How Plans and Poems Are the Same and Why You Need Both

In the past few weeks, there have been many changes at GwenBortner.com — none of which are visible in any tangible way. This is because all of the changes have occurred in my mind.

This is the trick of any change. The initial change is small, possibly minute, often so subtle that nobody actually notices. But tiny difference continues to grow, expand and eventually become obvious. That is what has been happening with me: tiny changes have been occurring over the past days, weeks and months. I now feel them starting to grow. Hopefully soon you will notice the difference too.

The Plan

For many years now, I have been following Michael Hyatt via his blog, and I attended a number of his in-person events he hosted in 2013. His authentic presence, practical advice and sincere desire to provide valuable information has made me a fan. I am also a planner. So when his latest book (co-authored with Daniel Harkavy), Living Forward, became available, I immediately purchased a copy.

Last weekend I was finally able to schedule the full day suggested to go through the process of writing my own Life Plan. It was an incredibly valuable exercise and well worth the time invested.

The creation of the Life Plan helped me more fully understand how all the various aspects of my life intertwine and work together. The key with the life plan is to focus on what is truly important and how you will make a difference in your particular world.

Thus began the change; I started thinking about everything a little differently.

The Poem

Then upon returning home I was off to a 3-day retreat with the clergy within our district. My position was a bit unique as the District Lay Leader: I was the only laity at the event. Our speaker, Marlon Hall, described himself as a disruptive innovator — if that is not an intriguing description, I don’t what is.

The first exercise we were challenged to do was write a 4-word poem to describe our purpose in the following format:

VERB, NOUN, PREPOSITION, NOUN

The challenge of limiting the response to four words in a particular format made the exercise both formidable and manageable at the same time. Although I continue to struggle with tweaking and word-smithing the four words, the clarity of purpose began solidifying in a manner that has eluded me up to this point.

Thus continued the change. A simple statement of purpose causes me to consider each decision differently.

Similarities and Differences

I realized that both exercises were fundamentally the same:

By focusing on just four words, the extraneous dissipates. By thinking of your life as a legacy, the non-essential shrinks.

Together, they create a complete vision for your personal future. Whereas the poem focuses exclusively on the why, the plan develops actionable steps to answer the questions of who, what, when, where and how.

Of course implementation is a different step entirely. But you will have a ring-side seat as I continue to show my work during this year-long experiment.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to consider investing the time to create a life plan and develop your own 4-word poetic why. And if you are willing, share your poem in the comments below. I would love to know why you are here!