Planning is everything, but the plan is nothing. — Dwight Eisenhower
We have 11 days until 2021…Instead of doing a new year resolution this year, which means I will likely continue down the path that I can see now. I’ve decided to pause, zoom out, and look at what my next 5 years would look like if I were to take different paths, through an exercise called ‘The Odyssey Plan’.
What is the odyssey plan and why?
This exercise was designed by Stanford Business School professors,
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The purpose of it is to let you see that you have multiple futures, to remind you of other possibilities in your life — you don’t need to commit to a single one, to help you clarify which path to choose.
This might sound like common sense, but we tend to be so busy with our lives that rarely do we lift our heads up to see the paths we are not on, and sometimes too late when we do.
We tend to be so busy with our lives that rarely do we lift our heads up to see the paths we are not on, and sometimes too late when we do.
How to do the odyssey plan?
The simple version of it is to write down in details:
- What your life will look like if you go down the current path?
- What your life will look like if choose a different path?
- What your life will look like if money & societal obligations are not factors?
What to take away from the odyssey plan?
The purpose of this exercise is not for you to pick the right path out of the three. It is used to remind you of the realms of possibility in life. It is also an excellent opportunity to reflect and see if there are any big shifts you want to make in your life (i.e. start a business yourself vs. working for a company), after seeing what the future would look like, 5 years down the path.
To quote Dwight Eisenhower, “Planning is everything, but the plan is nothing.”.