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A Goal Without a Plan, is Just a Wish

By January 5, 2012January 15th, 2020Uncategorized

“Every time I check my email, I get this anxious feeling…”

That’s what my seatmate told me on the plane recently. She was a consultant and author and had missed the completion deadline for a book she’d been commissioned to write. When I asked her why she’d missed the deadline she told me how she really wanted to make the closing section a certain way and how she felt her publisher wanted something different. The result? She avoided the project, which led to it not getting done which led to her dreading the email that “might” come any day from her angry editor.

Can you relate with the scenario I just described? I can.

I’ve found so many people who are like this woman. They are talented and have vision, but nothing comes of it. Why? I think it’s because deep down people are afraid of success because doing what people expect, at least, provides a little predictability.  Successful people, however, always find themselves in new territory.

In Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, he notes that what society has done to us is made us a nation of factory workers who do what we think is expected of us. He says how no school would ever print this, but they might as well put up the below mission statement:


How ridiculous.

Yet, this is how most Americans live. So what’s one way to change things? Coaching. Having someone to push and challenge you could be the difference between being a factory worker and actually forging new ground in your life and work.

In Rocky III, Rocky has come out of retirement to defend his title. But he grossly underestimates his opponent. Rocky argues with his trainer, Micky, that Clubber Lane is “just another fighter.”  Mickey responds: “No he ain’t just another fighter. This guy’s a wrecking machine and he’s hungry. You ain’t been hungry since you won that belt! … Three years ago you were supernatural, you was hard and you was nasty… but then, the worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter… you got civilized!”

Now that’s an inspiring pep talk! It reminds us why don’t people move forward with their gut convictions—so many of us got civilized. What’s the answer? People need someone someone to push them. This is why I’m an executive coach. I’m tired of seeing people give the world more of the same.

So what happened to that lady on the plane?

After almost three hours of conversation, we developed a plan for her to finish her book. Not only that, we even decided on some things she should talk (not email!) to her publisher about. Do you know what happened? She did it and he loved her idea. He actually gave her three more months to finish the book! Why? Because she had someone to challenge her, to push her and to encourage her.

That night, she sent me an email and at the end she said this:

I can’t tell you how great I feel.  One of the quotes I have up is “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  You got me back on track today.  And I was so frustrated last night.  It was a gift to meet you today.  I’m off to the gym, and then writing for an hour tonight.  Thank you!  Thank you!

So what about you? Do you have a plan? Or are you just wishing? If you can relate to what you just read, Here’s your “to do” list for this week:

  1. Write down your goal
  2. Spend some time writing out the plan
  3. Run it by someone
  4. Consider their advice
  5. Take your first step and then your second
  6. If you get stuck—consider getting a coach!






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