Today we are going to talk about my favorite thing in the actual world: how to make a plan. While I am the queen of plans now, it hasn’t always been this way. For years, my plans would be multiple pages in a notebook that had no real prioritization or direction. Honestly, a lot of my plans never even came to life because they lived on the page.
It wasn’t until I went to Rachel Hollis’ Rise conference in 2019 that I discovered my new favorite way for making a plan. Hollis was really able to simplify the process to make it concrete, actionable and simple. My favorite kind of plan! At the conference, time was set aside for us to create our own rough plans and I quickly sketched out how I might turn my photography business full-time. Hint, hint. That plan happened, you can hear all about it in episode 2 (you can read/listen/watch all about it here).
So what is this roadmap I speak of? I’m so glad you asked!
Again, this planning road map is completely inspired by Rachel Hollis in her book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. I’m going to be referencing that book a whole lot in the coming episodes, so you may want to get your hands on a copy if you haven’t already!
The idea of the road map is to create a rough trajectory of your goal. To start, you select one goal that you have. Unlike with SMART goals, you don’t actually want to choose a timeline for this goal. If you follow this process, your goal will happen in the right time, not some preordained timeframe that you randomly selected.
Similar to a SMART goal though, you do want to make sure your goal is specific. So instead of saying “I want to learn how to use my camera” you might say “I want to be able to shoot in manual mode 100% of the time”. See the difference? Another goal might be “I want to go full-time in my business.” That’s pretty general. A more specific version of that goal would be “I want to make $40,000 in one year so that I can go full-time in my business.”
Your goal can be anything: a hobby, an experience you would like to have, a milestone event, a skill you would like to adopt. Identifying your goal is step one!
The second step of the planning road map is to brain dump every possible action step that would get you to that goal. I usually turn on my “Pumped Up” playlist on Spotify, and crank out as many things as I can think of that would get me there. During this step, there are no right or wrong answers. Write down literally everything that comes into your brain.
I highly recommend writing this down in your MAP Book system. This will help to hold you accountable, since you can refer back to it quickly.
Another tip would be to set a timer and stick to it. You’ll think of a flood of ideas right off the bat. It’s the idea that comes at the very end when you’ve been doodling in the margins that might be the winner.
These action steps can be as general or as specific as you want. They can range from taking a class, creating a Pinterest board, talking to a family friend or reading a book.
Now, once you have this giant list, it’s time to get a little ruthless. Looking at your list, what THREE action steps would get you to your goal the fastest? Yes, THREE. Not four, not eight, THREE.
These are your guideposts. Sure, there are going to be smaller actions in between these guideposts, but what are the main ones that will get you from A to B the most efficiently?
I can’t emphasize this point enough: the goal of the road map is NOT to make the journey easier. I’ll say that again. The goal of the road map is not to make the journey easier.
The goal of the roadmap is to make the journey more effective and efficient. Sure, creating a vision board might be a fun action step, but is it a necessary one? Is it where you should spend most of your time and energy? Probably not.
So here’s the secret sauce: take immediate action. After you have your goal and your guideposts, it’s time. No more excuses, no more dragging your feet. Look at your very first guidepost and decide how you are going to take immediate action right now. Are you going to send an email? Do a Google search? Whatever it is, commit to doing it immediately. The sooner you take action, the sooner you’ll be sending the message to your brain “Oh shoot, she’s serious about this!”
When I first started thinking I might want to go full-time in my business, I promised myself that all I had to do was the next right thing. I didn’t need to see the end of the map, I just needed to see the space right ahead of me. That kept me at a good pace and helped me to feel less overwhelmed. There was something comforting about knowing that I could pull the plug at any time if things got overwhelming.
Let’s work through an example together: I recently worked through this roadmap with a coaching client. Her goal was to quit teaching. After brainstorming a ton of different guideposts, these were her final three:
Now, are there a million other action steps she could have taken? Absolutely. But these are the top three that will get her to her ultimate goal efficiently.
When I used the road map to make a plan for my photography business, I was SO tempted to put a timeline on it. I knew that I wanted to be done teaching in 2 years and I was desperate to push a deadline.
I resisted the urge and a few months later, the Covid shutdown happened. Thank goodness I didn’t push a deadline. Instead, I just kept my head down, working on my guideposts. The three that I focused on were:
If I had pushed a deadline, I cringe to think of what would have happened. And guess what? I sent in my resignation letter in MAY of 2021. How’s that for the universe looking out for me?
Now it’s your turn! In your MAP Book, decide on one goal that you want to accomplish in the near future. It could be a new skill, hobby or experience that you want to have. Practice creating your 3 guideposts and think about when you may be ready to take your first baby step.
Finally, if you are new around here and haven’t already, hop on over to my Instagram page. On my IG stories this week, I am going to be giving you a BTS look at my writing road map/plan for the summer.
Finally, be sure to subscribe to my email list to get weekly personal growth delivered right to your inbox – and because I know you’re busy mama, I promise it will include a meaningful action step that will take you 2 minutes or less to implement!
Thank you so much for being here, mama! Get back to doing your thing, rocking your world and remember – keep growing! Little eyes are watching.
If so, be sure to share it with a friend – this helps busy moms like you to find me!
And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: