It’s totally true.
I had a buddy who came up with an app that he said was going to make him the next Mark Zuckerberg.
He spent months refining his idea, built a business plan so he could get some capital together and kept it secret from all of his friends and even his family.
He even started to learn to code so that he wouldn’t have to share his idea with an app developer.
He did everything right.
Except one thing.
This is something that I tell my student pilots on a daily basis ‘Don’t wait for the enemy to decide your future for you - always have a plan.’
‘Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.’ - Robert De Nero, Heat (1995)
When I plan for one of my student pilot’s low-level strike sorties it can take me hours, and that’s just the time spent on the mission planning computer. Before that I have to think about a scenario, find a target set and consider all of the environmental factors that might affect the sortie.
It might take time but the planning is essential and we have a saying ‘The success is in the plan.’
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.
What is successful?
What is rich?
Does it mean financially, spiritually, emotionally…?
I mean, I’m already in the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest people and the top 1% of earners - it’s a fact.
Oh, and incidentally - so are you.
If you earn above $32,000 USD (£22,000 GBP) then you are in the top 1% of earners in the world and here’s another thing.
The percentage of global wealth owned by the top one percent will surpass 50% of all of the world’s wealth by 2016.
You. Are. Wealthy.
So when you say ‘I want to be wealthy’ - well, you already are. Try defining it more and you’ll get better results.
Maybe like this: ‘I want to have a passive income generated from property letting and affiliate marketing that brings in £1,000 a month in 3 years time.’
That’s an outcome which will make a plan easier to construct. If you don’t give your sat nav a destination, it can’t do the journey to get you where you need to go.
It’s the same with your plan - It needs an outcome.
Just like the recent post I wrote on lifestyle vs job, your plan needs to have an end-state in mind else you will just lose focus. I’ve seen many people open a small business, offer to volunteer or start training for a marathon only for it to all to stop a few months down the line.
This is why a bank will ask to see your business plan before they lend you money because they know that, without a plan, you’ll likely to fail.
Sometimes the ‘idea’ of doing something is more appealing than the ‘actually’ doing it.
The ‘Night Before’ technique works well in this scenario and I use it extensively when I’m planning my next step in world domination.
Let’s say that you’ve decided to be an internationally-acclaimed speaker on the ‘Life lessons of the lesser-known Bavarian Parakeet.’
What does your journey look like? Is it one you are likely to enjoy or one that will bring you constant stress - do you even like public speaking?
What does it feel like the night before you speak, take yourself there - are you looking forward to it or scared stiff?
So, you’ve got your plan nailed down and, because you are a high-performance Warrior, you’ve defined your end-state and worked back a timeline for the magic to happen.
But now what?
Step 2 - Execute it Violently
See if you can find the two power words here that should be leaping out at you like a couple of wild Alaskan Salmon who are making their way upriver so they can party with some other crazy fish.
Those two words are there for a reason - they are supposed to convey the force that you must use to keep your plan in motion.
It’s one thing to come up with a plan but to put it into action and maintain it, well - that’s another matter entirely.
It’s the difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t - it’s called ‘grit’.
Will Smith was almost bankrupt before Quincy Jones picked him to star in the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’ He’d made some money as a rapper with DJ Jazzy Jeff but had spent most of it and, forgetting to pay his taxes, pretty soon the IRS was onto him. Now desperate for cash, he would go down to the studios everyday and wait for Quincy to come out from filming his other projects. He’d then repeatedly try and convince the producer to employ him in spite of the fact that he had very little acting experience at the time.
The result was one of the most successful television series in broadcasting history and, incidentally, the most requested TV show by prisoners of Guantanamo Bay detention camp beating the next favourite, Harry Potter.
It’s easy to deliberate and wait for the perfect moment to launch your business idea to the world, I mean, you’re smart, so why rush it?
‘Smart people get addicted to information, successful people get addicted to execution.’
It could be because of our fascination with celebrity and gossip, we love to see someone climb into stardom but, even more than that, we love to see them fall!
Yes, we can be a mean spirited bunch on our wet and windy island and this collective negativity can very often be the downfall of the new business owner.
At some point you will suffer from a lack of self-belief, it’s something that you’ll find across every industry and is called ‘Imposter Syndrome’ which I’ve written about before.
You’ll start to doubt yourself; you’ll think you should have prepared more and that maybe you’re not cut out for this.
Then you’ll think about returning to a ‘real job’ or quitting your project.
‘If you are going through hell, keep going.’ - Winston Churchill
In all honesty, most of your acquaintances will mean well, it’s just that, well, you know - you’re just being different to them!
When someone quits smoking there is a time when other smokers will continue to offer cigarettes to their newly ‘free from nicotine’ friend. It’s just that they don’t want you to stop because you’ll highlight their inability to do the same.
Maintaining your focus on your plan is hard, in the face of all of these distractions and sometimes you’ll have to take a break from the negativity. Imagine that you had a really debilitating drink problem and you’d managed to find help that had finally helped you to break free from it.
You are still a little volatile so you are avoiding the bars and social functions that you used to drink at, only for a while, though - just why you are building the foundations of the new and better you.
But then one of your friends keeps inviting you out to parties or suggesting you meet after work for a few beers or maybe try the new cocktail bar that just opened. It would cause you anxiety, maybe make you wonder whether you’d done the right thing - you might even question why you were quitting the drink in the first place.
Wouldn’t it be simpler if that friend wasn’t around right now?
Yes, it would. Not for ever, but just why you build up your strength.
It’s the same when you are building something new. You might have to take ‘time out’ from people for a while whilst you aggressively action your plan.
Your real friends will understand, after all - you are trying to change the world!
‘Keep on, keepin’ on!’ - Joe Dirt (2001)
Goal setting helps you stay on track and measure your success against your expectations - it can be a very powerful way of keeping you focused on executing your plan.
‘A goal is a dream with a deadline.’ - Napoleon Hill, American writer (1883-1970)
Do you know how hard it is to stop a well executed low-level fast-jet strike mission?
Pretty much impossible.
Once the aircrew have planned, briefed and got themselves airborne, the only thing that is going to stop them is by getting themselves shot down. They have a target and they have planned for hours about how to destroy it. They have considered the enemy Surface to Air Missile defences and hostile aircraft threats and have contingencies to deal with them all.
They are fully focused on executing their mission.
Now, you have a plan and you’re going to execute it violently because you are a high-performance Warrior - but there’s one more essential thing to consider.
So, remember my buddy with his app that was going to change the world? Think about the preparation and planning he had done and the fact that he even learnt to code himself so that his idea wouldn’t get stolen.
Yes, you need to prepare like he did - but there’s only one problem.
He still hasn’t done anything with it.
And that was three years ago. Well, that’s not strictly true - he still talks about it and says that he’s ‘refining’ his idea and waiting for the ‘right time’.
So, the last thing you need to do to drive towards massive success and achievement in your life is…
Step 3 - Do it Today
If my buddy had launched his app three years ago he would have had those three years to refine his efforts but, by stalling, he has no idea whether people are going to like it or not!
Do you remember all of the updates Apple would put out with the early iPods and iPhones? They were throwing out the technology virtually untested in order to be the first to market and using the customers to test their products - I mean, why not?
Who better to tell you whether your product works or not?
Get your plan started today.
You know how they test new kit on aircraft? They give it to pilots in the Flight Test squadrons to fly with it. It’s all well and good sitting in meetings discussing whether it might work in the cockpit but unless someone flies with it, you’ll never know.
A buddy of mine recently left the military and immediately opened a property letting agency. I didn’t even know he was thinking about it but, as he said at the time, ‘It’s the only way that I’ll know if it’ll work!’
In fact he had been thinking about it for a while, had a plan and dived straight in!
Procrastination gets to all of us at some point and when you add the element of self-doubt it’s a wonder that anyone does anything new at all!
‘The best time to do anything ever is now!’ - Tim Davies, Fast Jet Pilot and Performance Warrior who often quotes himself on his website.
Don’t wait for the perfect plan.
I used be on a Tornado Squadron where we would make use of ‘hot-pit’ refuelling. Basically I would fly a sortie, land and taxi back in. When I got back to the flight line, I’d shut one engine down and get the aircraft refuelled whilst we crew-changed. It stopped the aircraft having to be handed back to the engineers where undoubtably, due to their exceptionally beady eyes, they’d find something that needed to be fixed.
Sometimes we changed both pilot and navigator but often I’d stay in and a new nav would hop up the steps, hand me a brown envelope full of maps, weapons data and target runs and start to programme the route into the jet. As a ‘4-Ship leader’ and able to command four Tornado aircraft at a time, I soon realised that I’d have much rather have been in the plan. It was better to have a bad plan, but one that I knew really well, than an excellent plan that I’d never seen before.
Those were hard sorties and I often found myself discovering new valleys on the west coast of Scotland, entirely alone, losing the other three aircraft completely!
Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams and remember that it’s better to have an average plan that you know really well than an excellent plan that you don’t really understand.
‘A good plan, violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.’ - General George S. Patton Jr.