Have You Thought About Your Legacy?

In 50 Years - What is Going to Matter...

Your legacy can be a hard thing to process. After all, death is what normally comes to mind when you start tossing the word legacy around. I bring this up because my wife and I are speaking at St. Mary’s College in a few weeks on Life Planning and the importance of having a life plan. While we were going through our material, we paused at the beginning because it starts with knowing or starting to think about your legacy.

To get your mind around this, we usually ask this question:

In 50 Years What is Going to Matter?

In 100 Years What is Going to Matter?

One of the biggest reasons for doing a Life Plan is the truth that legacy happens by how we live life today. All of us need more focus on legacy and the impact we hope to leave behind. Legacy is built as we do life. When you Die, you leave a legacy, but you lost the opportunity to build an intentional legacy. When you do this you just leave the sum total of how you lived your life – good or bad. Being focused on how we live is essential if we want to build intentionality into our legacy.

This is why I wrote my workbook – You in the Sweet Spot so you can do a Life Plan yourself to get your life moving the way you really want it to move. Going through life without a plan will never allow you to maximize your potential and build a legacy.

“You Don’t Plan to Fail, You Fail to Plan”.

Action Plan

  • Do A Life Plan
  • Think about what is going to matter in 50 and 100 years – really digest and see it. Your kids, your kids -kids, your kids friend. The ripple effect of your legacy can be HUGE!!!

Best of Luck and start thinking Legacy…

Are You Living in Your Sweet Spot?

Know Where Your Passion and Strengths Intersect...

What is your “Sweet Spot” you ask? Simply put your sweet spot is where your natural strengths and passion intersect. Getting to this intersection will ultimately allow you to be a happier and more productive person. The premise is when you know your natural strengths, you operate in a natural state which consciously and unconsciously you are at ease. This comfort zone allows you to breath easier, think easier, do you job better, encourage others around you, and ultimately have an influence that you normally would not have.

When you are happier at work, which is a big part of our life, you go home happier which impacts your family and friends in a positive way, you impact your community beyond your family which can have a huge ripple effect. Just think of you having a positive impact on someone and the potential that can have on the others they come in contact with. So, see where this is going. Knowing your natural strengths can have huge impacts on the ones directly connected to you and the most powerful thing is you can influence outside your direct circle of influence.

If You Could Do Anything…

What Would You Do?

Have you ever allowed yourself to think – if you could do anything what would you do? I used to ask this question a lot with my friends after I realized the biggest regret people have is not having the courage to do what they really wanted. They allowed others to influence them too much and didn’t pursue what they really wanted with a plan. I do have to emphasize there must be a plan.

Over the years, my wife and I have mentored many kids, friends, and colleagues. One question we always have to work through is what dreams do you have. Sometimes they haven’t allowed themselves to dream, other times they had dreams with no plan. This is very common especially for the creative based people.

The Process looks like this:

  1. Dream
  2. Set Goal (What, Why, How)
  3. Create Action Plan (Activities and Routines)
  4. Take Action
  5. Plan and Reflect Daily
  6. Track Progress
  7. Update Plan
  8. (Repeat 4 thru 7)

If you find yourself in a grind and not knowing your why, it might be time for you to do your life plan and dream. I put together a workbook so you can do

Do You Want to Know What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast?

Own Your Morning = Own Your Life

Really, habits before breakfast make a huge difference on how your day and life will end up. quandrant-ccsv2 I was talking to a friend this week about time management and how he seemingly is always chasing his day. It reminded me of a blog I wrote a year ago on owning your day and what the most successful people do before breakfast. Since I read the book I incorporated a lot of the habits and they really work. How about you?

Do you feel like you are chasing your day from the start or do you own your mornings?

The book was really interesting and was documentation of actual successful people and what they really did before breakfast.

Here is the quick run down:

Did You Know Our Greatest Weaknesses Can Be Our Strengths Overused?

Control Your Strengths To Be Your Best

Did You Know Our Greatest Weaknesses Can Be Our Strengths Overused?

Did you know your greatest weakness can be your strengths overused? I am preparing to teach a Renaissance Executive Forums retreat on Getting Things Done based on the principles of David Allen’s book. I am pretty excited to be teaching this because I have been practicing this for a few years now and it really works. One key learning of the course stood out to me as I was reviewing the material and it was the concept of our weaknesses being our strengths overused.

This concept is really about self-management. Before we can self-manage or self-regulate, we have to be self-aware. The matrix of self-management has to do with control and perspective as shown in the chart above. Control is stability. It is maintaining clarity about decisions, directions and priorities. Perspective is Alignment, seeing the big picture with conscious, focused engagement with awareness of all options at any time and place

If you can maintain a sufficient level of each of these factors in yourself, your family or in your organization, your world will be in order and you’ll be focused exactly as you should be. Only when one or both of them slip away from optimal should you be concerned that something needs to be fixed or redirected.

Are You Listening with the Intent to Understand?

Ready to understand or reply...

Really – are you listening to understand or listening to reply? Most of us feel pressured that we have to respond quickly otherwise we seem like we don’t understand. Some people can respond quickly and actively contribute, but knowing the answers doesn’t necessarily mean you are having a meaningful conversation and relationship. In fact, in most cases it’s not building a relationship at all.

My nephew got married this past Saturday and it was an awesome wedding. Sometimes when you hear preachers talk, or anyone for that matter, you could potentially zone out and not hear what is being said. I have to admit, it was hot and I started to do that a little bit, but then he threw in a joke to get us all engaged. As he was about to bless the rings with holy water he said “Do you know how you make holy water? You put it on the stove and boil the HELL out of it”. We all laughed and we were all engaged again. It’s easy to be a passive listener but that usually ends up causing a passive relationship and just a bunch of unproductive time.

Of course we are supposed to ask open ended questions to have good conversations, but being self-aware is a KEY differentiator from my perspective. Self-Awareness is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. In fact,

Are You Creating an Environment Where You Would Be Missed?

Provide Value - Not Security for Yourself

My wife and I went up to upper Wisconsin this past weekend to do some northern pike fishing. csbs-northernWhile on the 7 hour drive with a little more traffic than anticipated, I was listening to the Entreleadership podcast #163 where they interviewed Lou Holtz. There were a ton of learning nuggets in this podcast, but the one that stood out to me the most was “Are you creating an environment where you would be missed?”

I thought about that for a while because I never wanted to be a friend, part of a team, or a leader that left and things fell apart. That to me is a sign of a poor leader because you are not thinking of the team or building the next leadership level which could be a sign of ego or insecurity. While I was fishing with my brother and thought about the podcast, it made a lot of sense to me. When my brother caught a bigger northern, it was my turn to get the net, which I did and we got it in the boat. Could he of done it on his own – of course, but it would have been harder and he possibly could of lost the fish. We have impact on many environments we are in – some small like a fish getting away and some big like customers not getting taken care of and costing the company money.

So what type of environments are you impacting or creating:

  • At Home
  • At Work
  • In School
  • In Your Social Groups
  • In Sports
  • In Hobby Events

How Do You Decide Your Priorities?

Are you focusing on the important...

I am now a day 17 of being released from my torn bicep repair. I know many of you have had to recover from injuries, hurts, disappointments, etc., but prioritizing the important “stuff” really matters if you want to be the person you want to be proud of. This doesn’t necessarily mean what you accomplished financially or at work, but who you are as a person. My injury reminded me and confirmed how important it is to prioritize your tasks so they are aligned with your life priorities and life mission.

Can you look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you are?

How are you deciding your projects and priorities? Do you know how you decide what you are going to do for the hour, day, week, month, year?

Do you decide by what is:

  • Easiest
  • Cheapest
  • Most Proven
  • Most Certain
  • Biggest Pay Off
  • Most Fun
  • Most Convenient
  • Most Known
  • Most Unknown
  • Most Important
  • Most Urgent
  • Most Challenging
  • …..

Have You Audited Your Friends?

4 things to ask yourself

Did you know that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? BlueGillI read this and starting thinking, who are my 5, and am I the average of them? Then I thought back to my younger years and remember my mom watching out for who I “hung” out with growing up. She would have our new friends over for dinner so she could evaluate them and help guide us toward or away from them. I am super thankful for that guidance. This philosophy or law starts at an early age and continues through our whole life. My wife is really good at this – which I appreciate on multiple levels.

The theory comes from the law of averages, which is the theory that any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. Like all salespeople, entrepreneurs and all successful people regardless of their profession know… in order to increase your wins, you have to also increase your losses. Whether we like it or not, we are greatly influenced by our relationships of the ones closest to us. It affects our thinking, self-esteem, and our decision making. We are all our own person, but the fact is we are absolutely influenced and affected by our environment.

  •  Who are you “hanging” with the most?
  • Are you adopting their habits?
  • Are you adopting their belief system?
  • Are your standards being influenced to be higher or lower?

Do You Own Your Day?

I often ask the question “are you controlling your day or is it controlling you?” Chicago It’s an interesting concept to ponder as many of us get behind to start off the day and spend the rest of it vainly trying to catch up. For many, days like this string together into weeks or even months until we feel it is impossible to get ahead, our lives are out of balance and we feel out of control. It’s not a happy place to be.

In today’s technology driven world of the Internet, email, smartphones, tablets and the demands of social media it is easy to get caught up in and lost by the 24/7 interconnectedness.  It is easy to blow valuable time on the web or Facebook, email and Twitter and have nothing to show for it but a serious gap in available hours to get the important stuff done.  Technology can be a help or a hindrance depending on how you master it.  Technology should be a tool that brings value and contributes to personal and professional goals and dreams.

As a continuous improvement guy, I am always looking for ways to improve my processes and tweak my routines so I can accomplish my goals.  This year I changed my morning routine.  But I didn’t wake up on New Year’s Day armed with an ill-conceived resolution.  No, I started working on it about 7 months ago by reading up on the best practices and effective leadership traits that aligns one with one’s goals.  Below are just a few of the things I read, listened to and did before altering my routine.

Audio Books: