Wednesday, 8 January 2020

#8: Little green (& black) books

Review and reflection can be a helpful thing.  Looking back at what you did in the last decade feels important.  Maybe you got married, got a new job, reached a sporting milestone?  But how many of us plan where we will be in ten years time? Putting in an equal amount of time in facing forward to the decade now in front of us is just as crucial.  Planning ten years from now - have you figured out your BeHaveDo?  

What will you be?

What will you have in your life?

What will you be doing?

Ten years is a long time, so be ambitious with your plans. Resolutions are not solutions, with many people running out of energy for their new year’s resolution by mid-January (the 19th apparently). But do review the past year in planning the next ten.

Notebook on the left reads Dementia Adventure, notebook on the right reads Neil Mapes

The little green book on the left in the photo above is the original ideas book for Dementia Adventure. I started writing ideas and future plans for Dementia Adventure back in 2005. I started sketching logos, writing down website domains, planning service costs/benefits and looking into marketing options and thinking about who could help me get this idea into reality. Looking back, my first mistake was not to start the organisation sooner, finally having the confidence to get underway in establishing Dementia Adventure in 2009. My second mistake was making it about me, not we. I personally invested a lot of my time, my family’s time and took on the responsibility which could have been better shared from the outset. Don’t try to do it all alone. Dementia Adventure quickly became more successful when there was a we and we made decisions together. By focusing on the cause and on others first, it also makes it more likely that you can make a successful future exit from your organisation, should you need or want to do so.

But over ten years down the line, many of the original ideas in that battered little green book have come into being, with Dementia Adventure now a thriving and successful charity giving people hope, joy and a sense of adventure in their lives. I am glad I started that little green book. Glad I started future-gazing.

In looking at the decade in front of you, ask yourself which people and causes give you ‘endless’ energy? In the search for meaning, try to start with We, not Me. It’s not about you, it’s about the impact we can have on the world. How can you join together, work together, be together with the people and causes which matter to you? Years ago, a lot of importance was placed on your ‘little black book’ - an address book of key contacts, your network literally in a black book which you carried and guarded. I would like to see more ‘little green books’ - books with ideas, books with sketches and dreams imagined and being nurtured to grow. By the way, it does need to be a real notebook in my opinion (virtual notebooks don’t create the same magic) because there is something important that happens in the brain by physically writing and drawing things down.

I have started a new little green book, the one on the right in the photo above. It came as a present from my mentor Ashley Cooke. My new little green book contains some brilliant questions and tools if you, like me, are looking at where you will be in 2030. If you have not already seen it check out my blog #5: Backup 2=1 and 1=0 for more on getting started with long term planning.

See you somewhere amazing in 2030!