The Secret Power of Visioning for Consultants

At the start of the year I took a new approach to planning that has changed my life.

I was sitting in the Japan Airlines Business Class lounge at the Tokyo/Narita airport waiting for my flight home.

At the start of the year I took a new approach to planning that has changed my life.

Looking out over the tarmac, watching planes coming and going, shooting back a few rice cracker snacks and sipping an ice cold Asahi beer…I thought it was a good time to reflect on the previous year and what I wanted to accomplish during the next 12 months.

I grabbed my bag and pulled out a new planning sheet that a friend of mine had sent me a couple of days earlier.

Getting Focused

Each year, like so many, I set out to plan my resolutions and what I want to accomplish for the coming year. This year however, I did two things that I hadn’t done before…and the results surprised me.

I used that new planning sheet and made sure to look at what I had written every day.

So there I was, sitting in the lounge filling in the sheet.

I wrote about my biggest successes, both in business and personally for the previous year. My biggest disappointments and what I wanted to accomplish going forward.

The Secret Step

When I got back home I put this sheet beside the whiteboard in my office.  This might not sound like a big deal, but having it in plain sight is crucial.

I look at it every day. I review it. It gives me a lot to think about. It keeps me in check. Each time I see it, I ask myself, “Am I doing what I need to do to reach my goals?”

Four months after filling in the planning sheet and I have already achieved 2 of the 6 major goals I had for the year. And I’m almost finished a third.

These are big accomplishments. I don’t know if I’ve ever come out of the gate so focused and have managed to complete so much in such a short period of time.

It’s Never Too Late

If you haven’t taken the time to write out what your goals are, do so now. You don’t need to wait for next year. It’s never too late.

If you’ve written them down, but they are hidden away in some drawer or on a bookshelf, get them out and put them up where you can see them each and every day.

This visioning thing is so powerful. It is unfortunate people that want to become successful consultants often laugh off the idea of visioning. Or they say “I have a plan, it’s all in my head.” That won’t cut it…

You need to write all of this down and put it up somewhere you can see it every day.

Give it a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Want a copy of the planning sheet?

If you want a copy of the planning sheet I used let me know in the comments below and I’ll send it to you.

*Update: I’ve received so many emails from people wanting this planning sheet that I’ve decided to make it available here to everyone.
Vision Planning Sheet

  • Pat

    Great advice. You can only tracked what you have committed in writing. I am planning to follow this advice to achieve more next year and to record improve results in my life!!

  • Annemi

    Michael you are a great inspiration! Wish I was not living in South Africa and could
    meet you in person. Thanks for all your great advice and sharing it with us!

    • Annemi – Thanks for your comments and kind words. No speaking or project plans in S. Africa at the moment but would be great to get out there.

  • Paula

    Thanks for the advice – out of sight is out of mind. Will you please send me a copy of the planning sheet?

  • I tell all my clients to keep their plans visible. If you aren’t doing something to move you forward to accomplish those plans, chuck it!

  • Richard Burrell

    Thanks Michael – enjoying reading your articles. Would you please send a copy of the Planning Sheet. Many thanks

    • Richard – you’re welcome. The planning sheet is on it’s way to you….

  • Dan Gorney

    Michael,

    Simple but sound guidance. Please send me the planning sheet.

    Dan Gorney
    oxcart43@gmail.com

    • Dan – glad you enjoyed it. Planning sheet will reach you soon 🙂

  • Sarah F

    Thanks for the reminder Michael. I focus a lot more easily and get a lot more done when i have clear written goals but it’s such a simple thing it’s easy to overlook in the midst of everything to do.
    I’d love a copy of the planning sheet.
    Sarah

    • It sure is Sarah. Glad to have you as part of the community here! Will send over the sheet to your shortly.

  • Motazhajaj

    Congrats for reaching your goals, best luck. Do you mind sharing the sheet by emailing motazhajaj@aol.com?

  • srikanthbs

    Hi Michael,

    It is true many consultants in India dont have use a planning system themselves and expect their clients to have one.. would love to have the planner sheet from you. Pl. mail me the same @ iyer.srikanth@gmail.com.

  • Hi All – the response to the planning sheet has been amazing – both in the comments here and by email. I can’t keep up with the emails so it may take me a while to send it to you – I’ll do my best. Cheers.

  • Talal

    Hi Michael,

    many thanks for the great tips and insights. I am just starting my journey as a solo consultant after 16+ years in PR. About time right? So am putting down the requirements – setting goals, budgeting, planning, etc and must say it is not easy! Appreciate if you can share your planning sheet and will certainly keep reading your valuable stories and articles … Cheers

    Talal Eid

    • Talal – thanks for sharing your story. It’s never too late so great job! Look for the planning sheet in your inbox 😉

  • Alan Phillips

    Hi Michael, thanks for an interesting tip; I would be grateful if you would send me a copy of the planning sheet.
    Regards
    Alan

    • Alan – you’re welcome. The sheet is in cyberspace and should reach you soon!

  • Pranil

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for an interesting tip; I would be grateful if you would send me a copy of the planning sheet.In this coming new year I will try my best to achieve it from your planning sheet.
    Regards
    Pranil Pednekar

  • Rohit Chaudhari

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for sharing the tip. It would be helpful if you could send me a copy of the planning sheet.

    Thanks,
    Rohit.

  • Amita

    i can relate to this article. can you please share the planning sheet. it will be a good start for the new year

  • Anonymous

    Please share a copy of the planning sheet. Thank you.

  • Mavaneni

    Hi. I’d like a copy of the planning sheet please.

  • Jim Mckean

    I have been using visual control systems for years in the context of PROJECT planning, but not for my practice – duh!

    Send me the planning sheet too, please.

  • Maryellen

    I would also appreciate a copy of the planning sheet. Thank you!

  • Lori

    Hi Michael –

    This time last year I set personal and professional goals, which I typed, put in a 3-ring binder and referenced…as often as I remembered to. While I accomplished many of my goals, I think my “system” was too cumbersome and slowed down my progress.

    I would love a copy of your planning worksheet. It sounds like a wonderful easy-to-use tool, and I love the idea of hanging it up in a place where I will see it every day.

    I appreciate your sharing your planning sheet with me, and anyone who asks for a copy!

    Lori

  • I have heard this advice so many times and I am the one that says, “Ah, I got it all in my head.” This hasn’t worked for me yet! I would love a planning sheet. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. kerriemcatee@gmail.com

  • Thanks to everyone for your comments and emails. I’ve updated this post and have now included a copy of the Vision Planning Sheet at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

  • This is a useful information . i am glad to read the post. hope to read more about the topic.

  • Nice post! that is good information, it is useful to me thanks.

  • chris jone

    nice info, please it to me

  • Getting Focused – It’s Never Too Late

  • Mary Z

    I see that most of the comments are from 3 years ago! Is your Planning Sheet still a viable tool? I would like a copy.