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Free Action Plan Template Download

While each action plan is unique to the business or individual’s predefined goal, they do all need to provide certain very specific information. That’s why an action plan template is useful to guide you through process of reaching your business or personal goals.

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Your action plan should provide details about the overall objective, the steps needed to attain that objective and the expected deadline. This template is also great for personal development because you are able to stay focused and reach your goals.

Download a generic action plan template to ensure you don’t leave anything out. Click the images below to download the Action Plan template in either a word document or pdf format.

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Related: Four Steps to Getting More Done – Today

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Setting & Achieving Goals

Feel Like Quitting? These 9 Women Prove Grit Can Lead You To Massive Success

When life knocks you down, true grit is a quality that sustains you.

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J.K. Rowling

Greatness and Grit

J.K. Rowling

Talent and intelligence may help you land some success, but it’s a positive, non-cognitive skill known as “grit” that is the secret sauce in reaching the next level of achievement, according to Angela Duckworth, a psychology researcher and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Grit is a perfect storm of non-cognitive skills. It’s resolve and tenacity. It’s the resilience to go on with renewed purpose after you’ve suffered a setback, failure or disappointment. It’s commitment to your goals and a belief in yourself and/or to a greater cause. And the beauty of grit is that it’s not just a popular buzzword – it’s a powerful motivational tool that can be used in both work and personal life.

For women, grit is a powerful advantage to possess in entrepreneurship or any male-dominated field. To pay tribute to inspirational female leaders who have shown us that quitting is simply not an option, here are nine examples of amazing women who exhibited true grit.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void: the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is the poster-woman for grit. After suddenly losing her husband Dave Goldberg in 2015, the mother of two young children went back to work and tried to find meaning in her loss. Not surprisingly, she found it through doing what she does best: Helping others who are struggling by sharing her own life lessons.

What emerged from her struggle was the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, where she shares science, research and anecdotes about the concrete steps that can be taken to overcome struggle and build resilience.

Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

Barbara Corcoran

barbara-corcoran

Barbara Corcoran

“I’ve since learned that you need to treat obstacles just like opportunity – quickly without much thought and move on.”

While building her business empire, Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and Shark Tank investor, did what she needed to do in order to survive. Corcoran has spoken about how, during the recession in the 1990s, she had to leave her own real estate company with its 300 employees to work for a salaried job under a real estate developer so she could pay rent.

“Everybody laughed at me because they thought I was a failure,” Corcoran says.

However, she didn’t let that setback halt her determination. She eventually returned to her company, which survived the recession, and her staff of 300 remained at her side.

Anne Wojcicki

Anne Wojcicki

Anne Wojcicki

“I have had a lot of setbacks that I learned from.”

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki has spoken of growing up with a strong academic mother who spoke out and wasn’t afraid of making waves. Having such a fierce female role model early in life likely prepared Wojcicki for some of the challenges she would face as an adult with her direct-to-consumer genetic testing service. In 2013, the FDA banned her company from selling its services. At the time, Wojicki said the “new user signups dropped by half.”

Wojcicki isn’t deterred easily. After two years of working very closely with the FDA, she was able to successfully bring a less comprehensive version of the testing service back to market while pursuing additional revenue streams for the company.

Related: Women Leaders In Business: 5 Lessons Learnt

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

Oprah Winfrey has been very public about her early challenges. At the age of 19, Winfrey became the co-anchor of a news desk in Tennessee, becoming Nashville’s first black and female news anchor. She then went on to anchor the coveted spot of evening news at a larger station in Baltimore only to be soon fired. She was demoted to a less visible spot doing morning news.

However, her ability to really connect with people shone through. Winfrey was offered a local morning talk show, Baltimore Is Talking, and it shot to the top in ratings. When a talk show opportunity for an affiliate station in Chicago presented itself, she went for it. Winfrey transformed it into Chicago’s highest rated talk show, which became The Oprah Winfrey Show. The burgeoning media mogul formed her own production company Harpo Productions and gained the rights to her show, ensuring creative control.

Possessing the resilience to keep going after disadvantages and setbacks made Winfrey into the mogul she is today. “Not all my memories of Baltimore are fond ones,” Winfrey said. “But I do have fond memories of Baltimore, because it grew me into a real woman.”

Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth

“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

In her famous TED Talk, researcher and academic Angela Duckworth talks about how at the age of 27, she left her high flying job as a management consultant to teach math in New York City public schools. What she learned while teaching became part of her obsession about “grit,” a non-cognitive skill. “Some of my strongest performers did not have stratospheric IQ scores,” Duckworth said in her TED Talk. “Some of my smartest kids weren’t doing so well.”

She goes on to talk about how although education best measures IQ, her experience and research has convinced her that it’s passion and perseverance that better predicts a person’s academic and professional success. And what emerged from Duckworth’s own grit was The New York Times bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson

“It would be lovely to think that success was a result of my being extraordinary, but the answer is far more boring. I worked hard. Really hard.”

The president of the respected Chicago firm Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson isn’t as well-known as her contemporaries, but she is undoubtedly a fierce leader who embodies grit. She grew up without a father, and her mother was a pivotal figure in her development of strong character. A well-intentioned business woman who didn’t have the practical know-how, her mother often got the family evicted from homes throughout Hobson’s childhood.

“Even though I will never be evicted again, I am haunted by those times and still work relentlessly,” Hobson once wrote. “When I think of my career and why I leaned in, it comes down to basic survival.”

However, her mother instilled independence and competence in Hobson from a young age. “My mom would say, ‘You have a birthday party to go to? Well, you can’t go unless you’ve planned how to get there and how to get a present.’” Hobson said. “She wouldn’t do that for me. I found my own orthodontist, my own high school. I set up interviews and did college trips. Despite her incredible concern and caring, my mom didn’t have the capacity for that. It was outside her experience, and she knew I was on top of it.”

J.K. Rowling

JK Rowling author

JK Rowling

Do not ever quit out of fear of rejection.”

Before we heard of her, J.K. Rowling was a single mother living on government benefits in the United Kingdom. She sat in cafes in Edinburgh finishing her book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When it was complete, her agent submitted the manuscript to 12 different publishers before it was sold.

This past June, Rowling, a Twitter enthusiast, reflected on her days of struggle and offered a message of strength and grit to other writers. She quoted a tweet from a fellow writer that said: “HEY! YOU! You’re working on something and you’re thinking ‘Nobody’s gonna watch, read, listen.’ Finish it anyway.” The Harry Potter author added: “There were so many times in the early ’90s when I needed somebody to say this to me. It’s great advice for many reasons.”

She went on to encourage writers to finish their books. “Even if it isn’t the piece of work that finds an audience, it will teach you things you could have learned no other way.”

Related: How Ramona Kasavan Built An Organisation That Helps Women Empower Themselves

Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad

“I’m not going into that good night. I am going to fire up and live this thing as large as I can live it until I can’t live it that large anymore.”

In September 2013, 64-year-old Diana Nyad attempted, for the fifth time, to swim more than 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. Nyad called the stretch of water she intended to conquer “Mother Nature on steroids,” full of whitetip sharks and jellyfish.

Nyad said that her greatest catalyst to complete the swim challenge was her mother’s death four years earlier. It made her not only aware of the limited time she had left but gave her the will to “find a way” – which became her motto.

Find a way, she did. After nearly 53 hours in the water, Nyad became the first person to ever complete the swim from Cuba to Florida.

Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash

“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

The “sink or swim” moment for Mary Kay Ash, who founded the Mary Kay Cosmetics empire, came after World War II. Her husband had run off with another woman, and she was left with three young children to support. Having a knack for sales, she was employed by various direct-sales companies. Always a top sales performer, she found herself undervalued and dismissed by her male colleagues.

Ash quit her sales job in 1962 and began writing a guide for working women. In it, she described her ideal sort of company and soon realized that she could start her own. She simply had to find a product she believed in to sell to women.

Now in her mid-40s and on her second husband, she took her life’s savings and invested it in the production of a skin softener she’d been using on herself. She rented a storefront, recruited nine saleswomen and was ready to open shop when her second husband suddenly died. Although she was advised against it, a month later she opened shop. One year later, sales reached $800,000, a staggering number for 1964, and her sales force had grown to more than 3,000.

Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics remains a private company specializing in direct sales in more than 40 markets worldwide with over 3.5 million independent consultants and $3.5 billion in sales as of 2016.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

8 Ways To Go From Quitter To Go-Getter

Persistence, more than talent, determines how far you go and where you end up.

Sherrie Campbell

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Success, more than anything, is an attitude you carry about yourself and your life. We are all capable of confidence, of having it all, losing it all and gaining it back again and again. It is tempting to give up and claim defeat when the chips are down.

Fear and frustration are the two emotions most responsible for quitting. We must learn to bear both if we are to reach the levels of success we desire.

Being a go-getter is something that will wax and wane throughout your career, so it is wise to view it as a virtue to be practiced rather than something to be mastered in a single decision.

1Embrace failure

Go-getters accept failure as a part of their entrepreneurial journey. View failure as your most critical learning tool. Failure forces you to find and access your own inner reservoirs of mental toughness. Failure also tests your perseverance, flexibility and willingness to learn and to change direction whenever necessary.

Related: 12 Reasons Entrepreneurs With Type-A Personalities Are Unstoppable

It pushes you to think in new ways, to explore new ideas and to develop new skills. To become a go-getter you must adopt the mindset that failure is your greatest asset whenever you are trying to improve, learn something new or expand your horizons.

Instead of getting bogged down with fear or frustration around failure, analyse what caused the failure and start working that much harder not to repeat the same mistakes over and again.

2Pay your dues

Mastering anything only comes after hours and hours of repetition and practice. You cannot be stubborn, resistant or complain your way into success. To be a go-getter you must operate from willingness. You must be willing to pay your dues. You can never become great at anything you have neglected to train or prepare for.

The harder you work, the more time you put in, the more proficient you will feel, and the deeper you will come believe in your skills. You have to put in your time to gain the mastery you desire.

When you have knowledge you naturally develop more confidence; therefore, taking action is always the first step in becoming a go-getter. If at first you fail, adopt the mindset that you’re in good company; all great successes have failed. All you have to do, is keep grinding.

3Make no room for negative

positivity

To go from quitter to go-getter you must make sure you have power and authority over your mind. A mind not well managed becomes a dangerous breeding-ground for lazy, negative and distorted thinking. Become attuned to what thoughts you allow to impact your attitude and be prepared to delete negative thoughts as they pop up throughout your day.

If you give your pessimistic, defeatist thoughts power, they will act as parasites and drain you of the mental and emotional toughness necessary for your advancement.

Treat your thoughts as tools; use and strengthen the thoughts which motivate and inspire you, and discard the rest.

Related: 12 Millionaire Habits To Start Making Serious Money Soon And Build Wealth In A Hurry

4Maximise your strengths

Each of us is made up of a variety of strengths and weaknesses. No one is proficient in all the areas they desire to be. That’s okay, it’s not necessary for you to perfect to be a go-getter. It is more important to know your strengths and work to make those aspects of your skill set and personality even stronger. When you focus on your strengths it keeps you in touch with your innate worth.

Do not waste time over-estimating your abilities. True confidence comes in having the humility to accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. Knowing you can trust yourself to work hard and to go the extra mile whenever necessary will help you strive for excellence with less pressure. If you come up short, as a go-getter, you can trust your hard work will eventually get you to your goal.

5Create a state of strong positive emotion

Go-getters are motivated by the positive and believe if they can think an idea up there must be a way to achieve it. To open your mind to a new idea you must first create a state of positive emotion. To create a positive mindset begin by repeating your desired characteristics, goals, or wants in an affirmation-like fashion.

It is an effective practice to say what you want out loud, as if you’re thankful that you already have it. The mind doesn’t know the difference. The mind needs convincing which is why repetition is important. Repeating your desired results out loud places your mindset directly in the faith that what you want is making its way to you right now.

6Walk with confidence

confident-walk

Go-getters have swagger. Your most powerful advertisement to the external world is your body language. For this reason, walk with your chest expanded and chin slightly lifted. When you hold this posture, it puts your eyes forward and your posture tall. Other people read this as you are open for communication. Once they approach you, be sure to use your hands to reinforce what you’re saying and give appropriate eye contact to the person you’re speaking with.

You do not want to stare someone down, but you want to make sure you’re having enough eye contact to show deep interest, that you are listening and that you feel something about what is being communicated.

Body language either draws people in or it pushes others away. Go-getters understand drawing people in means increased opportunity.

Related: 10 Horrible Habits That Destroy Your Happiness

7Practice gratitude

You are going to experience setbacks in life and all throughout your career. To be a go-getter you must practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude is one of the most effective ways to regain perspective after a painful setback. Committing to daily gratitude is even better. It is simple to do and a great way to attract solutions, opportunities, increased happiness, satisfaction and abundance into your life.

There is a way to be thankful for just about anything from running water to your thriving business. There is nothing too small for your gratefulness. Gratitude does wonders for your attitude; it changes your vibe and puts you into a motivated mindset to achieve even more to be thankful for.

8Use humour

Business is serious stuff. To master being a go-getter, you must avoid living with a bad case of “seriosity.” What is the point in working hard if you’re too perfectionistic to find the joy, fun and humor along the way? Go-getters understand emotions are contagious and make sure to bring a positive, outgoing, uplifted, light-hearted, joking vibe into every interaction they have. You must do the same. People prefer to do business with those they like.

To be a go-getter you must know how to win people over with your personality. Having a positive and lighthearted sense of humor not only puts you in a better mood, but it increases the morale of all of those around you.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

Which Of These 7 Personality Traits Do You Share With The World’s Richest People?

Possessing the same characteristics of extremely rich and successful people is half the battle.

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Read on to find out which key characteristics you possess.

warren-buffett-talents

Warren Buffett

Multibillionaire Warren Buffett once said, “Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.” What the “Oracle from Omaha” meant is that having lots of money intensifies characteristics already there. In this case, the key questions for people aspiring for money and success to ask themselves are: What are the crucial personality traits and characteristics that relate to becoming rich? And do I have them?

What research shows is that people who have made a lot of money are, in fact, different from the herd. According to Thomas Corley, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals, many of the world’s wealthiest possess a core set of personality traits and habits that have been essential in their success. In a separate study, UBS and PwC jointly assessed the personality traits of 1,300 of the world’s most successful billionaires. The findings underscored the idea that there are definitive behaviors and personality traits that the very rich possess.

To crack that nut for you, we’ve distilled ten crucial personality traits of some of the world’s richest billionaires.

Bill Gates is a lifelong learner. Are you?

warren-buffett

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates

At the age of 61, Bill Gates is worth $86 billion. But what’s truly remarkable is not simply his net worth, but that even at this stage of his life, he remains devoted to learning as he was as a young man coming up in the world.

Related: Top 5 Personality Traits Investors Look For In An Entrepreneur

The cofounder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reads about 50 books a year, mostly nonfiction. In an interview with The New York Times last year, he shared that reading is his primary way of learning and has been since childhood. The Giving Pledge founder even maintains a book review blog Gates Notes that has received considerable attention and has become a respected go-to source for the business community and beyond.

Are you patient and long-term focused, like Warren Buffett?

warren-buffett

Warren Buffett

Immediate gratification is definitely not how Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett made his billions. The 87-year-old investment titan once said, “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

This sensible edict belies Buffett’s successful investment strategy. As a longtime value investor, the “Oracle from Omaha” built his empire by investing in stocks with good instrinsic value but have been undervalued by the market. And then? He waits.

His strategy takes time. However Buffett opts for a certain payoff over a high-risk, big one any day. Worth $74.9 billion as of 2017, his proof of success is in the pudding.

Jeff Bezos is always hungry for what’s next – can you relate?

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos’s personality and work habits have been repeatedly described as “intense” in one form or another. His intensity is aptly reflected in the website name he’d once considered for what eventually become Amazon: Relentless.com. (And if you type this address, you’ll be redirected to Amazon.)

Back in 1994, the CEO of Amazon (worth $75.6 billion) left his job as senior vice-president at a hedgefund to act on an opportunity selling books online. Bezos kept innovating and expanding his online retail business into what we know as today’s Amazon.

However, it’s the 53 year old’s private funding of a space manufacturing and exploration company Blue Origin and the purchase of The Washington Post in 2013, which truly demonstrate the retail mogul’s insatiable hunger to conquer unfamiliar territories. Bezos has brought his data-and-tech driven business model to the Post, and according to a recent piece in NPR, the company reports that revenue and profits are up since the sale (that includes digital ad revenue) and the site’s monthly web traffic has grown 56% over the past two years.

Related: 3 Personality Traits You Need For Success: Grit, Determination And The Will To Succeed

Are you upbeat and optimistic? Mark Zuckerberg is

mark zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a super optimistic guy. Last September, the 33-year-old tech titan, along with his physician wife, announced their foundation’s radical pledge of $3 billion toward research aimed at curing or managing all disease “in our children’s lifetime.” That’s a formidable goal.

Zuckerberg’s demonstrations of optimism don’t stop there. When both his children – Max and August – were born he published touching letters to them on his Facebook page expressing his excitement, wish for them to grow up into a better world and hope for the future.

In the area of technology, the 33-year-old tech titan is working on a Facebook-led initiative to provide internet connectivity to areas of the world that don’t have access in order to level the playing field.

And on the divisive topic of artificial intelligence, he has faced criticism from Tesla’s Elon Musk in voicing his sunny position about AI making the world a better place. It’ll take more than some shade from a Tony Stark-like futurist to darken Zuckerberg’s attitude.

Are you able to focus on multiple projects? Sergey Brin and Larry Page can

Sergey Brin and Larry Page

Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have different talents and personalities that allow them to aggressively spread their combined talents to a broad bandwidth of business and expansion. Their growth model includes the acquisition of multiple companies – including YouTube – as well as the funding and development of a venture capital fund, a robotics arm, an innovation lab (once “Google X” and rechristined as “X”), an internet fiber cable unit and a longevity lab – just to name some.

Some of their projects have floundered and died, while others have prospered. However, the duo is very conscious of their cast-a-wide-net way of doing business. The now 44-year-old Page revealed in a 2014 interview, “I would always have this debate actually with Steve Jobs. He’d be like, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.'” (On top of being the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s holding company, Page is reportedly privately funding two flying-car startups and has clean-energy interests.)

What Brin, who serves as president of Alphabet and once ran the innovation lab, has said on the matter of their widespread interests:

“We try to invest…in the places where we see a good fit to our company. But that could be many, many bets, and only a few of them need to pay off.”

Their growth gamble has paid off extremely well. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Page is worth $47.5 billion and Brin is worth $46.3 billion.

Related: The 10 Traits You Must Cultivate To Achieve Highly Ambitious Goals

Are you modest, like Amancio Ortega?

amancio-ortega

Amancio Ortega

Spanish businessman Amancio Ortega doesn’t possess the name recognition as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. The media-shy cofounder of Zara (one of the clothing brands under the retail umbrella Inditex) temporarily dethroned Bill Gates as the richest person in the world earlier this year.

The majority shareholder of Inditex (59%) doesn’t have a formal education – he never graduated from high school. However, he built his empire through a modest mindset and focus. Ortega reportedly went for 25 years without taking a vacation. Instead, he focused on closely leading his team. Shunning an office, Ortega instead chose to stand in Zara’s main design room everyday to interact with his designers. Even though he stepped down as Inditex’s chairman in 2011, he continues this practice.

His modesty also manifests in frugality. Even though he is worth $82.2 billion, he still eats lunch everyday in the company cafeteria.

Do you follow your fiercest convictions, like Michael Bloomberg?

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Love or hate Michael Bloomberg, the cofounder and majority stakeholder in Bloomberg Media has demonstrated the ability to follow through on his fiercest convictions.

After he was fired from his first job out of college at Salomon Brothers, Bloomberg turned the firing into an opportunity to create a tech and media company to get traders the data and information they needed quickly.

Years later, while serving his 12-year tenure as Mayor of New York City, the now 75-year-old demonstrated a fearlessness in his leadership that sprung from his intense convictions.

Related: 3 Employee Personality Types You Definitely Want In Your Business

“Leadership is about doing what you think is right and then building a constituency behind it,” the media mogul worth $44.3 billion said to The Atlantic. “[Leaders should] make decisions as to what they think is in the public interest based on the best advice that they can get.”

His deeply held convictions led to him tackling some thorny issues while in office, such as his support of gun control and an unpopular soda tax to curb obesity.

What Bloomberg said in response to his critics at the time was, “High approval rating means you’re skiing down the slope and you never fall. You’re skiing the baby slope, for goodness’ sakes. Go to a steeper slope. You want to tackle the issues that are unpopular, that nobody else will go after.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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