Tools to Grow Forward

climbing-the-ladderThe StoryBoard

In your mind’s eye, clearly picture what your preferred future looks like if your goal is reached.  It must be specific and it must be compelling.

Then, make some boxes that lead toward that vision, and some boxes that lead away from that vision. In the boxes that lead toward it, begin writing tangible actions within your control that get you closer to your goal. Make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-dated (SMART). In the boxes leading away from your goal, begin writing tangible actions that sabotage yourself from attaining your goals.

Then begin living out your best version of you, and building up boundaries against the less than best version of you.

Download Storyboard

Your Life as a 3-Ring Circus

Visualize 3 of the roles you play in life (like spouse, supervisor, parent, community member) . In each “ring,” describe metaphorically which circus performer you are currently playing: ringmaster, lion-tamer, trapeze artist, juggler, etc. and why. Determine if that is who you want to be, or not.

Then determine the next action you must take in each role to turn what is in your control into a win-win for both you and those you interact with in the ring.

The Wheel of Life

Draw a large circle. In the middle of the circle make an “X” and make a “+” so that it looks like there are 8 spokes of a wheel. Make 10 notches on each of the spokes. On the outside of the circle, at the end of each spoke, put one of these core areas of your life: mental, social, spiritual, physical, family/friends, professional, financial, and emotional. Rate your satisfaction on each spoke with a mark by the notch, with a “10” being totally satisfied and being on the edge of the circle (closest to the center would be a “1” or “totally unsatisfied” response). Then connect the dots. The closer your shape is to a circle, the healthier/more balanced you are right now. It reveals areas where you might need to spend more attention on setting action goals.

What I Really Want

Make 3 columns on a piece of paper (or 3-columns on Excel sheet). At the top of one column, put Do; 2nd column, put Have; 3rd column, put Be. Before you actually make action plans, determine what you really want to Do, what you really want to Have, and who you really want to Be. Then, make those into SMART goals with action plans. If you aren’t clear where you want to get to, you’ll stay stuck.

Your Life (or Leadership) Timeline

On a sheet of paper (or posterboard), make a graph of your life from your teen years until now, putting your age along the bottom, and putting peaks where great things happened in your life and valleys where negative things happened in your life–labeling the happenings as you go.

Then, using colored post-its, put yellow post-its where key people (or a key event) came into your life that impacted your life-trajectory. Put pink post-its where pain or crisis re-routed your life. And put blue post-its next to the season of life where you learned a key life lesson.

Weekly Decompress (by Jason Womack)

Each week near the end of the week, pause and answer 4 questions in order to recap/evaluate the last 5 days and plan a better next 5 days:

1. What went well?

2. What didn’t go so well?

3. How can I improve next week?

4. What help do I need to get to my next “there”?

What’s His/Her Love Language?

Chapman’s The Five Love Languages book helps you figure out what fills the emotional love tank of those closest to you and what you need the most as well. Good indicators of your love language are what you complain about not having the most and what you like to give to others the most. But usually your love language is different from those you care about; so it truly is an act of love to give someone what he/she needs most, even if it’s not in your typical comfort zone.

1. Quality time

2. Acts of service

3. Physical touch and closeness

4. Words of affirmation

5. Receiving gifts

Take this quick assessment to determine your primary/secondary love language:

5 love languages side one

5 love languages side two

Maximize and Modify Your Personality Style

Take this 5-minute assessment to figure out if you are more of a lion, otter, golden retriever, or beaver.

personality survey

Breaking Down a Large Goal into Bite-Sized Chunks to Avoid the Overwhelm

Clearly define your big goal and write it at the top of a large white board.

Brainstorm all the big and small tasks (as specifically as possible) that come to mind to get that goal accomplished and write them on post-its under the goal.

Group the post-it tasks by similar themes/categories. When you do this step, the list begins to seem more manageable, less overwhelming. Try to get it down to about 4 categories.

Type up the tasks under the categories, and rank them by what needs to be done first along the critical path to getting other tasks done in succession.

Put the first task in each category into your calendar and obey your calendar when it’s time to tackle it. No procrastination anymore!