The Hidden Power of a Life Plan

When I read Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy, I had no idea how quickly it would impact my life. But within weeks of reading it, I was already putting it to use, and I was extremely grateful that I had developed a life plan.

Ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t share something this personal, but it had a such a profound effect that I thought I should share it so that others might benefit, as well.

​The idea behind Living Forward is really quite simple: instead of just drifting through life, doing whatever is calling loudest at the time, you design the life you want and then develop a plan to achieve it.

Now, on the surface, this may sound a little too hard core, like something only high achievers, or “Type A” people want. But in reality, it applies to all of us. If you want to be happy, if you want to fulfill your purpose in life, then you need a life plan. If you want to leave your current job and start RVing more, a life plan can help you get there.

After listening to the book, I decided to give it a try. I finished the book a week or so before my birthday, so I decided I’d gift myself a day off from work and spend my birthday working on my life plan.​

I was surprised at how easy it was to create this plan and how much ownership I felt towards it. I had expected the life plan creation to be a difficult job. After all, I’d done similar exercises in the past, and never felt comfortable with them. I think there were several reasons I found it easier this time:

  1. I was highly motivated to do it. Kudos to the authors for writing in an inspirational and motivational style that made me want to follow their advice.
  2. The book is filled with examples. As each component of the life plan is discussed, sample snippets are provided. In addition, there are complete sample plans at the end of the book. These samples gave me a much clearer vision of how to create the plan. I used the Kindle edition to “steal” pieces from several examples, and then crafted them together into something that I could own, that truly represented me.
  3. I used the provided Evernote template. I found it really easy to fill out each section of the template, and I knew that I’d actually reference the plan since it would always be with me.

As I reviewed my plan over the next few days, I made a few tweaks and corrected a few typos. And then I knew I had a plan that was right for me.

A few days after completing my plan, my life turned upside down. My parents came to visit, and while they were here, my dad suffered a heart attack. 

Suddenly I found myself getting up early in order to be at the hospital when the doctors made their rounds, being at the hospital to support my mom during the day, and spending evenings supporting my wife and kids.

That didn’t leave much time to work on my business. But I knew that was OK. After all, I’d just completed a life plan. I’d defined my priorities, and I had put my relationships with family and extended family ahead of my business and financial goals. I had also defined how I wanted my relationships with my family and extended family to look. And I knew that I was doing what I needed to do to have that kind of relationship.

Fortunately, it all turned out well. Dad survived the heart attack. After getting some stents and spending a few more days in the hospital, he and Mom spent about a week with us while he recovered enough to return home. During that time, I could work on my business a few hours a day and still be available to support and take care of them.

After my parents returned to their home, I took a few days to give myself some self-care, and then started focusing on my business during the workday. But I left the incident with a stronger relationship with my parents and my brother. 

I’m grateful that I had completed my life plan when this incident occurred. Having a plan gave me the “compass” I needed to navigate this difficult time and emerge from it feeling stronger than before.

To get started on your life plan, go to http://livingforwardbook.com. There you'll see some awesome bonuses in addition to links to order the book.

Do you have a life plan? If not, are you willing to consider creating one? Let me know in the comments below.​