By Dorene MacVey, founder, head coach of ithrive31

I am a planner. I love planning. In corporate America, I was raised on it. Throughout my career, I’ve created strategic and financial plans, annual operating plans and individual development plans. Long-term planning is great for growing organizations and offers us an example of how to model our personal lives and small businesses as well. 

Every year, I set annual goals for myself in six life areas: financial, physical, emotional, professional, relationship and spiritual. I also set ongoing personal intentions for 31 days at a time. I put these goals in a frame next to my desk as a constant reminder of what I need to do to move forward. I’ve been living this way for more than six years. My company, ithrive31, is built around the philosophy that short-term actions create momentum for big results. 

Along with planning, I love the energy of dreaming. A vision gives you something to strive for in business and in life. There is great energy in visualizing your future and creating the steps that will take you toward your dreams. 

Dreams and plans are beautiful things. But if we want to make an impact, our dreams and plans cannot become the thing. Meaningful and lasting impact is made in daily moments. The here and now. Not in the plans. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. 

If we get so attached to our big dreams and plans that we lose sight of what’s right in front of us, we lose our ability to make an impact. Personal impact is made by connecting with that person who needs us to be all in as a listener at lunch. It’s paying attention to that co-worker who comes in and says, “Do you have a minute?” It’s focusing on that client who needs more than their allocated hour. 

Living in the moment also means paying attention to having fun (even at work), rejuvenating, laughing with friends, or breaking from your goals to watch your child’s soccer game. This may, at times, take you off your planned path. Often, I hear people say they feel guilty if they are unproductive. These moments may not be on your strategic plan, but they will create strategic, lasting impact. 

Your dreams, plans and goals are important and can lead to your achievements. Your presence — how you show up and seize the day — results in your impact. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. 

Take steps to plan for next year, next quarter, the next 31 days, but never forget that your impact is made today. 

Dorene MacVey is the founder and head coach of ithrive31, a coaching and personal development company. She is a certified professional coach. Dorene blends life and leadership coaching and works with executives, leaders and professionals to help them increase their impact and influence — at work and at home. Connect with her on LinkedIn or reach out at

Categories: Guest opinion


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