Charting Your Course: Creating Your Action Plan
Every great choice begins with a vision, whether it comes in the shape of a dream, an intuition, an epiphany, or an opportunity knocking loudly on your door. Maybe you can remember a time when a great idea came to you or a wonderful opportunity presented itself to you. You may not have been looking for it, but there it was, and you became aware that you could do something to make your idea or opportunity a reality. This is the power we have as individuals to make choices for ourselves and to execute them. Seeing something that we want to achieve or to create, we know that the idea of doing so implies that it is possible. To insure that we meet with success as we carry out our choices, it is imperative to have a strong plan of action.
A great place to start is with one of the questions from the self-interview exercise (See Making Great Choices – With Confidence). Ask yourself, “What do I have to do to be successful?“. You might not feel that you can answer that question, especially if you are considering a choice with which you have little or no experience. Don’t let that frighten you. Instead, take that broad question and break it down into two smaller questions:
What do I already know? You might feel that you know very little, but the fact is that you probably do know more than you think. You have educational experiences and life experiences that have brought you to this point. Don’t overlook the wealth of knowledge gained from those experiences. Choices that you successfully made in the past may be similar to the one you are considering now. Likewise, activities in which you participate[d] may relate to an activity you are thinking about trying. Don’t underestimate yourself or what you bring to the table. You are a fantastic resource to yourself!
What do I need to know/find out? This is where you need to do your homework. Ask lots of questions! Talk to people who have been there or who have expertise in the area related to your choice. The insights of people in-the-know can prove valuable in helping you shape your plan. Also, do research on the internet, at the library, or at a community resource center. You can discover a great deal of useful information on your own. Having the valuable information you need is like having sturdy oars for your canoe, and having great resources (yourself, other people, and places to consult) means you’re not rowing alone.
Having strengthened yourself with knowledge, you will feel confident that you are making the best decision for you. Your choice will emerge from the insights that you’ve taken time to develop, rather than from the emotions you initially felt. This position empowers you, whether you choose to move forward with a plan or simply change your mind. While you cannot always predict the outcomes of your choices, by determining what is meaningful to you and researching your facts, you can feel assured that you have taken the best possible steps towards making great choices.