Go to any seminar and more than likely you’ll hear some so-called “guru” profess from the stage that what you need in order to be successful, rich, or whatever is this: “You need a blueprint!”
I’m here to publicly state: “That’s probably the last thing you need.” I’ll also add: “It can be not only frustrating but rather an adventure in futility in even trying to come up with one.”
Constructing a building? Of course. Planning your life and career? Absolutely not.
The “blueprint” concept of planning out ones life presupposes you know every detail as to dot all I’s, cross every T, and join or align every piece that is to go together. Which also means you know every detail of every piece. You can’t. However, that wont stop most speakers from continuously referencing it.
You know why? It sounds good – gets people to nod their head in agreement – clap – then helps move them towards the back tables where they can buy the book on how to: “Draw your Blueprint for Life for 3 Easy payments of…..” You get the picture.
Life or success is not about knowing all the unknowns in some “blueprint.” It’s about managing and navigating the unknowns while possibly immersed in those very same unknowns. A blueprint doesn’t fit that scenario. Yet again, that won’t keep most “speakers” from still using the flawed analogy or premise.
Business plans fall into this same category. (sorry to all you MBA’s now gnashing your teeth) However, this isn’t to be misconstrued as to imply: “Just wing it man.” Far from it.
What you need is the correct concept or premise – first. Then the proper vehicle or tool can be used. And for life and business – it’s a map and compass. Not a set of blueprints and engineers.
Life, businesses, careers and more can’t be shackled from the standpoint of a blueprint and be successful. Blueprints by design are: This exact piece, exactly this long, made precisely of this material, placed perfectly here, connected via this joint, made only from this material, and on, and on. I believe you can see my point. To plan your life, business, or career you don’t (nor can’t) know all the different variables you’re going to encounter. Blueprints not only need to know them – they demand it.
Using this example can you see why so many at first feel all “jazzed up” after leaving some seminar, or listening to, or reading another “guru” book? For many it’s because they now believe they know why they’re stuck in the mud. Then only to find once they start formulating a “blueprint” that the experience becomes even more frustrating.
They not only have a hard time putting this so-called “blueprint” on paper. (most people at all levels never put a plan of any type together which is why this at firsts sounds so simplistic) But worse, once they begin trying to live by one, they give up out of frustration soon after feeling dis-enlightened and refuse to try anything ever again. i.e., Everyone said this is what you do – I did it – and nothing, it’s all crap!
Maybe it even happened to you. Trust me, you wouldn’t be the first – nor last. (I’ve been there myself)
The first step in trying to plan where you are and where you’re going is to begin plotting a map. A map that is some what reminiscent of something Louis and Clark would have started out with. i.e., “You are here…get here…fill in what’s between as you go. Good Luck!”
That might sound coy at first blush however, it’s more relevant and useful for someone who actually wants to get moving and go somewhere rather than waiting for all the drawings (blueprints), materials, and more to arrive before they’re even able to “think” about beginning.
Take a blank sheet of paper. Start from the end first as to put an X in one corner. Then, in the farthest corner away, put an other X with the words; “You Are here.” All that emptiness in the middle? That represents exactly what you’ll encounter. “The great unknown.”
It’s quite possible your path will be a direct straight line with no issues. It’s also quite possible your unknown’s could be filled with references like days of olde: “There be monsters here.” Never the less you won’t know till you start. No blueprint will help you here. It’s a compass that’s the tool for this adventure.
As you start your journey have faith in yourself (yes, faith now – not later) that what ever obstacles you’ll encounter you’ll handle them. And if need be, you’ll get help or training in how to surmount them as to push you further along your route. While always being flexible in your attitude to the possibility as to alter or change your final destination as you see fit. Not just lock yourself into a destination just because you made an X. Life changes, attitudes change, people change, and more.
Allow for flexibility by your own choices to be where your map ends. You just never know where you might end up. You may at some point find yourself thinking: “Hey I like it here, why go further?” Or, get there only to find thoughts of; “What was I thinking I don’t like it here.” Which happens far more often than most ever let on. Let the map evolve. Remember – it’s your map!
Here’s just a couple of examples of people I actually met then watched as they seemingly changed their headings. (Not people I read about like so many others use as examples)
Robert Ellis Orrall. I met him once backstage at a show he was performing at when the sound engineer of my band filled in for his back in the 80’s.
We were all touring the same bars and clubs and Robert at the time was an up and coming star. (We were all edgy or indie rock back then) Robert like all of us did so-so. Yet, he later changed from rock to country. He went from lead singer in a rock band, to one of the more acclaimed songwriters in country music, as well as now being one of the great players in country music today.
Another would be Jon Butcher. I played with Jon when he signed his first major record deal. My band opened for him at what was once the greatest of large venues in our area; The Frolics Lounge at Salisbury Beach where everyone from Sinatra to punk rock played. A huge club that was sold out wall to wall the night of his album release. (Every band in Boston wanted this gig…and there I was!) Jon’s band, The Jon Butcher Axis was about the hottest band out of Boston and was poised for stardom. The band had mild success but Jon is now more famously known as a Grammy nominated writer of music for television and film with such credits in HBO’s Deadwood series, ABC’s Star Trek – Next Generation, CBS’s Ugly Betty, and more.
Then there’s yours truly. I’m not going to bore you with; “Enough about them – let’s talk about me!” I’ll just say as I’m writing this article I was just informed one of my latest articles was found carried on the main site (a Thomson Rueters™ business publication) for lawyers and the law profession with over 2 million active reads or (hits) per month. My original X was music also. But now, here I type while barely able to spell kat without engaging spell checker.
So I’ll ask: Do you think some “blueprint” or “business plan” helped any of us along the way? Or a compass with the willingness to chart a course into the unknown?
I’ll let you be the judge.
© 2013 Mark St.Cyr