The Simple Philosophies of Life, Final Part – Planning

Posted on Sep 19, 2016 in Articles | 0 comments


In the final chapter of the Simple Philosophies of Life my focus is on planning. Those that have known me personally or professionally can probably attest that planning is an integral to my DNA. Some may say that it IS my DNA! In fact, one of my favorite quotations is as follows:

“The Nice Thing About Not Planning Is That Failure Comes As A Complete Surprise Rather Than Being Preceded By A Period Of Worry And Depression” — Anonymous

Ever since I was a kid, I was the planner for my friends. I remember as kids, we loved playing Wiffleball. We played it so much that most of us became proficient in hitting both right and left-handed just to mix it up a bit. When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided to ramp up our commitment to Wiffleball in addition to doing something nice for the community. So, the 24-hour Jerry Lewis-MDA, 24-hour Wiffleball Marathon was created. This wasn’t just any 24-hour marathon, my friends and I actually made a stadium for the event complete with walls, pitching mound, painted field, lights and a handmade scoreboard. We raised a couple thousand dollars while playing our favorite game. All aspects of the event were planned and coordinated by yours truly.

In my professional career, I have also been a planner. I have been fortunate to be with some high-growth companies and when the opportunity arose for advancement, I was in the position to take advantage of the opportunity simply because I had planned for it. In my mind, attempting to stay six months ahead of the curve forces you to think strategically and then tactically map the steps to implement. A perfect example of this are annual budgets. There should be no surprise that annual budgets are due in the fall for the upcoming year, yet many employees and companies put off the process to the very last minute causing an unnecessary disruption in normal daily routines. Starting these earlier allow all parties to fit within their normal “day job”. You may not be able to predict 100% of the future, but if you can hit on 60-80% then the remaining amount can be accommodated when needed.

Planning to me eases stress; prepares me for greater success; and allows me to take advantage of unexpected opportunities as they arise. Time and time again, being ahead of the curve has brought tremendous opportunities to the forefront that not only could be considered, but taken full advantage. From my early days of Wiffleball to managing my own business for over a decade, planning has been at the root of my ongoing success.

Web-John Matthews

John Matthews is the founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc., a strategic planning, operations and marketing services firm that specializes in helping businesses grow in the restaurant, convenience and general retail industries.  With more than 25 years of senior-level experience in retail and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers and Grand Opening Manual for Retailers, which are available at