How Intentional Are You About Sharing Your Thoughts?

Really, how intentional are you about sharing your thoughts?EmilyAllisonIULittle5 EmilyAllisonIULittle5Being intentional can be a very difficult thing depending on how you are wired. Sometimes it’s the season of life we are in, and other times it’s the number of things we have going on. Knowing what you are shooting for and how you want to be remembered are always good reminders to do daily.

The danger zone is when you try to navigate life and you don’t give certain trusted people permission to be candid, honest, and discuss real things they may see in you that you are not seeing. For working out of the house, it may be participating in a peer group, accountability group or having an accountability partner. For those at home doing important work, having a small group and an accountability partnership/friendship is essential.

We all have thoughts and opinions, but the danger is keeping them in your head and letting them potentially develop into something that simply isn’t true. Make sure you start your days right by controlling your day, controlling your thoughts, and getting them out of your head by journaling or discussing with someone. See my blog here on techniques to own and start your day better.

Action Items

Are You Prioritizing the Right Activities?

Are you really prioritizing the right20160328_190507000_iOS activities?  This past weekend my wife and I hosted our daughter’s bridal shower. It was emotional on many levels as this is our oldest daughter and the first one to be engaged and on the road to marriage within a few weeks. She lives in Nashville, TN and coming to grips with the fact that she is not coming home was something my wife and I had to process individually and together. We knew the day would come and here it is.

As we reflected on her life to this point, our goal was to equip her as best we could to have a solid foundation, be a young lady, work hard, respect others, and appreciate life’s journey. This was just another reminder of making sure we prioritize the right activities.

Do you have a system for prioritizing the right activities? I use the decision making matrix as often as I can and need to make it a habit. I’m fairly confident this started with Dwight D. Eisenhower then brought to the masses with Stephen Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Below is the matrix and below are how it can be used to make sure you are prioritizing the important stuff in your life.

The Difference Between Urgent and Important

Prioritiy QuandrantUrgent means the task requires immediate attention. These are the to-do’s that shout out loud – NOW! Urgent tasks put us in a reactive mode which usually is a defensive, hurried, negative and narrow-focused mindset.

Important means tasks that contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals. Sometimes important tasks are also urgent, but typically they are not. When we focus on important activities we operate in a responsive mode, which helps us stay rational, calm, and open to new opportunities.

It’s a pretty intuitive distinction, yet most of us frequently fall into the trap of believing that all urgent activities are important. This mind-set in part originates from our ancestors where the urgent was important – like being chased by a saber-tooth cat because it could be the difference between life and death.

Like I mentioned earlier, the new technologies are constantly bombarding us like the dings of email, Twitter, and texts. We are being conditioned to be in an “always-on” state and we have the high potential to lose sight of the truly important and our long term direction. Working with the decision tree and reviewing your playbook can help you avoid burnout and stagnation because you keep your long term objectives at the top of your mind.

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important Tasks

Quadrant 1 tasks are both urgent and important. These are the tasks that require our immediate attention and also work towards fulfilling our long-term goals and missions in life.

How Good Are You At Listening?

Being a good listener is more important than it ever has been. With all the communication options – texting, Twitter, Snapchat, Ear 2Facebook, and all the social media options – miscommunication and misinterpretation can easily happen.

With so many quickly advancing technology options available, it seems we have to talk faster, walk faster, and cram more things into shorter periods of time. This can be helpful for accomplishing some things, but listening isn’t one of those things –especially when the other person needs to be heard.

I used to be bad at this – especially with my wife.  I wanted to solve her problems or solve what I perceived were her problems.   Recently I am more aware of this and even with myself, sometimes I tell the other person I may be talking with “I just need to talk out loud” so I can process my thoughts.

So really, how good do you think you are at listening?

How Do You View Your Problems?

Rewire yourself in the New Year.

We all have problems in life. Some big, some small but keeping a healthy and open perspective wiringon your problems is important and sometime critical to achieve what we set out to accomplish. This past year was jammed packed with issues or “problems” I had to work through. Some problems if not handled properly could have messed up my life plan.

Fortunately I have a great spouse and a great life network to help keep me on track. Being intentional is one of my core values which means I have to continually challenge myself on responding to issues vs. reacting. I have 5 personal core values I recently defined through my new life plan. I am trying like heck to keep these values as my filters for my life. As we march into 2016, my core values will help me navigate my problems and life according to my priorities. Do you have defined core values in your life? My core values are:

  1. Prioritize Family
  2. Live Intentionally
  3. Have Fun
  4. Learn Forever
  5. Respect Others

4 Step Secret to Live Intentional with Your Phone

My wife and I were in a restaurant last week and the person waiting on us commented on my phone case. phone picAs you can see from the picture, it is a picture of our family which I like to keep with me all the time. I know we can pull up pictures on our phones, but when I simply can turn my phone over and there they are it puts a smile on my face.

The cool part of what I am going to tell you is I did not purchase my phone case with the picture – I made it. Below are the 4 quick steps to make your own custom phone case with whatever you want to have in your face. A lot of people like to have their family picture on the back, but it can be your priorities, your life plan summary, goals for year, your core values, your mission statement, or whatever you want it to be.

4 Steps to Your Custom Phone Case

  1. Purchase a phone case with a clear back. Sample Cases – iPhone 5 , iPhone 6
  2. Print a Picture on 4×6 paper or 4×6 photo stock. (regular paper can work too)
  3. Put case over picture and trace on the outside and cut the picture to fit in the case with camera hole.
  4. Slip picture in phone case and snap phone in.

You Don’t Plan to Fail – You Fail to Plan

Tools for 2016 Planning - 23 Days Left

You really don’t plan to fail, you just fail to plan.  IUB GirlsMy wife and daughters have heard me say this a thousand times. Planning and failing can work for you or against you. One thing for sure is your odds of achieving what you want are a lot better with a plan. As we run into 2016, it’s time to pull out the planning tools and really take the time to write down what you want to accomplish and put a plan behind it so you do.

December is a big planning month for me because if you don’t plan your week and your year, someone will do that for you. You need to own your life, not follow it. I have pulled together the tools I use to put 2016 in the cross hairs so you can plan your life and accomplish the things you want in 2016.

As you use these tools, remember to keep the 5 domains of your life in mind as you want to have goals that include all 5. The life domains are:

  1. Personal
  2. Family
  3. Vocation
  4. Faith
  5. Community

As you work on your plans using the tools, try to keep in mind where you make your biggest contribution. This is where you are strong, productive, and the happiest. The planning tools I use are below.

Action Plans

Are You Prioritizing the Right Things?

Prioritizing the right things can be difficult for many of us. 20151126_225205000_iOSThis past Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I had a great opportunity to prioritize our family. Our 2 daughters came home and besides our youngest daughter having to work black Friday hours, we were together which was great. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago on the 2 unique things we can be – a spouse and a parent. This past weekend reminded me of this and my wife and I had one of the nicest weekends as friends and as parents.

As I reflect on the weekend, it feels like our family is on the next chapter. My wife and I have recreated our relationship and we are having a great time as friends. Applying this next chapter or version 2 (v2) of our family is a pleasant surprise for us. During the week we prioritized just doing things together – black Friday shopping, sushi, and even staying up late cooking and playing games with the whole crew – boyfriends and friends included.

Are You Celebrating the Right Stuff?

My wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary a few weeks ago and we had a blast. CSTSWinery2015We always try to take a week off and take time to celebrate our relationship. We have been discussing the version 2 of us for a while now and it is really cool to see the results of being intentional about each other. In order for us to get to the next level or version of us I had to come to grips on a few realties.

  • She is not me.
  • We don’t process things the same way.
  • She is FOR me.
  • She is FOR our family.
  • We are not who we were when we got married.

Now “stew” on that one for a bit. We all have our natural strengths, we have core values that mature over time, but maturity coupled with experience makes us more complete every year. Embracing our growth and change is something that has propelled our relationship exponentially. For us, we wanted to keep the things that made us who we are AND embrace the new person we are continually becoming.

Do You Have a Junior Mentor?

I was talking with my daughter Emily the other night about possibly doing a speech with me to give a fresh perspective and a few points on how she sees things. Em Salt BalanceIt reminded me that a friend of mine brought the concept of having a younger mentor up to me a few weeks prior. I was talking to him about mentoring and my idea of the 10 year ring which is always have someone at least 10 years above you as a mentor and you mentoring someone roughly 10 years younger than you. He said he learned that you should have a mentor 10 years younger than you which was foreign to me.

After this discussion with my daughter and the connection I made with my friend I dug into this a bit. It turns out this is a real thing and it is called reverse mentoring. Reverse mentoring is

Are You Journaling For Your Health?

Journaling can help you in many ways including your health.  Journaling is a habit I am working on creating consistently in my life.  journal1I have been working on adding journaling to my morning routine to help with me be intentional about my life and identify patterns I may not want or I need to change.

There is increasing evidence that supports the idea that journaling has a positive impact on our physical well-being.  Some researchers say it can reduce stress, strengthen your immune system, and even decrease symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.  If you are thinking you don’t have time to journal, I would challenge you because of these benefits.

  • You Will Know Yourself Better
  • It Will Reduce Stress
  • It Will Allow You to See the Positive Stuff in Your Life
  • It Will Help You Identify Trends in Your Life