START || The Life Plan

 


CONTENTS

1 START

2 SIMPLIFY

3 STRETCH

4 STRUCTURE

5 SUCCEED

6 SABBATICAL

7 SHINE



Your thoughts create your world.

Get out of the passenger seat and into the driver's seat. Driving is a blast

Chapter- 1

START

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.


Who are you? This is one of the first questions I ask every new client and the incredible thing is, most cannot answer it. Many of us rely on our work to define our sense of ourselves, but I ask clients to think about who they are outside of that.


You might be a CEO, an entrepreneur, an executive, an office worker or a creative artist, but while this is what you do, at the end of the day it’s not who you are. Parent, employee, boss, landlord, partner, husband, wife, investor, client, friend, sister, uncle, business owner, soccer coach, coffee aficionado . . . These are all examples of the many different hats we wear in our everyday lives. But these are roles we play, rather than who we are at our very core.


Finding out exactly who you are away from all these tasks and roles is liberating and offers insight into whether you’re on track, or perhaps way off it. The question is actually less, ‘Who am I?’, and more, ‘Who am I without my job, partner, career, home, car, hobbies, kids and family?’


At your current stage of life you have had a tapestry of valuable life experiences. Some will have been great, some good, others okay and no doubt some will have been bad, but each one has shaped who you are today. Together they provide you with all the information you need to tell you who you are and who you want to be.




So really,
who are you?

Every action we take is preceded by a question, whether we know it or not. It could be as simple as: ‘Do I want to do this?’ Yet often we’re completely unaware of the questions we ask ourselves or how they shape our lives.


Learning to tune in to these questions is one of the most powerful ways to start finding the insight, inspiration and authenticity to live the life you really want. It cuts through the fog and overload in your mind to give clarity and simplify the picture of who you are and what you are trying to achieve. It also builds your self-esteem and confidence as you discover that many of the answers you are seeking lie within.


These questions will help you get started on the process of clearly defining who you are. Take time to consider each question fully and honestly, as they provide the framework that you will later use to establish your values.

WHO/WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU?

WHO/WHAT ARE YOU INSPIRED BY AND WHY?

WHAT MAKES YOU SMILE OR BRINGS YOU SHEER DELIGHT?

WHEN HAVE FELT YOU WERE AT YOUR BEST, MOST PASSIONATE AND ALIVE?

WHAT ARE YOUR NATURAL GIFTS AND ABILITIES?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF?

WHAT MISTAKES HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM?

WHAT HARDSHIPS HAVE YOU OVERCOME?

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED BY YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY?

WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT FOR YOUR FUTURE?

WHO DO YOU NEED PERMISSION FROM TO START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY?

WHAT ARE YOU CHOOSING TO DO?

WHAT AREAS OF YOUR LIFE DO YOU MOST WANT TO MOVE FORWARD IN?

  • * Make a pact with yourself to be YOU Incorporated, and no-one else. Be proud of who you are.

WHO ARE YOU WHEN YOU’RE AT YOUR BEST?


Are you clear about what’s true, good and possible when it comes to who you are? Unfortunately, many of us tend to dwell on our failures. Stories of our worst moments tend to linger far too long, while stories of our best moments fade all too fast. Most of us are so busy churning along on the treadmill of everyday life that we tend to gloss over our achievements.


Take a moment to think back on the last few times you felt you were really engaged, energised and enjoying your life.

WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT THE TIME?

WHO WERE YOU WITH?

HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE THIS PERSON?

WHY ARE YOU PROUD OF THIS MOMENT?

These might be big or small moments. They might be at work, at home or at play. They might be long or short moments. Every moment at your best is worth remembering, as it helps you find ways to spend more time being who you’re capable of being.


When you understand and own your best moments you improve your sense of confidence and your ability to create more moments like these. Savouring your successes allows you to build your confidence, fuel your optimism and motivate yourself to keep moving on.


Often people attempts to live their lives backward; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first BE who you really are, then DO what you need to do, in order to Have what you want.

What is your purpose in life?

Of all the questions I ask myself, by far the most powerful is the one that I start with each morning: What is the purpose of today?


My purpose in life is to live it fully and to make the most of what I have been given. But when I break it down daily by asking ‘What is my purpose today?’, I make real leaps forward in my level of happiness and sense of achievement.


To have purpose is to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves – be it a religion, community, sporting club, a cause or just a reason to get out of bed each morning. It gives us something to aim for and helps to clarify our intentions. It also inspires us and makes our hearts and bellies warm with excitement.


For some of us, purpose is grounded in popularity, power and money. For others, the focus is growth and contribution. What matters most is that we pursue our purpose for the right reasons – because it’s something we deeply believe in, rather than something someone else is steering us towards.

QUESTIONS TO DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE

  1.    How do you want to be remembered and what can you do to be that person?
  2.    What messages do you want to give your children?
  3.    What difference will others say you made in this world?
  4.    What do you want to achieve in your life?
  5.    How do you want to feel as you move through each day?
  6.    When you are your best possible self, who might you be?
  7.    How can you serve others?
  • * Be grateful along the way.

What do you value?
The key to you

Defining your values is the next major step to unlocking your success. Values are those things that really matter to you – the ideas and beliefs you deem to be the most important in your life.


A range of factors, including your background, upbringing, spiritual beliefs, life philosophy and events that you’ve experienced or witnessed will all shape the values you hold. Values have a major influence on your behaviour and serve as broad guidelines to make authentic choices that leave you feeling more content, happy and satisfied as life unfolds. When your actions aren’t in alignment with your values, you find yourself without a sense of achievement or feeling out of control.


The best day of your life is the day on which you decide to own your set of values and live by them. Do you know what your values are? Are you living your life accordingly?

MY TOP THREE VALUES


My top three values are health (physical and mental), the happiness of my family, and having a sense of achievement daily. Understanding my values brings absolute clarity to every decision I make.


The characteristics I want to project are calm, confidence and fun. I aim to keep my body strong, to travel with purpose, to keep my marriage fun and inspirational, and my business constantly evolving.


In the past, my sense of achievement was gained from doing more – being more efficient and more productive, and succeeding in sport and business. However, it’s evolved to include the more nourishing elements of space, valuing the downtime just as much as the busy times, and realising that even doing simple chores is an achievement.


  • *  Make a deliberate and conscious effort to identify, and live according to, your values.

DEFINING YOUR VALUES

  •  SELECT

    Identify your top ten values, choosing from the box to the right. Don’t spend too much time agonising over your decisions: go with your gut instinct.

  •  PRIORITISE

    Prioritise each value from one to ten. Focus on your top five and briefly define what each one means to you.

  •  CONTEMPLATE

    Read each value slowly, letting the meaning of each word sink in so that you fully understand what each one means to you.

  •  DEFINE

    Select your top three values and write them down. Commit them to memory, as they will now act as your decision-making blueprint. You also need to define the single value that is most important to you.

  •  COMMIT

    Work out what you need to add or remove from your life and what you need to change to reflect these values.

  • *I program my phone to greet me with my values each morning. It is an instant reminder that all my decisions need to be in alignment with my values. They then become confident decisions, and I become a confident decision-maker.

What lessons have you learnt?

What have been your greatest life lessons so far? The purpose of asking this question is not to become lost in introspection. Rather, it is to prevent you making the same mistakes so that you can grow, evolve and continue to learn.


Your greatest lessons help to shape you into the person you are, and although they can be painful, many lessons ultimately make life more enjoyable and rewarding.


For instance, after suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome that was brought on by trying to achieve too much, I learnt that whenever I say ‘yes’ to anything – a job, an opportunity, a favour or an invitation – there is a cost involved. So I need to be aware of that cost, whether it is to my health, family time or finances, before making any decisions.


Are your problems recurring ones from the past? They become habits and a pattern when we don’t stop to acknowledge them, address them and learn from them. Creating a strategy so they don’t happen again is critical. Why does the same thing keep happening to you? Do you really care enough to do something about it once and for all? How can you now make a difference?


Emotionally intelligent leaders strive to learn from mistakes, because they know how valuable they are for growth – personal and professional – and your ability to move forward.


  • * Your greatest lessons help to shape you into the person you are.

    SOME POPULAR LESSONS

    1 When in doubt, just take the next small step.

    2 Don’t take yourself so seriously. No-one else does.

    3 Pay off your credit cards each month.

    4 You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

    5 Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

    6 Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present and the future.

    7 Don’t compare your life with the lives of others. You have no idea what their journey is about.

    8 A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

    9 It is never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you.

    10  Burn the candles, use the nice sheets. Don’t save them for a special occasion. Today is special.

    11  Over-prepare and then go with the flow.

    12  Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to dye your hair pink and wear purple.

    13  Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘Will this matter in five years’ time?’

    14  However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

    15  Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

    16  Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

    17  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.



  • What are your golden moments?

    What are the memories you treasure? These are tiny snapshots for you to take daily; they’re to be cherished and archived in your mind forever. There is gold around you all the time if you choose to look for it, engage and be present. This is what gives depth to our lives.

    •    Noticing the first blossom on a tree.
    •    Walking out of an interview or meeting, and knowing you’ve nailed it.
    •    Gazing at the stars at night.
    •    Feeling the sand between your toes at the beach.
    •    The shape of water as it drips down a window.
    •    Catching a glimpse of your partner daydreaming.
    •    Seeing a perfectly formed daisy.
    •    Hearing your child give a real belly laugh.
    •    Stopping to listen to a busker playing beautiful music.
    •    Being promoted or offered a new job.
    •    The smell of really good coffee.
    •    Passing a test or exam with flying colours.

    This simple act of mindfulness, of tuning in and being truly present to the small wonders unfolding all around you, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, is an oasis you can tap into anywhere, at any time.

    Look for, and savour, the golden moments happening all around you, each and every day. Collect these treasured moments and use them to guide your vision of success.


    • *To be mindful means to dwell deeply in the present moment.
  • What is your definition of success?

    Before you start striving for success, it’s important to identify exactly what it means to you. And, just as importantly, how you will measure the way success is unfolding in your life.

    There’s no right or wrong way to define success – it is simply what matters most to you. It’s crucial to identify your own criteria, because achieving success (and feeling successful) is where you want to invest your energy and effort on a daily basis. I feel that success is your complete body of work in life; it’s you as a whole package.

    •    How does success feel to you?
    •    How would you define success in one sentence?
    •    How will you measure it daily?

    What we’re after is a new, sustainable formula for success that allows you to embrace everything you are today. We make a huge number of choices on a day-to-day basis that determine how successful we are, and it is up to you to recognise this. Tapping into your feeling of success every day will keep you motivated and inspired.

    Examples of what success may mean to you:

    •    Success means freedom of choice in my daily life.
    •    Success is the ability to earn a living from work that I’m passionate about.
    •    Success means living a purposeful life.
    •    Success is when I approve of myself and what I’m doing each day.
    • *Remember and own your proudest moments.
    •  *Success means living the life I choose.
    {MY DEFINITION OF SUCCESS}

    • Success means living the life I choose. When I take responsibility, I feel successful every day. I've structured my diary and chosen how busy I am, how many times I've said "yes", how fit I am, what I'm eating and how I'm spending time with my family, mindfulness and space, made sure my finances are up to date and worked on my business so my time is used profitably. This gives me a great sense of freedom.

    • YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?


    SUMMARY

    { The foundation for success }

    1 Always come back to the basics.

    2 Check in with who you are.

    3 Discover what is true, good and possible about yourself.

    4 Take note of the lessons you’ve learned.

    5 Be aware of your values when making decisions.

    6 Treasure golden moments daily.

    7 Be true to your own definition of success.

    { Words to ponder }

    1 Celebrate the little things.

    2 Forgive your past mistakes.

    3 Be proud of who you are.

    4 Know your definition of success.

    5 Be clear on your daily purpose.

    6 Use your senses to notice the special moments in life.

    7 Choose to be happy with what you have.

    8 You can be who you want to be.




TIPS AND TRICKS

  •    Write down your values and definition of success and put them where you can see them daily.
  •    Program your values into your smartphone/computer as well.
  •    Whenever you feel too busy and out of control, go back to the basics. Revisiting your values daily will help you make informed decisions.
  •    Know your definition of success for the day ahead so that your intentions are clear.
  •    Don’t get out of bed in the morning until you have gone through your purpose for the day and taken a deep breath.
  •    Tap into the feeling of when you were at your best and recreate that feeling in your body before you get up in the morning.
  •    Choose your attitude for the day.
  •    Acknowledge your golden moment, your ‘rose’ of the day, each night.
  •    Make a pact with yourself to be YOU Incorporated and no-one else.






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