10′s, 25′s, 50′s (and 100′s)

I ask every client, “Do you think your company should have a business plan?” Every single time the answer has been “yes.”

I then ask, “do you have a personal business/life plan?”

With a handful of exceptions the answer has been “no.”

Why is it important for a company to have a plan but not for an individual? I don’t understand it, well perhaps having thought about it quite a lot I now do.  Business plans are easier to create because they tend to be primarily based around financial targets whereas a personal plan is, well, personal. And for some reason many people have never stopped and thought about what they truly want personally other than some nominalisation such as “to be happy” or “to be successful” without properly defining what happiness and success looks like.

Having attended and even facilitated courses that give the opportunity to create a life plan or similar I have witnessed just how hard this is for many people and so have developed a very simple exercise you might like to consider called 10′s, 25′s, 50′s and 100′s.

Take a sheet of paper and write out all the small things that will help you to have a ten out of ten day. Mine include such, apparent, trivialities as a cup of tea in a bone china mug first thing and then again at 3pm; a long shower with Dr Vranjes shower gel; a 60 minute gym session with a personal trainer; reading for an hour a day; writing for an hour a day; lunch with a good friend; an entertaining film at the cinema; watching City play football…I have many 10′s and plan each day to be filled with them.

Next consider your 25′s of the last year – these are what I define as ‘annual memories’ the things that when you look back over the year stand out. In 2013 mine include two ski trips, holidays in Cephalonia, Antigua and Marbella and several other breaks. Other 25′s include a three-day course working on the enneagram, a business trip to Sydney Australia, speaking at the NAR conference in San Francisco, selling out our largest event in record time, watching a colleague make a brilliant debut speech and applying all the lessons I’d taught her. Consider what will similarly score a 25 for this year and plan these activities into your diary (I have scheduled all my main holidays already as well as a ski trip and other breaks).

50′s you might have guessed are bigger still – they are lifetime memories. This year I’m cycling from Boston to New York which I reckon will be a 50 (my previous cycle jaunts across India, Sri Lanka and from Yosemite to San Francisco all have been), I’m also looking to develop another property as my home (the last time I did this it was a 50) and I’m writing my second book, ‘Indivisible Life’, which will be at least a 50 I hope. My aim is to have at least 2-3 50′s a year; I want to define each year with an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

100′s are harder and rare; they are life-changing events. Some can be planned, such as getting married, starting a family and setting up a business but many are 50′s that become 100′s as they have a greater impact than just a lifelong memory.  I had a 100 when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it was a profound experience, similarly writing my first book changed my life in ways I hadn’t dreamt of and reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey was another life changing 100. It’s hard to plan for 100′s but if you have enough 25′s and 50′s identified then you increase your likelihood of having some.

Critics of this idea commonly cite a concern about their perception of a lack of spontaneity – my stock retort is that anyone can be as spontaneous within a plan as without one, by having a plan though more good things are likely to happen and be achieved.

There are other parts to my personal planning process but it always starts with 10′s, 25′s, and 50′s and having just reset mine for 2014 I’m really excited for the year ahead – are you?

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