For Something to Change, Something Has to Change

I was talking to an executive team this past week about change and life planning. LifeWheelIt was an interesting discussion because most people do not know what a Life Plan is. Do you know what a Life Plan is? In the simplest explanation, it is prioritizing your time and living a very intentional life.

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.

Have You Discovered a New Emotion Lately?

Do You Control Your Day or Does it Control You?  AbbyDad Wedding DanceSeriously, when is the last time you discovered a new emotion? Well I did this past weekend when we celebrated our oldest daughter’s wedding in Nashville TN. Wow, what a week with a lot of emotions in full swing for my wife and I. It was the first wedding of the Sroda family and it was a great time celebrating it with my wife, and our daughters. That being said, there were a lot of emotions including some new ones that I hadn’t experienced yet.

The picture shows me dancing with my first baby who is now a young lady. I picked the song My Little Girl by Tim McGraw.  If you haven’t listened to the words and you have a daughter, beware. We all have bittersweet turning points in life and for me, this was a big one.

So back to the question, when is the last time you experienced a new emotion and stopped to reflect on it. I think it is safe to say, we experience emotional highs and lows through our life at different points, but the key is to stop and take the time to reflect, appreciate and learn from them. Slowing down and reflecting on where you are going, what you are feeling, and what you want to be proud of in life is something you should be intentional about. Most people don’t take time to reflect – let alone think or plan what they really want to accomplish in life.

Starting your day with some type of routine (maybe journaling, reflection, quiet time or planning) is what the most successful people do. I wrote a blog about controlling your day which is a good place to start if you want to create a positive habit in your life.

Are You Teaching People How To Treat You?

We headed down to Nashville, TN last nightrp_20160328_190507000_iOS-169x300.png for our oldest daughter’s wedding in a few days.  This is the first wedding for our family and it is bittersweet – along with a lot of other emotions that I have yet to experience.  This is definitely a new chapter for our daughter as well as for us and we are looking forward to it.

My wife has taught me many things over the years for which I am grateful and very fortunate to have such a great life partner. Helping our daughters through the turning points in their lives was and is very important to us.  Although we contribute to our family in different ways, we are aligned on the core values and belief system for our family.  One of my favorite quotes my wife consistently taught our daughters was:

“You Teach People How To Treat You”

What Seeds Are You Planting Today?

Make your activities count

Are you planting seeds today that will turn into something in the near future? 20160416_165733654_iOSOur daughters came home this past weekend from college and they had their friends over Friday night for a bluegill fish fry at our place. It was really nice hanging out, talking about life, direction, and getting updates on how things are in their world. Sometimes I like to ask what is the biggest issue you are dealing with right now – which is a fun question because you get a glimpse at what’s important to them at this point in their lives.

We all know that we have different priorities and problems at different chapters of life.  Helping the people we have a direct connection with and being able to be an influence to help them navigate life is a privilege for many of us. Sometimes as an outcome of that, you indirectly help others, too. I was listening to Dave Ramsey’s entreleadership podcast the next day.  They were interviewing Todd Henry who shared tips for being brilliant and healthy in life and work.

He mentioned asking 3 questions to engage with your family, friends, and co-workers, they are:

  1. What are you working on now?
  2. How can I help you?
  3. What is inspiring you?

Have You Defined Your Legacy?

When You Look Back, What Do You Want To See?

Your Personal Legacy is more than simply a statement of how TomPatersonyou wish to be remembered. It IS something! It is something that enriches your life and reveals you and what your life is about to your family, friends, and your community.

My wife and I traveled to Boulder, Colorado last week and completed our Life Planning Certifications. Having the option to do something like this with the one you love was an awesome experience. We have always loved helping and mentoring our daughters, our daughters’ friends, our friends, and couples and now we have a proven process for individuals and couples to live a life they were meant to live.

The Paterson Center was founded by Tom Paterson and we had the opportunity to meet Tom on our final day. It was an awesome experience to meet a

Have You Lost Sight of What You Really Enjoy?

Find your traits that make you tick.

Have You Lost Sight of What You Really Enjoy? 20160412_220558000_iOSDo you know what makes you tick or get up every morning? Yesterday my wife and I traveled to Boulder Colorado to get our LifePlan Certification. This is one of those purposeful, but comfort zone stretchers for both of us. It is aligned with our individual life plans, so we are holding each other hands through the process and enjoying the next chapter of us. It is great to have someone you can grow with and be with in uncomfortable situations.

As we were preparing for our classes, there was a section of the study about our traits that I thought might be good for everyone to know. I am passionate about helping people know their strengths, know their why, and live on purpose. Below are some classifications of traits that may help you identify where you will be the happiest in life.

Have You Defined Success?

Life Domain Quick Assessment


Have you defined what success means to you? For many people it’s money. IUMomsWeekendIn my early years like most people money was my definition of success and like most people I didn’t have any and I believed it would make me happy. Money certainly doesn’t hurt but happiness, having fun, and being financially stable should be a big part of your success equation.

It was Mom’s Weekend at Indiana University this past weekend where two of our daughters are pursuing their degrees. My wife and I went down for the weekend and it ended up that our oldest daughter who lives in Nashville, TN was able to come up for a night. Being able to spend the weekend with all of our daughters was quite special for my wife and me.

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.

Do you know Your Emotional Intelligence Level?

Emotional Intelligence (or sometimes referred to handspressureas emotional quotient) refers to your capacity to recognize emotions of yourself and others around you. Seems like common sense, but it is not as common as you think.

I work around a lot people with a lot of different personality types. Some are leaders, some are managers, and some people that feel they just have a J.O.B.  Regardless of your position either work or home, it’s a good idea to work on improving your EI level. It definitely affects your:

  • Performance at work
  • Attitude at home
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Relationships

EI can be broken down into 5 classifications:

  1. Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior; know your strengths and weaknesses and self-confidence.
  2. Self-Regulation – Your ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  3. Social Skills and Awareness – You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  4. Relationship Management/Motivation – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.
  5. Empathy – the ability to empathize with others and put yourself in their position.

Do You Have a Personal Mission Statement?

Do you have a personal mission statement for your life? If you don’t, it is a good idea to make time to create one. SunTreesA personal mission statement is a brief description of what you want to focus on, what you want to accomplish, and what you want to become. It allows you to focus your energy, actions, behaviors, and decisions towards the things that are most important to you.

Writing a personal mission statement will create a vision for your life, for your career, for your family, for you personally and for what you want to accomplish. Your mission statement can be a two or three-word statement or it can be a full page – as long as it defines your mission.

A personal mission statement:

  • Characterizes the deepest and best within you.
  • Utilizes your unique strengths and gifts.
  • It is a mission bigger than yourself with a purpose of contribution.
  • It is based on principles to produce quality-of-life results (not standards-of-life).
  • It provides value to others.
  • Represents significant roles in your life.
  • It is written to inspire YOU.