If You Fail To Plan…


I love it when you guys send me email. I squeal like I’m 4 years old and just got a treat from my granddad. :-) Here’s a reader’s question, posted with her permission. I’d like you guys to chime in with your perspective and any tips that will help our fellow Motivated Boss Lady with her situation.

From the Motivated Sista Mail Bag:

A Motivated CEO writes: I hope all is well with you this morning or afternoon… I have been a reader of your blog for a little over 7 months now and I enjoy reading your posts they are very powerful and most of all inspirational to me…

I’ m a 26 year old Black woman who is single. I haven’t been in a relationship for 4 years, majority of my friends are in relationships and sometimes its hard to be the only single person in the group. For some reason I can’t find love nor anyone who interest me. I’ve had alot of guys approach me but once I start talking to them I can tell we are on two different pages. I’m just in a place in my life that I just don’t want to keep dating just to date I actually want to date and hopefully find my husband and the father of my kids. People say I’m crazy because I’m only 26 and already looking for a husband but I say I’m not getting any younger I’m getting older….

I’m also struggling with my career I just finished school for event/ wedding planning but am currently working at an insurance company. I know my dream is to be a wedding planner but right now am kind of content working at the insurance company. It’s a great company but I know this is not what I want my career to be. I get sidetracked alot and that’s a major issue for me and something I’m trying to work on… my goal is by the time am 30 I want to be successful and comfortable where I am financially. That’s my goal and only have 4 years to reach it and at the pace I’m going I’m not sure if its possible. But like you said in your post (we are the only people that’s standing in our way) I’m the only person who can stop my dream from happening but its so much easier said than done… can you give me any advice on my confusion????

Girlfriend, I have two words for you: Specificity and Planning.

Adding Specificity To Your Goal

Our society has been bombarded with clever marketing, so much so that we’ve adopted the practice of absorbing words that don’t actually mean anything.

What does ‘comfortable’ actually mean?

When you close your eyes and visualize yourself in your dream life – what is the exact picture that comes to mind? Now, pull out the details from that picture and define specifically what it is that you want. I wrote two posts about using visualizations to set your goals: check out Take Your Vision Farther and How To Anchor Your Vision.

The problem with vague descriptions like ‘being comfortable’, ‘toning up’, ‘getting healthy’, or ‘living right’, is that you don’t have an actual point that you’re working toward. If you don’t know exactly where the end of the road is for your goal, you’ll be reluctant to actually start working toward it. For example, what is the salary threshold you need to ‘be comfortable’? How much cardio do you need to do, and calories you need to shave from your diet, in order to ‘tone up’? See where I’m going with that?

So when you set your goals, add numbers to them so that you have a finish line to cross. If your goal is to earn $80,000 between your job and your business, then you’ll know how far or how close you are to meeting your definition of comfortable.

And let me just say, if you’re just striving to be comfortable, you’re already there. That’s why you’re not inspired right now to start your wedding planning business. You’re already comfortable. Comfort doesn’t motivate people to achieve their dreams – so you must go outside your comfort zone and strive for another level in order to inspire yourself to achieve.

Plan Your Next Move

I’m single too and it is hard to be the only one in the group. In those situations, I don’t put myself in that group. I’m being serious here. I don’t need the mental beating and I can better spend my time being in places where I’m likely to meet eligible men.

I don’t think you’re too young at all to set yourself up for marriage and a family. The only people I’ve ever heard say “you have time, you’re still young” are black people. My girlfriends of other races make dating a serious goal in their lives and they’re not apologetic about their desires. We shouldn’t be either. No one else has to live your life but you, and you know what you want. Don’t listen to the naysayers who don’t have your same goals, passion in life and drive to make it happen.

My advice to you regarding finding men you’re interested in, is to put yourself in the social circles where men you find interesting will meet you. What hobbies do you enjoy? What type of activities and events would men you find interesting attend? Add those to your schedule and plan to attend. Even if you have to go alone, because your girlfriends aren’t interested (which I’ve done myself and highly recommend it, as long as you’re safe).

Where To Go From Here

Maybe what you really want is to keep your position at the insurance company and run your wedding planning business on the side. Or maybe you truly want to be your own boss, but haven’t moved the dream from in your head to paper. Like you said, you are the only one who can hold you back, and one of the best ways to get started is to stop waiting for perfection and just start.

Once you have the experience of working with your first client under your belt, it’ll be much easier to map out how you’ll reach independence within the next four years. Depending on the things you’d like to do before you’re fully self-employed (such as pay off debts, buy big ticket items, etc), it might not take 4 years to get there. The key to what you said was at the current rate you’re going. So at least you already know that you need to ramp up your efforts.

If you haven’t already, talk to other wedding planners about how they got started and any advice on launching your business. It may seem daunting if you try to do it all alone, but you definitely don’t have to. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to map out where you’re headed before you get that wheel spinning.

7 thoughts on “If You Fail To Plan…

  1. Motivated Sista, I very much enjoyed this post. Let me chime in an say that at my age, and I am younger than the person who sent you the message, I am already in the game of marriage and commitment. I don’t date to date, I date with the intension of marriage down the road, so any guy who I spend time with is someone I am seriously vetting. Also, women, especially those who are outside of my race, are already in serious relationships, married, or engaged. They are in their early twenties. That should definitely say something when others tell you as a black woman that you have all the time in the world. Other groups of women are not thinking this way and if they are, then they haven’t found out. Make a serious effort to go where YOUR MAN can be found. This is so important and I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to steer a sista in a different direction of where she wants to spend her leisure time. I usually just end up going places by myself lol.

    1. THANK YOU for speaking up Meena… I wish I had been focused on this when I was younger. Instead I ate up all the “you’re still young” mess. That’s one thing we should be learning from each other – how to be as strategic in finding relationships as reaching other goals. I also hate how we’re made to feel like the desire to get married and start a family “isn’t a big deal”. Well I guess when 42% of us haven’t gotten married, you have to come up with ways to smooth over negative feelings. In the end though, those types of answers don’t help those of us who want to get married and start families…

  2. I know it’s hard to be single, but sometimes you just have to OWN IT! We need to quit stressing about not being in a relationship and celebrate it instead. When you’re single, you’re so busy worrying about how you’re going to meet “the one” that you forget that you should be enjoying life. I wrote a book that you may enjoy called “365 Reasons Why I’m Still Single.” It’s a lighthearted and fun take on being single…and a reason for every day of the year. Makes a great gift for you or your single friends. Check it out on Amazon or be a fan on Facebook (or both!) http://amzn.to/efDMiC

    1. sorry Jeannie, I can’t cosign with you. What if this was about a woman wanting to lose weight? Would you then say: “I know it’s hard to be overweight, but sometimes you just have to OWN IT! We need to quit stressing about not being healthy and celebrate it instead.”

      I’m not saying that the lady who wrote in should hate life because she’s single. I’m single too and I don’t feel that way AT ALL. If she desires a relationship, why celebrate singleness? That’s backwards to me. She should focus on meeting eligible men just like she’d focus on finding a job she loves or buying a house. Ignoring the desire or telling yourself you should feel different doesn’t change it or make it go away, you’re just diverting attention from it and prolonging meeting your future husband.

  3. Thank you for all the great letters and conversation, I definitely relate to the information on this website. You speak to the heart of independent, goal oriented women of all ages.

    In terms of marraige, I think the most important thing is what is right for you? Regardless of age or race, if you want and are ready for a committed relationship, marraige and children then that’s what you should go for. At the same time, if you want the dream but are not sure you are ready for the work and effort, think twice. I was married (and together) for 27 years, it was everything I wanted, marriage, children, family, the whole thing. In the end the family and kids part was great, the marriage did not last past the kids leaving home. It takes all levels of effort, and there are no guarantees, but if it is what you want, do it.

    On the other hand, if single is what you still want, regardless of age or race, do it. The key is what motivates you and makes you happy? If you give it your best effort and you are happy and invested in all of it, then regardless, it is the right thing to do.

    All that being said, the advice about looking in the places that your ideal mate is likely to be is right on target. It is a very sad, hard, and lonely place to be when you realize that there is no common ground between you and your spouse other than your children. Maybe consider making a list of the things you like and want in life, what your ideal husband would be like and what your family, including children might do someday. Then make a list of the priorities and go search the places where men do those things.

    When you think about a career direction or a job, you don’t just walk into the closest business and expect to find a satisfying career path, you plan and learn what you need to learn to be successful. But so often, we just look at the men who happen to be around where we live, work or play and hope to find someone to share life with.

    No matter how much planning you do, there are no guarantees, so along with all the planning please remember to plan for you own needs and happiness as well! Don’t forget to factor in your dreams and needs that go beyond being married and having children.

    Good luck! I hope you find what you are looking for. Marraige and kids are worth every moment.

    I have a question for anyone who has advice. I am in the process of redirecting my career after being laid off, right after being divorced. It was tough, but also turned out to be a most incredible opportunity and experience. I’m still struggling financially but have several part time jobs that allow me to start a small business I’ve always wanted to try without going into debt. The problem is that I’m hoping to find someone to date soon. I’ve been single for 3 years and would like to be in a relationship, but do not connect to the men I am meeting either. I am not looking for marraige again at this time, but also am not into playing around. There has to be a meaningful connection and monogamous intent. That is surprisingly very hard to find at my age, 50. It is much harder now than it was when I was in my early 20’s. There seems to be a much larger group of people who just want to play around with anyone and everyone. Maybe I am just in a different place and am less accepting or willing to be open? Advice would be great.

  4. A friend of mine gave me this saying–Plan your work and work your plan! It has been a big help. But I’ve also learned that my plans don’t always lead to the outcome I’m expecting. I’ve learned to work hard to reach my goals, but to stay flexible and not too attached to the outcome. Great post. I’m going to pass it along to my daughter right now who could use some motivational direction!!
    Galen Pearl recently posted: As It Is

  5. I’m so glad I cam across your blog. I will say to her LOVE IS LOVE. Don’t let anyone stop you from finding the person you like. There are people who marry here Middle School sweet hearts! Not High School, Middle School. It is rare but it still happens. I am 23 now and I met my fiance when I was 19. We get married this summer and got engaged a little under a year and a half of us being together and now we have been together for 3 years! My family tried to tell me I was too young, about not always trusting a guy who says he loves you,needing to have my own stuff first etc. You just have to know it for yourself and be strong. You also have to be confident and know the man you are with. If he never lets you down and always proves to be a great guy then, there you go.

    As for goals, I need to work on those two. Losing weight is one of my major goals. I have a number of how much weight I want to lose and how many pounds away it is. I also lack a lot of independent skills I hate to say. So, in my attempt to get better, I started my own blog. Its so that I can encourage myself to write (which is a passion of mine) making it fun for me and others who want to join! I also aspire to have a book club some time! That one’s harder because you have to get peoples schedules in order, but , I have idea for what books to read and how I want to discuss books and their movies.

    My point being, I am starting small so I can work my way up. Its a BATTLE. Especially trying to lose weight. I have fallen down SO many times but I keep getting back up. Like Motivated Sista said, make a plan and go. I’m still working on doing the same. xoxo ~ Chelle

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