When you are in pursuit of your dreams, it is often the case that you start off strong and then with time you gradually drift off course until you lose your path entirely.
So far we have rolled through the day up to the work period as if life is a smooth journey without hitches. But we know it’s not. There will be bumps and distractions. After all, making a change is never easy.
Thus; for this and the next three series, we will take a look at some of the obstacles that could possibly emerge and how to tackle them using a strategy I borrowed from the Canadian neo-dimensional approach to improve effectiveness in the military. I call it the 4 A’s; Anticipate, Allocate, Adapt, Act.
As usual, I will illustrate with a short story.
Back in September, I started a new course of study. Even though it is part-time, I already had my cup full but I decided to go ahead with it anyway because it will be 90% sponsored by the state. One day, while driving with my last daughter, I reeled out my major targets for the remainder of the year and she literally screamed.
“Dad, you certainly seem to have bitten more than you can chew”.
I replied that I can handle it but soon after we got back home, I reflected on those cautious words of my 15-year-old girl and silently asked myself if I can really handle it? I had 2 funerals to attend in Nigeria, loads of coursework with looming deadlines, and a new website to create before December. Adding these to my current schedule of publishing Cmonionline and macro managing two businesses in Nigeria, the overload became glaring.
Well, here we are about 4 months later and even though I made it to Nigeria and submitted my assignments, I am yet to create the website. Whatsmore, I know I could have done better in some of those courses if I had devoted more time to my studies. Clearly, I had been unrealistic with my targets and expectations.
So by January when I was writing down my targets for this year I was more cautious and allocated extra weeks and even months to accomplish some goals. For instance, that website isn’t even scheduled for the first quarter because I still have to study till June. So you see, I have anticipated the obstacle of time which is a scarce resource. There is no need to set a target that cannot be met because of time. Simply defer it to some other time.
Now, what does this mean? It means we have to go back to our plan and allocate realistic deadlines to our goals. It should be stated here that the more specific your goals are then the easier it will be to schedule just about the right number of weeks/months for achieving them. We will discuss the allocation of resources to our goals next but for now, here is what we can do.
To put potential problems in perspective, get a notepad and create a list of all the setbacks you‘ve encountered. You can then categorise them according to the likelihood of popping up again to obstruct your current target. Looking back is one good way to anticipate because like they say history loves repeating itself.