly and fairly judged ourselves.

Also, have them review your Ownership Plans.  They can help to assess if there are additional steps you may have forgotten that could prevent your game plan from working and help to keep you on track to achieve your new goals. There are going to be times when you need to phone a friend. Creating new habits and new mindsets takes effort, so it’s great to have a friend to support you and celebrate your new victories with you.

Good luck Powerful Ladies! You got this! Can’t wait to hear about what you’re taking on and the results you’re getting!