5 Reasons Planning Ahead May Set You Back

Planning ahead is certainly necessary and hugely advantageous. Whether you’re just starting out in your career, looking to graduate college, running a startup or a seasoned veteran in corporate America, having a game plan drawn up and looking towards your next move, keeps most of us afloat.  In fact, any type of historical trends are only useful if you actually use them to plan and make changes.  This applies to anyone, in any stage of their life or career.  If you’re only living or focusing on the here and now, you will certainly crash and burn.

But, while certainly not discrediting the importance of planning ahead, there can be significant blowback, if we become overly obsessed with “what’s next”.  When an individual is only striving towards the next goal or mile marker on their path to success, they make themselves vulnerable to miss the further opportunities from the last goal they accomplished, or current situation they are in.

The “hustle hard” work culture of today has conditioned us to obsess over quick successes.  If we don’t find it immediately or within some perceived “reasonable amount of time”, we’re ready to move on to the next chapter.  Planning our strategy around the quickest route to fame and fortune can spell disaster for innumerable reasons.  Consider a design company that makes its prototype and rushes it to market instead of validating it against the customer needs and wants.  A service business that starts up and is crazed by recruiting as many clients as possible rather than digging into the value-add they provide for the first client.  Both of these scenarios could demonstrate the importance of self-control in business strategy.  Sit tight, and be confident that you’ve made the most of the phase you’re in, before you move on.

If we apply these same principals to an individual’s career planning, there are 5 reasons that planning ahead could really set you back, in the form of questions to ask yourself:

  1. Can you get anything further out of the situation you’re in now?
  2. Are you confident that you are ready to move on – to the next phase of your….(career, goals, strategy, etc.)?
  3. Is there anything more to be learned?
  4. Are there any further benefits or things of value you can pass on to others?
  5. What are the things you should (AND should not) repeat for future success?

As you answer these questions, it will be help you sharpen your vision for the future, and help you plan ahead in a much better and more effective way.

Forward thinking is critical.  It keeps us agile, innovative, and adaptive to change.  Accelerate your planning and make it more beneficial by fine-tuning the moves you make along the way, rather than stargazing towards the future.  You may just miss a major opportunity along the way.