Tag: systems

Get more done (part 3): Why and how to review your goals

Get more done (part 3): Why and how to review your goals

So you’ve set your goals, created a plan to achieve them, and are taking action. But do you review your goals regularly? As you move forward, do you take the time to look back? 

Ask any project manager: plans are meant to be changed! 

To reach your goals as quickly as possible, you have to slow down enough to appreciate how far you’ve come, learn from this progress, and adjust your plan.

Review your goals: the basics

Review your progress on a regular and consistent basis. 

Decide on a review cadence and the content of your goal reviews. Then schedule them.

Guard this precious time

Be sure to protect this time. 

If you miss a review session, reschedule it, and reflect on why you missed it. What are you telling yourself is more important than your dreams? Are you afraid of something? Or do you need to adjust your sessions to make them more valuable?

An example plan to review your goals

Annual (1-2 hours): review vision and core values; review annual goals, wins, lessons learned; set goals for next year

Quarterly (1 hour): review vision, values, and goals; review quarterly wins and lessons learned; set goals for the next quarter 

Monthly (30 minutes): review vision and quarterly goals; review monthly wins and lessons learned; update desired feelings

Weekly (30 minutes): review vision and quarterly goals; review weekly wins and lessons learned; set weekly focus; schedule everything.

Daily (15 minutes): review weekly focus; review daily wins; review calendar appointments; create daily success list

Tools to try

  • Trello is a simple & powerful tool that allows you to create boards, which are lists of lists. This page is a collection that inspires creative uses of Trello.
  • Learn the simple process of bullet journaling here.
  • Leuchtturm makes a dot journal that’s nice for daily bullet journaling.

The whole shebang

This article is part of Get More Done, a 3-part series:

Looking for more support? I won’t leave you hanging!

I’m offering a way for us to connect at no cost. Walk away with new clarity and at least one action you can take immediately to create a more energizing and fun work life. Apply here!

Get more done (part 2): The habit that’s costing you hours every day

Get more done (part 2): The habit that’s costing you hours every day

We all know that task-switching hurts productivity. Every software engineering team I’ve ever worked with has debated how to minimize interruptions. And yet, we still let it happen. Perhaps because, even presented with data, we underestimate its full impact? 

One study shows that it takes 25 minutes to get back on track after a task interruption. (Shit, that’s a lot of wasted time!) I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s twice this in a typical work environment, when you mix in exhaustion, unbelievable frequency of interruptions, and high-pressure deadlines. 

So, if you task-switch regularly, changing this one habit will save you hours of (wasted) time every day. Before you work through the tasks on your success list, check out these tips.

Use your calendar

Are you organizing your day to minimize interruptions? 

You probably know I’m a big advocate of focusing on what’s most important. So get that right, decide to make it happen, and then…

Schedule blocks of uninterrupted time (3 or 4 hours) to focus on your most important tasks. 

Yes, I said 3 or 4 hours. Yes, this can be done in the corporate environment. And once you identify your true priority and decide you’ll make it happen, I’m positive you’ll figure out the how.

That email can wait

Are you still leaving your inbox open all day (or your app notifications on) and responding to emails as they come in? Does your boss know you’re wasting hours of your creative potential every day with this fear-driven habit? 

Stop it!

Schedule non-real-time communications—like email and social media—once or twice per day, and avoid them outside of these scheduled times.

Remember, the sender intentionally used a non-real-time communication method. Email isn’t urgent. You’re making it seem that way.

If this really terrifies you, consider an auto-responder that explains your new habit. You might even inspire others to take more control of their work days.

Thanks for your email! Just a head’s up—so I can focus on helping my amazing clients create energizing, spontaneous-jump-for-joy work lives, I respond to emails between 4 and 5 PM CST Monday-Thursday. Have a great one! – Mandy

Design your environment to minimize interruptions

Notice your most common distractions and use your environment to help you.

If you have a tendency to reach for your cell and thumb your way to Facebook, put your phone in another room. Install an app that blocks the websites you’re trying to avoid, or slows you down enough to make the decision conscious.

What’s distracting you? How can you change an element of your physical environment to easily avoid this distraction?

Strategize with your team

If you work with others, you probably aren’t the only one frustrated by the interruptions and distractions within your work environment.

Create team norms that empower each team member to communicate when they are focused, and when they are open to interruptions. This doesn’t have to be complicated, but you and your team do have to be committed. 

Hang a sign on your cubicle wall, use a status message in Slack, or schedule a meeting-free block for the whole team each day or week. Then adhere to these new standards without exception!

Make it easy to minimize interruptions

Eliminate the everyday mindless distractions you’ve been allowing and watch yourself easily get way more done in less time. Start small, incorporating just one change at a time, and celebrate every win along the way!Want to be among the first to know when the next article in this series is published? Sign up here.

Get more done (part 1): Stop wasting brain power

Get more done (part 1): Stop wasting brain power

Where to begin

In this 3-part series, I’m going to share my most effective task management* tips so you can get more done in less time.

Keep in mind that all of these practices assume you know your most important vision, decided on a strategy, and set measurable goals.

vision strategy goals tasks

*This is the thing you probably call “time management.” We don’t control time. We can, however, choose what we do within (the illusion of?) time. So upgrade your language, and notice how much more powerful you feel. 💪

Why does this matter?

Ever let a project fall off your radar? Of course you have!

Gee, I was going to write/work out/start a company, but it just didn’t happen.

You mean you didn’t make it happen, right?

This quick and simple technique solves that problem. You’ll never again forget about a project, or that “crazy” idea you had one time.

Second, and imo more importantly, you’re going to literally create space for more creative thinking. Which means better results on whatever projects you choose to pursue.

You’re better than this

Our thoughts are so damn repetitive. 

I need to feed the dog as soon as I get back from the gym.

I need to feed the dog when I get home.

As soon as I get home, I’m going to remember to feed the dog…

Sound familiar? What a waste of your highly advanced analytical power!

Write it all down

The key is to write it down as soon as you can. This gets it out of your head.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

David Allen, productivity consultant, author

Have a system for recording 3 things: ideas, projects, and tasks.

Keep a list of ideas that you aren’t working on atm.

Keep a list of active projects. Mine include “Program Upgrade!” and “Write Memoir.”

Capture your tasks, which includes your daily success list and any tasks you want to remember for later. When you’re creating task lists, review your project list as a reminder to record the next action for each important project.

(Side note. Unlike my beloved Martha Beck, I am SO not a fan of detailing out every single task required to achieve a project. Just a few easy next steps works for me!)

Capture these lists in a simple online tool like Google docs or Trello, in a physical list such as a bullet journal, or a combination of both. 

Peaking required!

For this to work—for your mind to trust that you’ll look at that note later—you have to have a trusted system.

So you’ve written it all down. Now, decide how often and when you’ll look at these lists. 

You want to free up mental capacity. The thing is, your brain is smart enough to hold onto your thoughts if you’re putting them in your Notes app where you might see them again 8 months from now.

So decide how often you want to review (read and update) each list, and schedule it in your calendar.

Get even more done

So, write down your ideas, projects, and tasks. Look at it on the regular. Keep them updated. 

You’ll not only remember to move forward on your most important work, but you’ll have more creative brain power, which dramatically ups the quality of work you’ll produce!

Sign up here to be among the first to know when the next article in this series is published!

Ditch your to-do list (and create this instead)

Ditch your to-do list (and create this instead)

What’s on your to-do list today? It’s a lot, right? You don’t want to do everything on that list. Some of those things have been there for weeks.

Why keep stressing yourself out with that lame, overwhelming list when you could be creating a shorter, more powerful, and energizing list instead?

That’s what I’ll show you today. You’ll learn how to transform your typical to-do list into a success list to get more done in less time and feel more creative, focused, and powerful.

Your to-do list replacement

Each morning, instead of creating a to-do list, I want you to start creating a success list—a prioritized list of important tasks.

A success list is a prioritized list of important tasks.

Let’s look at this definition closely 🔎 before we jump into the how-to.

1st keyword: prioritized. When you prioritize before you start work, and then only do what’s on your list, busy work evaporates.

2nd keyword: important. They create value that matters. We’ll get into this more below.

3rd keyword: tasks. (Didn’t expect this word to be special, did you?) How often does your task list include massive undertakings like “declutter” or “find job?” These are not tasks, my friends—these are projects which belong on a list of their own. You want to know exactly what action to take for every item on this list. What is the next step(s) to move your project forward? (If you’re stuck, your next task might be, “Break project X into tasks.”)

Getting started

Start with a list of things you’d like to get done (aka your traditional to-do list.) Then use these items to write a new prioritized list of vision-aligned tasks. Use the following tips for deciding what makes the cut.

First, if it takes less than 2 minutes, just do it.

Otherwise, ask the focusing question, the importance question, and the strategic question.

Ask the focusing question

To get more done with less effort, always ask yourself the focusing question:

Question 1: What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

This comes from one of my favorite productivity books, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

You can use this question with your daily success list to decide how to approach a problem or goal. You can also use in the ideation phase of a project, or even earlier with strategic planning.

What do I mean by “easier or unnecessary?”

For example, say my #1 goal is to have one Focus Session scheduled by the end of this week. As I sit down Wednesday morning to write my day’s success list, I’d ask myself this question:

What’s the one thing I can do to book a Focus Session by Friday, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Say I have a list of ideas already noted. I can eliminate tasks that don’t impact this outcome—program content creation, for example.

When I ask this question, I’ll get new ideas: do a Facebook Live video describing Focus Sessions, send 10 emails inviting people to Focus Sessions…

If I do a Facebook Live video that’s engaging and creates a sense of urgency, people who already know me will see it, and it’s likely that at least one person will schedule. And if they do, I don’t have to do anything else on the list to reach my goal—they become unnecessary!

If they don’t schedule, then I’ll send 10 email invitations. And since I’ve just practiced communicating the value of Focus Sessions, this task will be easier!

Ask the importance question

Second, consider the Eisenhower Matrix of urgency vs. importance to resist the trap of letting unimportant work get in the way of what matters most.

Question 2: Is this important?

An urgent task requires immediate attention. You can either do it or delegate it, depending on its importance (and your creativity in finding a way to delegate.)

An important task is expected to have a considerable effect on your success or well-being. It aligns with what actually matters to you—the person you want to be, the way you want to feel, the vision you have for your future life. For an entrepreneur, it might be revenue-generating activities and rest. For a recovering creative, it might be those 20 minutes you’ve decided to spend every day practicing your favorite artform. Generally speaking, you know what’s important. But are you allowing this to drive your behavior?

Here’s a visual of how to act once you’ve determined whether a task is urgent and/or important.

The Eisenhower Matrix


UrgentNot urgent
ImportantDo it today.Plan when to do it
and schedule it.
Not importantDelegate it to
someone else.
Eliminate it.

Ask the strategic question

You might have tasks that you want to do, but they don’t make the cut using the above two questions. This is true, for instance, when we have creative ideas that don’t fit the traditional model of business value.

“[When you take action based on inner knowing,] just because those benefits are not recognized by a patriarchal culture as being of value doesn’t mean that they aren’t of value.”

Hiro Boga, business strategist, writer, mentor

In this case, ask the strategic question:

Question 3: If I’m saying Yes to this, what am I saying No to?

This lets you follow your inspiration while being intentional. Simply consider its impact and decide upfront what you’ll do.

For example, today I felt inspired to post to Instagram about the animal spirit card I drew yesterday. Will anyone change their life because of it? I don’t know. But I felt that saying Yes to this didn’t mean saying No to anything more important.

More powerful and more fun

Use these 3 questions to create a success list that makes your daily work more powerful and more fun:

  1. What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
  2. Is this important?
  3. If I’m saying Yes to this, what am I saying No to?

When you feel connected to the purpose behind the day-to-day tasks, it’s easier to do the work. You can stop doing everything that doesn’t matter—or at least head in that direction. Plus, you’ll feel a renewed sense of control as you raise your personal standards for how you manage your time.

Could you use one-on-one support to help you focus and get things done?

My clients love how I save them a ton of time and energy. For example, after landing his dream job (he’s currently planning a 10-day trip to Colorado with his wife and baby thanks to this job!), Kyle shared this about my coaching: “She kept me moving forward, and I resolved unknowns much more quickly and more decisively than I would have on my own.”

Let’s chat!

This is the year (part 3): Reinforce

This is the year (part 3): Reinforce

tl;dr Your action plan

  1. Ask yourself, “What could happen if I don’t pursue this goal?” Create a visual reminder of the pain you’re avoiding by moving forward.
  2. Schedule time to regularly review your goal and protect that time.
  3. Find an accountability partner or group, or hire a professional coach.

Reinforce

In the first two posts of this series, you defined your big, inspiring life goal and broke it down into actionable steps. Now, you’ll build a process that supports you in achieving your goal.

Give your goal weight

You might be jazzed about your goal right now, but will you have the same level of energy a month from now?

“Change is usually not a question of capability; it’s almost always a question of motivation.” – Tony Robbins

Create a sense of urgency behind your goal. We all want to increase our pleasure and avoid pain. You’ve probably thought some about the great things that could happen if you achieve your goal, but have you identified the pain associated with failure? Answer one question to give your goal the weight it needs: What could happen if I don’t pursue this goal?

What could happen if you don’t pursue this goal?

One of my clients wanted to pursue a different career. When she asked herself this question, she identified everything from missing opportunities to connect with her family to physical back pain due to excess time sitting at a desk. When her fear was confronted with this laundry list of pain, she found clarity: “Seems like a no brainer!”

Once you’ve done this exercise, make it visual. Draw or collage the scene and post it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

Build in a review process

Review your goal on a consistent basis. Decide on a cadence that works for you — annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily — and schedule it. I use all of these time frames to some degree. If this is new for you, I recommend starting with the same 15-minute time slot each week.

Schedule and commit to consistent goal review sessions.

Next, decide the content of your goal review. For example, in a weekly review I will review my high-level vision and goals, celebrate wins, set my focus for the week, and schedule everything. You might also consider jotting down lessons learned or identifying your self-care plan.

Finally, protect this time. If you do miss a session, reschedule it and reflect on what’s getting in your way. What are you telling yourself is more important than your biggest life dream? What are you so afraid of?

Check out this post for more on my favorite planning tools.

Get help from real-life people

There’s something about have a conversation with someone that is so different from reading a book or working through something on your own.

In a recent study on accountability, it was found that if you commit your goal to someone and have a specific accountability appointment with them, you’ll increase your chance of completing a goal by up to 95%.

Increase your chance of success by 95% with an accountability partner.

To up your chance of success, consider finding an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who coaches another person to help them keep a commitment. You can help each other clarify goals, celebrate wins, and even brainstorm solutions to challenges.

Accountability comes in many forms. My husband and I have been accountability partners for diet-related goals. Currently, I’m partnered with two business peers. We use weekly emails and monthly video calls to support each other in our businesses. I use Facebook groups, like Love Monday. And I hire life coaches.

For the best chance of success, hire a coach who specializes in the type of change you’re seeking. I help my smart, self-reflective, mid-career clients go after careers that are more meaningful and fun. If that sounds like you, I’d love to work together!

I’ll be accepting new clients in February, so click here to schedule your first session FREE!

More Reading

This is the year (part 2): Break it down

This is the year (part 2): Break it down

tl; dr Your action plan

  1. Use two techniques to write your goals: ask Gary Keller’s focusing question and be specific.
  2. First, break down your life goal until you’ve created an annual goal: e.g. 5 years, 2 years, 1 year.
  3. Next, break down your annual goal until you have ONE next first step that feels easy.

Intro

In the first post of this series, you defined your big inspiring life goal. Now, you’ll break that goal down into actionable steps without losing your mind in details.

Simplify with this question

In The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller shares what he calls the focusing question. It’s a question I’ve started to use in all of my goal setting and action planning, and it has made life oh so simpler.

“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?” – Gary Keller, entrepreneur, bestselling author

What’s the one thing you can do to achieve your biggest dream such that by doing that one thing, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?

Be specific

In my corporate days I heard the acronym S.M.A.R.T. regularly, which is intended to help you set valuable goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, or some similar variant of these words. It’s good, just boring. Hah! Let’s simplify.

Make your goals exciting by being specific!

Don’t say you want to go somewhere fun. Say you want to go to a country where little English is spoken before the end of next year. Don’t just say you want to garden more. How often do you want to garden? Where will you garden? Will you plant rare species of roses or enough produce to feed your family all year? Notice how much more exciting a specific goal feels.

Instead of  being specific, I could have set a goal to be a published author. To meet this goal, I could write something sloppy, self-publish cheaply, and move on. But that’s not what I want. To ensure that I put out my best work, I want to traditionally publish, which requires an unbiased third party to work with me.

Get specific to help yourself get clear about what you’re after, and to keep yourself excited along the way.

Bring your big dream into this year

Using the focusing question above, break your goal down into time periods that make sense. For example, what one thing could you do five years from now that would make everything else easier or unnecessary? One year from now? You might prefer to start with present day instead. Given where you are now, what could you accomplish towards your goal in one month? One year?

Here is my breakdown:

  • Someday: Become a bestselling author
  • 5 years (2023): Participate in a best-in-class writers’ residency
  • 2 years (2020): Become a traditionally published author with my memoir
  • 1 year (2019): Send my memoir manuscript to 3+ publishers

All you need is the next first step

Once you have a specific goal that’s related to this year (or quarter or month or week), continue to break it down using the focusing question from above. Your intention is to get to a step that is soooo tiny it feels easy. I’m serious!

Your intention is to get to one step that feels easy.

This is where I’ve made the same mistake time and again. While you could break your goal into every baby step needed to achieve it, don’t! You can do that later. First, things change. Ask any project manager. Second, it’s not fun. Imagine sitting in front of your list of every step that’s required to achieve your big goal. Even a monthly goal is going to be made up of dozens of steps. Does that feel empowering?

One of my small steps is to re-read my memoir in full, making sure it still flows well following my last stage of edits. Does that feel easy, like something I could jump in and do right now? No way. So I keep going. I have 22 chapters. I could write a bulleted list of 22 items, each saying “re-read and edit this chapter.” Not fun. Instead, I write the next step: re-read and edit chapter 1. For me, this does feel easy. Chapter 1 is my favorite chapter. It’s been revised more times than most, so I know the revisions will be limited. If it didn’t feel easy, I’d keep going — re-read my introductory scene, for example.

Additional reading

The one step of annual goal setting I never skip

The one step of annual goal setting I never skip

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… It’s annual goal setting and planning time!

We all have our methods for goal setting, from using a framework we’ve refined over the years, to thinking for a few minutes about what we want and calling it a day. (As you may have guessed, I lean towards the former!) My own process is constantly changing. However, there is one step I do my best to never skip.

I always take the time to capture my wins.

Why is this worth your time?

It’s common sense that recalling wins feels good. And in many ways, that’s all we’re after. But if you’re thinking it’s a waste of time, or that it couldn’t add up to a more meaningful life, Tony has some words of wisdom.

“When people are feeling good all the time, they tend to treat others better, and they tend to maximize their potential as human beings.” — Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within

Truth.

Capture your wins

If you do just one thing this season in the spirit of annual goal planning, I hope it’s this! Put pen to paper and capture your big wins of the year.

Be sure to capture personal and professional wins. At work, updating this list every six months or so can be a lifesaver come performance review time. It can also help you gauge when it’s time to ask for a raise, especially if your job is one where extra responsibilities seem to mysteriously pile up over time.

Where will you find these wins?

  • Look back on any goals you set for or during 2018.
  • Consider habits you stopped, started, or changed.
  • Look at wherever your life shows up in writing. For me, that’s my physical bullet journal, my online calendars, and my sent emails.
  • Consider all areas of your life: work, money, community contribution, friends, family, romance, leisure, growth, health, physical environment, spirituality.

A step further

Celebrating wins isn’t something to do just once a year! I apply this philosophy to all of my planning processes.

This year, I customized my monthly planner from Mia Ellsworth & Co. to include a “big wins” section on each monthly spread. I capture my big wins each Monday as well, which I share with two of my business accountability partners in our weekly email thread. In my gratitude journal, which I write in nightly, I sometimes capture wins in the context of self-gratitude.

Where in your day-to-day life might it be easy to add a little celebration?

How was 2018?

Here are a few of my favorite 2018 wins:

  • I coached my first paying client. 💵
  • I’ve read 39 books so far. 📚
  • I took an improv class. 🤡
  • I submitted my memoir manuscript to an editor. ✍️
  • I completed 30 days of Yoga With Adriene. 🧘

I’d love to hear yours! We can help create a culture of self-gratitude. Head out to Facebook or Insta, share your wins with the world, and tag me!

PC: Kimberly Bailey

How to build a meaningful career (part 3): Every action counts

How to build a meaningful career (part 3): Every action counts

What you’ll find in this series

This is part 3 in a three-part blog series on how you can build a more meaningful career by first refining your own definition of “meaningful,” and then living that definition.

In Part 1: Redefine success, I suggest a new way to define success. We explore the question, What do I want?

In Part 2: Know your values, I cover how you can identify and prioritize your values by asking, Who do I want to be? These values are what give your work meaning.

In Part 3: Every action counts (this post), I show you how being successful on these new terms is both far easier and feels way better than what you’ve been trying. We’ll consider, What feels good?

Start with the feeling

If you’ve read the earlier posts in this series, you’ve identified the values or feelings that describe who you want to be and how you want to feel. The way to cultivate more of the feelings you want in life is to start feeling the way you want to feel. Real change will follow.

Start feeling the way you want to feel. Real change will follow.

I’m not talking about something magical here. “Just visualize a Maserati, and it will appear in your driveway!” No, I’m talking about everyday common sense action and reaction.

Imagine, for instance, it’s time to go to your boss’s office for a performance review. Your boss is smart and interesting and kind and powerful, and you really want her to appreciate you.

First, imagine that you can’t stop thinking about how you desperately want her approval. You believe she doesn’t like you. She probably wishes you weren’t on the team at all. But, you think, if you could just get her to see how valuable you are… You shuffle into her intimidating office and take a seat stiffly in the chair across from her big, ominous desk. You muster the courage to make eye contact and fake a smile. Given the way you’ve shown up, how do you expect her to react?

Now, imagine instead that you believe you already have her approval. You trust that you’re one of her favorite employees, and she loves spending time with you. You strut into that welcoming office with your calm smile and have a seat. You flash her a genuine smile and hold your eye contact — this woman adores you, after all! How might she react to this version of you?

If you struggled at all to see a difference, imagine if you were the boss instead. Which of these two employees would make you feel more at ease? Who are you more willing to trust to own the big project that just landed in your inbox to delegate?

“External circumstances do not create feeling states. Feeling states create external circumstances.” – Martha Beck

This is why knowing and cultivating your desired feelings is soooo effective for building a meaningful career, and for finding satisfaction in any area of your life.

How do you measure your success?

In the first post in this series, I suggested you redefine success not by some external metric, but in terms of how you feel. Now, how do you measure your success against this ideal?

“You could be winning and feel like you’re losing because the scorecard you’re using is unfair.” – Tony Robbins

Say you want to feel healthy every day. Laying in bed at night reflecting on your day, you might be focused on what you didn’t accomplish. Where you didn’t live up to your own expectations. It sounds something like this.

Was I healthy today? Well, I didn’t go to the gym like I was supposed to this morning. I put ranch dressing on my salad at lunch, probably more than I needed to. I shouldn’t have used such a fattening dressing. What is wrong with me? Shoot, I just remembered. I had a pop AND two cupcakes at that retirement party this afternoon! I guess I’m just never going to be a healthy person.

Ick. I propose a different focus. Look at every time you did feel the way you wanted. With this mindset, your evening reflection might look like this.

When did I feel healthy today? Well, I woke up after 8 hours of sleep. That was awesome. On the car ride into work, I noticed I was holding my breath, so I took three deep breaths. It felt like a mini meditation, like I was taking care of both mind and body. For lunch I had a big lettuce salad with veggies and beans on top, so I got lots of vitamins and minerals. Just after lunch, I took a quick walk around the block with my coworker. Plus I drank loads of water throughout the day.

Notice how these two reflections could easily be the same exact day? Yet the second one feels better. And isn’t feeling good our ultimate goal?

The second scenario doesn’t just feel better. Setting up this more empowering scorecard actually leads to more of the behaviors that make you feel the way you want to feel.

Focusing on what you did accomplish will lead to more successful behaviors.

Brainstorm what feels good

Here’s an exercise to help you notice all the ways you are already cultivating your desired feeling, and to learn how to feel that way even more.

Writing tools in hand, for each of your 3 to 4 desired feelings, brainstorm as many answers as possible to this prompt: I feel (my desired feeling) every time I…

Brainstorm answers to this prompt: I feel (my desired feeling) every time I…

You might want to keep a daily log where you simply check a box if you can find at least one example from the day where you felt that feeling. This can be a fun and empowering way to visualize your transformation to becoming who you want to be.

Be wary of focusing on others

I define my success by how I feel. This definition makes me feel the way I want to more often, and it makes it easier to bring more of that feeling into my life. However, there are times when I’ve hit roadblocks with this method.

Through my work, I want to feel catalytic — I want to help people change their lives more quickly and easily. When I first wrote down “catalytic,” I had lots of ideas for how to help people, but most of it was only in my head. My trouble was that when I did put something out there, I focused on other people’s reactions and perceptions of me.

My trouble was that I focused on other people’s reactions and perceptions of me.

For example, I poured my heart into an Insta post inspired by my own change to start buying fresh flowers for my home, a desire I had ignored for years. I felt full of catalytic energy when I posted it, but then no one followed my instructions. No one commented to share how they brought more of what they desire into their home! I felt deflated and useless. In that instant, I doubted everything about myself. (Our minds can be so dramatic!)

Once I realized what was happening (with some help from one of my coaches!), I shifted my focus to the feeling state itself. I even reframed my desired feeling as “potentially catalytic” to remind myself of the insignificance of others’ reactions.

Shortly after this, I created a 17-page guide to help people transform their living space and their life. Then I started consistently sharing my wisdom through my newsletter, then social media. As I focused more and more on myself — on feeling the way I wanted to feel, I gained followers. I coached more people. I received praise, things like “I always feel so inspired after working with you!” and being called “a genuine gift!” So, people did react positively, but not until after I let go of my need for them to do so. And I’d like to believe that if they didn’t, that would have been ok by me too, because I still felt the way I wanted to feel!

It can be tempting and habitual to give your power away to others in this way. We subconsciously think, If it’s someone else’s fault I feel this way, then I don’t have to change anything. When you notice it happening, adjust your definition of success until it is fully within your control.

Make sure your definition of success is always fully within your control.

Additional reading

  • In part 1 of this series, I show you how to redefine success in a way that’s meaningful to you.
  • In part 2, I show you how to find the specific feelings or values that give your life meaning.
  • Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Tony Robbins
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