Friday, February 26, 2021

Part II-IV: The Law of Preparation: How to Identify Your Options and Make a Plan

From the “The Principles and Patterns of Building…  Everything!” 

A BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC Masterclass Series

Since we've been married, James and I have had 3 homes built.  I each instance, I found myself careful considering the layout of the yard.  Of course, the utility and comforts of the home were thought through thoroughly first, but the yard would take longer to nurture into maturity.  It would take more than just 3-6 months to build; it would require planning that would need to be cultivated over a lifetime.  Where would we have areas of recreation?  Would we have a fire pit,  a barbeque, outside dining, outdoor movie space?  Would we have fruit trees (I love canning and making jam...yum!)? Could we plant trees that would eventually hold a big, comfy hammock?  Planning was just the beginning but it was extremely fun!  Planning is the gift we give ourselves: it has the power to ease stress, help us feel more resilient when difficulties arise, and aids in calming our fears of the unknown. Sign me up!

Let's finish talking about some of my favorite tools and mindsets for productive planning associated with the Law of Preparation.

Quick Overview

The Law of Preparation has four phases.  Last week we talked about how to evaluate our resources.  Today, let’s focus on the other 3 pieces associated with being prepared: 

Brainstorm Your Options

After you have a clear inventory of your available resources, let’s map your options by brainstorming every idea that comes into your mind.  But here’s the trick, you’re not allowed to make any value judgments while you’re writing!  Why?  Any negative thinking, self-judgment, or self-criticizing will make you self-conscious, divert your creativity, and distract you from focusing on solutions.  In brainstorming, my very best ideas have often come at or near the end of writing sessions.  The more ideas I get rolling around, the more material my mind has to mix and match in innovative and creative ways.  It gives me life!  I’m amazed at the brain’s capacity to create new solutions as I push ideas, dilemmas, and puzzles around in my mind and let it get to work sorting and compiling solutions.

Here is a worksheet to help you get brainstorming effectively:

Workshop Activity: Brainstorm Your Options

Be Prepared

From the BEAUTIFUL LIVING LLC Masterclass Series

Brainstorm Your Options



Instructions: For this writing prompt, you will need to have access to your inventory of the hard assets and soft assets.  This will help you remember everything you have immediately on hand and help you think creatively more efficiently.  Ideally, you should also have already selected one of the 7 specific BEAUTIFUL LIVING Pillars to work within and have a specific goal or objective in mind related to that Pillar.  Keep this goal or objective in mind by writing it below. 

BEAUTIFUL LIVING Pillar I’m working in: (Select One: My Private Life, My Connected Life, My Health and Personal Care, My Physical Environment, My Education, My Work and Career, My Wealth Creation and Management)

My Goal/Objective related to this Pillar:

Instructions: In the space below, write every single idea that comes into your head that you could do to reach your goal or fill your objective.  Do not stop to judge your ideas.  Don’t self edit; that will come later.  Just record every idea that pops into your head onto the paper.  Limit your time so you don’t self-edit yet. Write one idea per square. Don’t feel obligated to fill in every square if unneeded.

My Options

Option A:

Option B:

Option C:

Option D:

Option E:

Option F:

Option G:

Option H:

Option I:

Option J:

Option K:

Option L:

Option M:

Option N:

Option O:

Option P:

Option Q:

Option R:

Choose The Best Option

After you’ve evaluated all the resources at your fingertips, what are your options moving forward?  Now that you know what your options are, based on your resources, what is most viable?  What is most believable and workable?  What is realistic and doable right now?

To help you work through this carefully, fill out the following worksheet: 


Workshop Activity: Identify Your Best Option
Be Prepared

From the BEAUTIFUL LIVING LLC Masterclass Series

Identify Your Best Option



Instructions: For this writing prompt, you will need to have access to the last Workshop Activity: Brainstorm Your Options.  Review the options you’ve brainstormed.  Circle your top three options.  The options you chose should easily fit into the resources you have available. They should be believable to you.

My 3 Best Options

Option 1:

Advantages of this option:

Challenges of this Option:

Are the challenges a deal breaker? 

How will I compensate for the challenges presented?

Option 2:

Advantages of this option:

Challenges of this Option:

Are the challenges a deal breaker? 

How will I compensate for the challenges presented?

Option 3:

Advantages of this option:

Challenges of this Option:

Are the challenges a deal breaker? 

How will I compensate for the challenges presented?

Instructions: After identifying and analyzing your 3 best options, it’s time to pare them down to one option.  Of the above 3 options, which one now looks and feels the most achievable and believable to you?  Which of the three seems the most realistic to build a plan around?

My Best Option Overall:

Why I believe this is the best option right now:

Indicators that will cause me to reevaluate or reconsider this option if they occur:

Develop a Plan

You know your resources.  You’ve brainstormed your options and narrowed it down to one final option fully aware of your plan’s strengths and possible challenges and you’re realistic about your expectation.  Let’s talk about developing a plan; this is your last step in the preparation phase.  

How Often Should I Be Planning?

Your planning strategy will depend on your goal or objective.  I don’t see goals and objectives as being the same.  To me, a goal is associated with a specific timeline; you reach it and you’re done, it’s measurable--success! Goals relate to our daily checklists and appointments, schedules and deadlines. Goals might govern intellectual and physical pursuits--often measurable by tests. But an objective is a lifelong quest, less easy to measure definitively.  And since no one knows the day or the hour of their demise, it stands to reason that an objective can’t have an end date by which to measure success. Objectives, to me, are open ended and subjective.  They are set when seeking to increase wisdom--the moral and just application of knowledge, when setting value goals with children or students, and when pursuing character traits like personal virtues.  To me, working toward growth in the areas of emotional,  social, and spiritual intelligence require us to pursue lifelong objectives, not goals with deadlines.  No one “arrives” at emotional intelligence and then stops, pats themselves on the back, and thanks heaven that that’s finally done.  

If you’re working on personal development objectives related to character growth, plan to check your progress daily when getting started and then weekly when you become more adept.  Character habits require regular attention--we forget, our muscle memory is reflexive (sometimes even addictive) and hard to overcome, we slip back into old patterns of behavior--we’re only human after all!  Eventually, those traits we want will become more natural and spontaneous and that intense focus can be shifted to additional lifelong objectives.  Our capacity can be stretched again.

Daily Planning Format 

Up Close Daily Planner Page

Sorry if it's grainy! I haven't been able to figure out how to transfer this information into a more useable format.)

Weekly Planner Format

Just a Closing Thought as You Think about Making a Plan

Yikes! That looks super dangerous. No, thank you.  Get organized.  Get a plan--even if it changes a hundred times, even if you feel like you're winging it, even if you are dealing with less than ideal resources.

So much love as you set out brainstorming and planning your goals and objectives!  Please feel free to message me.  I’m on Instagram at beautifullivingsystems and at the email address:  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Until next time…

...Live Beautifully!

Heather Roberts Butler


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