Tag: Life Planning

Founder’s Corner – Life Planning

Someone once said to me, “How can I plan my life when life is ever-changing and unpredictable?” I found it a thoughtful question and a reasonable one to ask. While I believe it to be true that we cannot predict what will happen tomorrow or in the next minute for that matter, planning for the future has always been a worthy consideration –  as long as we do not become attached to our plans. Yet, having a plan in place is how many choose which schools to attend for a degree, what cities to live in that offer opportunities, and the qualities to look for in a mate versus remaining single. 

Some plans we look forward to and are eager to engage in.

I’ve witnessed couples planning their wedding. What colors to consider? Which caterer to hire? Who will be invited to that special day? Those same couples may plan for a family. How many children do they dream of having? What neighborhoods do they wish to live in? Which schools to send their children to? Those types of plans may lead to the type of job you want, the roles that are most important to you to take in your profession, and how much money you want or need to earn. 

Other plans are necessary and not so much fun to contemplate.

Recently I heard from a former client who shared that she is embarrassed to admit that, as she nears retirement, she has not planned out investments so that she has the money to retire comfortably. She admitted that planning for this next phase of her life is not something she looks forward to doing. So she simply avoids the topic altogether. This is a pervasive reality for many of us who don’t want to think about retirement. Yet, avoiding the topic doesn’t make its reality go away.

Life is full of plans. Some go as hoped while others, well, require rethinking. And just because you make plans, how you intend to carry out your plans may not always seem so clear. 

As a part of human nature or how we’ve been conditioned to act, we often find ourselves planning for the future – however unsure the future may be.

What I’ve discovered is that when it comes to the type of plans we make later in life, it can be the difference between planning the life you envision for yourself and living the life that someone else envisions for you, leaving your wishes out of the equation entirely. 

Hi, I’m Byron Darden with another edition of Leading with Purpose on Purpose. In this latest installment in the series on Transitions we began publishing in December 2023, we explore the value of Life Planning. The connection to our theme this month draws on the fact that more than a dozen countries celebrate Independence Day. So in keeping with the significance of gaining independence we thought it fitting to acknowledge the importance of doing so by planning ahead for the abundant life that is your birthright.

I’ve been supporting executive leaders for over 20 years in planning their climb up the corporate ladder and how to strategically navigate the process. Now I’ve drawn on that wealth of experience to support you in planning the life you most desire, rather than just hoping for the best that life has to offer. Because too many of us fail to plan for what is most important to us. Focusing on your passions, your dreams, and your greatest desires, I’ve learned first-hand the value of Life Planning. 

It began for me in 2008 when a dear friend and colleague offered me an opportunity to plan for what is next in my life. It was a profound experience unlike any I had before. While I had planned out my life as a skater as well as my rise as a stage actor, and my ultimate move to New York, these were all centered around my career. What I hadn’t considered was planning for the aspects of my life that were most important to me. Getting clear on how my life beyond my career might look. 

I was stunned to discover how many plans I made over the years without much thought to how retirement might fit in, as well as what and how I would like to give back. Particularly considering the countless opportunities that came my way and not by my own efforts. In fact, taking advantage of Life Planning is how I found my way to New York and what prompted me to begin Triple Axel Executive Coaching. 

Just to give you a taste of what Life Planning can do for you, I not only planned how my company would form and unfold, I even planned the last two-year pivot through which I’ve been transitioning in real time since we began publishing this series. 

You may have noticed that over the past eight months, our website has gone through a transformation. Our colors have changed from orange to several hues of blue. Our logo is different. Our services are more dynamic. And while we continue to specialize in serving women in leadership, we are also now inclusive of all executives and the various types of organizations in which they lead. We’re primed to help organizations become more inclusive, support them in facing change, and provide coaching to executives to sharpen their skills. In order to navigate promotions more effectively, we help leaders develop their personal brand, and guide our clients to build on what they do in business by also helping them identify what comes next in their lives.

As you read this month’s blog on Life Planning Part One, think about how you can benefit from allowing us to help you make way for your life’s passions. Enjoy!

Continue to this month’s blog on Life Planning!

One with You: Life Planning

It’s easy to get swept away by the cycles of daily life. We find ourselves caught in a cycle of routines, obligations, and unforeseen events, rarely taking the time to pause and reflect on where we’re headed. Last month, we discussed the importance of mindfulness and staying in the present moment with our tasks. This is extremely important. So is looking ahead. This is where life planning comes into play—a process that empowers you to take control of your future, align your actions with your goals, and ultimately lead a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

Life planning is not just about setting goals; it’s about envisioning the life you truly desire and mapping out the steps to get there. It involves a holistic approach, considering every aspect of your existence, from career and finances to health and relationships. By dedicating time to planning your life, you create a blueprint that guides your decisions, helps you navigate challenges, and keeps you focused on what truly matters.

In this blog, we will explore the nuances of life planning, exploring how it can enhance your sense of direction, improve your mental and emotional well-being, and provide a clearer vision for your future. Whether you’re at a crossroads, seeking greater balance, or striving for personal growth, life planning offers invaluable benefits that can transform your journey. Life planning can help you craft the life you’ve always envisioned or create a vision for the life you want to have.

Your Personal Road Map

Life Planning is your very own guide that draws from your personally developed itinerary focused on your most desired places to go, sights to take in, experiences to savor, identifying the causes you want to champion, and being with the people dear to you, on your most significant journey imaginable. 

Your guide is tailored for and by you, matching what’s core to why you are who you are; taking into account what you yearn for most. You’ll discover what obstacles might get in your way. Determine who can help you overcome them. You’ll even have the freedom to exercise your option to choose the timing to take action on possible adjustments to keep your journey on course.

When you find that certain aspects of your itinerary no longer align with your initial planning, you can let them go. This includes adding new choices to your itinerary, including changing where you wish to travel, expanding or scaling back your list of people to be with, and shifting experiences based on your change of heart.

Essentially, Life Planning is a roadmap that identifies what is most important to you that is born of your dreams and aspirations. It’s a way of taking wishes and fantasies and turning them into a plausible approach to making them a reality. 

What Life Planning is not, is a plan for the end of life. By contrast, it is as the title suggests. It is a way of looking at your life in terms of what can be possible when we allow ourselves to dream and then look at ways of turning dreams into reality. It is also not a plan full of guardrails. Instead, guidelines for how to move forward. It also is not a constriction that can not be altered. 

As the saying goes, “Life happens when you’re making plans.” The suggestion is that life does not go according to plan. While this is often true, the lack of a plan provides you with no starting point nor ultimate attainment of something important to you because you chose not to put whatever it is in motion. Life planning allows you to consider what you really value most and then map out steps to move you in that direction. While you might find something else along the way, the life plan guides you to possible roads to travel. Something that I often heard as an athlete is a quote credited to Norman Vincent Peale, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Next comes Creating a Purpose and Direction

Creating Purpose and Direction

The significance of life planning is twofold. First, consider the analogy of taking a trip. You wouldn’t embark on a journey without some level of preparation and planning. Without a plan, you might find yourself overspending, ending up in places you didn’t intend to visit, and missing out on key experiences you would have cherished. Just as a well-thought-out travel itinerary helps you maximize your trip, life planning ensures that your resources—time, money, and energy—are directed toward your most valued goals.

When you have a plan for your trip, it’s easier to manage unexpected events with contingency plans. Similarly, life planning equips you to handle unforeseen circumstances with greater resilience and adaptability. By anticipating potential challenges and having strategies in place, you can navigate life’s uncertainties more effectively. This proactive approach reduces stress and helps you maintain a steady course, even when faced with obstacles.

Second, life planning fosters a deeper sense of purpose and direction. It encourages introspection and self-awareness, prompting you to identify your core values and long-term aspirations. This clarity of purpose acts as a compass, guiding your daily decisions and helping you prioritize what truly matters. Without a plan, it’s easy to become reactive, constantly responding to immediate demands without considering their alignment with your broader vision. Life planning keeps you focused on your ultimate objectives, ensuring that your actions are intentional and aligned with your desired outcomes.

In essence, life planning is about taking charge of your destiny. It’s a proactive approach to living that empowers you to design a life that reflects your true self and aspirations. By planning your life with intention and foresight, you set the stage for a more organized, balanced, and fulfilling existence. In the following sections of this blog, we’ll explore practical steps and strategies to help you create your life plan, ensuring that you are well-equipped to achieve your dreams and navigate your journey with confidence and purpose.

It begins when you Shift Your Mindset.

Shift Your Mindset

The choices we make and the mindset we adopt play a crucial role in shaping our experiences and outcomes. Often, we find ourselves stuck in patterns that limit our potential and stifle our growth. To truly thrive, it’s essential to recognize these limiting behaviors and actively work towards more empowering alternatives.

The table below outlines a transformative path from limiting beliefs and actions toward more empowering and fulfilling approaches. Each transition represents a shift from a constrained, reactive state to one of intentionality, freedom, and self-empowerment. By embracing these shifts, you can unlock your true potential and craft a life that is successful and also deeply satisfying.

Move Away FromMove Toward
Limiting beliefsLimitless ones (at least at first)
Listening to adviceBeing heard for your dreams and desires
HesitationFreedom of flow knowing you have someone in your corner as a cheerleader rather than a naysayer
Stifling emotionsBeing in touch with your emotions
Letting life happenPlanning life’s happenings

Each transition signifies a profound change in perspective and behavior:

  • From Limiting Beliefs to Limitless Ones: Start by challenging the constraints you’ve placed on yourself. Open your mind to new possibilities and believe in your potential to achieve great things. This became very real for me when I was advised to earn a championship before turning to professional skating. 

Competition was not for me at the time. Learning how to skate well enough to be hired by Ice Capades and work my way up was my greatest desire. I was told it wouldn’t happen. A year after joining Ice Capades I became the understudy for the lead male in the show. In fact, he was my coach. Eventually, he left the show and I took his spot…without a championship under my belt.

  • From Listening to Advice to Being Heard for Your Dreams and Desires: Move beyond simply taking advice from others. Find your voice, articulate your own dreams, and ensure that your goals are acknowledged and supported.
  • From Hesitation to Freedom of Flow: Overcome hesitation by building confidence and embracing the support of those who believe in you. Experience the freedom that comes with knowing you have a cheerleader in your corner.
  • From Stifling Emotions to Being in Touch with Them: Instead of suppressing your emotions, learn to understand and express them. This emotional intelligence will enhance your well-being and relationships.
  • From Letting Life Happen to Planning Life’s Happening: Take control of your destiny by actively planning your life’s course. This proactive approach allows you to shape your future rather than being shaped by external circumstances. I learned this firsthand when I dreamt of becoming an Olympic coach. Because I wasn’t a champion. Because I didn’t have my gold figure test. Because I did not train with a star coach. Because I didn’t have the politics in my corner. 

Because, because, because I stopped letting others plan my life for me according to what was “reasonable” to them, I instead kept my eye on what was most important to me. Eventually, one thing led to another, I became well known for an emerging discipline in the sport that put me in the spotlight and my dream eventually came true. Interestingly enough, you may recall my sharing in an earlier blog that I indeed became a professional pairs champion. It happened the same year my student earned his birth on the US Olympic team.

By making these shifts, you can move from a place of limitation and reaction to one of empowerment and intention. This transformation is key to living a life that truly reflects your passions, values, and aspirations.

Stay tuned as next month we discuss tools you can incorporate into your life to prepare for life planning, I share a personal story, and we explore the science behind life planning.