You are the only person that can change your future.
In mid-2013, I was toying with the idea of starting an Master of Business Leadership (MBL). I did all the research into which course would suit my circumstances and in the process had to deal with the reality of our financial limitations. An MBL is a very expensive course. My business was still very new and I had to travel for lengthy periods in order for us to make ends meet. The bottom line was we didn’t have the resources on hand to pay for an MBL. As our financial situation was a bit precarious, we didn’t want to go into debt either.
Anyway, Dave (my husband) and I decided that we would save like crazy for the rest of the year and if we managed to accumulate enough for the initial payment and I got accepted into the course, I would go for it. Our back up plan was to access our bond if we couldn’t make any of the future payments. After a lot of sacrifice and careful planning, when December came round we had enough for the first payment. I applied and got the news early in January 2014 that I had been accepted. There was much excitement in the Powell household! My first year was a huge adjustment and a steep learning curve. Change was on its way. By God’s grace and a lot of sacrifice, we managed to meet the remainder of the fees when they fell due, without going into debt.
In December 2014 I received an email about a scholarship that was available to a 2nd year student. Again, I stepped out in faith and applied. I remember facilitating a course in Durban and while the delegates were working on a task, I quickly checked my emails. Something arrived in my spam folder and on a closer look I saw that it was a letter from the UNISA SBL… I had been awarded the 2nd year scholarship!
Fast forward to 2016 … I received another scholarship in my third year and successfully completed the MBL in that year. Currently I am assessing and supervising Masters Students and I am busy with a Doctorate!
So, the moral of my story is…
· Always check your spam folder!
· Have a trusted “wingman” with whom you can talk your decision over with
· Always, always, always, have a plan! Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” You have just got to sit down and map it out
· At the beginning of any project | opportunity| year | month | week, ask yourself two questions:
How can I?
The second question is essential as it forms the basis of you or your team’s conceptual plan – a space where you step back from your situation and look at it with a big picture lens. A plan will enable you to do the following:
- Map out HOW you are going to move from one place to another/ implement your decision
- Assess the IMPACT of your current circumstances and the potential risks of your decision/change on your business/ personal life
- Prioritise and set SMART goals (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Time Bound). There is great value in identifying small achievable goals and scheduling when they need to be achieved by
- Prioritise RESOURCES. You will clearly see what resources you will need access to and when. In addition, you will be able to “crunch the numbers” and put a realistic financial budget together, an essential cornerstone of any business
- Be FLEXIBLE when things don’t go according to plan. Don’t just roll with the punches, envisage that things could change and have a clear idea of where you are going and how to get there
A conceptual plan will bring your vision to life by breaking it up into accessible pieces. It will ensure your strategy, values and available resources are aligned while keeping an eye on and being prepared for what possibly could go wrong or what could change.
As a coach, my role is to help you to take that step back, mentally lift you out of your circumstance, look at your personal / business problem through a big picture lens and then put a realistic plan together to work it all out.
Remember, “Life has no remote. You have got to get up and change it!” Mark A. Cooper