Written by Kathy Fauble, M.Ed., Director, and Liz Swanson, Assistant Director, ICAHN Professional Education Services

A few weeks ago, a speaker in one of our professional education webinars made a statement that I had to write down. "Hope is not a plan," she said. The phrase, she went on to tell us, was said often by a stern nun who she precepted under. What a great line. My stepfather used to tell me if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Same idea!

My natural personality type is to be a little more of a free spirit or as I like to call it "open to opportunities." Learning how to plan and define success have been skills that have been more of a challenge for me to master. It is hard for me to think through all the things that can go wrong and the sequential order to accomplishing the desire results. I am more of a "let's just do it" and hope it turns out okay type. Thankfully, project planning is a skill that can be learned and honed throughout your career.

Here are some ideas to help you be a successful planner:

  • Start with a goal. Drill down and know what you want the end results to look life. Use SMART goals that focus on measurable, attainable results.
  • Have a support system. Find out who can help you and who you need to get buy-in from. These are two separate groups that are both important when building a plan.
  • Establish some milestones along the way. This helps keep you on track and focused on results.
  • Celebrate success along the way!

Next time you "hope" things just work out, stop for a moment, and ask yourself what plan you need to put together for a successful outcome. Otherwise, the chances of everything working out might be the same odds as winning the lottery.