Let’s face it; it has happened to all of us at least once. You want to get something done and you begin by planning ad nauseum. If you are among the greater majority you probably won’t finish. Why is this?
Getting stuck in the quagmire of planning is very common. Planning in the traditional sense can be the biggest hindrance to reaching your goals. Extensive planning leads to extensive procrastination. When you spend excessive time researching and gathering resources, the relevance of your idea diminishes as does your motivation with the passage of time.
Don’t worry – there is a solution and it’s a solution that has been implemented since the beginning of life on earth. Using the five steps of what I like to call the “Dynamic Step Algorithm,” can help ensure you will not fall into the black hole of planning.
Envision. Advance. Review. Pivot. Repeat. These are the five steps of the Dynamic Step Algorithm. Think of it as a smarter, flexible, more efficient approach to planning.
Envision. What do you want to accomplish? What is your goal? These are the first questions you need to ask yourself. A defined goal is an achievable goal
Advance. With the resources in front of you, be it who you know or what you know, take that first step. Not only does every journey begin with that first step, it also provides feedback as to what the next possible steps could and should be.
Review. Now that you have taken your step, review the information provided by the feedback. What further options have been opened to you? What previously predicted options have been rendered moot? Ready, get set… PIVOT.
Pivot. Based on your Review, Pivot to the path that will help you most EFFECTIVELY get to your goal. It might be a slight redirection, or it may be a more substantial shift. Your goal might have even changed based on the feedback from your Advance. Pivoting allows you to reap the benefits of your efforts during Advancing and Reviewing.
Repeat. Did your goal change? If not, then advance on your pivot, review and further pivot accordingly. If your goal changed, then envision once more and advance again.
The utilization of The Dynamic Step Algorithm can be recognized in many aspects of life. Animals use it to survive in the wild, armies use it in battles, entrepreneurs use it to thrive in business, and parents use it in raising their children.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering: Can I completely trash the concept of planning?
No, of course not. Extensive planning works best in situations where the past is relatively predictive of the future. When it comes to personal survival either in business, in the wild or in parenting, flexibility and agility in decision making are more useful than the rigidity of extensive planning.
Going to the grocery store to have meals for the whole week is a relatively predictable, i.e., plannable task. First, figure out what the meals would be: Main dishes, side dishes, desserts, snacks, drinks. Next decide which store you would like go to. Next you arrive at Walrus Mart (great choice, by the way!) to peruse the aisle to fulfill your shopping list. You check out and go home.
However, what if you were dropped in the wilderness, Man vs. Wild style. Or if you get seriously lost on a hike. You certainly wouldn’t be planning the week ahead. You would be taking the necessary steps to survive. You need food. Don’t choose poisonous food. You need water. No, not salt water and not stagnant water. Is nightfall approaching? You need shelter. No, not a bear cave. These are dynamic decisions deserving of the Dynamic Step Algorithm.
Envision. What do you want to do? GET HOME TO CIVILIZATION!
Advance. What are you going to do about it? You can hear a river, head towards that.
Review. Oh no! There appears to be a hoard of spiders in your path… ehhhh better head around that.
Pivot. Take another route where there are NO hoards of spiders.
Repeat. Success! You made it to the river. Fresh water. So repeat to find food, shelter and a way out of this wilderness.
Strategic use of the Dynamic Step Algorithm helps to alleviate the paralysis of extensive planning in situations where the future is unclear and surviving business, life and parenthood are top priority. Use it whether you want to learn a new skill or embark on a new adventure. Imperfect action, is often much better than planning for perfection.
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