I recently finished a book called “Becoming a Coaching Leader” by Daniel Harkavy.
What I liked about it was that it walks you through a series of exercises that help you think about your life and your career a bit more intentionally. Most books of this ilk just talk about leadership traits or a goal setting process, but few help you align your time and energy so that you can actually optimize your time and energy for what’s most important to you in a way that sticks.
One of the exercises that I wanted to recommend for your consideration was the creation of a Life Plan. Here’s what Harkavy has to say about life planning vs the more traditional goal setting process:
Many people substitute goal setting for life planning, but I think it’s a bad trade-off. In my experience, goal setting can leave you feeling empty. Most of us set goals, but few of us have enjoyed real long-term success. When we accomplish those goals, the victory is fleeting: immediately we get hit with the pressure of yet another goal.
So how does life planning work? Here’s the rough sketch of Harkavy’s method:
1. Assess your life from the perspective of people vs. tasks:
- Who do you want to be remembered by?
- What do you hope they will remember about you?
- Who else and why? (Ask this question as many times as you need)
2. Identify who / what is most important to you. List the areas of your life that are a top priority. Try to stick to five at most. It’s hard to optimize when you have too many.
- Other Family Members
- Self Development
- Community / Charitable Activity
3. Clarify your vision. Make each of your priority areas an “account” and define where you want to be in each of them in 20 or 30 years.
4. Define your purpose. What is your purpose in each of those accounts? What one sentence would clearly define the end result you are looking for today and in the future?
5. Make your plans. In each account, begin to name specific actions that you’ll endeavor to accomplish in order to increase it’s “net worth.”
- Example: Spouse – 30 minutes uninterrupted time every day (no TV or devices, just talking through the day)
- Example: Health – Block 60 minutes of workout time on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
6. Put them on your calendar.
- Instead of making them tasks to be checked off, put them on your calendar as appointments you’d honor just like any other meeting or commitment.
- Harkavy has tools to help you create your “Ideal Schedule.”
7. Review your plan weekly.
- It’s always helpful if you can schedule them at the same time, like Sunday afternoon or evening.
8. Get someone to hold you accountable.
- Find someone – a mentor, your significant other, a friend – to review your progress on a regular basis.
- Just talking to someone about it creates energy that makes your commitment to it more likely.
Have you used this kind of method instead of goal setting?
What were the results?
Is there another book or method you’d recommend?
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