How you can ‘make a plan’ to achieve positive results

If I take one thing away with me from my time in South Africa it will be the saying ‘Let’s make a plan’. I love the philosophy behind it and it’s fast become one of my favourite and most used sayings. It originates from an Afrikaans saying ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan’. This translates as “a farmer will always make a plan” and comes from the innovative nature that farmers had to develop in order to cope with adverse farming conditions. It talks about resourcefulness, and being willing to show some resilience and creativity to make a new plan when a situation calls for it.

Basically it’s a way to ensure you achieve positive results. If anyone tells you something can’t be done, or is refusing you something you have requested as it is not possible or available, you can ‘make a plan’ in order to turn the situation round to a positive outcome. What I have realised is that previously I was too quick to accept that something couldn’t be done and would take that to be a fact and move on. Now, I will never accept this until I’ve investigated if some sort of plan can be made to turn the situation around. It’s such an easy sentence to use if faced with an issue. ‘We must be able to make a plan!’


– If a restaurant is fully booked, don’t just accept that you can’t eat there, ask the waiter if they can make a plan to get you a table, you never know they might be able to sort something out

– If someone can’t deliver something for you on time in a work context, get everyone together to ‘make a plan’ on how you can make it happen

– Faced in any situation where someone tells you what you are requesting can’t be done, work with them to ‘make a plan’ to make it happen

It’s amazing how often you will find that although you originally thought something wasn’t possible, you can ‘make a plan’ and all of a sudden it is achievable.


What ‘making a plan’ has taught me:

1) Don’t give up too soon

If you ask for something and the person your are asking says no, this does not necessarily mean the answer has to be no. There may still be a way to get what you requested by just pushing it a bit more. This doesn’t mean you have to be ‘pushy’ or overly demanding. Its more about being persistent and seeing whether there is an alternative way to achieve a positive solution. It’s amazing how often not accepting ‘no’ to be the answer, turns the situation around.

2) Don’t let other people give up
Sometimes people may tell you something isn’t possible because it might require a bit more effort that they are willing to put in, or might take a bit more thinking about. You can encourage them to keep considering different alternatives until a solution is found.

3) There is a solution to everything

There will always be a solution, you just need to figure out what it is. You just need to keep thinking and use the resources you have available to you and there will be a plan that can be made to fix any issue you come up against.

4) Keep a positive mindset and the belief you can solve a problem and you will be able to

Faced with an issue, direct your first thought to be, ‘I can solve this, lets just make a plan to figure out how’. As long as you keep the positive believe that you can solve anything, you will do. You might have to get others involved to help, you might have to deviate from your original plan, but you will be able to find a solution if you keep a positive mindset.


I’d love to hear your comments about when you have ‘made a plan’ and turned a situation around in the comments below.


  1. Christopher.dsilva March 24, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Hi Mel…. I am very impressed with this write up and something you detailed out in the master class. I have now become pushy. Thanks to you, you have reintroduced me to my real DNA..never give up… I take this learning with me…. When you know something is possible and its just people who are becoming showstoppers you have to positively influence them and partner with them to make a plan….


    • Mel Johnson March 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

      Thanks Chris. I’m glad you liked the post and it has made you think ‘never give up’ I look forward to hearing about how you are getting on with ‘making a plan’


  2. Brendan April 1, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Fantastic post with some very valuable insight Mel – the content fits extremely well with a TED speech by Mel Robbins called “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over”. She states that “Getting what you want is simple, but not easy”. One must repeat that a few times for it to sink in 🙂

    Making a plan is such an important part of the process of getting from where you are to where you want to be. For example – although learning a foreign language is not easy, if you MAKE A PLAN you make it simple by breaking down the steps – “ I will do language lessons once a week for 3 months, THEN I will join a language club, THEN I will live in the given country for 6 months” etc. etc. By making a plan you simplify the process of getting to your end state, ensuring that achieving your objectives becomes a lot less daunting. The same context can be applied across life – be it a major project you need to do, or a certain body fitness goal you`d like to achieve – everything is simple but not easy, you just need to make a plan to make reaching the end goal simple . The “creativity” of a plan you speak of in your post, is the achievement of simplicity in itself.

    The four lessons you breakout are excellent learning points to share, and are what will truly determine if you will get to your desired end goal….conceptualization and a simple desire to achieve is the easy part!

    Anyway thanks again for this insight – keep sharing your thoughts, and Id personally love to see a blog on your experience on what your biggest goal achievements and your biggest goals unachieved were. Both in the concept of making plans and seeing/not-seeing things through (what did you do right/wrong, what were your learnings, what were the consequences of achievement/non-achievement, do you have pride/regret looking back?)

    I look forward to seeing more!


    • Mel Johnson April 1, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks Brendan. I’ll definitely watch that TED talk. You have given me a great idea for a new blog post! Watch this space! 🙂



  1. 3 steps guaranteed to remove barriers from your life - BestselfologyBestselfology - June 6, 2016

    […] I learned from the 3 years I spent living and working in South Africa is the Afrikaans saying ‘maak ‘n plan’ It literally means ‘make a plan’ and is the concept that anything is possible. If you think […]

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