Making a Plan for the Impossible

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Making a Plan for the Impossible

This is a process that can be done in conjunction with Impact Factory's Desire Pack.

Most of us have dreams and goals that we aspire to. Lifestyle or professional aims that we keep on our wish list. Sometimes, we even achieve them.

More often than not, though, they reappear on New Years resolution lists year after year. They loom on to do lists (the ones that never get actioned and thus keep rolling over like un-won lottery jackpots). They come up in heart-to-hearts we have with our nearest and dearest as 'if only' and 'why can't I?' and 'Il'l never be able to'.

Fundamentally, there is a way of being that most of us have in common that manages to keep us from attaining the things we say we want. A colleague of ours says that there is a conspiracy to keep people small. This means keeping people small enough in their desires, wants and wishes so that the rest of us won't find them any trouble or feel threatened by their big aspirations or feel guilty that we don't go out and achieve big things as well.

Most of us are uncomfortable with really ambitious people. We like the status quo; we don't like people who are too different. We like to know where we - and you - are. Its safe.

Now this conspiracy we're talking about is an odd one: there's no 'they' in it - the 'they' is us. But because just about everyone's in on it, we collude and think and act as if its true. We, most of us, paint our lives on very small canvases; the big ones scare us silly.

Heres what we mean.

Think for a minute about what you want improved in your life. More money? A better home? More fulfilling relationships? A pay rise?

How much money would you need to sort yourself out, for instance?

The common reply to this is 10% to 25% more. It doesn't seem to matter what someone's present level of prosperity is, most people anywhere in the world say that 10% to 25% more than they currently have would make it better. That kind of increase is in keeping with what we think of as possible. That kind of thinking seems designed to ensure a kind of success. 'If I keep my wants within what everyone else says is reality (including myself), then surely I will have every chance of getting them, won't I?'

Small thinking.

This is how small thinking works. Say you're earning 20,000. If you got 25% more that would make it 25,000. To achieve that you may have to work harder, put in more overtime, angle for promotion, perhaps even make some investments. But they'd be things that you know you could do; they'd be familiar to you. You might grouse a bit for having to work "all the hours God sends" but it is within your possibilities to achieve your 25% more.

Some time ago, just before we set up the company, the partners of Impact Factory came across a tool to break this pattern of small thinking. Indeed, it was partly the reason we set up the company in the first place. We didn't exactly want to take over the world, but we had (and still have) big ambitions and a fierce desire to break away from attitudes that kept our creativity and our pocketbooks small.

Heres the actual tool:

CVS * BVS  BVS = CVS x 10

And this is what it means:

There is the Current View of the Situation (how things are now)  CVS

And there is the Better View of the Situation (how I would like things to be)  BVS

OK, so what if the better view (BVS) was not just a little better than the current view (CVS), but hugely better.  Not 10% to 25% better.  Not twice as good (200%).  But ten times better (1000%).

What if the better view was equal to 10 times the current view?

BVS = 10 x CVS

What would then have to happen to make things 1000% better?

Most of us have no idea. We cant even conceive of how we would get there. We don't even know where to start. And faced with that enormity, most of don't ever begin, or we go out and play the lottery in the belief that once that ship comes in then I might be able to get to this ten times business.

What we do instead is look at what we can conceive of and start there. Unfortunately, putting your energy there immediately limits you to small thinking and small action.

"If you do more of what you've always done, you'll get more of what you already have."
ee cummings

In other words, if you continue to do what you have always done you will simply get more of the same.

Therefore, something else has to happen. But what do you do when you really, well and truly believe you can't do anything more, or youve tried everything possible?

Quite simply, your thinking can't stay the same. Your doing can't stay the same. And certainly, your beliefs can't stay the same. You need to make a leap in perspective. Remember all that stuff a few years ago about paradigm shifts? Well this is the time for one!

This is where CVS to BVS comes in. The process helps people make that leap, instead of trying to do it in the dark.

"Some men dream of worthy accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them."  -  Anon.

So CVS:  the current view. What's the reality of where you are now, right now? Lets start with money. The process will work with any aspect of your life but its often easier at first to grasp the concepts involved using money and work.

Say you earn 25,000.

Then BVS (the better view) has to be ten times better than that.

Ten times 25,000 would be 250,000.

But what would have to happen to make it ten times better? Certainly you cant just do a bit more. You cant simply get a promotion or get lucky at the bookies. If you're serious about making the leap, you'll have to radically change your approach to the way you run your life. Many of your current beliefs about things will no longer work.

This can really be difficult, asking yourself to change a whole chunk of your belief systems in order to achieve (or at least attempt to achieve) something much bigger for your life. We know that most people do dream of big changes, but don't want to actually do anything different to get there. A bit of a contradiction there, but typical of most thinking.

That's the challenge of taking this process on!

Just to start you off you'll have to get used to the fact that failure is not only OK, but inevitable. Think about it. If you set your new goal to be ten times your current situation, including changing your thinking, attitude and strategies towards that goal, and fail miserably, you will still have moved a far greater distance than if you were looking for 25% more and succeeded!

The process

OK so set aside your doubts and fears for a moment and lets get on with the process.

You can do this on your own but it works much better with a friend or colleague. We usually can see someone else's difficulties more clearly and objectively than our own.

Get yourself a large sheet of paper.

Set your self a goal that's 10 times better than your current situation.

Something you see as impossible.

Write it in the top right hand corner of the page

Then set your self the old sort of goal (25%) for the same issue and write it in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

Now work out how you would achieve the 25% goal. Its quite likely you'll be able to see a series of steps and a specific time-line with some actions, i.e. you can make a plan and know what to do first. You can see your way forward.

Now try that with the 10 x goal.

The steps here are unlikely to be clear. I sometimes think of it like one of those classic Chinese drawings you get on calendars. You can see the foreground and you can see the distant mountains but the bit in the middle is a swirling mist.

OK, so now the deal here is to work backwards.

Ask yourself what life would have to be like just before you achieved your goal. What would have to have happened? Who would be involved? Where would you be? What would you be doing?

When you have that step clear, work your way down in a series of before that steps until you reach the step you can take now. I.e. the first thing you'll have to do if you want to start on your journey towards the bigger goal.

This is unlikely to be the same step as the first step on your way to the smaller goal.

It is however likely to be something that will shift the direction you're going in.

Though this process sounds simple it can be quite a struggle to do.

It happens to just about everyone who attempts it, so you're not alone! All your resistance to doing differently could quite possibly emerge. In many ways its like learning a whole new skill from scratch (such as learning to drive, when you know what the end goal is (passing the test) but you feel inept and frustrated trying out the new skill (like hill starts).

To help you persevere here are a couple of actual plans to help you see the workings.

Robin: In my earlier career as an actor I was earning 3,000 or so a year. Improving it by 25% to 3,750 was easy; I just had to apply myself to getting more work. Write more application letters to more theatres. Get more auditions.

Applying the CVS to BVS formula here my income from acting work would be 30,000. An unlikely sum it seemed to me then.

The series of steps working backwards were

Just before

Need to be working consistently in TV and Commercials as well as good roles in large theatres

Before that

Need to have a track record in making TV and Commercials

Before that

Need to have my work known by influential casting directors

Before that

Need to be available in London at a moments notice and have work near London that people can see

First step

Need to limit the distance I work away from London!!!

So there it was. Instead of applying for any jobs I could find, I had to stop applying for jobs in theatres where I had been working that were too far away from London and stop accepting offers from companies to tour the country.

Jo Ellen: I've got a different kind of example. A few years ago I was living in my flat and realised I just wasn't that happy with it. So I did the ten-times exercise.

I started off saying that if I currently had a one bedroom flat, then ten times would mean ten bedrooms. As soon as I put that down as my goal, my heart sank.
I realised I didn't want a ten bedroom flat, house, caravan or any other very large abode just at the moment, thank you.

So that was one good outcome of doing the CVS to BVS exercise: it got me quite clear that ten times my living accommodation wasn't the answer. And you may find that that happens to you as well. You might start off trying to achieve something completely out of your normal way of thinking, and then realise you don't want it; or whatever it is you might need to do to achieve it isn't where you're at right now.

However, I still had an unhappy flat and an unhappy me.

So I tried a different version of the formula: what if I made my current flat ten times better than it was at the time? Eureka! I immediately had a picture of what it could look like, and working backwards from there was easy as pie. I not only didn't have to move, but I now have a flat that fills me with joy every time I walk into it.
You'll find that if you work at a CVS to BVS project seriously you will need to rerun the process after three to six months or so as life will change and so may your goals. As a matter of fact, wed be very surprised if your goals didn't change as soon as you started working on them. Because the scope of them will be so much broader than the 25% stuff, your perspective will be broader as well. You'll see things differently, and our guess is that you'll start refining and redefining your goals as you go along.

The process forces you out of the box of your limiting beliefs and pushes you to make that leap in perspective and beliefs that can radically change your life.

You can tie these ideas into thinking about prosperity: not just the monetary increase, but in all areas of your life. Maybe you need to look at making things ten times better in terms of your relationships, your leisure time, the support you give other people, your own well-being, etc.

Once understood, this leap in perspective can be used for anything.

So, what do you really want? Now make a plan for the impossible.

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