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Life Planning II

Our Life Planning journey begins here and now.

As a reminder: Life Planning is a process that goes way beyond goal setting and priority management. If done well, Life Planning will "accumulate 'net worth' in the most important 'accounts' in your life: 'net worth' not only in your financial or career/business accounts, but in your relationship account, in your health account, in your recreational account, in your spiritual account - in your Life accounts that are the most important to you."

One of the benefits of joining me on this Life Planning journey is that we will be able to say 'no' and get everything important done. We may even be able to really say 'yes' to some new, important opportunities (like Juice Plus+!?)

You may be familiar with Stephen Covey's 'Urgent/Important Quadrants', shown in the graphic to the right. Covey says we spend so much time on Quadrant III matters (urgent but unimportant) that some Quadrant I matters (urgent and important) may get neglected (since often they're onerous and time-consuming), and most Quadrant II matters (important but not urgent) get pushed down the priority list and never get done at all (until/unless they become urgent Quadrant I matters, which quite often happens too late, like on our deathbeds). How often have we been doing Quadrant IV work because it's easy?!

Do you have difficulty saying 'no', even when you know it's the right thing to do, because you're going to miss some of those Quadrant II matters? Saying 'no' to a reasonable request, to something or someone that could really use your "yes", is often difficult, unless you have the perfect 'excuse'.

"I wish I could but we're going to be in Hawaii for a wedding and for a family vacation." That makes it easy to turn down a request to do something during the first two weeks of January, because it's true for us! But it SHOULD be just as easy to say "I'm sorry, but my priorities and my schedule don't allow me to say "yes" without breaking a promise to someone else. I can see what you need is important, but I must follow through on my commitments already made."

It becomes a matter of integrity - yours. The problem is that most of us cannot make a statement like that in all honesty, because our lives are not that well envisioned, planned, prioritized and scheduled. Are they? We haven't set good boundaries because we haven't first taken the time to identify what is most important in our lives (Quadrant II).

So, a quality Life Plan will allow you to say "no" and leave the other person, and you, feeling good about it! Wouldn't that be great!

To help get those important things done, we often turn to goal setting. You may be thinking that goal setting is the same as Life Planning - as you will find out, it's not.

Most of us set goals (if only New Year Resolutions!), but few of us have enjoyed real long-term success. Even if we accomplish a goal the victory is fleeting; you set a new or higher goal on reaching the one, but that just increases the pressure. Goals without a Life Plan are like the proverbial house built on sand; your Life Plan is the only proper foundation for goals and more. How do we know the goals will lead us to do the right things; Quadrant II things?

Now don't get me wrong, some good comes from goal setting, but when you do quality Life Planning, then you understand that every decision you make enables you either to increase or decrease your net worth, not in dollars and cents alone, but in every part of your existence.

We are all familiar with the concept of 'net worth'. The financial net worth of a business or a person is the value of all their assets minus the value of all their liabilities. Financial net worth is easy to understand, but what about relationships net worth or health net worth or ...? These are the 'Life Accounts' that we invest in through Life Planning and through proper implementation of Action Plans & Priorities based on our Life Plan, all of which pay the greatest dividends.

Some decisions you make pay dividends, and every decision incurs a cost somewhere (there is no free lunch!) Avoiding making a decision does not avoid this 'cost'; indecision carries its own set of consequences and costs - usually unexpected and often much greater than imagined.

Putting together a quality Life Plan does not mean that your life will turn out exactly as mapped out. Rather, it means you take the time to examine the depths of your heart, and decide what's truly important to you (your Quadrant II).

Life Planning calls us to be proactive and to try to develop those plans that have the highest probability of making us who you were meant to be, and making our life the most purposeful, productive and passionate that it can be, in all the areas that are truly important. If we don't take the time to mine those gems it's highly likely that we will live to regret it. At 61 years young, I have some of those regrets, but my future is bright, especially when I have my Life Plan!

Ok, now for the first step in Life Planning:

1.  Assess where you are in life today by answering these questions carefully, honestly and thoroughly:

• What are the top 3 regrets you have today regarding your personal and professional life?
• If money were no object, how would you spend the next 10 years?
• What would you say are the top 2 or 3 limiting factors in your career and/or your life?
• Who do you want to be remembered by?
• What will they remember you for?
• Who else and why? (ask this question as many times as you need)
• What do you want to see on your epitaph? 

The answers to these powerful questions will help you think about your past, present and future Life and the Legacy you will leave.

Can you find an hour this weekend, in peace and quiet, to work through and answer these questions? Write down your thoughts and your thought process: how you went about answering the questions. This will provide a good basis for step 2 - next time.

The journey is just starting - it's going to be quite a ride.

Life Planning III

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