I was working with a client recently on creating a marketing plan and more specifically a content plan for her business. She’s changing some stuff up: dropping some things that haven’t been working, expanding on some that have been, adding some new ones, and planning others. That’s a lot of balls in the air, and we wanted to make sure she at least had them all documented so even if they ended up being on the Not Right Now list, they were ON a list and didn’t get lost.
If my personal metaphor is building bridges, hers is exploring paths. And as part of this business documentation exercise, I asked her to to also map out her Personal Life Paths. Because just as she has a lot going on in her business, she has a lot going on in her life. As most of us do, most of the time.
The thing about those paths, that map, though? You have to draw them on something. When my sons were little, we had this big piece of cloth about the size of a tablecloth that had roads and trees and bridges and traffic signs painted on it. They used it to play with their toy cars. Now, the beautiful thing about being a kid is you really don’t care whether your little red sports car or your brother’s yellow dump truck stayed on those paths. The map was really just a guideline. But by golly, when the cars came out to play, so did the cloth.
So when you think about your Business Paths or your Life Paths, you need to draw them on something. That basis, that foundation, is what I’ve come to think of as a Personal Content Pan.
You are what and who you are, right now. Anything and everything you do and become starts from there. I know for myself, I stumble when my plan for myself doesn’t take into consideration that starting Content Plan, the definition of Me As I Am Now, and then add on the stuff that will get me to Me As I Want To Be.
In order to get to BE the Me As I Want To Be, I have to know what that is. I have to think: I call it “letting stuff percolate in my brain”. Sometimes I write things down, even make PRO and CON lists. Sometimes I don’t need to. But I do need to follow the process of figuring out what I want to BE before I can figure out what I want to DO. And I’m getting much better at hitting the Pause button before committing to anything, so I have TIME to percolate.
If you, like me, are old enough to remember those electric percolator coffee pots we all had about 40 years ago, you remember that you put the ingredients (coffee and water) into the pot, plug it in, and away it goes. When it’s done percolating, the coffee is ready. My brain works a lot like that: put all the ingredients in (the information), and plug it in (start the evaluation process). When I’m done percolating, I’ve made a decision.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve done a whole lot of personal development work as part of my business development process. I’ve had to, because while I wasn’t exactly unhappy in what I was doing, I wasn’t entirely happy with it either. But until I figured out my Personal Content Plan, I couldn’t see how or what to change.
So now I have a core of ME defined. I’m a writer. Everything I do stems from writing. Sometimes that’s blog posts like this. Sometimes it’s web and marketing copy, for me or for others. Sometimes it’s product development (I launched my first info product recently, and more will follow). Sometimes it’s workshops or presentations or keynotes, because I like presenting. Sometimes it’s fiction, because there are stories in my head that need to get out.
What’s your Personal Content Plan? Can you define the core of YOU? Do you know where you are, and where you want to go, and maybe even how to get there?
Want some help with that?