If You Want to Make God Laugh…Tell Him About Your Plans

God Laughing

Planning Self Development?

Have you wondered if there would be value in intentionally developing yourself, with a plan? Many of have found that life does a pretty good job developing us on its own… But many of us have also wondered if we could accelerate our progress and reach our goals faster if we had a plan. But first, is there actually any value in having a plan?

“A good battle plan that you act on today can be better than a perfect one tomorrow.”  — George Patton

 After all, I’m guessing the most successful people in history have not had a formal “Leadership Development Plan” or “Personal Development Plan” or “Individual Development Plan.” They were successful purely out of hard work and luck, right?

Woody Allen once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

John Lennon said ““Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Do Plans Work?

Many people are skeptical about plans.  Do plans even “work”? (No. Plans don’t work, but people might work their plans.)

Maybe Woody Allen and John Lennon were anti-planning people, but what do pro-planning people have to say?

Thomas Edison believed in planning when he said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” He left out hard work and persistence in his quote, but he lived those values of course.

Most of us have also been exposed to the insightful Proverbs quote: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

There’s Value in Planning

The wisdom I see across all these quotes is this.  There’s value in planning.  But because circumstances change, the actual plan itself may not be all that valuable. The real value comes from exploring the outcomes you want, discerning where you want to go (and not go), and thinking about how best to get there.

I believe Dwight Eisenhower said it best: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Ultimately, I don’t believe you have to have a plan to be successful.  But I do believe having a well-thought-out plan increases the odds of being successful.

Maybe the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland made the point better than Eisenhower. “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Leadership Development Plan

Okay.  Here’s my short ‘n’ sweet Leadership Development Plan. It’s a one-pager that you can use to think about where you’re headed, why you want to get there, and how you need to develop yourself so as to get there–wherever there is.  Keep it in your top drawer or pin it to your wall.  The key is to invest the time with deeper-level thought; so take the time to complete the plan–but not in one sitting.  Keep referring to it.  Change it as you see fit.  Make it a working document.  Keep it in “continuous deployment” or “perpetual beta.”

Purchase Leadership Development Plan Template here.  This is a downloadable Word doc formatted for easy use, with an example plan included.

Let me know if I can help: curt@leadpeople.com.


About Curt Buermeyer

I am the founder and president of LeadPeople. I hope you enjoyed this post and encourage you to subscribe to receive these in your inbox. Thanks for visiting!

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