Are we there yet… Focus on the Four P’s.

June is a favorite month for happenings like big weddings, local golf tournaments, and vacation car trips. What do all of these things have in common? They’re fun, of course, but equally important, making them the best they can be calls for the four P’s – Planning, Partnering, Patience, and Persistence.

PlanningIt's @Shannon_KB and her husband Sean

Getting ready for a big event takes planning. Who will be there? What will we need? Where will we go? When will we do it? The ubiquitous who, what, where and when are the essence of any plan. It allows us to map out a journey, plan an event, or set a new goal for our business. When we start to plan, we are setting goals for achievement and budgets that establish our limits. Each is important if we are to make the project succeed in the long run. Our goals allow us to stretch, taking a vision or dream and concretely establishing steps that will make it come true.

In planning a big summer wedding, the process begins long before the big day. We set the date, reserve a place for the reception and start to spread the word to family and friends. They’ll want to join you. We decide who will be in the wedding party; choose gowns and tuxes, order flowers and interview photographers. Hundreds of details, large and small have to be considered from what the menu will be to how many guests we will invite. Our budget, as the event boundary, will come into play as we make these decisions. The number of guests and type of reception we have is a function of the costs of the options we choose multiplied by the number of guests. According to the research done by The Wedding Report (, on average, couples getting married in my neighborhood will spend $54,940.00 for their wedding. And, this does not even include cost for a honeymoon, engagement ring! (You can put in your Zip Code to see what people around you are spending.) Add these in, plus the cost of a bridal consultant or wedding planner, if you want professional help, and the cost could reach $72,845.00! When you are looking at this size of an investment, planning within the boundaries of a budget becomes very important.

But it is not just weddings. Even simpler events like a family car trip or a hike through your local state park needs to be planned out. How long will you be gone? What do you need to take along – what resources will you need to make this special time with family or friends most enjoyable and free from problems. Plan it out. Like anyone who’s ever taken a long car trip with a child can attest, sooner or later, the question arises. “Are we there yet?” If you have not planned out where you are going and how you will get there, you will never have the answer.


Ever heard of a BHAG? Pronounced bee-hag, it is shorthand for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Tackling a big goal can seem daunting especially if you are trying to do it all on your own. Partnering is the key to pulling off a really big success. A great example of this is the holiday celebration that has become a hallmark of our community, the Festival of Lights. What started as a promotional device to draw potential customers into the Foothills, has become a holiday tradition that draws people from all over the valley. But when development was ended and the developers were through, there was a big problem. How would it continue? Who put up and take down all the lights? Who would pay for it? This tradition might have been lost if not for a group of community residents and businesses that came together in partnership to keep the Festival of Lights burning bright. Today, the Festival of Lights is a year round community partnership including the Kick-Off Party, the Mile of a Million Lights Display on Chandler Blvd., the Hay Rides on December Saturdays, the Golf Tournament and Wine-Tasting Event in June – are all the efforts of community member volunteers dedicated in keeping the tradition alive. Neighbors and businesses throughout the Ahwatukee Foothills area to come together in the spirit of fun and partnership as they support a common goal. These partnerships continue through the year and create great business and community connections.


Patience is a virtue. But then, I never claimed to virtuous. Yep, that was me, the annoying child in the back seat who was asking “are we there yet” every five miles or so. And, if you asked my family and friends, they would tell you some things never change! When we are working towards a big goal, it is often hard to be patient. We can see the end result in our mind. We are excited about it. We want to get there. NOW! But, the old saying is also true that good things happen to those who wait. When we have a project, event or goal we are working towards, things take time. We need that time to follow through on all the little steps, to pass the mile markers that will get us to where we are ultimately going to be. So reach down and find the patience. Don’t give up or get discouraged about how long it is taking. Before you know it the big day will arrive.


At last we reach the end of our list. Last, but not least, is the power of persistence. My grandmother often told me the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. (Yes, I have seen this quote attributed to everyone from May Smith to Vince Lombardi – but I’m quoting my Grandma here.) 

Persistence is the quality in us that keeps us going toward our end goal. When we take on that big hairy audacious goal, there are times along the way when things don’t go as we planned. Maybe we get a flat tire on that car trip or the hotel we’ve chosen for that special get away is sold out. If we’re planning a wedding, we might get discouraged when friends and family are not being as cooperative as we would like. As we laid out our plans, there might have been so many things we had to do along the way that it just doesn’t seem worth it. At other times, as we are moving along our path, obstacles get in our way and make it seem too hard to keep going.

One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill. He said “success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” As we plan our big summer activity, we need to keep moving forward, over and around the little failures or bumps in the road.

Flexibility is the key to success. Making small adjustments can help us to reach the end goal if we just stick with it. When things get a bit hairy, keep in mind what about your plan or goal got you excited in the first place. Reach down and find the enthusiasm that got you started on this path in the beginning and use it to fuel your power of persistence to follow it through to the end.

We’re here!

Finally, we’ve arrived. Following our four P’s – planning, partnering, patience and persistence, we reach the end of our journey. Now comes the best part – to enjoy arriving at our destination. When I got married, many years ago, we had a big wedding – lots of guests, lots of details, thousands of last minute things to keep track of. We planned and budgeted. We partnered with great people. It took us over a year to pull it off and we over came little obstacles with persistence and enthusiasm. But, by the end, I was so wrapped up in making sure that everything was perfect that I was making myself crazy.

I almost lost sight of what was really important – the celebration of the new life we were starting together. Lucky for me, my husband Chris is a much smarter person that I am. He didn’t lecture me or tell me what I was missing. Through his actions, he reminded me – pulling me onto the dance floor, visiting with friends, and of course, smearing wedding cake ALL over my face. And, being the calm, collected, rational person I am, I retaliated in spades! It’s hard to take things too seriously when you have just had a food fight in front of hundreds of people! So while you focus on the end goal, don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Use the four P’s to help you along the way, enjoy the ride, and CELEBRATE when you have arrived.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

-Joan Koerber-Walker

Posted in Blog, Getting Back to Basics, Growth, Real World Inspiration.