My wife and I have made great strides in our relationship over the past few years. Admittedly a lot had to do with me and I am happy to admit it. It’s a fun time for us as we had lots of changes in 2016. It’s nice to look back and see where we made conscious choices or decisions that lead to positive outcomes that we are experiencing today.
Owning your life and doing your own life plan is a very intentional accomplishment, but shouldn’t be limited to you only. When my wife and I did our individual life plans, it was a great experience. It opened our eyes to a new way of thinking. It actually led us to re-creating our relationship that we now call V2 (version2).
Knowing where you came from, knowing how you are wired, and knowing your purpose/mission in life will allow you to live a life that you can be proud of. Imagine living your life with your best friend, knowing how you want to leave the world, and coming to grips with what your legacy can be is extremely fulfilling.
Going into 2017 I plan to be even more intentional about my relationship with my wife. It might even be a V3 or just V2 to the next level. One thing I am working on which might be helpful for you is doing monthly check ins with my wife and asking the following.
- What was the best and worst part of last month?
- What is one thing I can do to be a better partner?
- What is one thing that worries you?
- What is one thing you are grateful for?
Does your external self match what you believe and what you stand for? Are you a different person at work than at home? How about when you are “hanging” out with friends, at church, or at a community event? We all have different roles we have to play in different situations, but your external self should reflect who you really are.
Character is something we must protect continuously. I used to tell our daughters – “you are the only one that can give your character away, no one can take it from you”. I still believe that today. Did you get a deal at the grocery store because a price was wrong or did you simply steal?
Your internal self is really your character. Shaping your character is an inside out job and a very important one. Our character can be shaped in many ways like:
- Inputs we consume from others
- Relationships we pursue
- Habits we have
- People we hang out with
Have you ever sat down and truly defined your core values and what is important to you? Do you know your core values and what you stand for? My wife and I held a workshop at St. Mary’s College this week on life planning and one of the topics was personal core values. In order to live on purpose and support what is important to you, your core values are decisions that need to be made – by you – by digging deep down inside of yourself.
Without knowing your core values and what you stand for – you’ll be in a state of confusion and potentially in chaos. These values are like the foundation your house is built on. When your values disintegrate, everything around you also disintegrates because your actions are not in sync with your belief system and core values. This is also known as cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is “the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values”. Wow, that is a mouth full. In today’s technology and interconnected world, we are getting introduced to new ideas and others beliefs at crazy speeds. It is more important than ever to know what you stand for, your beliefs and your foundation.
You have the right to fail, but you don’t have the right to make other people fail because you don’t perform to the best of your ability. Last week we had to part ways with a team member and it reminded me of this statement that Lou Holtz made on the Entreleadership podcast. It was a great statement and made me think of a few recent times in my life this applied to me.
If you want to give up, have a bad day, or choose to not do the right thing, that is up to you. If you CHOOSE any of these, the right thing to do is to make sure it only affects you. I know sometimes not performing isn’t necessarily on purpose but if you are someone in charge of another person you have a responsibility to cover your blind spots. I believe we all have about 30% blind spots and we need others, ideally an accountability partner, to give us candid feedback and see things we may not see.
Do you know what the double win in your life is? Well the double win is the quest for activities that help fulfill us on multiple levels. By fulfill, I mean accomplish the priorities that we have defined in advance that are aligned with our goals and our life plan.
The majority of us have 5 domains in our life – Personal. Family, Vocation (job/career), Faith, and Community. We should have priorities that cross the 5 domains that help us make the appropriate decisions on a daily basis. There are opportunities where you can get the “double win”, which is to accomplish 2 priorities at once. For me, I am planning on accomplishing this next week with my wife and work. I am heading to a conference in Boston, MA and I am having my wife join me. This would be accomplishing my learning priority, work priority, and family priority (a triple win).
We only have so much time in the day, and we can’t do it all. But if we combine activities, we can fit more in. Want to work out? Invite your husband or wife to join you. Need to attend an event for the charity you support? Try to get your friends involved, so you can maximize the impact and socialize with them, too. Getting creative about blending these aspects of your life can help ensure you have more time to spend on the things you care about.
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”.
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…
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.
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:
- Set Goal (What, Why, How)
- Create Action Plan (Activities and Routines)
- Take Action
- Plan and Reflect Daily
- Track Progress
- Update Plan
- (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
Really, habits before breakfast make a huge difference on how your day and life will end up. 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?
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.