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Festival Network Online Newsletter
                  May - 2002

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A note from the editor.....
       The following article is a refreshing change from all the usual "create a business plan" articles I've read.  Although it deals with many of the same ideas and techniques we've heard over and over, it reinforces the need to stay in touch with something we tend to put on the back burner when it comes to succeeding in business - that is "our feelings."    I hope you find it as enlightening as I did, and that it gives you a positive boost as we begin the 2002 summer show season.  As always, Keep on, keeping on - :-) Diane

                             The Business Plan That Always Works

                                                     By Michael E. Gerber

Yes, believe it or not, there is such a plan.

A Business Plan That Always Works -  from  popcorn vendors to jugglers, musicians to artists, jewelers to carpenters - And believe it or not, you’re going to learn how to create such a plan, YOUR plan, in the next few moments.

Now for those of you who believe deep down that there can’t possibly be anything that always works - especially a plan – the following is going to be a bit of a stretch for you. The Business Plan That Always Works  (or BPTAW for short)  is so devilishly simple and straightforward, you’ll wonder why you didn’t see it before. Anyone who understands it can do it - which is to say, that if you can’t do a plan easily, there’s no point in planning. Despite what you’ve learned over the years, planning is only hard when it’s done the wrong way. And to do a plan easily requires that you approach the whole subject of planning in a completely different way than you’re accustomed to. But I’m getting ahead of my story.

The BPTAW is built upon one Fundamental Principle that all the plans that never work fail to understand.You know the kind of plans I’m talking about here. The kind of plans that create gobs of guilt because you don’t keep them? The kind of plans you make with great effort and tedium, only to find yourself later on doing something completely different than you had planned to do and wondering how you got there from where you began?

But let’s get back to that one Fundamental Principle I’m talking about that differentiates The BPTAW from every other plan that doesn’t.

I call this Fundamental Principle, the Heart-Centered Principle of Planning.
The Heart-Centered Plan is so distinctly different from its opposite, The Head-Centered Plan, that it’s important to define the distinctions carefully.

There are Seven Essential Rules of Heart-Centered Planning, of creating The BPTAW for you.

Rule one
The first rule says that Heart-Centered Planning begins and ends with a feeling, while Head-Centered Planning begins and ends with a thought. To understand this rule, it is critical that you know the difference between a thought and a feeling. A feeling resides inside your body; a thought resides inside your head. Most of what you’re doing right now as you read this article is a thought which is going to turn into a feeling, rather than a feeling which is going to turn into a thought. Heart-Centered Planning starts with a feeling, turns into a thought, and ends with a feeling. Head-Centered Planning begins with a thought, turns into a feeling, and ends with a thought. The rule here is that any plan that ends up in your head is a thought, and, because of that, won’t work. The BPTAW is dominated by your feelings, not by your thoughts. You want it to work, as the expression says, with all your heart. A plan which describes the future, with no heart, is a plan destined to fail. The BPTAW therefore, is a plan which begins and ends in your heart…which means it’s a living plan, not a dead one. It possesses an enormous amount of energy, which people describe as passion. And we all know what passion can do when it’s poured into a personal cause. That’s what The BPTAW is, after all, a personal cause filled with passion.

Rule Two
Because Heart-Centered Planning begins and ends in your heart, rule number two says that The BPTAW must be your plan and no one else’s. Any plan created by someone else on your behalf will absolutely never work because it simply isn’t your plan. And no matter how hard you try to implement someone else’s plan, no matter how hard you work at it, even if you succeed at fulfilling its objectives, you will ultimately feel like you failed. Winning with someone else’s plan is always "felt" as losing. In short, The BPTAW is always the product of the person who is following the plan, original to him or her, personal to the max, born in the heart, and because of that, very, very private.

Rule Three
To discover your plan, stop thinking about it. Pursue something else. Spend a day, a week, it doesn’t matter how long, only that it accomplishes this objective, that you spend free time doing something you truly love to do, that you don’t ordinarily do because you can’t afford the time or the money to do it. Skiing. Boating. Fishing. Hiking. Running. It doesn’t matter what it is; for every one of us it’s different, but it does matter that you know what it is. The truth is we, all of us, spend very little time truly loving what we do or doing what we love. We spend most of our time instead wishing that what we are doing could be more fulfilling. The reason for this is that we are mostly disconnected from our hearts, and spend the preponderance of our time instead actively pursuing thoughts about what we would be doing if we were happy, than experiencing what it means to be joyful in our hearts in the moment. So, to create The BPTAW calls for us to experience, as fully as possible, the end product of an exciting plan which is the experience of joy which your plan must create for you in order for it to work for you. And to experience that joy requires that we spend more time before we create our plan, tasting the emotional fruits of it.

Rule Four
Most people think of a business plan as a series of benchmarks, or objectives.  These delineate actions to be taken in a progressively completed process, but they fail to provide the inner motivation essential for a plan to become a realization. While the steps must be identified before anything can be done purposively, the essence of The BPTAW is always able to be summarized in a brief, declarative statement which always begins with "I Want…," and always ends with an experience of having moved forward from where you are…and can be demonstrated by your new ability to do something you love to do more often than you’re able to do it now. For example, "I want to be able to spend eight days white water rafting in Montana on the…, etc., etc." Note that the objective here is not something to have, but something to experience. Experiencing the experience is core to the successful realization of The BPTAW because it distracts you from your head where thoughts reside and puts you squarely in your body where feelings reside.

Rule Five
Having created an emotionally exciting picture of what you want, it is critical that you create a series of Frames of Reference within which you achieve it over a specific amount of time. The BPTAW must allow for those precious, sweet moments, those continuous Frames of Reference, because without them there is just the incessant climbing, the reaching for the top, the obsession that comes from an impatient thought, the drive to reach a conclusion. Most plans are like that. They drive us, but they don’t renew us. They compel us, but they don’t reward us. Such plans may move us forward, but every part of our body ends up resisting the movement even while obeying its dictate. This is the planning of "you should," and "you’d better," rather than the planning which comes from an inner desire, a taste of freedom, a wish for renewal.

Rule Six
Rule number six says that the plans we create reflect the life we live rather than the life we want to live. This may seem like the opposite of everything I’ve been saying up to now, but in fact it is not. The truth is that you can’t plan to be someone you’re not, or to love something you can’t experience. And so rule number six states that in order to create The BPTAW, we must be passionately interested in who we really are and what it is that really moves us. To do this then, we must every day ask ourselves this question, "Who am I?–and then answer it! The fascinating thing about creating The BPTAW is that it calls for us to go inside more deeply than outside as we would imagine. This planning has to do more with who we are than who we are going to become. The fact is that anyone who has done this work, that is, pursued their inner reality with a passion, has discovered that in the process of becoming more who we truly are, we discover what we want. And in that discovery, our plan becomes self-evident. "Oh, so that’s what I want," this experience says. Or, put another way, "Oh, so that’s who I really am." Rule number six says that we must do this thing over and over and over again until it’s a permanent fixture in our lives. Only then will the BPTAW become self-evident.

Rule Seven
Rule number seven says that until we are able to do rules number one through six with ease, anything we do which closely resembles them is better than anything which doesn’t. In short, rule number seven is a mantra which says, "Follow your heart, or your head will destroy you."

This is Michael Gerber writing to you from E-Myth Worldwide, and reminding you that the opportunity is to go to work ON your life not IN it, and in the process to experience the sweet, radiant, extraordinary joy of the fully-lived moment.

Reprinted with permission from E-Myth Worldwide. All contents are copyright 1998-2001, E-Myth Worldwide. All Rights Reserved

Article by:
Michael Gerber -
Business visionary, entrepreneur, best-selling author and Chairman of E-Myth Worldwide, Michael Gerber has been leading a Small Business Revolution before anyone knew there was one!  To learn more about Michael visit

Contact Michael Gerber:

Newsletter Editor:
Diane Elliott Bruckner -

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