There’s nothing complicated about planning. The only challenge is deciding what you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice to get it. The trick is to link passion and purpose to your goal with mental tenacity and persistence. It doesn’t matter whether passion or purpose comes first, but you need both to keep you inspired.

For example, I am passionate about teamwork, adventure, boats, and guns, which made being a Navy SEAL an attractive career for me. However, those passions were not enough during training when I was so cold I vomited or when all my toenails needed to be drilled to relieve the pressure from fluid that had collected in my feet while standing for 72 hours. I needed to find a purpose in becoming a Navy SEAL that would keep me Fired Up at the most critical times.

I thought long and hard about why I wanted to be a Navy SEAL, and I’m glad I did, because it was my mindset that got me through training. I wasn’t the fastest runner or swimmer, nor was I the strongest at doing push-ups or pull-ups, but what I lacked in physical prowess I made up for in determination.

I watched my BUD/S class (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) Navy SEAL training class dwindle from 122 to 18 in the first six weeks of training. The difference between those who made it through the winter Hell Week in December 1991 and those who didn’t had nothing to do with bicep size. It had everything to do with how personally important our purpose for being there was to each of us — the survivors wanted it much more than the other 104 men.

No SEAL goes on a mission without knowing its objective. Plain and simple, KNOW YOUR GOAL! Know why you want it and what you’re willing to give up to get it. Passion can lead you to a goal worth going after, but purpose keeps you going. Whether your goal is to become a Navy SEAL, start a business, or lose thirty pounds (all past goals of mine), you must define your purpose, get passionate about it, and go after it.

The goal of planning is to create a mindset for success. The planning process conditions your mind for what you need to do to accomplish your goal. It is an important part of turning your dream, your Milestone Goal, into reality.

Planning helps you visualize what needs to be done and shows you the sacrifices you must make to achieve your goal. It gets you in the right frame of mind to go after your goal. Remember, however, that a plan is a step in your journey to success; it’s not the destination.

Be aware of “planning paralysis”—getting so wrapped up in creating the perfect plan that you never take any action toward your goal. Your plan is only as good as the actions you take. No plan is perfect. In the SEAL teams, we would say there are two plans: the one you create before a mission, and the one you carry out during the mission. Never forget that the mission is to accomplish your goal, not create a pretty plan for it.

Plan in 3-D Resources

3Ds – Define It, Divide It, Do It Daily

Navy SEAL Mindset Training Plan in 3-D: Define It, Divide It, Do It Daily

Unstoppable Book: Mills, Alden M.. Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything (Second Edition). Tilbury House Publishers.

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