I don’t want to win my first million. I want to earn my first million.
I wholeheartedly agree. I have the same mindset as well.
But just because you’re smart, talented, experienced, have all the right connections, and have access to resources abundant, doesn’t mean success is guaranteed.
I don’t care how hardworking you are. Failure is never off the table.
Even in entrepreneurship, which is all about playing the “long game,” it’s possible to succumb to shortsightedness.
The reality is, there are only a few possible scenarios. Best case, you will sell your business for a small fortune. Worst case, it will collapse (most do). Of course, there are shades of grey in between.
But most entrepreneurs haven’t even stopped to consider that revenue is not wealth. And to retire and live on your own terms, what you need is wealth. Revenue won’t be there forever – it’s more of an insurance policy than anything.
Project yourself 20 years into the future and consider a reality where your financial situation is the same as it is today. We’re usually prompted to envision the opposite but trust me when I say it’s not a remote possibility that you will be in the same financial situation 20 years from now. I have hardworking, ambitious friends who are. So, imagine that future.
The sad part is that if you didn’t invest, you missed a huge opportunity. You could have started saving up 20 years earlier, earning compound interest on your investment vehicles. You would not have been considered any less smart, self-made, or entrepreneurial for doing so – quite the opposite!
Instead, you’re 20 years older, can’t retire or live on your own terms, and still need to keep up an impossible work ethic to sustain your income. Your health is suffering, and so are your tired relationships.
Again, I know you’ve probably read all the personal development books that told you to envision and create your desired future, but you’re not thinking accurately if you’re not planning for worst case scenarios. A little stoicism doesn’t hurt when it comes to setting and working towards big goals.
After all, we’re often told:
Dig your well before your thirsty.
But this doesn’t just apply to expanding your network. It applies to expanding your wealth too.
Even if you are playing the long game, don’t be shortsighted. Don’t attribute superhuman qualities to yourself you don’t possess. You’re not too good to fail. And you’re also not too good to start investing either.
Time will pass anyway. Use this to your advantage. Bet on yourself, yes, but also plan for worst case scenarios. Your worst case scenarios can end up being best case scenarios if you’re shrewd with your income.
Have you ever woken up Monday morning only to discover that you completely forgot about a meeting you’d been booked for?
If you managed to pinpoint this oversight in time, you may have narrowly avoided a disaster.
But if you missed out on the meeting completely, you might have angry emails or voicemails waiting for you. Even if they aren’t angry, you still feel bad, because you know it reflects on your integrity.
And while no one is perfect, oftentimes, this type of situation is avoidable (it doesn’t have to be a meeting – it could be any kind of commitment). That’s what we’re going to look at here.
To tell you the truth, I resisted doing anything of the sort for a long time.
But then I started publishing daily. And as I gained more practice and learned more about writing and marketing, I started to see the wisdom in coming up with a plan.
Which is why each day in the week has a specific theme on my blog:
Monday – entrepreneurship
Tuesday – self-improvement
Wednesday – productivity
Thursday – creativity
Friday – inspiration
It’s also why I started writing for a specific audience – creatives and creators.
Once I’d settled on this format, I’d figured out what to publish on the weekends – a weekly digest on Saturdays, and a #StrategySunday post on Sundays.
These posts serve functional purposes to be sure, and people are already finding value in them. But truth be known, they are also a lot easier for me to write. I get to have a bit of a mental break on the weekends.
So, you can see from this example that Sunday planning sessions have helped me create a stronger focus and gain more clarity on my vision.
It has also helped with my Medium strategy. Since I’m looking to grow my following and earn some more cash on Medium, having all the above in place takes a lot of guesswork out of the week. It has already paid off, even if it’s only in cents and not in dollars.
Why Plan on a Sunday?
Whether it’s author Darren Hardy or business mentor Lori Kennedy, you will find that many creatives and creators have a Sunday planning habit. My mentors plan on Sundays too.
Does this make Sunday the best time to plan? Not necessarily.
Again, I had some resistance to this. I was brought up in the church, where Sundays were sacred and were thought to be “a day of rest.”
I have no issue with that whatsoever.
But I think what makes Sunday planning powerful is that it’s quiet and no one else is doing it. It gives you space to think.
I get that Monday is the day most people dread, so planning on a Sunday could give rise to feelings of anxiety.
That’s not the case with creatives and creators who love what they do, though. They look forward to making the most of the week ahead.
And when you think about it, if you can work out all the “unknowns” in advance, Monday morning doesn’t have to be such a slog.
Of course, things can come up, and we may not end up doing everything according to our plan.
But if you have a plan, you’re more likely to put your priorities first in your schedule. That way, even if you end up getting a headache halfway through Wednesday (or any day), you will have at least completed what was most important and urgent on your to-do list.
There are probably more benefits to Sunday planning than I can realistically identify or expand on.
But here are some of the main benefits I’ve reaped:
1. You Can Get Everything Out of Your Head
Author David Allen says your brain is a horrible storage device. I agree.
Getting your thoughts and ideas down on paper (or even down on your iPad) allows you to clear your mind and begin a new week knowing everything has been accounted for. That could contribute to a better sleep, too.
Writing everything down also tends to reduce anxiety. Because you can get clear on everything you need to do, including errands and minor to-do items.
2. You Can Boost Your Productivity
If you do all your planning on a Sunday, you should be able to identify gaps in your schedule and times when you aren’t booked for a meeting or anything else.
I’m not suggesting you fill every available gap in your schedule with productive work. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet was said to have surprised Bill Gates with his blank calendar. There is tremendous value in unscheduled time.
But if you want to squeeze more productivity out of the week, you should be able to identify gaps in your schedule where that can happen. Such opportunities tend not to present themselves when you’re “flying by the seat of your pants.”
3. You Can Brainstorm Ideas
Although I’ve never run out of content ideas, it often happens that by the time Sunday has rolled around, I’ll need to brainstorm additional ideas for the week ahead. Especially since I’ve settled on the format detailed earlier.
So, if you need to exercise your idea muscle, and determine worthwhile actions for the week, you can use your #StrategySundays to get clear on next steps in your projects.
4. You Can Speculate on Possibilities
I’ve shared about some of my journaling habits already. One of the things I love to do is speculate on possibilities.
Speculating on possibilities is just that. It’s not about trying to come up with right answers. It’s not about trying to form perfect answers. It’s just asking yourself, “What’s next? What are my next steps? What could I do to move towards the outcome I desire?”
And then you just write down what comes to mind, free form.
5. You Can Ponder Questions
This is a recent favorite and a valuable exercise at that.
Ask a question related to your projects. It could be something along the lines of, “What could I do to enhance my results in X area?” Or “What could I do to ensure I follow through on Y?”
Then, ponder the question and write down your answers. Again, your answers need not be right or perfect. The act of pondering is sometimes enough to cause a breakthrough.