I’m looking back almost an entire year and remembering the aha moment I had when a friend introduced me to the art of strategically planning things before executing them.

Before this moment, I would just go crazy. I would come up with an idea and without giving it any thought I would just run with it. I was playing too deeply into the Gary Vaynerchuk mindset of going all in on my strengths and forgetting about my weaknesses. Strategic Planning was certainly a weakness. Actually, planning, in general, was a weakness. I was always a wing it kind of guy.

During this aha moment I keep talking about I realized immediately that if I took the strategic planning side that my friend introduced me to and blended it perfectly with my executing mindset, I would be able to accomplish anything at a much higher level. This didn’t necessarily mean I would be successful at everything I set out to accomplish, but it definitely meant that I would have a much greater success rate.

Bridging the gap between my 24/7 executing mindset and the mindset of someone who strategically plans every detail out and making it work together was not as easy as it may seem. It’s extremely challenging, but extremely rewarding.

If I had to summarize an entire year into one article, I’d lay it out over these three steps.

#1 Plan or Execute?

For me, it was plain as day that all I wanted to do was execute on thoughts and ideas. I have a very aggressive “Let’s get this done and nothing will stop us” attitude. You know the attitude I’m talking about. It’s overbearing and obnoxious at times. I was and still am the personality type that loves to execute ideas. It’s like an instant spark of momentum inside of me that I just can’t shut off. I once believed that this was all you needed to succeed. What I soon realized that execution without planning often times leads to failure.

Being a strategic planner is a gift—to be able to map out all of the challenges and barriers that lay in the way. It means being able to predict what the future holds for your success. Grinding out all of the details and knowing exactly what to do in case the inevitable happens certainly increases your chances of success. However, being a strategic planner is useless without execution.

To improve your chances of reaching the extreme heights of success you’ve set out for, bridging the gap between executing and planning will exponentially explode your growth in ways that you’ve never considered possible.

#2 Go With Your Gut

This almost sounds crazy. Believe me when I say this. People look at me like I’m nuts when they ask how I’m able to make decisions so quickly. I make decisions based off of previous experiences and instincts. I’ve put myself in a lot of situations from within a lot of different industries so I can generally relate something happening to something that happened previously.

I would much rather be right 4/15 times than right 2/2 times. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather be right four times rather than twice? Sure, those failures hurt. They cost you money, friends, and sometimes your business. I believe that if you put yourself in enough situations that your instincts will continue to steer you in the right direction and you’ll continue to reflect on and learn from them.

Trusting your gut will grant you success more times than not if you’re learning from past experiences.

#3 Balance

I’m not saying that you need to get a scale out and weigh everything you do to make it a balance. What I am saying is that there is a perfect balance for you. I cannot tell you what that balance is. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error until you uncover the perfect mixture of planning and executing so you can achieve what you’ve always dreamed of.

For some, that perfect mixture may be 5 minutes of planning and 50 years of executing and for others it may be 50/50. Go out there and give it a shot. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid to be more prepared.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Cole VanDeWoestyne

Watch My Journey as I Climb Back to The Top

At only 22 years old I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve ran metallurgical departments in steel foundries and managed over 20 sales people at one of the largest car dealerships in the Midwest. I’ve recently forced myself to rock bottom to ignite the fire that once burned inside of me. I moved from Illinois to California spontaneously and have started my writing career. Sleeping on a friends couch and eating peanut butter in jelly has been a loud wake up call from the comforts I once enjoyed.