9 April 2020
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It's time you drew up a 'You Plan'

Two thought-provoking encounters this week got me thinking about how crazy we all are. You see, you might not have thought of yourself as an asset that is worth protecting, making more valuable and long lasting but when you think about it, it’s totally rational.

If you kind of agree with my proposition, then it’s equally rational that it’s time you drew up a You Plan. This might not be a Peter Switzer unique idea, but for years I’ve been telling business audiences I’ve been talking to that it makes sense to do a SWOT on yourself as a leader of employees and customers.

In the early 1990s when I interviewed an up and coming chef/restaurant owner - Neil Perry of Rockpool fame - he talked about a mentor who suggested he look at his Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

At the time, Neil said he told the mentor that he’s already done that for the business but his ‘coach’ said: “I know but this time I want you to SWOT you.”

Neil did a time management survey and worked out he was misallocating his time doing stuff like accounting tasks, bookkeeping and admin jobs that he could do but he found boring.

So he and his mentor effectively put together a boring job description and went looking for someone trained for boredom — an accountant!

Apologies to all the wonderful accountants out there, and let me say Neil gave away half his business to his cousin Trish Richards, who was an old Triple M colleague of mine — so she was a cool accountant! Anyway, Neil’s business in the ensuing years shot the lights out.

Why? Well, Trish did what she was great at and Neil had more time for doing things where he had a competitive advantage and so books got written, TV shows were made, the Qantas contract became a part of the national scene, new restaurants were open, new business relationships were developed and Neil Perry became a true celebrity chef and household name.

We all could do with objective eyes in our life but as the old saying goes “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” The big, success-generating decisions of Neil was to have a mentor, then to be objective about himself and then make the sacrifices or investment in getting himself into his strength zone and out of his weakness zone.

He didn’t really do a dedicated You Plan but effectively did when it came to his business life.

I believe the easiest way to eat an elephant, if that takes your fancy, would be one bite at a time. Sir Edmund Hillary was once asked how he climbed Everest? He answered: “One step at a time.”

A You Plan can be a work-in-progress document and it could start with the area that you are really charged about. It might be your business, your fitness, your health, your weight, your diet, your relationship and even the very important wealth-building goals.

The great leadership motivators always tell their charges to write down your goals and visit them daily and I think they’re absolutely on the money. It’s so easy to forget about the things that are really important to you, especially if you know they are hard.

That’s why writing down your You Plan with all of your You Goals and seeing them every morning is a smart policy to commit to.

Wallaby Ben Darwin, as a 13-year old, bought a Wallaby jumper and put the date on it when he would get his own jumper! Layne Beachley wrote down her world surfing champion goal on her mirror. Swimming legend Kieren Perkins had Mr Carew, as Kieren always called him, who got into his ear everyday at training and what would Winx be without Chris Waller? A good horse rather than a great one!

The turning point in someone’s life is when they start to lead themselves and that prepares them to lead others!

So what about the two encounters this week that has resulted in this Weekend Switzer story?

The first was a charming lady in an airport lounge club who asked for ID. I cheekily said she should know me but she said the last 200 customers thought the same thing. So I replied but how many of them have a TV show on the Sky Business Channel named after them?

She retorted: "If I could afford Foxtel I wouldn’t be working", and I came back with, "If you invested in Foxtel and watched me you could have my TV show and be able to give up work, but if you don’t want to do that you can go to Switzer Daily and get my interviews a day after."

It was a struggle for me to help her and I’m not sure if I convinced her to change her life habits that, on her admission, were not delivering happiness and fulfillment. I hope I’m wrong and she actually reads this today!

The second was a catch up with my friend Master Feng who is the Feng shui master who predicted a Trump win in the US election on my TV show. He’s been doing this for quite some time and even picked out Barack Obama out of a field of 12 when he was virtually an unknown Senator for Illinois!

I caught up with MF to learn about meditation. Another mate of mine, Dr. Ross Walker, has always raved about the mental and physical benefits of meditation, which he does twice a day for 20 minutes, so I thought it was time I explored why it’s so magical about saying “ommmmm” or whatever they say.

Feng made it easy to comprehend and gave a great system which he calls Tai Dow, to make it a part of our daily life. Yep, my wife Maureen was a very happy prime-mover in all of this — but it’s what he said at the end that really made me think about how irrational we can be.

In his very blunt Chinese style, he simply pointed out that our highest priority in life is to be healthy, happy and to live as long as we can. He kind of implied that if you manage your life to achieve these three goals then success and even money will come your way.

I made the point last week that Albert Schweitzer once told us: "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

That’s got to be fundamental to your You Plan. Work out what you want and do a SWOT on yourself. Create steps to beat weaknesses. Leadership guru, John Maxwell, says often that you should get others to do what you are weak at, and concentrate on leveraging off your strengths. Understand the threats to your You Plan delivering, and do something about it. Lazy people have personal trainers that pick them up or they start from their place of residence. And finally, keep looking for opportunities and work them for all you’re worth.

As I often say, and it was said to me in the early 1990s but I can't exactly tell who it was because he was a guy at a franchising expo, “Work out what you want. Find out the price you have to pay. Pay the price!”

I would put it all together in your own You Plan, and let the happiness deliver the success I suspect we all prefer over failure.

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