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Handbook for 2010: Thoughtful Thursday

To quote a friend and one of my favorite networking gurus, "common sense is not always common practice".  We have good intentions to live our lives to the fullest, yet somehow in the day to day "fire fighting" we lose sight of our longer term goals.

Today's thoughtful Thursday comes to you in an excerpt of common sense ideas from a "Handbook for 2010", inspired from a blog post I received today from Andrea Nierenberg. Like Andrea, I aspire to live by a similar version of this "handbook", of which I'm sharing the section regarding personality today. I believe doing each of these well will increase our leadership capabilities tremendously. Take a look.  

11.    Don't compare your life to others... You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12.    Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.    Don't over do.. Keep your limits.
14.    Don't take yourself so seriously.. No one else does.
15.    Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16.    Dream more while you are awake
17.    Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18.    Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19.    Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20.    Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21.    No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22.    Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23.    Smile and laugh more.
24.    You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

NOTE: If you want to see the full list, click here.

Now, think about the following:

  • Which of the above do you need to focus on today?
  • What will you do today to devote more attention to it?
  • What support do you need in achieving your goal?

What would you add to this list? As always, we'd love to hear from you.  Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

Practical Personal Evaluations

When was the last time you took a few minutes to evaluate how you are doing in your life or work? Every week I ask my clients to do this by way of a Session Preparation Form. I participate in the same process with my own coach.
I love the Session Preparation Form! The process of answering the questions forces me to acknowledge what I've accomplished rather than what didn't get done. It also helps me to objectively and proactively address my challenges and provides me with the focus I need to move forward efficiently. 
Wouldn't you like to experience the same? You can!
I'm inviting you to share in the process I use with my clients each week to encourage forward movement in achieving their goals. If you fully participate, I know you will not be disappointed.  Are you ready to join us? 

If you are, pick a time and day of the week on which for the next four weeks you can allow 30 minutes to write out the answers to the following questions:

  • What went well last week ... forward motion, victories, learning?
  • What was challenging?
  • How could you best use your time this week?
  • What will you commit to doing this week to progress in your life or career?

Date each week's evaluation and at the end of the four weeks look back at the progress you've made. Then, come back to this post at Purposeful Leadership and comment with your success stories.  I'd love to hear them!

NOTE: If you would like to use the actual Session Preparation Form I use with my clients, download it from here. The questions are slightly different, but you can easily change them to match the above questions.

Leading Forward: Don't Look Back

Leadership requires guts. Guts to make tough decisions. Guts to stand alone for what is right rather than what is popular. Guts to leave behind the old for the promise of the new. Leaders with guts make good decisions and press forward with their eyes fixed on the future.

Have you ever questioned a decision you've made to move forward? We all have. However, if we've used a good decision making process, our looking back causes more harm than good. Think about the following:

  • Football players who look back while rumbling for long touchdowns often get tackled just inches before the goal line...and lose the score. 
  • Sprinters who look back lose forward momentum...and the race.
  • Rock climbers who look back (down) lose their courage to make it to the top.

Looking back rarely gets us the win. What are you looking back for?

Following is a poem I'd like to share to encourage you to press forward into all that you are created to be, in leadership and in life. Enjoy, and as always, your comments are appreciated!

Don't Look Back
- by June Marie Johnson

As you travel through life there are always those times
when decisions just have to be made,
when the choices are hard and solutions seem scarce
and the rain seems to soak your parade!

There are some situations where all you can do
is to simply let go and move on,
gather courage together and choose a direction
that carries you toward a new dawn.

So pack up your troubles and take a step forward.
The process of change can be tough.
But think about all the excitement ahead,
if you can be stalwart enough!

There could be adventures you never imagined
just waiting around the next bend
and wishes and dreams just about to come true
in ways you can't yet comprehend!

Perhaps you'll find friendships that spring from new interests,
as you challenge your status quo
and learn there are so many options in life,
and so many ways you can grow!

Perhaps you'll go places you never expected
and see things that you've never seen,
or travel to fabulous, faraway worlds and
wonderful spots in between!

Perhaps you'll find warmth, affection and caring,
a "somebody special" who's there
to help you stay centered and listen with interest
to stories and feelings you share.

Perhaps you'll find comfort in knowing your friends
are supportive of all that you do
and believe that whatever decisions you make,
they'll be the right choices for you!

So keep putting one foot in front of the other
and taking your life day by day.
There's a brighter tomorrow that's just down the road.
Don't look back, you're not going that way!

If you need some assistance in pressing forward toward your goals, determining your goals or gaining confidence in your decision making, coaching may be for you. I help people move forward. Call me for a complimentary consultation today at 913-219-7844! 

Coaching Tips for a New Year's Planning

Dear Friends,

How will you make 2010 different from 2009? What does your change planning process look like?

This week while doing some business planning for 2010 and reflecting on 2009 in the process, I received a newsletter from my favorite productivity guru, David Allen, that made mention to year-end planning.  In his newsletter, he included some great questions to use for reflecting and planning. 

I'm going to share his questions...he calls them "David's Coaching Tips" below. His questions are a little more detailed than what I use and seem to me a great tool...hence, I just HAD to pass them along below. 
Even if you don't take an extended period of time with these (I take a half day for my planning process), at least take a look at them.  They are guaranteed to get you thinking.  :)
Here's to a fantastic 2010!

P.S. Let me know what you thought of the questions by leaving a comment below. If you need help with achieving your 2010 goals, give me a call for a free consultation regarding personal coaching. Coaching is probably the best change agent around! 

For those of you who want more form and structure, here are some questions that can guide you in your 2009 review and 2010 goal setting. When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several areas:

Community Service
Fun / creativity / recreation

Completing and remembering 2009
Review the list of all completed projects
What was your biggest triumph in 2009?
What was the smartest decision you made in 2009?
What one word best sums up and describes your 2009 experience?
What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2009?
What was the most loving service you performed in 2009?
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2009?
What are you most happy about completing in 2009?
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2009?
What was the biggest risk you took in 2009?
What was the biggest surprise in 2009?
What important relationship improved the most in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have received in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have given in 2009?
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2009?

Creating the new year
What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010?
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?
What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2010?
What would you be most happy about completing in 2010?
What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2010?
What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?
What are you looking forward to learning in 2010?
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2010?
What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2010?
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2010?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2010?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2010?
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010?

Note: Following is David's contact information. I'm sharing this so I can share his wisdom with you here at Purposeful Leadership.


Please feel free to forward this message to friends, family, and colleagues, keeping our contact and copyright information intact.


Please visit us on the web at <www.davidco.com>, email us at [email protected], or call 805-646-8432.

The David Allen Company
407-F Bryant Circle
Ojai, CA 93023
(805) 646-8432
[email protected]

A Smarter Way to Work & Live®

The Challenge of Change

How many times have you tried to change a habit, only to fall off the “wagon” and revert back to your old ways? If you are like me, you can’t precisely answer this question because you’ve done it too many times to count.

Practically speaking, can a person really form a new habit in only 21 days as we’ve heard from self-help gurus galore? Habits are the routines of life, those things that we do without thinking. In many cases, habits are those things we have done all of our lives. Lasting change requires time, focus and motivation to overcome life long patterns.

As managers and leaders we need to remember that behavior change takes time when we expect change from ourselves or those we lead.  Ask any leadership coach you know and they will tell you that it can sometimes take many months for their clients to truly implement permanent change into their lives.  While not impossible, change is difficult in our fast-paced culture.

What one thing needs to change in your environment or in you? When you decide what one thing that is, find someone to hold you accountable for the change, be patient with yourselves and others and be sure to connect well with what motivates you.  Change is challenging, but possible, even if it might take more than 21 days!

In what ways have you been the most successful with behavior change? What is your experience with those you coach or lead?  Please share your thoughts or tips in a comment.  We’d love to hear from you!

Living Intentionally: 3 Steps for Success

Deciding to live intentionally is the first step towards achieving your full potential. However, while many people sense that "there must be more to life", they often don't know where to start. If you are wanting to make changes in your life, read on! If you are wanting but not willing (i.e. if you will just make excuses for how things can't be done), click away now.

If you are still reading, I'm thrilled to present you with a starting point for making changes in any area of your life. First of all, download my Life Action Worksheet by clicking here and follow the three steps below to get started today for a better tomorrow:

Step 1. TAKE INVENTORY. Rate each major area of your life just as it is on a scale of 1 to 10 as to how satisfied you are in each area. What would a perfect "10" look like in each area of your life?

Step 2. TAKE CHARGE. Write down three baby steps, along with target completion dates toward achieving your perfect "10" in your lowest rated area from Step 1.

Step 3. TAKE ACTION. Tell someone what you are planning to do and have them hold you accountable for achieving your goals. (Note: Be sure to pick someone who will check in and not be shy about helping you stick to your plan.)

I use a version of this worksheet and process as a springboard for change with all of my coaching clients. Intentional living is all about identifying goals and taking baby steps to reach them. You too, can achieve your goals if you take intentional action. Any questions?

What is your process for making changes in your life? I'd love to hear from you! Or, if you just want to sound off with other comments or questions, I'd welcome those too.  Your thoughts may just help someone else.