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The Power of Planning podcast episode cover The Life Coach School

Ep #126: The Power of Planning

This week we continue with another “light” topic for all of you to think about this summer (or during any other season if you’re listening to this episode at a later date). And today, we cover the power of planning.

I feel like planning is one of those obvious things that most people simply do not do. Many believe that if you plan out your life, it will be rigid, constricted, and there will be no room for freedom. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth…

Join us as I break down how planning can set you free and help you eliminate the burnout and energy drain that comes with indecision. You won’t want to miss this explanation of how being deliberate about how you spend your time can help you achieve true freedom in your life and business.

Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book.  It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It's the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!

Listen to the show

What You will discover

  • The first and the most important step in planning your life.
  • How to analyze an outcome.
  • How you can stop the energy drain that comes with indecision.
  • How you can get started today!

Get the Full Episode Transcript:

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Episode Transcript:

Welcome to "The Life Coach School Podcast," where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching, and now, your host, master coach instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hello, my friends. Okay, two things before I forget. Peppered cashews. You're welcome. They're ridiculous. If you've never had peppered cashews, go buy some immediately. They're ridiculous. The other thing that I have to tell you is about the song that you may already know about, but you have to listen to it immediately after listening to this podcast because it is so good and it just makes me happy, and the name of it is "Knees Deep" by Zac Brown. I am not kidding, you guys. Just put it on a loop. It is the best song ever. Look it up, put it on a loop, listen to it again, and then eat some cashews. It's the little things, my friends. Those little things that just make a summer everything.

I'm totally obsessed with documentaries and I was watching this documentary about the Cardinals football team, which is actually really a fascinating documentary. I can't remember the name of it, but I'm sure you could look up Cardinals documentary and find it. They play that song. Here's the thing, you guys. I don't listen to the radio. I don't listen to music. I'm not into a bunch of music in my car. I'm always listening to podcasts. I'm always listening to books on tape. That's what goes into my brain, so when I'm in the car I don't have music on.

I always have a podcast or a book on tape, so in this documentary this song came on and I don't know what happened inside of me. It just made me so happy, and I screamed for my son, who's obsessed with music and knows every song and he looked at me like, "How do you not know this song? It's the best song that was ever sung with Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffett," and I said, "I need to know the name of it immediately," and then I just constantly am playing it now in my head, so I hope that there someone out there that didn't know this song and that I introduced it to them and that they can be as happy as I am, because you know how it is before you've read a book and you're so excited for that person to read it because it changes their life forever? That's what this song will do to you.

Okay, so what are we talking about today? Today we are talking about the power of planning, and as I mentioned last week, last week's episode, this episode, and the next two are going to be just short idea episodes giving you some ideas to think about. The ones before were kind of heavy. They had a lot of content in them and a lot of people were having to listen to them three or four times, so I just wanted, since it's summer and it's so light and beautiful outside, I wanted to give you some things to think about, and here's something that I do that I might want to recommend that some of you do. If you listen to me when you're running or when you're walking or even when you're in your car, some of these episodes, what you can do is listen to them and then turn everything off and just let your brain think about it.

The last one that we did, we talked about giving up versus acceptance and what you can do is just turn that off after you hear it and say, "Where in my life am I giving up and calling it acceptance? Where am I giving it up and not telling myself the truth?" and just let your brain think about that for a little bit. In this episode we're going to talk about planning and the power of planning, and here, one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about this is I think this is one of those really obvious things that a lot of people do not do. I think it's like exercising. I think people know they want to exercise, they know they want to eat healthy, but they just don't do it, and I think the same is true with planning.

I want to talk about this on a macro level and then we're going to dial it in on the micro level. On a macro level there is a belief that you may or may not have that you get to plan your life. Your life does not just happen to you. You don't just live it as if it were already preprogrammed and you're just the one walking through it like you're walking through a forest and you just see what comes. You get to actually plan it. You get to look at the map, you get to look at the GPS, you get to decide where you want to go, you get to decide how you're going to get there, you get to decide how often you want to stop, how far you want to go, how high you want to go, all of it. You get to plan all of it.

I think a lot of people understand that intellectually. You like the idea that you happen to your life and that your life doesn't happen to you, but because I work with y'all in person on this stuff, I know that just because you understand it intellectually doesn't mean that you actually do it. I just did all of my master coaches that are coming through, we just started our master coach training for this next year. It's a year-long program, and we brought everybody in and asked what their plans were.

What's interesting is that some people have very big plans but with nothing very specific and some people have no plans because they haven't thought about what they want to create in their life, and some people have very little plans because they don't believe that they can create what they want in their life.

The first step from this macro level is you have to make a decision about what you want to do with your life. If you're the one responsible for planning your life you have to make a decision to do that, so that's one big decision that you're going to take charge and plan your own life and take responsibility for it, and then once you've made that decision you have to make many, many, many little decisions within that big decision to actually do it.

I think sometimes we make the big decision that we don't make all of those little decisions. We don't set those goals for ourselves, and if we do we do it in an arbitrary way without a plan of execution. We tell ourselves we don't know how to do something or we don't know when we'll do it, so all of that desire and all of those dreams go unanswered. We give up on ourselves before we've even started, so doing the process of setting goals on a big level for your life and then yearly and quarterly and monthly and weekly is the recipe for the life you dream about. You cannot get the life you dream about if you don't plan how to get there and then go get there, and I think it's so clichéd. I think so many people say it and we hear it so often that we don't actually listen. We don't actually do it.

I want you to think about just one thing right now that you want in your life. Just one. Wouldn't it be great if? Think about that thing. What is your plan for getting it? Do you know what your plan is?

Now, I can tell you pretty accurately whether you will get it or not based on how specific your plan is and if you've put it on your calendar, so if I ask you what is it you want to create in your life and you have this very big dream that you have broken down into quarters or into years and then into quarters and then into months and you have it on your calendar, my guess is nine times out of 10 you're probably going to get it, because in order for you to have scheduled it, in order for you to have done it, you had to believe in it first, because most people won't go through the work, the specific, tedious work of planning something if they don't believe it's possible. Are you with me on this?

Planning something to the level that you need in order to execute it is a tedious process. It requires you to get over yourself. I've taught many times on this podcast how to do an outcome, but I'll just review it here. You write your outcome. You break it down into manageable chunks. Then you write down all the obstacles you anticipate for as why you can't achieve those things. You turn all those obstacles into to-do items. You put all those to-do items in order of execution and then you put them on their calendar and then you do them and then you achieve that thing that you wanted.

I just did this process for the first time publicly with my master coaches, and one of the things that I had done was I have my "Stop Overdrinking" course and I have some goals for that course. I'm obsessed with that course right now, and I really want to put a lot of time and energy into creating more for that course and for the people that have already joined that course, so if you're interested go to stopoverdrinking.com.

I hadn't really sat down and planned my next evolution with that course because I was waiting to do it with master coach training, and what I noticed is that I was agitated and I was feeling anxious about it and I had all sorts of these negative emotions, and then, because I kind of had these vague ideas of what I wanted to do with that course but I wasn't sure what I was going to do, so then I decided the end goal that I wanted and I let all the obstacles come up, and what I noticed was that a lot of the obstacles that had come up were just areas of indecision, just areas where I hadn't made a decision, I hadn't made a plan on purpose.

There were too many options and because I hadn't planned it out I was entertaining all of those options and therefore getting nowhere and not taking any action and not getting any confidence or relief from the process, but once I took all those obstacles and I made the decisions, because, for example, for that course one of the obstacles was I don't know if I want to do a podcast for that course or do I want to do a YouTube channel. That's a pretty big decision and going back and forth about it and not knowing which one to do and not knowing what the format should be, not knowing if I would make the time to do it considering I had this podcast, and all of that energy spent not making that decision was unbelievable. Just feeling how much energy it takes not to make a decision. I was like, what?

What I did is I wrote down all those obstacles and then our day was over. I was working with the master coaches and then our day was over, so then the next day I was going to come back and turn all of those obstacles into my action plan, but while I was sitting with those obstacles and that indecision I just learned so much about how energy draining that is, and that was just for one day. Can you imagine how so many of us don't make decisions and we don't make plans and that indecision energy is just getting drained and drained and drained? I just decided, I'm going to do a YouTube channel for Stop Overdrinking. That's when I'm going to start, in August, and that's what I'm going to do, and the minute I made the decision, the indecision energy completely evaporated and all of my energy went towards planning how I'm going to do my YouTube channel.

As soon as I made the plan then I knew exactly what to do, I put it on my calendar. Now I don't ever have to think about it during the day because it's on my calendar. I'll just look at my calendar on that day and take care of whatever it is I need to take care of, so that's what planning can do for you. I think a lot of times we don't make a decision because we think we're not sure and we think we need to take more time.

This happens a lot with our students that are deciding whether they want to become life coaches and take our training or not. Some of them are like, "I don't know if I should do it. I don't know if I have what it takes. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know," so they're trying to decide and they feel like they're being responsible. They feel like they're being thoughtful because they're giving themselves time to be in indecision and think about it more and more and more, and what I've realized is all that does is burn you out and wear you down and then when you finally make the decision, it's usually the decision you would have made in the beginning anyway and you haven't given yourself the gift of that, so we always tell our potential students that are signing up for our training, we tell them, "Give yourself the gift of making a decision. We're cool with that decision is 'No, I don't want to come to the training and become a life coach' or if that decision is 'Yes,' but we don't want to entertain 'I don't know' with you." We don't want to be in that energy because it's very draining, and that's what planning does.

You plan not only what you're going to do. You plan to succeed and you plan to conserve your energy by making quick decisions and then believing in your own decision and not second-guessing it, so that is one skill that I have developed that I would love to pass on to you, is when I make a decision I'm going to do a YouTube channel, then there's no other option. I don't keep revisiting it and I don't second-guess it. I just go for it. I'm just going to do it, and this will be the right decision because I'm going to make it the right decision. That's what planning can do.

You plan the big things in your life. You don't just let your life happen to you, and then when you plan those big things you narrow it down until it's all the way on your calendar, so what that ultimately means is that you want to plan your week and you want to plan your days so you end up living the exact life that you have planned. Whenever I share my weekly plan with my students they're always so excited about it because they're like, "Oh, I always thought I had to do it this way or that way. I like the fact that I can plan."

For me, I plan in time when I'm going to work and I plan in time when I'm going to walk my dogs and I plan in time to read and I plan in time to relax, so I don't have to constantly be making those decisions. What am I going to do today? What am I going to do tomorrow? When am I going to get this done? When am I going to get that done? It's already on the calendar, so when people say to me, "I don't like that structure. It feels so constrained. I don't like always having something calendared," it's because you're not doing it right, and what I mean by that is you're not calendaring in, you're not scheduling in, the things that you love and the space that you need in between your activities and you're not planning your day so you can really look forward to it.

If you think about what would be a perfect day, how would I plan it, then do that and it'll include everything you want to accomplish in your life. It'll include everything that you want to experience in your day and in your week, and it will make you so much more deliberate in how you spend your time. You have so much power over your time, and yet you let the time dictate when you're going to do what instead of being really careful about planning it, and I've heard a lot of people compare money with time. Which one is more valuable and which one is more limited, and I think that managing both of them well is an art and a skill that you have to do deliberately and purposefully, but when you do you'll have so much more of both of them. If you're careful with how you earn and spend your money, you're going to have so much more money. If you're careful with how you spend your time or if you waste your time, you will have less or more time. I promise you that.

When you turn off this podcast and you go to think about your own life, where are you planning deliberately and taking really good care of making sure you accomplish that end game, and where do you have no plan? Where are you being reckless with your time by not planning yourself and what you want to do with your time? Do not confuse having no plan with being free. It is the opposite. Planning your life is what gives you freedom because you do it on purpose. Freedom is something that you give yourself. Freedom doesn't mean that you don't have to answer to anyone. Freedom means that you answer to yourself and you really like the answer. That's exactly what it means, so please, think about the areas in your life where you need to plan and then go back and listen to my outcome and my do goal podcast and get to work on planning the perfect life that you want to plan for yourself. Have an amazing, awesome week. I'll talk to you guys next week. Buh-bye.

Thank you for listening to "The Life Coach School Podcast." It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to thelifecoachschool.com/howtofeelbetteronline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually. It's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.


  1. I LOVED this podcast (I love them all). Thank you for the valuable information you presented on the importance of planning your time and money as it relates to giving you more freedom in life. I’d love to hear more about how you fit in all the things that you love when you have a busy work life, children, etc. Thank you for sharing this life changing information! I appreciate it more than you know.

  2. Hi Brooke,
    I’ve been listening to you for about 2 months–totally LOVE your podcasts–listen to them on my hour long commute to work each morning and often on my way home as a refresher. I’ve been doing A LOT of work on myself these last few years and am excited at the possibility of attending one of your workshops. I am trying to “Plan” when your next one for Life Coaches is going to be and need to know the dates and the cost. I will be flying from Upstate New York and will have to take off a day prior and after for travel purposes. My job has limited vacation but I am committed to doing this and will somehow make it work. I have written several emails but have not had any response so if you know the dates (I think it will be in January?) can you let me know?
    Thanks so much–can’t wait to hear back from you and by the way—I’m going to have to buy some new clothes because I shop at White House/Black Market all the time and don’t want us to be twins all week (just kidding-I’m totally not bothered by someone being in the same outfit as me–it just we both have good taste!

    1. Hi Annette,

      I’m sorry to hear that you have had trouble reaching us. Our next certification class is next month and is already sold out (dates are Sept 9-14). For more information or to get on our waiting list for our next month’s class or for our September 2017 class, please email our Director of Admissions: [email protected]


  3. Total synchronicity! Talked about this with my coach moments before tuning into the podcast. As I heard the topic, I was like, “Wow, total kick in the pants happen here!” Planning, productivity, and obeying my calendar has been one of my greatest challenges. I’ve come along way, yet continue to struggle. I talk a lot about my desire for freedom, so hearing your words that freedom comes from planning really nailed it for me. I create the freedom I desire consciously and intentionally…life doesn’t do it for me. I always assumed that living by a schedule meant that life was leading me. So, much like a rebellious teenager, I would buck the schedule as if to say, “I’m doing what I want, when I want.” I was pretty micro-managed as a child. Unconsciously, I think I’ve view a schedule as my mother! How’s that for insight! Today, hearing that how I create my schedule is freedom, I think I got it, finally. I’ll let you know more when I see you in September! Brooke, I owe you a lot of comments and reviews. Both your podcasts have been life-changing for me! Thanks for all you do! With gratitude, Kelli

    1. Hi Kelli,

      So awesome to hear this episode was exactly what you needed to hear and at just the right time! Brooke is looking forward to meeting you in September!


  4. Hi Brooke!

    I found your podcast recently and have been listing non stop for a few weeks now. I started from the beginning and am soaking it all in. I have started using the model in my daily life as well as all the other tools you have freely given so far!! I love your podcast and hope to some day be able to train with you someday! I have always been the one who my friends and family have come to for advice and I have always enjoyed giving it! I never knew that I could create a career out of it!! I also love LOVE LOVE fitness and health, and am in the planning stages of becoming a certified coach with an emphases on health. I want to coach women who have struggled with body image issues and eating disorders, who are tired of starving themselves for an unattainable body. Do you think that I should get my nutrition certification before I become a life coach? I have been in the health and fitness world for a few years now and know a LOT but I want to make sure that I am going about this the right way. Any advice would be super fantastic!!

    Thanks a million!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      So exciting to hear that you are turning your passion into a career! Brooke will address your question about certification in an upcoming Questions & Answers episode. Stay tuned!


  5. Hi Brooke,
    Thank you again for such a valuable podcast. They are all unmissable. My thoughts seem to relate to feelings of time scarcity, feeling that there isn’t enough time. Intellectually I know that I have as much time as everyone else. But when I start planning things, all I notice is my precious time being swallowed up. I resist making future commitments, because I think I’ll resent it later. I seem to crave an awful lot of time to myself. I would love to hear your wisdom on this topic.very best wishes, Jenny.

  6. Hi Brooke~
    I absolutely LOVED this episode on planning!
    I would be super curious to see exactly how you plan out your days & what type of planning method you use~
    iCal? Paper planner? There are so many different methods out there.
    Thanks so much!

  7. Hi there Life Coach School! 🙂

    A friend recommended me to your podcast a few weeks ago and I was immediately hooked! I’ve been voraciously devouring episodes and trying to implement and practice the concepts/tools and develop some of the associated advanced skills. I’ve been learning how to enjoy the practice and process of it all. 🙂 One area I’m struggling with at the moment is finding a calendaring system that works for me…(similar to the previous comment made by Christine).
    I find that I’m half on paper (with thought downloads and random tasks) and half in the computer using Outlook & iPhone calendars and trying to figure out how to streamline it all so it flows and makes intuitive sense. It kind of seems silly that this is an issue for me but I’d love for Brooke to touch on this in an upcoming episode if possible. Thank you so much for all you do to positively impact each one of us! 🙂

    1. Hi Katie,

      It’s so great to hear you are enjoying Brooke’s podcast and are already applying what you are learning! Stay tuned and Brooke may address your question about her calendar system in an upcoming Questions & Answers episode.


  8. Hi Brooke, thanks for this podcast!
    I love planning, but sometimes it takes me into sadness or disapointment when my plans are not achieved depending on someother people decisions or plannings. For example, I m really excited to go shopping but I need the car of my mother. We agree on a slot, but at the last second, she changes her plan and I can go out as I planned. I’m really upset about it but I know I can’t change her decisions. How can I change my mind in order not to be affected by this schedule issue? I feel like planning deserves me more than it serves me in those situation… And my familiy and friends find me to srtict.
    Thanks again for your answer.