Imagine that you are about to drive your family on a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York City.
Your first step would be to determine exactly where you were and where you wanted to go. Then you would get an appropriate map (a map of Europe would not do) and you would plan your route.
Once you were en route, if you encountered road blocks, you would make detours and take alternate routes but your final destination, NYC, would not change.
Life is very similar to taking a family road trip.
You decide where you want to go, you determine exactly where you are, and you make a plan. Your plan is flexible because it must take into account unforeseen circumstances, but your destination is fixed.
Another way of saying it is “you write your plans in sand but you write your dreams and goals in concrete.”
An airplane pilot flying from LA to NYC does the same thing. Ninety-nine percent of the time he is off course (the wind keeps blowing him off course) but he does not get discouraged. He simply keeps making course corrections in order to reach his destination.
Even on final approach, the pilot is making hundreds of tiny course corrections in order to land the plane safely on the runway’s center stripe.
You must be brutally honest about where you are when you get started. Otherwise, the best plans will not help you. You must do a skills inventory in order to know your strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to know your weaknesses in order to know where you might need help.
How did I get to my current situation?
What did I do right?
What could I have done differently?
You can always learn from the past. You want to extract all the lessons you can from the past in order to be better prepared for the future.
Now that you know where you are and where you want to go, the next question you need to ask yourself is:
What do I need to do to get from where I am to where I want to go?
What should I stop doing?
Who should I be spending more time with?
What activities or people are holding me back?
By taking the time to analyze where you are, where you want to go, and how you will do it, you will save months or even years on your journey.