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Jumpstart Your Dream With A Simple Action Plan

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Jumpstart Your Dream With A Simple Action Plan

A Recipe For A Great Life
Jeff  Henderson
Jeff Henderson More by this author
Nov 25, 2014 at 09:00 AM

Editor's Note - In his book If You Can See It, You Can Be It, Chef Jeff Henderson offers two decades of life lessons he gained on his redemptive journey from drug dealer to TV celebrity chef and nationally acclaimed motivational speaker. As he explains here, it all begins with a dream and a plan of action to achieve it.

For me, almost everything starts in the kitchen. It’s the place where I get organized, prepared, and ready to execute my dishes. The ingredients, utensils, gadgets, and instructions have to be prioritized, prepped, and put in their proper place so I can start making magic.

Putting Your Vision into Action

When you get right down to it, being successful in your life is a lot like being successful in the kitchen. Realizing the vision you write down for yourself is a lot like preparing a great meal. Good food doesn’t fall out of the sky, and neither will your success!

Let’s say you want to make a meal for family and friends that they will never forget. That’s your vision. How are you going to get from here to there? You have to start breaking it down: first
of all, what are you going to cook? You decide on a few dishes that will go together well and please the people you’re feeding. These are the specific goals you need to meet to make your vision a reality. Now you need to break it down some more. For each one of those dishes, you need to follow the steps in the recipe. You gather your ingredients, measure them out, and identify the right cooking method—is your dish baked or broiled? Cooked on a grill, in a pot, or in the oven? Then you time it and watch it carefully until it’s done to perfection. These steps are the action plan that gets you to your goal.

Trying to realize your vision without goals and an action plan is like trying to cook without heat. Doesn’t matter if it’s a delicious recipe or the career of your dreams: breaking down the accomplishment of your vision into steps keeps you from getting overwhelmed and guarantees that you have a solid map for getting where you want to go.

The Power of a Plan

I learned the power of making a plan—and even more important, writing it down—while I was still in prison. Prior to my release, along with a 55-page memoir, I had to write what wound up being a 5-page strategic action plan. I wrote out where I planned to stay when I got out; how I planned to find a job; how I would develop and maintain relationships; how I planned to avoid criminal relapse and the wrong crowd; how I’d identify the people I did want to have around me; how I’d work with my probation officer to keep her off my back, and how I planned to transition to life outside prison. Alan Hershman, who led the class where we did these assignments, did a lot of research for inmates to help us fill in the blanks. He’d pull stuff off the Internet, like a USA Today article on successful Black chefs and a list of hotels for me to contact in my area of release.

When he first gave me the assignment, I struggled, because I had never written anything down in detail like that before. I always kept stuff in my head. This time I had to put it on paper. And
even though it was difficult, it made all the difference. When you write down your goals and your plan, it focuses your attention on what’s important. It makes you accountable for what you’re trying to accomplish. And it helps you remember what you’ve set out to do. It’s the difference between going shopping without a shopping list—wandering around the grocery store relying on your memory, getting distracted by things you don’t need, and going home without some key ingredient—or shopping with a detailed list and having exactly what you need to cook that dinner when you get home.

Ninety percent of Americans don’t have any written goals. Shocking! Is it any wonder that they can’t bring their vision to life? It’s not enough to be a go-getter—you’ve got to be a goalgetter.
I want to challenge you to become a 10-percenter and write down your goals so you can turn your vision for success into reality now. Not someday, but NOW!

Write Down Your Goals

I can only guess what you’re thinking right now: But Jeff, I don’t have time to sit down and write a bunch of goals! Or I don’t have to write this stuff down—I already know what I want to accomplish, it’s all in my head. Or maybe I don’t even know where to begin.

You’re going to come up with a bunch of reasons why you don’t want to do this, or why you don’t need to. But I’m here to tell you that you can do it, and you do need to, or the success you’re reaching for is going to stay far out of reach. To think of it another way, writing down your goals is like signing a check: you can fill in the recipient and the amount, but it’s not legit until you sign it, just like your goals aren’t legit on the success track until you write them down. I still write down my goals, even today, right in my smartphone.

So I want you to promise yourself that before you go to bed tonight you’re going to sign that success check. You’re going to have the heart to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and put your goals and your action plan in writing.

About Author
Jeff  Henderson
Jeff Henderson was the first African American to be named Chef de Cuisine at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and executive chef at Café Bellagio. He hosted the The Chef Jeff Project, a docu-reality TV series; and is the author of the New York Continue reading