You have a plan – you’re ready, you aim, and …. ah, oh!

cowA few years ago, my brother, Steve, bought a farm in the Sierra Foothills and purchased 3 female cows.  This was quite a switch from his former life as a dentist.  As a career coach, I see lots of interesting career switches, but it was hard not to be biased about farming over the ‘family dental plan’, but nonetheless, this was his new career.  (No, he didn’t ask for my advice, in case you’re wondering.)  Recently he gleefully announced that Rosie, the cow, was pregnant and due at any time.  The impending news of Rosie’s condition caused quite a stir.  He invited his children and young grandkids up to witness the birth.  We siblings were on phone alert.  Honestly, all the preparation and anticipation rivaled the birth of little Prince George — minus the cuteness factor or the Royal media coverage. 

Believe me, I’m not one to get excited about cows, but Rosie was different.  Turns out she was hiding a secret.  A week or so after the due date, we all were still holding baited breath.  Then my brother announced that Rosie wasn’t ‘with calf’ after all!   What a bum steer he got!   

As with any significant plan that utterly bursts (pun intended), it’s important to first evaluate what led to the disappointing outcome and then take stock of the situation.  Let’s assume there was a bull involved somewhere in the story.  Okay, then the question is, “Did the bull find Rosie attractive?”  “Was the big night staged correctly — you know, lighting, music, or whatever it is cows enjoy?”  Or, of course, the question you know you want to ask, “Is Rosie even into bulls! “ 

Whoever informed my brother that Rosie was ‘in the family way’ gave him a load of bull (sorry, I can’t help myself).  His story reminds me of people who get excited and energized about their new goals, but make early, critical missteps that can result in those best laid plans going south.  

What about you?  Have you given enough time, due diligence and attention to your goal to make sure it will deliver? Let’s examine some simple solutions.   

Whether you are considering a new career or life goal (or both), here are some critical missteps you want to avoid…..

 1.      Don’t commit your goals to writing.  No matter if the goal is small, short-term or seemingly easy to achieve, not putting it in writing will almost guarantee it won’t turn out as you had hoped, if at all. 

 2.     Don’t plan aheadWing it. Once you have a new goal, it’s tempting to just throw yourself into action with all that newfound energy.  But have you thought through the steps involved? Have you completed a viability check of your goal?   Like my brother’s case, maybe it’s worth it to get a vet (or a career coach, in your case) who can definitively confirm there’s a potential positive outcome  in the pipe lines!   

3.     Give up early and avoid the rush.  You know this one – you always wanted to be a teacher and are reconsidering that as an option now.  But you read that schools are cutting back, so you give up before you even start.  My husband had a startup in a competitive hi-tech environment. Above his desk was a framed cartoon of a frog grabbed at the throat and held at the open mouth of a nasty-looking crane with the words “Never, never, ever, give up.” It’s too easy to assume that the roadblocks you encounter are permanent and impassable. Maybe you just need a ‘Plan B’. 

 4.      Focus on the negative.  So many people think only about what it would be like if they fail that they never get started.  Ask yourself why you want the goal in the first place.  If you have a compelling reason, then proceed forward.  First, write the steps you’ll need to take.  Now ask yourself what or who can help you complete those steps.   It’s the old expression of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’   

Do you  have a plan now?  Or, is there one in the back of your head you’ve always wanted to execute?  There’s no time like the present to make sure it’s sound … and you’re not shooting blanks!   Contact me for a quick evaluation and diagnosis.


5 responses to “You have a plan – you’re ready, you aim, and …. ah, oh!

  1. I thought all cows were female. The males, bulls.

  2. Great article. As usual your writing in entertaining and I am always impressed by how you weave a career lesson into a story that sounds like it wouldn’t have anything to do with careers!

  3. Thanks Susan for your wonderful sense of humor but making so much sense. As a retirement planner we talk to many folks that don’t have a plan for their longest vacation, yet spend weeks on planning family vacations! Go Figure!!

  4. Cows and Bull…hummmmmm… as usual, I think you are writing about me and my roadblocks to finding work that has purpose.(it’s all about me,right?) Thank you for your charming sense of humor in the face of ‘scarey’ roads… Nice to know my insecurities are more universal than I realize and better yet to know you are on my side!

  5. Funny how good you are with career advice on how to lead it, live it &love it, even when the “it” isn’t a career. Thanks for that, for your always apt quotes, &especially for being funny.

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