22 July 2012

Vision Board and To Do List

I learned quite some time ago that there are steps that we can take toward achieving our goals in life before we can even see how we are going to achieve the goal. I use two tools pretty consistently and they are the Vision Board and the Daily To-Do List. There are times when things are not going the way that I want them to and if I slow down for a minute and really look at my day, I will notice that I’m not doing what I normally do. I’m not relying on my vision board to remind me where I am going and I am also not using the my Daily To Do List. When I do follow the list and meditate on my vision board, things seem to fall into place a lot easier. It works for me – why don’t you give it a try?

If you have never used a Vision Board – there is a great book by Joyce Schwarz that outlines how the Vision Board works. It is a great resource and I have used it over and over. I love how it helps to keep me focused on the future . I also appreciate the simple instructions for creating one with a group. We can learn so much from one another and others often know us better than we know ourselves. It is a fun workshop to teach and coach people through.

Moving through life without a vision board  reminds me of what it would be like to go to Europe without any set destination in mind. You may end up in a great place but it is just as likely that your whole trip will be ruined because there was nothing definite about your plan. A vision Board helps you to focus and be sure of what you are after. That makes it possible to then achieve that very goal. Create a Vision Board that comes to life with vivid imagery and one that you can almost smell. You need this type of vision board to see what you are doing. You need to go to this place. You need to make a vision board that captures it all. Once you have that in place – the natural and next step is to get up each day and take steps to get to where you want to be. A great way to do this is by starting each day with a to-do list.

I set aside time each day to plan for the next days activities. I even take time on Sunday to map out my whole week. It not only keeps me on track but it ensures that when I do achieve my goals, i am ready for them to happen.

In 2013, I will turn 50 and as part of my celebration I am going to Europe. I want to visit Tuscany, Italy and I want to check out the beaches. There are other places that I wish to see. In getting ready for what is going to be a busy trip, I want to lose weight – in particular I want to lose 50 lbs. It is my 50 by 50 plan and I’m on my way to achieving it.

I know that in order to be successful, I have to get up each day and take steps now to make that happen. You can’t wait for the last minute and then scramble. There are so many preparations that need to be done. I map out what needs to be done and then I set goals and sub goals. I even go as far as assigning times for when I will have what completed.

The first thing on my list is to be grateful – we all have so many blessings and it can be a struggle to see them in the worry of day to day life. I start my day with gratitude exercise so it is on my T0-Do list every morning. It really does set he mood for me for the rest of the day.

I also make the list long enough and substantial enough to include all the details. I usually always have three thing on the list but have had lists that were quite a bit longer. On those days when there is nothing real pressing to get done, I do a little research on destinations and look at what other people are saying about the place. There is always something to be done. It also keeps me focused on where I am heading. There’s a reason that I’m getting ready to go there.

Vision Board and a To Do List – two great tools that will put you on the path to success. Try it today and you will be surprised at how quickly you can achieve your goals. I dare you.

5 July 2012

Get off the fence…

Should I stay or should I go? Will I take my business in this direction or not? Will I go through official channels and make a complaint or will I let it go? Should I talk to her about how she offended me or will I sweep it under the rug? Will I deal with this now or save it for a later date? Will I buy this house in spite of how it stretches my income or not? Everywhere that I go I meet people who are struggling with very difficult decisions and no doubt you are struggling with your own. That’s not a bad thing – people who are not struggling with decisions are not living in my opinion. A life worth living is one that is full of opportunities for growth and development – one that is full of decisions.

The problem arises when we can’t make the decision – we stay on the fence beyond when it is healthy to do so. We end up either losing our nerve or losing the opportunity and we may not get it again. Then there are the times when we take an overly emotional approach to decision making that results in a poor decision. Many of the decisions we make are matters of the heart but even in these matters, taking a logical approach will result in a better decision.

First we must acknowledge that there are very few sure things. We have no control over what might happen in future, so we have to make our decision based on what we know to be true today. Things may change in future, someome may get ill or lose a job. People do change their minds. That is the reality we are faced with in any decision but we still need to make the decision based on what we know today.

Next, write a list of pros and cons. Sit down and write an extensive list of what will happen if you go in one direction compared with what might happen if you go in another. List every benefit and every pitfall. Leave nothing out. This exercise is beneficial because it begins to make it real for you. It gives you a new perspective.

This next step is underutilized. Ask for a trusted friend or colleague to give you their opinion. Be selective in who you ask. You want them to be supportive and objective. If you want to keep your decision a secret – then choose someone you can trust to do that for you. Instruct your friend to be honest and candid in what they think. They may have insight you had  not thought of.  Now add these considerations to the mix – do they change your list of pros and cons? Does it make you change your mind or are you strengthening your position because of the new information?

Imagine that you’re buying a home for the first time – speaking to another first time homebuyer would be great. They can tell you that buying an older home may mean that you have to replace windows very soon. They may also tell you about the burden of being house rich and money poor. Add this insight to your decision making process.

You’ve collected your information, done your homework and all you have left is to make the decision – what will it be? You have thought about the outcome from either side - what if you stick with the status quo – is it palatable? At the end of the day you have to live with the result — it’s your life.

Understand the forces that will undermine you – pleasing others, catastrophizing about the worse case scenario – turning a blind eye to red flags, failing to heed a very huge warning.

You’ve done your homework and now it’s time to get off the fence. Trust your instinct and go with your gut. Make the decision and live with it.  What if you’re wrong? There is always that chance of course. But let me tell you a secret – there is learning even in mistakes. There are no sure things in life….get off the fence and make a choice.