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Philip E. Humbert, PhD

Author - Speaker

Personal Coach

Chapter 6:
Planning, Strategy & Uncommon Success!


In the past several weeks, we’ve looked at the qualities of highly successful people, beginning with personal integrity. We then looked at the excitement that comes from having a clear vision, and the power of self-discipline, and undefeated optimism.

This week, we turn to the practical, nuts-and-bolts of success. People who accomplish great things, believe in the power of blueprints. Like many of the basic tools on which great victories are won, blueprints are not very sexy, they do not make headlines, and they rarely attract attention. But to construct the home of your dreams, they are essential!

I recently watched a television documentary in which General Dwight Eisenhower was quoted as saying victory in World War II depended upon 4 lowly, over-looked pieces of equipment. He named: the bulldozer, the two-and-a-half ton truck, a converted shrimp boat called the "Higgens boat", and a twin-engine transport plane – the lowly DC-3. These were the tools that carried the supplies, built the runways and moved troops into battle.

While the weapons and battles of war received the media attention, as a strategist, he knew the value and necessity of planning and preparation!

Winning sports teams call it a "game plan". Builders and architects refer to "blueprints". Businesses talk about "mission statements" or "strategic plans". Whatever term is used, the principle is the same: Great projects depend on great planning!

And yet, most people have no strategic plan for their lives!

Most people will spend many hours with a list of names, a menu, family members, and a calendar to plan a wedding, or even a birthday party. But ask those same people how much time they spend planning their goals for the year, or for a lifetime, and you get a blank look.

Those who refuse to plan, are planning to fail! That old cliché may be unfair or overly harsh, but it contains a nugget of truth. In the major issues of life, your either take charge and develop your own map for success, or you settle for whatever destination the winds and currents of life bring you.

Highly successful people know where they are going. They revise their strategies when necessary, but they always know their next step. They have a plan, and they expect to succeed! They are smart, quick, determined and in a hurry!

In specific terms:

1. They clarify their vision – their desired destination. They define what they want, and they put dates and numbers, dollar figures or other specific details on paper. Ask them what they want in life, and they can tell you!

2. They have a strategy. Successful people learn from the success, and the failures, of others. They play "follow the leader", and they choose their mentors and role-models carefully. They are intensely practical and they work with the best teachers they can find, knowing that the price of success is always a bargain compared to the price of failure.

3. They have a written plan. They have the courage to make written commitments to double their income this year, to quit smoking today, or to fly a balloon around the world. They tell people about it – people who will hold them accountable, encourage them, and give them support.

4. They take action! To modify the words of the poet, "The best laid plans of mice and men…" are worthless until they are put into action! Some folks get trapped here. They develop elegant blueprints and wonderful plans, but never start to build. Don’t make that mistake! Take action. Learn from the results you get, modify your plan if necessary, and then take more action. Success comes not from dreams, but from focused, determined, and relentless ACTION!

There is an old saying that, "No wind blows in favor of a ship without a destination." Define your destination, develop strategies and plans to get you there, and then work your plan. If conditions change, or you decide on another destination, adjust your plans – and your actions – accordingly. But in the meantime, like a ship’s captain, set your course, let the wind fill your sails, and take you wherever you have decided to go!


Quotes of the Week:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

– Mark Twain

"It's the set of the sail, not the blow of the gale that determines your course in life."

– Randy Davis

"I don't worry about the storms, I am learning to sail my own ship."

– Louisa May Alcott

"A ship is always safest in the harbor. But that’s not what ships are for."

– Unknown

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© Copyright 1999 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved. May be freely copied and distributed as long as you include  the following information:  "The author is Philip E. Humbert, PhD.  His Internet site has many articles like this one, free reports, and a free motivational screensaver!  Visit him at:

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