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Sara Naumann blog what do you love

The other week I mentioned I was doing some strategic planning for 2012. This planning is for my business, but definitely ties in with my personal life as well. Anyway, several people have asked about this process, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about it.

When I worked in the corporate world, we did strategic planning every December—to take stock of how the company and individual departments did that year, and to plan for the upcoming year. The department managers spent the day together, reporting and planning. It focused each manager to make plans, and it  helped us as a group to reflect on lessons learned and how to apply those lessons moving forward.

I really think that even if you don’t have a business, this is a great journaling exercise and a super way to look at where you’ve been and where you’re going. And this is the time of year for it, isn’t it?

Here are a few of the questions I asked myself. I took 1-2 minutes to write each answer—just off the top of my head.

1)    What do I love about my current situation?

2)    Where do I need to upgrade?

3)    What’s my one big crazy dream?

4)    Where do I spend my time?

5)    Where do I want to spend my time?

6)    What do I need to let go of?

7)    What does satisfaction look like to me?

8)    What matters to me?

9)    What is my reward?

10) Where do I need to grow?

Most of these questions are from Jamie Ridler Studios, and I have to thank her for the inspiration and the ideas.

Sara Naumann blog future vision

Then I wrote my list of projects for 2012. I came up with a list of 7, including art retreats, classes, writing projects, and so on.

From Question #1, I wrote a list of “Projects Must Include”. For me, this list included things like collaboration with other creative people, teaching/sharing info, etc. In order for me to pursue a project, the project has to meet most or all of the things I love. Then I did a little matching game to make sure my plans for 2012 were in synch with things I love about my current situation. It’s the first time I’d ever done that, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that all 7 projects for 2012 hit each point on my “must have” list. Yay!

The next step in planning is to figure out what needs to be done now, so I can make sure my to-do list allows for things like prepping class kits, buying class supplies, editing videos, etc—you know, all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Planning and putting dates to things helps me stay on track and means I 1) don’t forget something, and 2) don’t end up frantically working on something at the last minute.

There was a lot more in this mix: More journaling, more scheduling, more financial planning—but in the end I felt really good about next year.

The other thing I did was write a list of all the stuff I’d done in 2011. The list, to my surprise, was actually quite long and while some of the initiatives didn’t work out for one reason or another, I was pretty pleased with how much did work out. That process of looking back was actually one of the most helpful, because it reminded me that 1) Not all initiatives are going to result in something, and 2) Not all initiatives are going to result in the result you expect! For example, one failed book proposal became a class, an article, and an online workshop. Not a book, but not bad either!

Okay, two more questions that really inspired me, each one is answered in 1-2 sentences:

1)    Who are you?

2)    What do you do?

3)    Who do you do it for?

(The last question is the most revealing, I think!)

So….even if you don’t have a business, or don’t work in a corporate environment, I think this time of year is an interesting one to take stock of what you’ve been doing, and what you want to do moving forward!

Happy Monday!

Sara Naumann blog strategic planning