Start now to plan for success

Column by Michael Norton


This is the time of year where I am having conversations and planning sessions with corporate clients and individuals as we set expectations, set budgets, and plan for the success in the coming year.

It seems like this year I am finding myself in more of these types of conversations than I have had in previous years. So I started to really think about it and questioned myself regarding my own plans for my personal success. I mean if companies can complete their plans and budgets months in advance of the next year, and I have certain individual clients I coach who do the same, why aren't I better at following my own advice when it comes to planning for success?

Like many people I speak with, the planning for our individual success starts to take shape around December, with many people waiting until the end of December, like maybe even New Year's Eve. How would next year be different if we took out our notebook or computer and started sketching out our plans, goals, desires, and dreams for next year right now, today? Would this give us time to think through them in more detail, understand what is truly feasible versus what is desirable? I think the answer is yes.

My experience in working with companies and individuals has also proven that as we take the time to carefully work through the planning phase, each element of the plan takes on a life of its own and the thoughts and ideas become inspired and fueled with creative energy. Even though we set plans in place, agree on budgets, and action items, it is still very much an iterative process. This happens as new ideas are formed or changes that may be occurring in the workplace, at home, with the economy or even around the world impact how we see our future and our future successes or achievements.

What will 2014 look like for you? What is it that you want to be, do, or have? What will it take to get you there? Who can help you achieve your goals? What are the obstacles in your way? How much are you willing to invest in yourself and in others to meet and exceed your expectations? How much time are you willing to commit? What other resources do you need in order to reach success? I know that sounds like a lot of questions and maybe even a lot of work, but taken one at a time and over a period of time it becomes so much easier. That is why successful companies and people take planning for success very seriously and start well in advance of the coming year. And many work with consultants or coaches to help bring their plans to life.

Dr. Denis Waitley says it this way, “When we plan to win, and prepare to win, then and only then can we expect to win.”

How are you doing with planning your own success for 2014? Are you planning and preparing to win? I would love to hear all about it at and as you plan your own success it will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of


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