Planning Your Life as a Leader (not just planning for your business)

Being a leader is demanding, no matter what field you are in or the expectations placed on you. The old adage “with great power comes great responsibility” is certainly applicable to being a leader today and many people would argue that we don’t have to have any power to have overwhelming responsibilities! But a capability that good leaders have is they know how to prioritize and plan, not just in their professional life but personal too. There’s no point in being a leader in the workplace if you aren’t leading in your personal life too.

When it comes to leading in our lives we should consider five key buckets, or subcategories.

These include:

1. Our physical health,

2. Our mental health,

3. Our financial health,

4. Our relationships,

5. Having a clear sense of purpose.

When these are all in order, we are truly good leaders, and happy ones too! These are the times in our lives when we really experience a “stars aligned moment”.

We hear about so many examples of people who are supremely wealthy yet would trade it all for happiness in other areas of their life. Whether that’s their poor physical or mental health, broken relationships or something else, money just can’t fix these when they are broken. Again an old adage applies here, “money can’t buy happiness”. When these five areas in our life are out of balance, because we haven’t been a good leader by planning for them, we suffer. Our personal life takes on the same image of a poorly run company, doomed for ruin.

Entrepreneurs can, unfortunately, be chief culprits when it comes to this. Too often we forget that business is there to serve us, not the other way around. Many entrepreneurs are literally killing themselves through this dire life imbalance. It’s a competitive game we are in and sure; we need to get ahead and at times work incredibly hard. But when this comes at the expense of our health, our relationships or something else that’s important, we are being poor leaders of our lives.

Devising planning buckets, or “goal chunks”, helps turn us into better leaders. We might consider devising termed goals, as in setting goals with time frames in mind. Setting weekly goals (or something similarly short term) and seeing how well they are achieved once that period is up is a great way to take charge. Also, set up more long-term goal buckets, where the term is in months or years even. When you have clearly set goals in mind, and importantly review them when the designated time is up, you are able to better take charge of your life, and most importantly lead it.

The temptation with longer-term goals, however, is to put them off. That sense of time and distance from achieving them means many people tend to shelve them in terms of priority. Making frequent small steps towards long-term goals is important and ensures that they don’t remain forever in the distance.

When we properly plan our lives, we create a structure for the achievement of our goals. It makes them come alive. Plus it helps clean up our lives. There’s a figurative mess or lack of organization in our lives when we don’t plan, and a good leader never lets that occur.

This article was written based on my chat with Michael Reddy on Episode 19 of the Simplifying Entrepreneurship podcast. You can listen to the full interview below.

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