the psychedelics of strategic planning

The last time I did mushrooms, I was on my honeymoon. They were a wedding gift. (We have the best friends.) And the last time I dropped acid I was wearing shoulder pads and listening to The Flock of Seagulls. It’s been a while. But since then, I’ve learned to alter my state, unassisted, and heighten my possibilities.

If you’ve done any psychedelic drugs you’ll know that the “best” trips leave you expanded. You get a backstage pass to the Super Hero Concert of Life and you feel pretty freaking invincible. You see yourself in new shades and shapes. You score some privileged information. You come back to Earth with your groove on.

Wouldn’t it be great to feel that mighty when you were mapping out your New Year, or writing your business plan? Wouldn’t it be invigorating if, as you strategized, you really believed that anything was possible? That’s the high of dreams. The divine stretch. Blue sky’ing. And it’s essential to dynamic, robust strategies.

If you want a vital outcome, you need vitalized input. You gotta dance, shake it up, go extreme, hollah back and then come back to center where both possibility and pragmatism synergize. You’ve got to cross the line and get new information. That’s why I ask some of my clients, “Look, if you, like dropped acid and wrote your business plan, what would it look like?” Works every time.

HOW TO UNLEASH YOUR STRATEGIC PLANNING POWER

1. The trip-prep: Analyze your dream fatigue. Sometimes you just get worn out from thinking big – especially entrepreneurs. Years of hard work, mid-course corrections, failures that lead to success, success that leads to failures. I’ve been there. After I left the company I co-founded last year, I could hardly bear to think about profit margins and wheeling new, big deals. I just wanted to write sutras and make soup. But dream fatigue will lift when you fully admit to it. Take stock, integrate your lessons – your new facts – and then move on, wiser for the wear. You simply cannot stop dreaming. You must, you must, dream a new dream.

2. Dream extreme. Loosen up. Unleash. Go wild. BE IMPRACTICAL. Get out of your box and stomp on it. Try egomania on for size. The phone rings. It’s Oprah. Her staff have been reading your blog and they want to fly you to Chicago. Buddy in the cafe overhears you talking about your business plan and wouldn’t you know it, he’s a Venture Capitalist looking to unload some coin before the tax season ends. Your product is flying off the shelves. Bestseller. Soul mate. Awards. Radiance. Empire. The cover of Fast Company. TED Talks. Adulation. Overnight success. Euphoria.

FEEL THE HIGH OF THE EXTREME DREAM. Close your eyes and let your cells plump up with it. You should be peaking right about now.

3. While you’re still tripping, imagine hanging with the Super Heroes of your industry. Assume that you are their contemporary. Ask for their grittiest stories and advice. Jam. Observe. Tell them your ideas, give them your pitch, sing them your song. Pay close attention to how they respond.

4. Come back to earth. Map out your plan – exactly from where you are. You may have found some courage or sagacity on the other side of the extreme dream. You may have imagined new possibilities. You may be thinking waaay bigger, or maybe much smaller, more precise. Either way, you’ll know what super powers you want to focus on developing. And that’s how you learn to fly. High.

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