Path to Victory

This is the Guidebook for the Path to Victory Planning System. Work through the major steps listed here in order the first time you begin using this system. Each major step is described below and linked to its own page. Members can access the Build Your Compass materials free of charge. The remaining sections can be accessed for one year by paying $40. To work through the various activities, you will need a notebook—paper or electronic—where you can journal your responses. Try to not skip ahead, but rather go through the activities in order. They build on each other and you will often need to refer back to your work from previous activities. I hope you enjoy using this system as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

It takes time to work through these processes, so I don't want you to feel rushed as you make your way through the activities. Allow yourself time to really delve into the material and develop your system. Don't put your life on hold while you do this work, however. Rather, set aside a time every week to journal and think. As you learn new ways of conceptualizing your life, you might begin incorporating them into how you live. This is great! Everything about this journey is supposed to be highly personalized, so always do what works best for you!

Before you set out on a journey, you need to have some sense of direction. What do you want to move toward? What do you want to move away from? What will help you get back on track after a storm? Your compass needs to point you in the right direction so that you can stay on course to complete your quest. Navigating without one will cause you to spend excessive time travelling in the wrong direction. The first step in planning is therefore to describe your values and priorities—your own personal compass to use while navigating life.

Once you have your orientation, you will need a sense of where you are. What sort of person are you? What have you experienced? Who do you associate with? Where do you live? How do you live daily and weekly? Your map needs to give you a good sense of where you've been and where you are now so that you can choose a realistic quest. Navigating without a map could cause you to try to get to a place you've already reached, or to a place that does not exist, or to a place that you are not capable of reaching. The second step in planning is therefore to describe your current and past life in as much detail as possible—your own personal map to use for finding your place in the world.

With a compass to point you in the right direction and a map to tell you where you are, you can now decide where you want to go. What have you always dreamed of doing? What do you hope to accomplish in your life? In this decade? In this year? Of these ambitions, what is attainable given your current circumstances? What aligns with your values? In this step, you use your map and compass to help choose a meaningful, realistic quest. Without a quest, you will find yourself moving aimlessly from place to place, wondering why you never feel fulfilled by life. The third step in planning is therefore to select meaningful, realistic goals—your own personal quest to pursue for self-fulfillment.

In selecting one quest, you will naturally be NOT selecting many other quests. It is not possible to do everything, especially if you are trying to do it all at once. You can definitely have more than one quest; it is important, however, that they all be taking you in a similar direction. We all have physical limits—time, energy, attention—that must be considered so that we do not over-extend ourselves. Our limits are individual and it does not serve to compare ourselves to other people in this regard

Once you have selected your quest(s), you next need to define victory. How will you know that you have accomplished what you set out to do? What are some alternate outcomes, and how do you feel about each? How will you know if you should abandon or redefine the quest? How will you celebrate when you have completed your quest? Victory is vitally important. When we accomplish our goals, we feel good about ourselves and we want to share that good feeling with those around us. Without a clear picture of what victory will be, you may never feel like you deserve to celebrate. There will always be another step to take and another goal to pursue. Sometimes, we even keep plodding along on a quest we have long since accomplished. The fourth step in planning is therefore to break dreams down into reasonable goals and determine what it means to accomplish each goal—your own personal victories to mark your path through life.

It is also important to set off small victories that will add up to the larger victory. Set your intentions for celebrating accomplishments throughout your quest as points of motivation for continuing. Spacing victories too far apart will cause the quest to feel like drudgery.

With your quest selected and victory defined, it is time to figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be. What resources do you need? Who will accompany you and what roles will you play? What obstacles do you anticipate? In this step, you will closely examine the who, what, when, and where to figure out how you will accomplish your quest. You will also assign critical decision points for reassessing whether to continue, modify, or abandon the quest. Without a properly charted course, you may find yourself having to deal with obstacles you could have avoided or wasting time on unnecessary tasks. The fifth step in planning is therefore to lay out the projects and processes needed to complete your goal—your own personal chart to keep you focused on your quest.

Using your chart, you will now navigate through life. What do you need to do daily, weekly, and monthly to stay on course? How will you spend your time, energy, attention, and money? As unpredictable changes and obstacles appear, you will have to decide how to manage them by adjusting your course. Without consistent navigation, you could find yourself drifting far off of your course, or even worse shipwrecked with your entire quest jeopardized or ruined. The sixth step in planning is therefore to track progress and make adjustments as a project unfolds—your own personal navigation system to keep you on course through your quest.

As you navigate, you will want to keep a log of your journey. What have you accomplished? How do you feel about your progress? What do you want to keep for yourself from your experience? As you progress through your quest, you need to take time to reflect on your journey to date. Keeping records, journals, photobooks, etc. will enhance your experience and allow you to share it with others. Without a meaningful log, you could end up working through your quest without reaping the full benefit of the lessons you learn along the way. The seventh step in planning is therefore to keep records of your activities—your own personal log book to preserve memories of your adventures.

Plans are active, living creatures—they must be actively managed in order to accomplish your goals. How often do you need to update your quests and objectives? How often do you need to reflect on your progress? How often do you need to recalibrate your compass and map? The various planning tasks must be redone regularly at varying intervals to keep your plans fresh. Without an iteration plan, you may find yourself redoing some tasks too frequently while neglecting others. The final step in planning is therefore to incorporate planning activities into your daily life—your own personal iteration schedule to keep your plans fresh and keep you on a meaningful path.

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