Plan and prepare: the change to self-direction

Narissa Wilson lives in a small town on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. She has been directing her own support for over five years.

Making the decision that I wanted more for my life was the first step towards self-direction. I was frustrated and felt boxed up by traditional service boundaries. I knew I needed more flexibility and creativity in my life in order to achieve my vision.

In the beginning of my self-directed journey, I became overwhelmed by all the 'bits' and 'information' I needed to know, find or develop. I soon realised this was not a journey that was flown solo. I recognised that there were key people in my life who were also personally invested in my self-direction, such as my mother and father, partner and close friends. In their capacity as family and friends these people were already assisting me with the information and new knowledge needed in this self-direction world.

Despite all this, through conversations and meetings I had with family and friends to discuss my move into self-direction, I realised that no progression was really being made. There was a whole lot of talking but not much doing. I felt we needed a checklist, specific tasks and goals to work towards! I broke my journey into four distinct phases and this assisted me to then break each phase into small achievable tasks. 

The following four tables show a brief version of the plan I use to keep my self-direction work on track:

  1. Planning for my Self-Direction: Planning my vision underpinned by my values and goals.
  2. Designing the look of my Self-Direction: Thinking about and investigating how the business of my self-direction will meet my vision
  3. Building my Self-Direction: Getting to work.
  4. Maintaining my Self-Direction: The day to day reflections and work over time.

I still use these phases continuously, even now, five years into my self-direction, as they are adaptable and help clarify my goals and make them achievable. The phases are often revisited when my goals take a different direction.

The full version of these tables I used were on an Excel spreadsheet that was accessed live through the web by everyone in my network. To see the full version with how I completed each section click on Plan and prepare: the change to self-direction (TABLES).

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