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If you are a Free Money Finance reader, welcome to Life Compass!  This site exists to help you achieve your dreams and create more freedom, purpose and fulfillment in your life and work.

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Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it this far!  Here’s what we’ve covered in the first seven Pillars:

In this post, we’ll cover Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help.

Take a good look at your Plan of Action.  Then make a list of all the people who might be able to help you achieve it.  It doesn’t matter whether you know them or not.  If there’s anyone at all whom you think can be of help to you, write their name down. If you don’t know them personally, then also write down who it is that you know who might know them, or who might help you get access to them.

Next, make a list of all the things you need to know or do in order to achieve your plan.  For example, if your life’s dream is to be a published author, and you currently don’t know anything about how to write or market a book, then perhaps you need to attend a writer’s workshop or retreat.  Or maybe you need to sign up for an agent.  Whatever it is that you think you may need to know or do, write it down.

Lastly, make a list of all the tools you might need.  Maybe you need a new computer in order to write your book.  Maybe you need to get your home or office organized so you’ve got a good space to do your writing.

Once you’ve made your lists, start working on them.  Prioritize them in the order you think is important.  Then get going!  Start contacting all the people who can help, make a plan to help you learn what you need to learn, and figure out how to get the tools you need to get started.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly things start to move when you identify the people or tools that can help!

That’s Lifestyle Design Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help.  Next, we’ll cover Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success.

Pillar # 7 – Create Your Plan of Action

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it this far!  You’ve invested a lot of time and energy in following the first six Pillars:

That work is about to culminate as I share Pillar #7 – Create Your Plan of Action.  In this step, you’ll synthesize the work you’ve done so far into an action plan that will propel you to achieve your targets (goals).

  1. Refine and rewrite your Life Purpose onto one sheet of paper titled “Life Purpose”.
  2. Review your list of Personal Values and make a master list of your most important values.  Title this page “Master List of Personal Values”.
  3. Review your list of Goals for each life area and make a master list of your most important targets to work on for the next season of life (I suggest three months).  Prioritize them by order of importance and indicate which Life Area they’re from.  I suggest you work on at least one target in each life area per season, but I recognize that some will require more time and energy than others.  Next, set a due date for when the target should be attained or completed.
  4. Make a separate “Goal Planning Worksheet” for each one of your seasonal targets.  At the top of each sheet, write today’s date, the Life Area that this target corresponds with, and the due date. Leave space at the top for a completion date, which you’ll fill-in when the target is completed.  Next, write out the target using the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Tangible).  Then list the benefits you’ll receive by achieving this Target.  Feel free to write a few sentences – these will help motivate you to achieve the target.  *HINT* Make sure you ask yourself “Why?” several times until you get to the answer that will really motivate you!  Next, list the obstacles that could keep you from successfully attaining the target.  Next, list some ways you can avoid or overcome the obstacles.  Lastly, identify the specific action steps that are necessary for you to achieve this target.  You might list them in order and put a target date next to each one…or you might create a mindmap or use some other kind of chart or timeline.

That’s Pillar #7 – Create Your Plan of Action.  We have a little more work to do on your Target Planning Worksheets.  But we’ll save it for Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help.

Birthday – Annual Life Review

Today is my birthday.  I’m a little bit older, a little more greyer…and hopefully a little more wiser.  A birthday is a great time to spend with the people who matter most to you – your family and friends.  I believe it is also a great day to spend a little time alone to do an annual life review.  If you can’t do it on your actual birthday, plan another time within the week.  Don’t let this opportunity slip away!

There are three basic steps to an annual life review:

  1. Assess your current reality in your key life areas.
  2. Compare where you’re at today to the targets or  benchmarks you previously set.
  3. Celebrate your progress or determine what mid-course corrections, if any, need to be made.

It’s also a great day to look at your Master Dream List to see how you’re doing at achieving those dreams.  Of course, you can also delete any dreams that aren’t so important to you anymore, or add new ones to the list.

For extra credit, ask your family and friends for their opinion on how you’re doing.  Ask them to share a way you’ve blessed or impacted their life in the last year.  And ask them for a suggestion of something you ought to do in the next year – maybe it is something in your life that they think needs attention, or maybe it is a book they think would add value to your life, or some kind of experience.

And take some time to express gratitude for your life.  If you believe in the Creator as I do, then take the time to thank Him for giving you life, and ask for His help to live more on-purpose in the next year.  If not, then find some other way to express your gratitude and your intention.  Try it, and I think you’ll agree with me that there is power in the attitude of gratitude – on your birthday, or any day of the year.

Pillar #4 – Evaluate Your Current Reality

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design. So far, we’ve covered:

      Today I’ll share Pillar #4 – Evaluate Your Current Reality.

      Our lives are made up of seven basic categories, or Life Areas. They are:

      1. Family
      2. Career
      3. Financial
      4. Social
      5. Health
      6. Personal Development
      7. Spiritual/Ethical

      Many times, when we want to change one aspect of our life, like our income, or our career, we tend to focus so much on that particular life area that we tend to neglect others.

      Sadly, the media and our culture often endorse this approach. We celebrate singular success: people who achieve greatness as athletes, writers, business leaders, etc. We don’t often celebrate those who live well-balanced lives and are winners on the field and in the back yard, or in the office boardroom and at home in the living room.

      I believe that successful Lifestyle Design is holistic, it impact all areas of life. Think of your life as a wheel…you want it to be well-rounded. You don’t want success in one area to cause weakness in another. It might be OK for a little while, but not for long.

      In this step, we’re going to take the time to evaluate how you’re doing in each of the Seven Life areas.  Grab seven sheets of paper, or your computer, and put the name of one Life Area at the top of each sheet.  Ask yourself:

      • What things should be important to me in this life area?
      • How important are they currently? How are my relationships with others?
      • What is going well?
      • What needs attention?
      • What are your strengths in each area?
      • What are your opportunities for growth (formerly called “weaknesses”)

      That’s Pillar #4 – Evaluate Your Current Reality.  Keep your Life Area sheets handy, because you’ll need them when we cover Pillar #5 – Reveal Your Personal Values.

      Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose

      Welcome back to Life Compass!  I just started sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design. So far, we’ve covered:

          Today I’ll share Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose.

          First, what do I mean when I talk about Life Purpose?  Others may refer to it as a mission or calling.  It is the overarching theme of your life, which blends your interests, goals, passions, dreams together.  It is built on life experiences of the past, and points you toward your future.  And it becomes your guide, and a benchmark, to help you weigh future decisions.

          How do you identify and clarify your Life Purpose?   Grab some paper and a pen, or sit at the computer and take a good look at yourself to understand your personality, how you work with others, and what motivates you.

          What are your unique skills and abilities?  What are you good at?  But don’t stop there.  Sadly, many people do stop there when they make career decisions, and that’s why 80% of Americans end up feeling unfulfilled in their work.

          Experts tell us the average person is probably good at 100 things.  For fun, take a few minutes and make a list of all the things you’re good at.  You might be surprised at how big your list is!

          After you’ve written down your unique skills and abilities, think about your personality tendencies.  Are you an introvert or extrovert?  Do you take action immediately or procrastinate?  Are you extremely organized or a clutterer.  Do you get things done, or do you leave projects half-completed?  Are you self-motivated or do you need outside accountability?

          Next, what are your values, your dreams and passions?  Your values are the non-negotiable things or principles that are most important to you.  We’ll take a more in-depth look at your values in a future post, but for now, just jot down whatever comes to your mind.  For example, your values might include:  being debt free, being home with your family at least four nights a week, growing in your faith/spirituality, maintaining personal health.  You get the idea.

          You already took the time to think about your dreams when you started your Master Dream List, which we covered in Pillar #1.  Of all those dreams you wrote down, which are the ones that might shape your life’s direction?  Write those down here.

          Passions are interests or causes that are important to you. The things you’d give your life for.  Maybe your passion is to help at-risk youth stay in school, or you want to improve the lives of people living in sub-Saharan Africa, or maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom whose passion is to encourage other moms to stay at home at raise their kids.  List all the passions and interests that come to your mind.  And you can always add more later.

          The more you take the time to understand yourself, the more confidence you can have about your life’s purpose.  And this understanding and confidence then leads to clear focus regarding your Life’s Purpose.

          For extra credit, now that you’ve taken a good look at yourself, ask yourself how others see you.  Then, if you’re bold enough (and I think you are), ask a good friend, spouse, co-worker how they see you.  We can eliminate blind spots in our life, improve the quality of our work, and strengthen our relationships when we take the time to ask trusted friends how they see us.

          It is through this process of introspection, of taking a good look at ourselves and how we’re uniquely made, that we’re able to understand and clarify our Life’s Purpose.

          Your next step is to write out a first draft of your Life Purpose.  You can just write down the first thoughts that come to your mind, then refine and edit it later.

          Here are some suggestions to help you as you write your Life Purpose:

          1. Identify the highest priority roles you fulfill in your life (for example:  at home, at work, at church, in your community).
          2. Include the values and ideals that are important to who you want to be in the future (for example:  excellence, continuous improvement, generosity, goal achievement).
          3. Summarize the most important long-term goals and achievements you wish to obtain.

          Once your first draft is written, you can feel free to edit, refine, or synthesize it a bit.  Then let it sit for  a while.  In future posts, we’ll cover some more tips that will help you refine your Life Purpose further.

          That’s Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose.  Tomorrow we’ll cover Pillar #4 – Evaluate Your Current  Reality.