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Norton: Achieving excellence by thinking ahead

Planning and preparing for our future may seem a little challenging right now, doesn’t it?

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

You may be wondering how these two are connected or related. Keep reading as I connect the dots for us.

As I speak with clients and partners each day, I find myself in conversations around the importance of planning and thinking ahead. We are playing a most formidable opponent right now, the COVID-19 virus. And not only are we fighting against the virus, but we are also fighting against our differences of opinion as to whether or not we open up the state or country, how we open it up, and what the new normal will look like.

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With each passing day and new news, our opinions may shift, and our thinking may be different. And as we do, we must remember that the way we see our past is not as important as the way we see our future. So many times, we get caught up living in the past, or trying to just live in the moment. And as we balance what we know and what we see in the news, living each day and living in the moment, being present in the moment, is a good strategy. Making the most out of the time we have right now is an awesome way to look at life. And so is thinking ahead and having a plan.

Wait, what? Live in the moment and still think and plan ahead? Yes, that is exactly right. You may be asking how we do that when we do not know what tomorrow will bring. And that is why it is so very important to do it and do it now. Sure, what we plan today may have us pivot tomorrow, but its better than having no plan, so when we are forced into a pivot situation, it’s better to have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and as many plans as possible so that we do not get caught off-guard.

Here is where Aristotle’s quote comes in. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” There is so much to be said about learning from our past and learning from brilliant philosophers and subject matter experts. We are what we repeatedly do.

So, if excellence is something we aspired to before, we should not change that now. It may mean that we look for the things we did in the past that made us successful, and repeat those behaviors, attitudes, and skills. And then, during this time, evaluate what works and what does not work so that we can do more of something else, strive to do things better, and look at different ways to tackle the challenges or opportunities in front of us. More, better, different. And do more, better, different until we meet with excellence again. Not perfection, but excellence.

And one of those ways is to plan and prepare for success. To plan and prepare for excellence. OK, so we think ahead and the world changes — awesome, as now we go to Plan B. And now we are fully on board with Plan B and another law or change comes our way — that is fantastic, now we get to move into Plan C. Are you kidding me? This is excellent. Why is it excellent, especially during this crisis, we are living through? It is awesome, excellent, and fantastic because we have a series of plans and strategies already prepared. We took the time to think ahead.

And when we think ahead, plan for change, and ready ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually, when new information hits or new laws, restrictions, and policies come our way, we stay completely calm because we expected this to happen. We expected the worst and planned for the best.

So how about you? Are you thinking ahead? Do you have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and even more plans? I really would love to hear your “thinking ahead” story and strategy at mnorton@tramazing.com. And when we plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win, it really will be a better than good week.


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