I was talking to an executive team recently about change and life planning. It was an interesting discussion because they really didn’t know what a Life Plan was. Do you know what a Life Plan is? In the simplest explanation, it is acknowledging your priorities, reconciling your actions to see if they are aligned with your priorities, and adjusting your behaviors to live a very intentional life with expected outcomes in each domain of your life.
I have been leaning on this expected outcomes topic for a while now because I feel it is important. Time, Days, Weeks, and Months are flying by and if we don’t acknowledge our expected outcomes it could leave you with life regrets. Time is our most precious resource and we live in a world where a lot of things are pulling on our time. Our tendency is to utilize our time on the urgent stuff and not consciously prioritize the important. Most of us get up day after day and tend to do the same things we did yesterday. Go to work, come home, do some minor activities at home and go to bed, then repeat. This routine can feel like you are doing the right thing, providing for the family, doing the tasks that need to get done and so on.
Consciously deciding to own your life by creating and owning your life plan is a great first step. The first steps to get this started are:
- Assess where you are in your life domains.
- Understand how you got to this point.
- Identify what is important to you – your priorities.
- Create your mission and vision statements of where you want to go.
- Create core values that will be your guiding principles through life.
- Create an action plan to hold yourself accountable.
Sounds simple right? Well, you have to change a few things to change your life and direction. This can be a very fulfilling process with multiple steps. I will be sharing some tools to get you started over the next few weeks/months so you can start thinking about the changes you want to make.
Tomorrow is your choice and in 50 years your choices of today are going to matter. Minimized your regrets and be intentional about where you are going today.
Do the Life Wheel Assessment here.
- For each area of your life, rate it. 10=highest, 1=lowest.
- Connect the dots. Does your wheel have a flat spot or two?
- That should be a clue of where to start making changes.
We will revisit this next week, but complete your own life wheel this week. Below are my Life Wheel assessments as I navigated my first and second Life Plans. Have a great, long weekend!
I recently heard Lou Holtz speak and one section of his speech stood out to me. He talked about everyone needing 4 Things in life.
- Something To Do – something you are really passionate about.
- Someone To Love
- Something To Hope For
- Someone To Believe In
Do you have all 4 in your life? I’ve read and heard about people that don’t have something to hope for dying quickly after they retire. We are either growing or dying in life no matter what age you may be. There is no such thing as maintenance mode because in this mode there is nothing to strive for.
Your Life is and will be about CHOICES and DECISIONS. When you decide in advance, you own your life vs. it owning you. Living Right is a Choice. How are you doing on the below items:
- Do the Right Thing
- Knowing your Priorities
- Living your actions according to your priorities
- Being Honest (the truth is easy, lying is hard)
- Not holding grudges or being bitter
Good Luck – you can minimize regrets in life if you make some conscious decisions in advance and keep the “4 Things in Life” in front of you.
I just had my blind spot covered this week. We were going to make a hire and I totally didn’t see something I should of. You would think after 25 years of hiring people I would be in tune with what we are looking for, which is the case most of the time but not all the time. We all have blind spots in life and business and it can be a staggering 30% of our life. That means almost 1/3 of our life we can use someone else weighing in to validate what we see and what we are thinking. The key is to get whatever you are working on exposed by someone that you can trust and who can keep you accountable.
Who is keeping you accountable?
Who is covering your blind spots?
What group do you “hang in” that you feel you are the dumbest in?
This are tough and important questions. Accountability keeps you being the person you want to be. Admitting you have blind spots and need a second set of eyes on a situations is humbling AND important and will keep you out of trouble. Being the dumbest in a group means you can be humble and you know you need to learn from others.
Do you drive into storms or have crucial conversations when needed? I have talked about this concept with my friends, my family, and co-workers for a while now. I just heard it again when I was listening to a book called – Take the Stairs. The simple fact is if there is an issue whether big or small, do you put it off or do you drive right into it? I recently learned that Colorado is one of the few states that have buffalo and cows in it. Well, it turns out when a storm is coming from the west over the rocky mountain range, the cows start to run from it. The storm usually catches them and they stay in it for a long time. The buffalo wait for the storm to hit the mountain tops and run right into it and right through it. They minimize their time in the storm by charging right into it.
When I help other with this concept and working through issues they may have, I simply state, “let’s drive into the storm”. It can be a hard conversation with a client, a mistake they made, or just a tough situation that needs to be addressed. It is better just to get it done vs “stewing on it”. If you don’t address the issue, it usually consumes a lot of extra energy and can create a negative energy around you.
I recently helped my daughter sell something on Amazon and it ended up it was missing a part. We received an email from the buyer who was rather upset and let us know that. She got upset after reading the email and shared her feelings with me. I suggested we talk through and respond appropriately. The facts were the buyer was right, so we took a few minutes responded politely that we would look for the part and let him know that our character and integrity are very important to us. He replied and pseudo apologized or explained why he was upset which made sense. It ended up we did not find the part so I offered to refund his money. He responded it was ok and he would just keep it without any kind of refund necessary. It was a good opportunity to apply some common sense
The best gift you can give yourself or someone else is the gift of self-awareness. It is pretty much a fact that the highest predictor of success both personally and professionally is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Being self-aware can be a secret advantage if you can get there. Most people don’t realize that being self-aware can advance them in their career, in their relationships, and in their home life.
I first learned of the concept of being self-aware when I read the book Emotional Intelligence. It complimented my belief that focusing on your strengths vs. your weaknesses is the best thing you can do for you. In life, very few people like to talk about their weaknesses – let alone strive to be self-aware so they know how they are being perceived and treating other people. Being self-aware allows you to recognize what you do best, where your strengths are AND allows you to understand and accept your weaknesses.
We all have hot buttons. Things or actions that get on our nerves or we are hyper-sensitive to. The key is to know your hot buttons and make sure you know how you want to respond. Do you know your hot buttons?
What Are Yours:
- People that interrupt you?
- People that don’t listen?
- People that ask you the same question over and over?
- Bad or Crazy Drivers?
- Negative people?
- And so on…
Every person has a few behaviors they are sensitive to. Some more than others, but for sure we all have them. The key to help yourself is to remain calm and acknowledge your emotions when one of your hot buttons fire up. It is especially helpful to know your hot buttons in advance, so you have your ideal response mapped out so your muscle memory takes over and you respond how you want to. This doesn’t always happen, but you have a better
Check ups on yourself, your goals, and where your headed can be a daunting or easy depending on the tools you use. To determine what you should stop, start or keep should be something you do at least annually, but semi-annually is a better plan. I do a process at year end that I learned from our life plan training. It is called the 4 Helpful List tool. It allows you to review the last year and classify the following.
- What is Right?
- What is Wrong?
- What is Confusing?
- What is Missing?
The process is to basically classify your last year activities in each category with bullet points in each section. Then to classify what today’s status currently is AND how much control you have on each bullet point. Your options for control are Full, Partial, None.
We use this tool when we do life planning and it is super eye opening. It was for me when I did my life plan, especially when I had to select how much control I had on each bullet point. This tool may help you with what you should change for 2017 and set goals to actually accomplish those changes.
- Fill it out for where you are today
- State Today’s Status
- Classify how much control you have over that item.
- Identify what changes you want to make.
- Fill out the Goals Sheet to document your plan and execute it.
Do a Life Plan
It’s your life, own it this year…
My wife and I are conscious everyday about our influence on others and its ripple effect. Leadership in it’s simplest form is influence not control. I know a lot of people complain about lack of control in certain situations but what that translates to is if they think they had control they would be successful. This simply is not true, you cannot control anyone but yourself.
You can’t control anyone, but you can influence everyone to some degree.
We like to have a positive impact on those we come in contact with every day. Some times its minimal, sometime it can be life direction changing. If you want to be a positive leader in today’s world, there are a few things you can do.
I often ask the question “are you controlling your day or is it controlling you?” 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. Below are just a few of the things I read, listened to and did before altering my routine.
I even hired a coach to help me with my faith habits. After all this, I concluded owning your day starts in the morning — but is decided the night before. A long time ago I read that you rarely win debates with yourself in the morning, so you must decide what you are going to do in advance. This means if you are going to get up and workout, you decide the night before, you put out your clothes, and when the alarm clock goes off, you just go do it!
Priorities are a funny thing, especially when it comes to your spouse and family. I must admit; I didn’t have it right for many years and still get wrong occasionally. This week is a quick “tech tip” my wife and I have been using to keep us aligned on to do lists, shopping lists, home improvement lists, etc.
We have been using a little free app called wunderlist that has made a huge difference in our life. It started when our 3 daughters were living at home and they would ask my wife to add things to the shopping list. The requests could come from all types of sources – texts, email, sticky notes and so on. That got a little frustrating for my wife.
I saw this frustration and came up with a solution which was a shared shopping list in wunderlist. It is really cool and allows you to share many lists with many people. In this case, it worked perfect. I created a list called shopping list and shared it with our family so all they had to do is add it to the list, make notes and even take a picture of the label if needed. This took a lot of stress out of our life. I like to share this little tip with as many people as I can and they always come back and let me know they love it.
I took it to the next level after I taught a retreat on Getting Things Done. The premise behind the method is to make sure you have things in the right priority bucket and in a safe place. I did this with our home improvement to do lists because I didn’t want to be working on something that we weren’t in agreement on. This could waste time, cause friction, and just not be a positive thing