Why's Your Planning Falling Over?

The most common thing I am asked by any new client, regardless of their age, is, "Where were you 10 years ago?"

They have found their current position is not where they would have liked to be if they had planned their upcoming decade. For couples, this is often because they have not been able to agree on plans for the future. A common reason plans don't get made or executed is that we come together as opposite personality types. 

Why do we attract our opposite?

It is like magnets that attract when two opposing poles are brought together, and repel when they have similar poles. Of course there are lots of studies on this but one positive result of coming together as opposites is that we complete each other in a practical sense.1 Combine a person with drive and detail with a fun and peaceful person and life gets done on a day-to-day basis. It works best if we are not frustrated with differences, as drive and detail people look to the future while fun and peaceful people focus on today.  This means that in these circumstances agreeing on planning can get very feisty. I just love this definition:

'Feisty' is when a male or female is aggressive, always has smart remarks and is easy to get mad and has no problem putting whomever in their place!
– Urban Dictionary, http://de.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fiesty.

So how can we take the feisty out of your Planning equation? I have been considering how we get passed the practical to personal connection and believe this comes from day-to-day mutual interests and a mutual purpose for the future. This is needed in both plans for our personal internal life, and our external plans with others.

How do you get there?

My observations are that most people have 'tell' as their default mode, rather than genuine conversation. By 'tell' I mean they inform each other of the day's events, or what they now know or are doing. Instead of conversation, which in general is being able to put forward a thought and have both parties converse over the thought, instead of trying to push it aside in place of their own thought. One of the key processes for effective planning is to be able to have conversation so that there is enough information to make a decision.

I've often said that most plans are ineffective because they are a result of a conversation about a big decision. Let's take investing as an example, the big decision is: Will we invest? But the journey to that decision is a lot of little actions to see if it's even possible yet or what needs to be done to become possible.

Enough conversation that gives enough information for the decision to almost make itself.

It is the same for the planning for all area's of your life. Allow enough conversation for information to flow, including your trusted coach or mentor and any trusted professionals you have around you, and you will find the decisions are less stressful and there will be a lot less feisty moments at home!

Many of my clients have told me that they could have started investing earlier if only their plans had been made around a number of conversations where informative steps were made, to help build confidence ready for the BIG decision to invest.

Change the 'will we or wont we' conversation!

If you are a couple, are you having the discussion about 'will we or wont we do something big' or are you conversing about the next practical step to see if it's even a possibility?

1Michelle N. Shiota and Robert W. Levenson, 'Birds of a Feather Don’t Always Fly Farthest: Similarity in Big Five Personality Predicts More Negative Marital Satisfaction Trajectories in Long-Term Marriages', Psychology and Aging 22, no. 4 (December 2007).