He who plans a thing will be successful... -- Proverbs 16:20
I traveled to Nacogdoches, Texas to meet with a client. Instead of talking to me, he talked to
customers on the phone. ―Let me see what we‘ve got here.‖ He clicked away on his computer
looking up some auto part. ―93 Geo Prizm alternator...Lot 42...I‘ve got five of them, how
many do you need?‖ He could not seem to interrupt his busy day to save himself.
As he completed the order, the man shrugged and smiled at me as if to say, ―What can I do?‖
After the phone call, I asked him, ―Do those people work here?‖ I pointed to the counter
where four employees have been idly standing by for the past thirty minutes. As I finished my
question, another call was transferred to his office, and he held up his hand as he picked up the
phone again. The client smiled helplessly. I understand. Helping is my business. When he
finished, I assured him that his place would not burn down, and we went out for breakfast.
We talked for an hour, and I learned that my client had no plans or goals. He had close to $2
million in sales, worked 100 hours a week, supporting a family of four drawing a salary of
$35,000 a year. But he had no plans or goals. The family suffered from his absence. Their last
vacation was seven years ago. In addition, the $500,000 loan he borrowed from his family had
not been paid down at all. With his business and his life, he was failing.
My friend from Nacogdoches is not unusual. I see more than one hundred people like him a
year. My diagnosis of their troubles always includes disorganization and poor time
management. You cannot build without these basic tools for success. Each one of these clients
commonly lacks goals, the plans to achieve them and a system to control and monitor their
success. Developing these, specific to individual circumstances, are necessary and changing
elements of doing business well. Success will inevitably follow.
Why are this man and so many others not scoring success?
The answer, seemingly simplistic, is because they do not plan to accomplish their dreams, or as
the old cliché warns: ―Without a plan, you fail.‖ Shockingly, most individuals and businesses
have no formal plans. They operate with a survival-orientation rather than a success-
orientation focusing on the day-to-day crises rather than a future agenda. Long term planning
directs growth, and without it you will simply survive the crisis of the day rather than moving
your business and success to the next level.
The goal of this workbook is to teach you to direct business to score success just as the name
predicts. This is not an experiment but a proven business achievement. Thoughtful questions
explore and move people toward what they want to do (success thinking), rather than doing
what they have to do (survival thinking). You will learn to run your life instead of your life
As you work your way through the book, you will evaluate your combined personal and
business life to develop a clear picture of who you are and where you are going. Answers to
this dialogue will be the tools for achieving that end. You will use a scoring system to evaluate
your current situation. With that information, you will devise action plans to eliminate
procrastination and improve communication with associations which create results. At the end
of these exercises, you will have defined your path and own a weekly system to monitor your
How does the scoring figure into it?
The scoring system is goal-oriented and activity-centered to aid in monitoring your
performance. The plan you develop will be like a road map, showing you how to get from
Point A to Point B. On a scale of 1-100, you will know where you are on the map and where
you should be. By identifying what is taking you off course, you can act effectively to get back
on that road to prosperity.
Tools developed from these exercises encourage success seekers to speed toward desired goals.
It is the difference between taking a plane or a car. The choices available to you enable you to
fly toward success rather than cruise at driving speed. The bonus is that not only will your
business life improve, but you will regenerate every aspect of your life.
Where do I begin?
We will examine ten critical areas. They are the crux of who you are and what can motivate
change within you. These areas are: values, emotional health, physical health, intellectual
growth, family life, friendships, love, career, finances and community service.
The process may appear daunting. Examining oneself is a demanding process, but it is also
stimulating and fun, and can lead you to discover innovative ideas that will help you get more
out of life.
The questions in the workbook analysis section will bring out your personal strengths,
weaknesses, and objectives to reveal the strategy for accomplishing what you want. This
strategy will utilize inherent power to overcome personal shortcomings, along with suggested
tools and rules. The final section creates realistic plans and timeframes for accomplishing
goals. Here a mentor is suggested as a means to show you how to achieve better results by
modeling effectiveness and by holding you accountable. Think of yourself as interning to an
inspired life. As long as your plan is realistic and your performance monitored, success will
This book is intended to be a workbook, therefore, we have left plenty of space for the reader
in which to write notes and complete the exercises. Activities abound throughout, and I
encourage you to write, dream, plan and dedicate these open spaces to achieving what you will
discover within you. This is an activity book. I hope it actively engages you.
You will find an Appendix at the rear of the workbook. This section contains in-depth
descriptions and exercises to help foster better feedback and communication between your
mentors and your peers. As a group, I wholeheartedly encourage you to mentor each other
while exploring these exercises. They will teach simple ways to facilitate active, positive
dialogue that will spur each member to accomplish his or her goals.
I would like to offer some words of encouragement for the journey you are about to take –
small steps accomplish radical changes. Zig Ziglar, who began as a salesman and grew to be a
motivational speaker and author said, ―The difference between the scholarship student and the
student who passes is just ten minutes of studying a day. The difference between a superstar
and an average athlete is just four more wind sprints, another half-mile run, or six to eight more
weight-lifting repetitions.‖ I tell you, the difference between success and failure lies in a few
hours of planning. Plan!
The Basics of Time Management
‘I don’t have time,’ is the single most frequently given reason for living fractional, perpetually
indentured lives, for not living fully or freely. Because time is life, when we say we don’t have
enough time, we are admitting we don’t have enough life.
-- Sonia Johnson
All people have the same amount of time. It is how they use it that differs. Understanding
where our time goes is vital to understanding our individual time inefficiencies. Effective use
of time requires personal management. This is managing oneself in relation to the clock.
It’s About Time
Time is a finite resource, spent much like money. Imagine that your bank credits your account
each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day-to-day, and every evening, it
deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use. What would you do? Draw out every
cent of course!
Each of us has such a bank account –TIME. Every morning, life credits you with 86,400
seconds. Every night it writes off as lost, whatever you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day, it opens for business and each
night it burns the remains of the day. The loss is yours.
What is the significance of time?
An anonymous write said, ―To realize the value of:
ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth prematurely.
ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
ONE DAY, ask a daily wage earner with kids to feed.
ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed the train.
ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
ONE MILLISECOND, ask the Olympic athlete with the silver medal.‖
Time and its losses are personal. Spend time wisely, crediting each day with health, happiness
and success. Time management is not just about business, it is a life skill. Joan Rivers once
said, ―Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God‘s gift, that‘s why we call it the
The clock is running, but how do I keep time from running away?
Most of my clients spend the majority of their time ―putting out fires.‖ This crisis-oriented
modus operandi is an unsystematic approach, smothering current problems while ignoring the
source of the flare-ups. The daily fires are merely a symptom, not the cause of time burn-out.
The task is to focus on your reality and shape your priorities to realize your dreams. This is
Success Mentality. It centers on doing what you want or need to do rather than the fireman‘s
Survival Mentality of doing what they have to do and hoping there is time leftover at the end of
the day to do what they want. It is about making choices that deliver your desired quality of
Less Crisis and Regular Events Less Time for Desired Actions
Equals Time for Desired Actions Equals Time for Crisis and Regular Events
(Survival Mentality) (Success Mentality)
The diagram below is a representation of Stephen Covey‘s Quadrant Theory. Try portioning
your daily activities into the boxes and see where the balance of your day is spent, or perhaps,
where it should be spent.
Urgent Not Urgent
1st Quadrant 2 Quadrant
Important Activities: Crises Activities: Prevention
Pressing problems PC Activities
Deadline-driven projects Relationship building
Recognizing new opportunities
3 Quadrant 4 Quadrant
Not Important Activities: Routine Activities: Wasting Time
Mail, reports Busy work
Meetings Some mail
Pressing matters Some phone calls
Popular activities Pleasant activities
Most people find themselves caught up in Quadrants I & III because of their apparent
immediacy. The time sensitivity of these areas promotes an illusory progress that feels like
work. Quadrant IV is champion of procrastination and just plain goofing off. This is not to be
confused with a round of golf or spending time with your family. This is truly lost time.
Stephen Covey points out that savvy people spend their time in Quadrant II concentrating on
projects and tasks – a place of hard work with no structure or deadlines. These need to come
from you. Time is one of the most basic, vital and valuable human resources. However, time
moves forward. You cannot stop or rewind its passage, but you do hold the key to properly
managing it so that it works for you and not against you.
First things first…Are you wasting the hours on your timesheet?
Do you have prime time TV‘s schedule memorized?
Do you set unrealistic deadlines?
Are you fatigued from busy work?
Do you delegate without giving others the authority to act?
Is your attitude negative?
Do you blame other people for your mistakes?
Are you able to forgive and move on?
When 45 % of our day is spent listening to others, do you listen to input from others to get it
right the first time?
Are you over committed?
Do you keep meetings short?
Do you stick to your priorities?
Is the phone a tool for keeping conversations focused?
Are you hiding behind piles of organized clutter?
Do you prioritize your daily activities?
The results of a five-year study on procrastination are available five years behind
Piers Steel, a Canadian industrial psychologist, concluded in 2007, even by his own example
that procrastination is on the rise. In his 30-page study at the University of Calgary, he said, ―In
1978 only about 5 percent of the American public saw themselves as chronic procrastinators;
now it is 26 percent.‖
Procrastination is a reasonable worry with costly results. With too many ways to kill time –
television, Web-surfing, iPods, Blackberries and email – fun is just a click away. The financial
fallout adds up when the average cost of filing a delayed tax return is $400 and last-minute
credit purchases for holiday gifts rose five fold in the ten years ending in 2000. Who is wasting
all this time? 54 out of 100 chronic procrastinators are men, and the young are more likely than
the old to wait.
Procrastination creates other problems as well. ―People who procrastinate tend to be less
healthy, less wealthy and less happy,‖ Steel said. The causes of procrastination combine
temptation, immediacy, job worth, and belief in competency. Temptation is the siren call – and
its voice is louder than ever in today‘s world – and is the explanation for why the habit grows
worse over time.
Knowing you suffer from this is the first step to correcting it. Studying procrastination had a
positive effect on Steel‘s own problem, and his sheepish admission that completion of his study
took twice as long as he had planned underlines the scale of effect. It takes time to fix our use
of time. ―Something needs to be done about it sooner, than later,‖ he said as a warning to all.
Do you suffer from procrastination and indecision? It is not a question of laziness or
inefficiency. The underlying cause varies from person to person. Some people procrastinate
because they fear failure. ―If I worked at the tasks given to me, I might find that I am not as
good at them as I thought. I might fail.‖ Others avoid commitment. ―If I commit, it might be
to the wrong thing.‖ Or, ―People will have high expectations of me.‖ Some tease themselves
with the thrill of the challenge. ―I work better under pressure.‖ But it might be a battle for
direction. ―By procrastinating, I gain some measure of control over my work.‖
Do any of these apply to you? None of the reasons given justify procrastination.
Procrastination is avoidance, whether it is avoiding a perceived outcome, or avoiding trying
and failing. It is not healthy and will not help you reach your goals. Consider the questions
that follow to assess your helpless desire to pull back on the hands of time.
Do you select qualified people for the task?
Are your expectations clear?
Do you honor someone‘s ability to carry out the task?
Do you secure a commitment for follow-through?
Do you negotiate deadlines?
Do you provide latitude for imagination and initiative?
Do you perform the job for them?
Do you reward results?
How have you managed your time in the past?
How have you created optimal time usage in the past?
How did this impact your future?
Can you draw up an action plan?
How do you achieve your goals?
How did you spend your 86,400 seconds today?
How will you spend the next week? Month? Year?
The answers to these questions lead to an analysis of your time. The idea is to optimize it.
Time is not a reproducible commodity. You cannot just manufacture more when you run out.
Optimal Activity Analysis
In the pages ahead, you will learn in detail how to assess the ten critical elements of a vital life.
If you view the span of your adult life, the patterns will reveal optimal moments and life‘s
storms. Of course, this exercise will also reveal festering bad habits or the experience gained
from lessons learned.
Look at the spreadsheet on the following page. Use the following criteria for the ten critical
areas to assign a value to complete your own spreadsheet analysis. Numbers on a 0 to 10 scale,
with 10 as the highest rating, will be used to evaluate the recent and distant past, present and
forecast for the future. For all ten areas, enter them on your personal chart. As you review, your
health may shine in some years and your career in others, but be honest. This is not a test, but
an honest and often humbling self-reflection and assessment.
Let‘s look at the example on the next page and read the first critical area. This is data for a 40-
year old, looking back and planning for tomorrow. Reading across each line looks like this: 15
years ago -- 8; 10 years ago -- 2; 5 years ago -- 6; today -- 10; future goal – 10. Enter your
numbers likewise on the blank spreadsheet including your rank for best year (Life Best) in that
column. Continue entering data for each of the other critical areas in the same way. After
completing the chart, the next chapter will explain how to make the most of your resources at
any age or stage of life.
1. Values. Enter the number of hours per month that you do something based on your values
like go to church, temple, etc. for each time frame.
2. Emotional stability. List the ten worst times of your life. These are the top ten traumatic
events in your life such as a job loss, divorce, illness or bankruptcy. They are times in your
life that caused emotional stress. If any of these events is current to each respective time
frame, subtract 1 point for each event.
Worst times of your life
3. Health. Enter the number of hours you exercise per week. Exercise is defined as anything
from an evening walk to a work out at the gym. Include anything that is appropriate to your
individual physical condition or regime that is planned- meaning any exercise done that is
outside your normal work routine.
4. Intellectual Growth. Enter the number of hours per week that you spend studying, reading
or pursuing new knowledge.
5. Family. Enter the number of hours per month that you spend with your family.
6. Friends. Enter the number of hours per week that you spend with your friends.
7. Love Relationships. Enter the number of hours spent alone with your significant other per
week. If you do not or did not have a significant other during a specific time frame, enter 0.
8. Career. Use the following work chart:
40-44 hours/week, enter 10
36-39 or 45-48 hours/week, enter 9
32-35 or 49-52 hours/week, enter 8
28-31 or 53-56 hours/week, enter 7
24-27 or 57-60 hours/week, enter 6
20-23 or 61-64 hours/week, enter 5
16-19 or 65-68 hours/week, enter 4
12-15 or 69-72 hours/week, enter 3
8-11 or 73-76 hours/week, enter 2
4-7 or 77-80 hours/week, enter 1
0-3 or 81+ hours/week, enter 0.
You will notice that the person that does not put his or her nose to the grindstone ranks equally
low with the proverbial Jack who is all work and no play.
9. Finances. Divide your salary and/or total wages for each category by 10,000 and enter the
number. If that number is not appropriate for your situation, i.e. you are making more than
$120,000 per year, raise the divisor to equate an optimal number.
10. Contribution to your community. Enter the number of hours you spend a month
improving the world in which we live.
Optimum Activity Levels- Example
Category/Time Period 15 years ago 10 years ago 5 years ago Today Life best Goal
Values 8 2 6 10 10 10
Emotional 8 8 9 10 10 10
Health 10 10 5 2 10 10
Intellectual 10 10 10 10 10 10
Family 10 0 0 1 10 10
Friends 10 10 8 3 10 8
Love 10 10 5 5 10 10
Career 8 5 8 8 8 10
Finances 2 2 3 7 7 10
Community 0 0 0 6 6 8
Potential Activity 91 91 91 91 91 96
Actual Activity 76 57 54 62
Variance 15 34 37 29
Average lost life= 31.59%
Average lost life in years= (Average lost life) x (Age)
31.59% 50 15.80 years
Opportunity is always available to us, but we need to recognize it in our midst. The chart will
help us with that.
Now that all your numbers have been entered, follow the example as I explain how to read
your own chart. Each personal column is added up, and the sum for each column goes in the
Actual Activity box. These numbers, taking stock of different periods in our life, represent the
measure of fullness of your life. A higher number means a fuller life. Now, take a highlighter
to the highest number attained in each of your categories, and enter each one into the Life Best
field. Add those numbers up, and the sum will be your Potential Activity level. Enter this same
Potential Activity number across the board to represent your compilation of Life‘s Bests. This
is your comparison for what you are capable of at your very best moments versus what you
actually managed for these points in your life.
Where there is opportunity, there is the potential for loss. Subtracting the Actual Activity from
the Potential Activity will give you the lost opportunity costs for each time frame in your life.
You can calculate the Average Lost Life opportunity by adding the numbers up for each
column and dividing by the number of columns that you filled out. The result is the average
time wasted everyday, every week and every year of your life. Don‘t be discouraged. This is
your room for improvement.
If you‘re feeling thick-skinned, take the average lost life opportunity and multiply it by your
age. This number will tell you how many years of your life have been potentially wasted so
far. Imagine what you could have accomplished if you had been focused! So, how will you
spend your tomorrows? That comes next through study in The Ten Critical Areas.
Optimum Activity Levels
Category/Time Period 15 years ago 10 years ago 5 years ago Today Life best Goal
Average lost life=
Average lost life in years= (Average lost life) x (Age)
Critical Area One --Values
Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. -- Proverbs 16:3
Most people equate values with a spiritual or moral background. There are virtues that create a
safe, universal community. Values espoused by every culture and religion overlap in scope to
enhance and shape our nature.
Values find their voice in different ways. The most prevalent statement in our culture is the
Ten Commandments. But some have been around even longer, like the Buddhists‘ Eightfold
Noble Paths or Confucianism‘s Five Relationships. Some people find their truth in a modern
essay like All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.
For most, religion dictates their values, beliefs and faith. This forms the individual reliability
of our character.
However we define personal values, they inevitably define us. They determine our goals, our
associations through faith and our activities within that community. Like a lode of ore in the
earth, our values run deep within us, affecting the kind of person we are, our direction, and
those we choose for relationships. Formalizing these values tells the world who you are, how
you define success and how others can relate to you.
This section is key to your plan for your entire life! By defining our essence, we expose
limiting facets of our life, and shine the light on the greatest potential for our personal success.
Focus is achievable, and with focused efforts, timely, positive results occur. You are driving
with a map to the destination of your choosing.
Current trends market a culture that embraces a kind of ―Goldilocks faith‖. Praising acceptance
above all, it serves up a bowl of lukewarm mush that is supposedly just right for everyone. But
statistics tell a different story about those finding their value system. Numbers in mainline
denominations are dwindling as disaffected young people turn away from this kind of watered-
down faith. In fact, the fastest-growing communities today adhere to clear standards of right
Objective values common to all faiths include: honesty, kindness, consideration, compassion,
obedience, responsibility, respect and duty. Contemplate your answers to the list that follows.
What do you believe in?
What are your priorities?
What is the most important thing in life?
What do you cherish most in others?
What don‘t you believe in?
What are the restraining arms of your moral code?
Are you apt to violate these tenets of faith?
What are your spiritual goals?
Do you have spiritual leadership you respect?
Do you pray? Meditate?
Do you gather with a community of faith?
Do you have an accountability partner in faith?
Are you involved in spiritual activities outside of worship?
Are you in need of further personal development?
After thinking through the guiding questions, create a list of your personal values. From this
list, develop your personal doctrine of faith/belief. Take your time as this will be your map for
the way forward.
Personal Values Chart
Rank by priority what you value most as you create this list.
My Doctrine of Faith
(Write your own beliefs here.)
Application of Values
Applying the list you developed is easy. For example, say you ranked family as your highest
priority and money as your second. If you were asked to take a job earning even a hundred
times more than your current salary, but caused you to travel every week, you know the answer
you need to give your boss – ―No.‖ It stems from what you ranked as your highest value,
family. Especially if your spouse had seen your values chart! So a values chart becomes a
Post this guide to the decisions of life in a prominent place within view, for example, next to
your phone. It will serve as a constant reminder and reinforcement to you and others to respect
your personal code of ethics. This cuts down on wasted time and suffering. You do not say
―Yes‖ because you feel obligated, you say ―Yes‖ because requests are in line with your goals.
Your answer will then be according to what you established as rules for yourself.
Living what you believe comes easier than you think. It is sometimes a series of seemingly
small decisions that align your behavior with your core values. For instance, my Uncle Jake
wanted to make changes in his own life, one step at a time, and decided to stop lying. He had
found himself telling small lies, fibs or rounding off the truth. Uncle Jake‘s new resolve was
tested on the family‘s next trip to the movie theater. He approached the window and when
asked how many, he took a deep breath and told the attendant ages of his three children. After
Uncle Jake was given the price for each child, he swallowed the sticker-shock, smiled and
paid. Although the truth had cost him a few extra dollars, Uncle Jake felt at peace. Since he
did not fudge the truth about Suzie‘s age to score a child‘s ticket, he could sit and really enjoy
the movie without the typical guilt that accompanies these outings.
Critical Area Two -- Emotional Stability
As you noticed from your Optimal Analysis, the low points in life significantly impact
behavior and personal success. Traumatic events certainly impede normal life, but even a
consistent struggle wears us out over time. Emotional issues must be resolved or at least be on
track to a compromised resolution in order to work on other aspects in life. Destructive
feelings are not confined to their point of origin, but bleed into every aspect of our lives and
The critical emotional stumbling blocks that are popular to wrestle with are the 3 A‘s:
addiction, abuse and adultery. There are many kinds of addictions: gambling, drugs and
alcohol to name a few. Abuse can be characterized by either being abused or an abuser.
Physical and emotional abuse, whether active or passive, unresolved childhood issues, past or
present, block our emotional health. Serial adultery undermines time and money from families
and well intended businesses. Addiction to porn can escalate the same way. Are you
emotionally ill? Are there any blocks now? Are there any areas in your life that are out of
Questions help us to discover ourselves. This survey should make you think for a minute…
Who do you turn to for emotional support, and why? What solace does that person offer? Do
you need them often to weather life‘s storms? Can you vent your frustrations? Do they suggest
areas you need to work on? Are you able, through cost and attention, to commit to changing
these areas of struggle?
Home Sweet Home
Sometimes, life is full of the easy questions like these physical considerations: Do you like to
come home? Is your current location your ideal living situation? Do you long for a house in the
hills, a cozy bedroom community, an urban townhouse, or something completely different?
Can you create the ideal place by improving on your present situation? Or what does your
dream location cost?
Location can sometimes allow trade-offs that really make our life sing. A job without a
commute offers the chance to coach your son‘s baseball team. Or a suburban home might give
your daughter the opportunity to ride her bicycle to school. Life is full of compromises, but
those compromises should fall as closely in line as possible with your values and priorities.
The hard questions of life can make us stop in discomfort or even itch a little, but the end result
is making changes that are good for us. Get a cup of coffee and mull over this batch of Oreos –
questions with hard outsides that reveal our softest vulnerabilities. How do you feel at the end
of each day? Do you see yourself as a success? What is the central driving force in your life?
According to your values chart, where are you stuck and will overcoming those obstacles
improve your outlook? When you are sitting in a rocking chair at eighty years old and
reflecting on your life, will you be content with your life as it stands now?
What are the best and worst times of your life? On pages 10-11, you wrote down the ten most
traumatic events that occurred in your life. Now write down the ten happiest moments of your
life. In no circumstance should these lists have any duplication. And reflect on how these
moments have impacted your life in the past. How are these life events impacting your life
now? How will these events shape your future? Are these events limiting your potential?
How? Is there anything you can do to overcome these shortcomings?
Best times of your life
Central Driving Force
Steven Jobs is the CEO of Apple and was the CEO of Pixar until Disney acquired the
company. With his positions at Apple and as the largest shareholder on Disney‘s Board of
Directors, he commands the computing and entertainment industries. His path, however,
contained a few potholes.
Despite his success with co-founder, Steve Wozniak, in developing the phenomenon of
personal computing with such innovations at the mouse-driven user-interface in the 70-s and
80‘s, Jobs was ousted from power in a boardroom coup. In response, he created NeXT in 1986.
NeXT specialized in computer platform development for higher education and business
markets, catalyzing three breakthrough areas: the World Wide Web, the computer game Doom
– pioneering networked multiplayer gaming – and the renaissance of the Apple computer with
its expandable foundation as an operating system.
Apple bought NeXt in 1996 for $402 million, thereby bringing Jobs back to the fold. His
reputation as an aggressive and demanding personality returned Apple‘s flagging performance
to profitability. Jobs cut programs and increased sales through products like the iMac, and
later, the iPod. His keynote speeches – dubbed ―Stevenotes‖ – are both celebrated and
criticized as the formula for his persuasive style of salesmanship. Jobs has routinely landed on
his feet throughout his career through his tenacity and incorporation of what he knows best
within a foreseeable future.
In vice, there is also virtue. Every dark cloud holds a silver lining, but you may get wet
searching for it. That damp, risky walk is the path to new opportunities. We need to play the
hand life dealt us, championing our celebrations and growing from pain. As you review your
lists of Best and Worst Times, what force has driven you forward through them all? Putting all
this desire and contemplation into a cohesive form will divine your primary aim. Write as
much as you need. In doing so, you will find the stability that delivers peace of mind.
Critical Area Three – Physical Health
Media headlines confirm that many of us are fat. It is a serious issue and obese employees are a
financial burden on their organizations and impact the cost of health care for everyone. Eight
years of data on 11,728 people working for Duke University and its health system disclose the
results of this unhealthy trend. They found that the fattest worker had 13 times more lost work
days due to work-related injuries, and their medical claims for those injuries were seven times
higher than their fit co-workers.
Nothing is more sorely missed when you are sick or injured than your healthy, dependable
body. Daily exercise and a nutritional diet are fundamental to maintaining that skin we have
been comfortable in for so long. The benefits of exercise are both physical and mental. The
most successful business people have noted that physical fitness is critical to their success.
Exercise increases energy and blood flow to the brain, enabling you to think clearly. Surely if
US Presidents and CEOs can find time in their busy schedules for regular exercise, we can too!
Exercise comes in all forms and can range from daily walks to high-impact aerobics. Start
small, and you‘ll feel the big physical benefits of restorative sleep, healthy appetite and stress
reduction right away. Plan a personal exercise routine that fits your work schedule and lifestyle
and set diet guidelines that fit your needs.
As you explore a combination of playing and eating for health, ask yourself the following
questions: What you are currently doing to keep your body healthy? What are the personal
benefits of a healthier lifestyle to my current condition? Do I have any medical or dietary
needs? Am I a group exerciser or self-directed? How can I carve time out of my day to devote
to improving my health?
It might be easier than you think. Get a buddy. The odds of ditching your walking partner for a
bowl of ice cream are not as great. Join a club. Some people cannot bear to waste their money,
so they benefit by reducing their waist by showing up at the gym. Check out the many
resources available on the Internet. Play with your kids. Our obesity problem has reached
epidemic levels for children too. Spending time engaged in physical fitness as a family will
help your kids establish lifelong good habits. You will be surprised with how much fun it is,
and you might even trim your insurance costs. Besides, there is nothing like pulling on a new
pair of blue jeans over your improved shape.
Doctors write prescriptions to improve health every day. Write your own.
My Exercise Routine
My Dietary Guidelines
Other Healthy Ideas
Critical Area Four -- Intellectual Growth
There are times in our lives when we feel on top of the world, but how do we stay there?
Brains got you there, and believe it or not, no matter what your age, the state of your mind can
keep you there. Keeping our minds sharp requires education. And it does not stop at
graduation. Maintaining a competitive edge means alert, continuous improvement.
Where mental acuity is concerned, the brain is the ultimate ‗use it or lose it‘ measure for aging.
A study concluded in 2007 by Penn State University and underwritten by the National Institute
on Aging involved nearly 3000 men and women with an average age of 73 willing to exercise
their grey matter. Participants in the study were assigned to random six-week training sessions
in speed processing, reasoning or memory. The results were astounding. In reviewing all three
groups, nearly 90 percent of the participants who practiced processing skills, 74 percent who
practiced reasoning skills and 26 percent who practiced memory skills demonstrated immediate
improvement. Five years on, follow-up exams checked the duration of the mental gymnastics,
and all showed continued heightened function. The group that received reasoning training –
scheduling, puzzles – showed the least decline in cognitive function. The bottom line is to do
that crossword puzzle, learn a language or read up on the latest trends in your field. Your brain
will thank you by helping you remember where you put those car keys.
Write brief answers to the following questions that lead to a plan for improvement.
How are you improving yourself?
How many books do you read a month?
Is there recommended reading for your business field?
How many classes or seminars do you attend a year?
Is there additional training within your field of expertise?
Is there a colleague who could also benefit from taking a class with you?
Do you read the newspaper?
Do you keep a journal?
Are you able to hold up your end of a lively discussion at dinner with friends in areas besides
work or your hobby?
Are you only interested in conversation that is centered around you?
Is there a sage friend in your midst who could offer support and ideas for stimulating growth?
What could you prune from your life that would make room for growing a sharper mind?
Now, develop a personal intellectual growth statement.
Critical Area Five -- Family
The next three Critical Areas center on internal and external relationships. Many of us might
think of our inner and outer circle. Internal relationships refer to the people living under your
roof: children, you, your partner and for some, extended family. External relationships are
your neighbors, your golf buddy, your boss and the members of the committee you chair.
No Place Like Home
Your inner circle is your immediate family whether you are related by blood, marriage or
happy circumstance. They are the greatest influence on why you work, and why you come
home. They are the source of life in your world. Take a moment to ponder the immensity of
family. Is yours a happy, safe home you enjoy? Do you delight in your children? Do you look
forward to seeing your own parents?
The dinner table is the center of activity for many families. Like the smell of food and the
Earth‘s gravitational pull combined, it draws them into a familiar circle of home. It was the
highlight of my childhood. After dinner, my family would talk about everything under the sun,
and more importantly, everything that mattered to us. Nothing has changed now that I am an
adult. Anytime family gets together, we wear out the chairs around the table talking.
My wife, Martha loves going home to visit her parents over the holidays. Holidays have
always been especially joyous for her as extended clan gathered to celebrate- her mother alone
has eighteen brothers and sisters. Growing up, her whole family (would go for a daily walk or
run to start their day. Though it was only two miles, it was a time to connect before each went
off to school or work. If someone was struggling with a problem or had a big challenge for the
day, the family would work together to solve it on the run. Over the years, they continue this
tradition, and this special time is still a way for them to connect and bond, and fill Martha‘s
heart with joy and connection.
My Family Time and Improvement Goals
Where does your family gather regularly to catch up on each other‘s lives?
Do you eat dinner together? Without the TV on?
How often do you see your parents, family, and children?
Do you have enough time to feel connected with them?
Where do you meet up most often with those you love?
Do you wish you could spend more time with family?
What benefit do you and your family receive from these family centers?
Are you neglecting family activities?
What one change could you make to create more family time?
What are you going to teach your children?
Is education important to you?
Does faith play a role in your family life?
Are sports and extracurricular activities a constructive part of your life?
Do you really know your children‘s friends?
What things do you want to provide your children?
Have you told your children stories of the high and the low points in your life?
What boundaries exist in your family?
How do your parents figure in your life now and for the future?
Take some time to think these issues through. This is the stuff of your life and the lives for
which you are responsible. Then, write about the parts of your life that make you smile.
Include the important and non-negotiable facets plus what you know you need to work on.
Change is scary and uncomfortable, but new habits take only thirty days to become a routine.
Things I need to give my children
Our children are the world‘s most valuable resource. We are wholly responsible for providing
and nurturing them. You see their wants on a Christmas list, but what do you see as their
Teaching Children the Important Things in Life
My seventh grade teacher was Jackie Johnson. She was a teacher in the grandest sense of the
word. She compiled a list of all the things that she wanted to communicate to her students
about life. These were things that went beyond our textbook and were often more important.
What I learned from her was the desire, thrill and challenge of learning itself. I lost the list she
made for us so long ago, but not the idea or the lessons learned. I have since created my own
list of life‘s lessons and adventures. I intend to pass on these captured tidbits to my own
children – my inheritance of life experience. This is heirloom knowledge. What do you hope to
pass down to your future generations?
Teaching from Bad Experiences
As adults, we are keen to tell our children stories of our past victories – catching the winning
pass in a football game, or winning the lead in a school play. They have heard it a hundred
times from you and Grandpa, and they roll their eyes as yours go misty remembering the
treasured memories. But do you continue that story of how you let your grades slip, and about
the coach who benched you for two games? Or how after winning the lead, you were so
paralyzed with fear on opening night that you vomited on the drama teacher? It is more likely
that you emerged as the solid person you are today from making grades rather than from
making that miracle catch. And your ability to withstand disappointment might stem from
disappointments that taught you to use your desire to fuel determination. You have lived. You
are the most honest example of character in motion your children will ever have.
It is time to take emotional inventory of all the high and low events at work in your life. Go
back to Optimal Activity Analysis on pages 11-12 and to Critical Area Two, Emotional
Stability and review those low points. Yes, they represent the worst times of your life, but they
also contributed to who you are today. To the side of that list, jot down the experience gained
from those tragedies. As you examine what you have written, consider the questions below.
Remember, it is a wise father who says to his youngsters, ―There are not enough days in a
lifetime to make all the mistakes, so learn from mine.‖
Will you tell your children about those difficult moments as they come of age?
Are some stories more suitable for that certain son or daughter?
How can your children learn from your mistakes?
How can these humbling events inspire your child?
What I Learned From Traumatic Events
Benefits/Detriments of Telling These Things to Your Children/Others
Boundaries for the Entire Family
Boundaries are like the fences around our home. They keep the toddler in the yard and the
neighbor‘s scary dog out. They promote respect, safety and wholeness. That is how family
boundaries should work as well.
Many of us have personally experienced divorce through our own living or through people we
love. It was hard when friends Maggie and Roger divorced because they still had two children
to parent. None of that changed how they raised their children, only how they would manage
Joey at 15 felt he needed a man‘s influence, but life in a totally male household lacked things
he had happily taken for granted before. Even getting a meal at a regular time seemed to be
beyond his dad‘s new free-wheeling schedule.
After a few months, Joey had had enough. Both parents agreed to a change of residence, and
Joey arrived needing a hot meal and a shot to his pride. First thing, Maggie sat him down at the
dinner table and told him her rules, curfew among them. Joey shoveled his food and nodded his
head up and down to all his mother had to say.
On the first Friday night at his mother‘s, Joey barged into a locked front door. Yeah, he was
late, but well, he was with the guys and things were kinda‘ open-ended. At least that is what he
told his mother from the doorstep, through the closed door.
Maggie let him in and dragged him to the couch for a talk despite Joey‘s efforts to push it off
until morning. ―We have boundaries in this house,‖ she told him. ―We promote respect in our
home. I am responsible for your sister and also for you. The rule is that you‘re off the streets at
a certain hour and safely in our home. That‘s what we agreed to. It allows all of us to sleep at
night and to depend on each other. Look, I need to be tough, if you‘re late again without
calling, you‘re going to have to move back in with your father.‖ Maggie hated the thought, but
she knew what was best for her son.
Joey was sharp and remembered the crazy meal schedule and more. He also realized he was
just doing as he pleased, not holding up his end of the bargain. It was then he recognized a bit
of his dad in him, and it scared him.
―Mom, you can count on me,‖ he said and she knew she could.
Boundaries like the fence around the yard provide us with a measure of safety and comfort. It
enables us to protect the things that are important while keeping out unwanted trespassers.
Boundaries may be in the form of rules, laws, guidelines or just an internal measuring stick.
Crossing boundary lines comes with a consequence whether real or imagined.
Boundaries in your family are designed to not only protect your children but to teach them the
responsibility that will be required of them in the world at large. While we are the enforcer of
our own personal boundaries, as parents we must also establish and enforce boundaries for our
The next exercise is a chance to discuss and set boundaries for familial relationships. Think in
terms of your character and your background. Describe what you ―Must be‖ – promises of
goodness to those you love – and those things you ―Must Not be‖ – tendencies to ill behavior.
This is your personal non-negotiable list. They make you the best person possible. Then,
complete the ―Should‖ and ―Should Nots‖ categories which encourage growth in the
relationships you have. If other family members join you in these exercises, compare your
answers when finished. This creates accountability for all members living in an honorable,
Now create your daily rules to live by:
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Must Nots Should Nots
Everyone has parents. And they will always be your parents. Most of us were raised by our
natural parents, others by their adoptive parents or guardians. And because of their age,
experiences and relationship with you, they will always have more life experience than you. If
your parents are still available and amicable, take advantage of this relationship. This is a peek
into the window of your own possible parenting. It represents an opportunity to honor the
people who gave you life and benefit from their experiences. Who are those people who made
you go to school and make your bed? What are your expectations of your parents? What do
you want to do for your parents? How can your parents continue to support you? How can
you support your parents? How can you help each other with children and develop a proud
heritage for all your family‘s generations? What can you learn from each other?
Things that are important to me and my parents:
Critical Area Six -- Friends
Gary and Joe had been friends for twenty years. They met when both joined the university‘s
tennis team. Both were freshman and bonded as the two newest team members. They shared a
love of rock music, tennis and juicy hamburgers grilled to perfection. In their junior year,
Gary‘s brother committed suicide and Joe had been there to help him through it. Gary found
himself opening up to Joe in a way he could not do with his own family. Their late night talks
that often ended in a midnight run or game of hoops helped Gary to process his brother‘s death
and begin to heal.
Friends are the glue in the random chain of acquaintances, colleagues and neighbors that form
our life. They hold us together through college, stand up for us on our wedding day and sit
beside us at a funeral consoling our loss. They are the people that can sometimes feel closer
than family because we chose them. We could not imagine our lives without them but we
know it would be lonelier and much less fun. Healthy people crave friendship.
John Donne famously wrote; ―No man is an island, entire of itself.‖ Human beings do not exist
in a vacuum, we need other people. Friends, family and love relationships fulfill a different
part of the human experience. While each relationship fulfills a different need, together they
enable us to live healthy, whole, balanced lives.
Some people have a wide circle of friends, while others may only count one or two as true
friends. The number of friends does not matter as much as the quality of the relationships and
what they bring to your life. We may bond over common interests or by virtue of location,
such as the workplace, a social committee or your children‘s school. Sometimes these
friendships are long lasting and at other times they may be seasonal. For example, you may
have colleagues with whom you‘re friendly but you may not keep in close touch after a job
change. These seasonal or situational friendships allow you to support one another through a
shared period of time.
Understanding the various friendships in your life can help you identify what you need and
want from those relationships. It can also help you determine if certain friendships are adverse
and need to be severed or at the least curtailed.
Do you have friends?
Do you make friends easily?
Where do you look for friends?
Are you participating in any activities where you can make friends that share your interests?
Are you devoting time to cultivating friendships? If not, why not?
Are you satisfied with the amount and/or quality of your friendships?
What do you want and need from friends?
Do you get together with friends on a regular basis?
Where do you go and what do you do?
Do you talk only about sports or gossip when you are together or do you engage in deeper
Do certain friends fulfill specific needs in your life?
Do any friends make you feel good or bad when you are together?
Are there friends you need to purge from your circle?
Do you need friends that can help you change or grow in a new direction?
Do you need a confidant?
What would your friends do for you and you for them?
My plan for developing and enriching my friendships
Critical Area Seven – Love Relationships
This section deals with the romantic relationships in your life. Whether you are seeking a
relationship or are lucky enough to already be in a committed relationship, there is no denying
the power of love. Statistics even prove that men in long term relationships live longer.
Researchers are still trying to figure out what women want. Another recent study suggested
one of the two most important things you can do to live a happier and longer life was to get
married. The other was to participate in a religion.
Not making time for love is a mistake that many business people make. Human beings like
others in the animal kingdom thrive with companionship. Neglecting one part of your life
causes imbalance and can hinder your success. In this area as others, your choices should
reflect and align with what‘s important to you.
Some think love is only for romantics, but what about Einstein? Unarguably, the imaginative
thinker set the groundwork for all technological advances in the 20 th Century, but even he fell
in love. A new biography Einstein: His Life and Universe by acclaimed author Walter Isaacson
draws on a wealth of personal correspondence, including 130 private letters that explore his
history, relationships and success.
One of my students, Veronica, graduated at the top of her class in college. She secured an
entry level job in Marketing after graduation. Veronica worked hard, volunteered for special
projects and gained the respect of her colleagues and senior management. Although her career
was seemingly on track, Veronica had not invested time in her love life.
Veronica was lonely and she filled the void with work. So, it was at this time in her life, when
a friend from college invited her to a birthday party. Veronica went and met Ron a mutual
friend of the host. Veronica and Ron spent the night talking and soon began dating. Ron
encouraged Veronica to find more balance in her life.
Veronica began working a more normal work schedule which left time to socialize with Ron
and friends. She found that Ron‘s support gave her more confidence at work. Veronica‘s boss
noticed the changes. Not only did she seem happier and more confident but the quality of her
work had improved because she was able to draw on a wider range of influences. Veronica
was promoted to Manager of the Western Division three weeks before Ron proposed and she
accepted. Love really can help your career!
Love fulfills another element of the human need. Although finding love cannot guarantee a
promotion it can contribute to your overall well being. Love adds to the harmonious balance in
our life. When we are in balance we are better able to function at our optimal level. This
would explain why even the medical community advises laughter, love and physical intimacy
as a prescription for good health and longevity.
What about your love life? Let these questions help you describe the attributes of a committed
For single people between relationships and/or seeking a relationship
What type of person are you looking for?
What is your goal in a relationship?
What type of physical characteristics causes your heart to stir?
What are your romantic dreams and ideas?
What socio-economic status would this person have?
Do you know where to search the person you hope to find?
What friends and acquaintances can help you find this person?
From where have your best relationships emerged?
Is finding long term companionship a priority?
Or have you given up on finding a good person with which to share your life?
What kind of values are you seeking in your significant other?
Have you put aside your values just for the sake of company?
The beginning of a great marriage does not start at the altar but before the first date! Clearly
defining what‘s important to you in a relationship and a mate will help you to set boundaries in
your dating life. Of course there will be compromises in a relationship, but they should not be
about the values that define you. Compromising on what color to paint the walls is fine, but
compromising on whether or not to have children will more than likely lead to a great deal of
List twelve attributes of the person you would marry. Try to keep them realistic, so they are
attainable. Have fun and think of this as the desirable qualities qualifying round for the perfect
contestant in the race for your affection.
Singles – Write a Personal Newspaper Ad for Your Dream Relationship
If you wrote a newspaper ad to find your next relationship – and maybe you have – how would
it read? Be honest, but dream. That is where reality begins.
Till Death Do Us Part – Marriage at Its Best
Finding love is not simply a matter of personal chemistry or shared interests, but ensuring that
your mate shares your core values. Failed relationships can often be traced to a difference in
life values, objectives or goals. Many have described ignoring red flags early in the
relationship and pressing forward to try to make it work. While there are no guarantees,
understanding what you truly want and need can go a long way to entering into a healthy and
balanced relationship that will go the distance.
Some people want love and a partner so much, they determine to have it, instead of aspiring to
it. That sets them up to believe in something that is not real. Psychologist Robin L. Smith
debunks the myths surrounding prospective and even long-married couples in her best-selling
book, Lies at the Altar: The Truth About Great Marriages. The book asks couples 276
questions that help them sort through their marriage expectations or help married couples chart
a new path. The four biggest myths Smith says people tell themselves – and others – about
1 The past is over. Truth – You have packed the past in your honeymoon luggage and it
is coming with you unless you have dealt with it and learned from it.
2 It is important to be right. Truth – Being in a relationship is more important with a
respect for differences. Leave your ego at the door.
3 Marriage magically changes people for the better. Truth – That fantasy can sabotage the
ability to create a vibrant, healthy union by focusing on what people are not rather than
who they are.
4 Anything is better than being alone. Truth – Being whole is your destiny, so alone and
free cannot compare to together and controlled. Marriage is the place to show up when
you are grown up.
There is a lot of illusion about marrying and what married life should look and feel like. First
and foremost, a love relationship demands work just like every other area of our life, but unlike
any single area, it can affect the whole in ways we cannot imagine. Love gone sour can spill
over to the office, eroding confidence or manifest itself as depression creating havoc with
physical health and more. Love nurtured, however, can sustain us through any hardship.
It is not about romance but about the power of loving and cherishing another individual.
Romance is for honeymooners, the occasional Saturday night and a Valentine extravaganza. It
cannot be sustained, only whipped up. Cherishing, on the other hand, is done in the face of
adversity, the unexpected and the painful as well as every good day including anniversaries,
Saturday nights and an over-the-top holiday. Evidence of cherishing was Nancy Reagan in
2004, experiencing a simple, recognizable gaze from her husband whose side she had not left
for the last ten years as he deteriorated with Alzheimer‘s disease. Their 52-year loving
marriage was no secret to the world and serves as an inspiration to all of what a good marriage
really looks like. Till death do us part is the best outcome.
For those in married/committed relationships
Answer the following questions:
Are you satisfied with the quality of your relationship?
Do you have shared values?
Is there one element that constantly causes discord?
Are you still discovering things about your spouse or significant other? If not, how can you
rekindle your interest?
What are your personal obligations to your significant other?
What are your expectations from the relationship? Your mate?
Are you spending quality time with your mate?
Are you devoting time to the friendship and romantic elements of your relationship? Are you
both satisfied with the balance?
If married, are you and your spouse spending regular time together without the kids?
What are your ideas for keeping the relationship fresh?
―The state of being united…in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law,‖ is
the first definition of marriage according to Merriam-Webster. The third definition gets a lot
closer to the heart of the matter as, ―an intimate or close union.‖ Two assistant professors of
economics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania have reported the results of
such unions in their paper ―Marriage and Divorce: Changes and Their Driving Forces.‖ Based
on a series of studies, their evidence suggests that married people – especially men – are better
off than those who are unmarried. Although marriage is at the lowest rate in recorded history,
Americans over 65 are more likely to be married than ever before. While the older generation
holds fast to marriage, many younger adults are simply living together. The one satisfies
Merriam-Webster‘s third definition without the legal binding of the dictionary‘s first, yet
people on both sides of the spectrum are still choosing intimate, long-term relationships. The
best news is that men and women today are more likely to pair off according to similar
backgrounds in education and interest, meaning modern marriage is more fun than ever.
Lord Byron wrote, "All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin." We
aspire to sharing our joys and halving our sorrows as we walk hand in hand through this world.
Make your promises new again in these charts.
Personal Obligations to My Spouse
Romantic Dreams of Marriage
Whether you have been married for fifty years – and maybe because you have – or are still
looking for your soul mate, romance is the stuff of dreams. But it needs to be a part of your
reality (as long as you are consenting adults and no one is getting hurt.) All you need is some
privacy and a good imagination. Use both of those now and fantasize on a few healthy
romantic notions. And make a plan to act on them.
Your Romantic Ideas
Critical Area Eight -- Career
My Perfect Work Day
Some part of having the perfect day is creating opportunities to have fun while you work.
Think of all those executive gifts – trash basketball, chore dice, kinetic ball bearing swings. In
one survey, 96 percent of executives said they believed that people with a sense of humor
worked better, so conspire ways to socialize and build camaraderie. Southwest Airlines agents
hold joke-a-thons at delayed boarding gates. Recreation spaces offer stress reduction. Replace
your ho-hum desk accessories with avant-garde or whimsical items. Hold a contest like
matching baby photos to employees to get people talking. We have to work, but we do not
have to grow moldy while doing it.
Now that I have engaged your playful imagination, think of the work aspect of your day. What
are you doing for a living? Are you the boss or an integral cog in the wheel? Do you travel?
Run wild and visualize your perfect day on the job.
Now with a clear vision of your perfect work day you can begin to take steps to turn that dream
into a reality. A surprising number of people go to work everyday without a career plan. They
are happy to be employed and believe that if they show up and do a good job for the most part
things will remain the same. Some may have dreams of the life they‘d like in ten years but do
not have a definitive plan to get there.
Whether you are a factory worker in Detroit or own a franchise restaurant, career planning is
one of the most important aspects of your business life. If you want any hope of fulfilling your
dream of that perfect work day, you want to plan for your career. Having a clear cut plan turns
your dreams into actionable goals.
Your working life includes location, commitments, education, associations and more in
addition to how it fits into the other parts of your life. Wade through the stream of career
considerations below before we inventory your skills and create a plan.
Okay, we are eighty years old again, sitting in that rocking chair, what do you want to
remember as having been your working life or what amounts to the bulk of your coherent
Are the decisions that you are making accomplishing that end?
What skills do you have?
What do you consider to be your career strengths and weaknesses?
What are your past successes?
Do you have career goals? Are they short term or long term?
What do you have in your business toolbox that can build that career success?
How do you relate with your current boss? Associates?
Who can you add to your network that will help you achieve your goals?
Do you have any specialization? How can you improve your performance and productivity at
Do you have conversation starters ready to promote who you are and outline your direction?
How about scripts for work situations: opening, closing, handling resistance and overcoming
Do you keep a work journal? This tracking method can protect you from adverse situations and
plot performance for evaluations.
Are your necessary business documents and financial records up to date?
Do you have an active, up to date list of contacts in your industry?
Perhaps some inspiration would help as this self-examination continues. Remember the vital,
idealistic person you were before real living jaded your outlook. The world was your oyster
then. Well, nothing has changed except your attitude. People often forget how to dream big.
Some call that maturity. Who wants to be that mature? People need reassurance to follow their
A recent book The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers by J. M. Citrin and R. A. Smith is the
result of surveying 8000 professionals. The team sent out their survey in hopes of getting
enough respondents to compile their data and draw distinctions as to what separates the top
from the rest of the pack. A twenty-five percent return rate with cover letters and emails on
their topic proves working success is a hot button.
So, why is it that some soar – and others equally talented – stagnate? The answer and power is
within you as outlined in this excerpt.
1. Understand the value of you. People with extraordinary careers understand how
value is created in the workplace, and they translate that knowledge into action,
building their personal value over each phase of their careers.
2. Practice benevolent leadership. People with extraordinary careers do not claw
their way to the top; they are carried there.
3. Overcome the permission paradox. People with extraordinary careers overcome
one of the great Catch-22’s of business: You can't get the job without experience,
and you can't get the experience without the job.
4. Differentiate using the 20/80 principle of performance. People with
extraordinary careers do their defined jobs exceptionally well but don't stop there.
They storm past predetermined objectives to create breakthrough ideas and deliver
5. Find the right fit (strengths, passions, and people). People with extraordinary
careers make decisions with the long term in mind. They willfully migrate toward
positions that fit their natural strengths and passions and where they can work
with people they like and respect.
This is the aim of Scoring Success. Some people possess an innate sense directing their steps,
but all of us are teachable. Your introspection is a sign you welcome change. Go ahead and tell
the world what you have done right to get to this place in time.
How do you define success? Is it a title, certain hours, certain job responsibilities or a certain
salary? What are your successes?
Tell me a little about yourself
The most important question in any career analysis is ―Tell me about yourself.‖ How you
answer that invitation to promote yourself sets the whole tone and credibility for any interview,
networking opportunity or sales presentation whether you are employed, self-employed or
unemployed. When you get the chance to speak, this is the chance to guide your flight path.
Speak about where you are going within your company, your field and your future. Sell
yourself and you can sell anything.
When was the last time you updated your resume?
Do you keep a tape of frequently asked interview questions and best answers so that you can
rehearse before an interview?
Do you have post interview tools like ―Thank you‖ letters to follow up with after an interview
to increases your chances of success?
When is the last time someone asked you what you do for a living?
How did you answer?
Did you give them a contrite answer or something more provocative?
How do you promote yourself?
How can you make yourself stand out above the crowd?
So, go ahead, tell me about the best of who you see yourself to be…
This is an overreaching brainstorm of what you have done in your working life. All work is
valid, and every job teaches skills. List your responsibilities and what it took to get the job
done well in order to think ahead to you who want to be in that dream job. Think of problems
you encountered and how you solved them. Your actions will highlight not only your
approach but critical skills that are valuable in the job market.
I knew David when he had already been working as a marketing analyst in a small firm for six
years. He liked marketing but was unhappy in his particular role and work environment. In
fact, his weekend downtime was often interrupted by his anxious thoughts about the work
week ahead. David wanted to make a change but was afraid that he did not have the skills to
do so. David finally consulted a career counselor. She had him make a list of all of his jobs
and the skills that he used to fulfill his duties. After seeing the list, David was able to highlight
a list of transferable skills that would help him to transition into a different marketing role.
With newfound confidence, he put together his resume and began searching for a new job.
Three months later David had landed his dream job. He is so happy now that he hates leaving
work on Friday evenings!
The first step before change is to first assess where you are today. Assessing your career gives
you an opportunity to identify your strengths, weaknesses, areas of passion, and areas of
dislike. You may find that you love your job but are unhappy with the hours, or perhaps you‘ll
find that you like the work environment but are not happy with your role. A career assessment
will help you to identify where you need to make changes in order to be fulfilled. That change
may or may not be a different company or role.
What do you like most about your job today?
What do you like least?
Do you want more or less responsibility?
Are you working in your area of strength and passion?
What problems have you solved in your current position?
Does this job offer you the opportunity to continue to grow and be challenged?
Are there other roles in the company to which you aspire?
Now, let‘s go back to the beginning of this chapter where I had you visualize your perfect day.
That perfect day is your dream job. How do we take that first page and merge it with this one?
It is a matter of taking stock, setting goals and planning the benchmarks to achieve it. A
journey begins with one step and it cannot proceed to the finish without every one in between.
So, what skills do you have and what others would help you land that dream job?
How will you acquire these skills?
Is there someone who can offer guidance?
What is the most productive path to your dreams?
How will you promote yourself to achieve your goal?
With your visualization of the perfect day, your list of current and desired skills, the confidence
of your successes before you and the support of friends and family, plan your career path.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Critical Area Nine – Finances
Wealth gotten very quickly dwindles away, but amassed little by little, it grows. -- Proverbs
The Ten Percent Solution
Saving money is key to financial success. It is worthwhile to begin teaching children the value
of saving so that it becomes a life long habit. Saving requires hard work and sacrifice and a
paradigm shift from instant gratification to delayed gratification. Even the wealthiest
individuals still save. They have learned the value of insuring against the future through
Live well below your means. Saving ten percent of all of your earnings is a good starting point
but it does not have to be all that you save! When you develop the discipline of putting away
ten cents for every dollar earned, you will see how quickly your savings can grow. The ten
percent you save will not be missed because often we spend much more than that without
realizing it. It is easy to make small purchases without much thought, but those small,
impulsive, unnecessary purchases add up very quickly. Consider the following advice I gave
to Barbara, a casual acquaintance who was looking to quickly change her bottom line.
Barbara stopped at the drive through for coffee on her way to work. While ordering, she
decided to purchase a bakery item to eat on the drive. She spent $6.50 before she got to work.
She arrived at work and stopped in at the building‘s convenience store to grab bottled water,
and paid $2.25 for a large bottle. At lunch, she by-passed the cafeteria and went out with her
colleagues. She spent $12.00 at lunch. At the end of the day, too tired to cook, she stopped for
Chinese Food for the family which cost her, $22.50. Barbara, because she did not plan her
expenses, spent $43.25 on unnecessary purchases in one day. We calculated that she was
spending $216.25 each work week based on her typical day- with nothing to show for it at the
end of the week. With planning and budgeting, Barbara could cut her expenses and save
$100.00 every week, $5200.00 per year- and still feed herself. That night she drew up a
budget, and now she makes $5000 more per year.
The Neighbors Don’t Know Everything
When the car broke down and it took a chunk out of their savings, a young wife said to her
husband, ―We‘ll never get ahead.‖ Without worry, he answered, ―Be glad we save and can pay
the bill.‖ She countered with her frustrations of camping vacations they really enjoyed but did
not compare to the neighbor‘s Hawaiian trip. Then, she moaned of the expense of just putting
jeans and tennis shoes on their four children, and she could not imagine how people on their
street put boats in their driveway. The husband smiled and said, ―We are saving for retirement
and the unexpected, budgeting for everyone that sleeps under this roof and contributing to
charity. Our money is in the bank. Most of what they have is cluttering their house and their
driveway. We‘ll be just fine in the end.‖ Twenty years later, trust funds paid four college bills,
$1.5 million gathers interest in a retirement account, and their travel now allows for hotels and
planes. He knew what he was doing, and she had long ago stopped caring what the neighbors
thought of them. In fact the neighbors were wondering how this simple couple had managed to
outpace them in the end.
These questions should make you think…
How do you save money?
Do you have a ten-percent solution or established method of setting cash aside?
When is the last time you analyzed your monthly expenses?
Were you happy with where the money goes?
Is there obvious room for improvement?
What are your financial goals and needs?
Do you have savings set aside for emergencies?
How are you planning for the major expenses in your life?
Keeping a Clean Record
Keeping finances in a healthy state is as important as the way you treat your body. They will
determine your options for the long haul. Pay bills on time. Keep the number of credit
cards and their balances low. These contribute to a clean credit report. To stay safe, consider
checking your credit report periodically to identify any discrepancies or possible identity theft.
These snags hamper your financial reputation. Credit reports function as another window into
our ability to handle and manage money responsibly. Most companies make a habit of
checking credit reports for job applicants, so poor credit says you are not a good risk to manage
their resources either. Make the numbers work for you.
Monthly Expense Analysis (Example)
Take a close look at this sample budget which is common in most households who never get
Household Cash Flow
Yearly Summary 2006 2005 2004 2003
Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly
Opening Cash on Hand 5847 % 6416 % 5500 % 5000 %
Wage/Salary 1 6500 6000 5500 5000
Wage/Salary 2 500 500 300 300
Interest & Dividends 0 0 0 0
Retirement/Other Income 0 0 0 0
Total Income 7000 100.00% 6500 100.00% 5800 100.00% 5300 100.00%
Mortgage/Rent 2500 35.71% 2500 38.46% 1000 17.24% 1000 18.87%
(Retirement) Savings 0 0.00% 100 1.54% 100 1.72% 0 0.00%
Taxes 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00%
Alimony 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00%
Home Improvement & Maint. 150 2.14% 100 1.54% 100 1.72% 150 2.83%
Home & Auto Insurance 200 2.86% 300 4.62% 225 3.88% 150 2.83%
Auto Upkeep & Fuel 300 4.29% 180 2.77% 110 1.90% 150 2.83%
Auto Loan/Lease Payment 0 0.00% 239 3.68% 239 4.12% 0 0.00%
Credit Card/Other Loans 300 4.29% 200 3.08% 200 3.45% 0 0.00%
Groceries & Other Food 1500 21.43% 1500 23.08% 1500 25.86% 1500 28.30%
Health Care/Medical Costs 400 5.71% 250 3.85% 250 4.31% 400 7.55%
Clothing 250 3.57% 250 3.85% 150 2.59% 250 4.72%
Educational Expenses 70 1.00% 70 1.08% 0 0.00% 70 1.32%
Child Care and Support 50 0.71% 55 0.85% 25 0.43% 50 0.94%
Utilities (power, heat, etc.) 350 5.00% 250 3.85% 150 2.59% 110 2.08%
Telecommunications 150 2.14% 200 3.08% 100 1.72% 300 5.66%
Travel & Entertainment 150 2.14% 250 3.85% 150 2.59% 150 2.83%
Subscriptions/Memberships 20 0.29% 25 0.38% 35 0.60% 20 0.38%
Tithe/Contributions 700 10.00% 600 9.23% 550 9.48% 500 9.43%
Other 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00%
Other 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00%
Total Expenditures 7090 101.29% 7069 108.75% 4884 84.21% 4800 90.57%
Net Cash Flow -90 -1.29% -569 -8.75% 916 15.79% 500 9.43%
Ending Balance 5757 82.24% 5847 89.95% 6416 110.62% 5500 103.77%
Note: Feel free to change any income or expenditure category to fit your needs.
Critical to being financially solvent is the ability to live according to a budget, but first you
need to create one. It is time to be candid about your cash.
Monthly Expense Analysis
Household Cash Flow
Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly
Opening Cash on Hand % % % %
Interest & Dividends
Total Income 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Home Improvement & Maint.
Home & Auto Insurance
Auto Upkeep & Fuel
Auto Loan/Lease Payment
Credit Card/Other Loans
Groceries & Other Food
Health Care/Medical Costs
Child Care and Support
Utilities (power, heat, etc.)
Travel & Entertainment
Net Cash Flow
Note: Feel free to change any income or expenditure category to fit your needs.
Outlining the Numbers
Did you sweat filling out that budget sheet? Discussing money is uncomfortable for most
people. It can be terrifying to admit your financial situation. However, looking at bill
statements helps you realize that overworking your paycheck is like trying to fill a bucket with
sweat. The process is slow going, the results are unsatisfactory, and it still pours out faster than
you can fill it up again.
Each category on your budget sheet is a percentage of your total expenses. Determine those
percentages and write them in. Then follow these steps.
Take a highlighter and mark the lowest percentage in each category for the last four
years except savings.
In savings, mark the highest percentage you have received in that category.
On the next page, write down the current year‘s numbers and percentages under the
Next, place the highlighted percentages in each category in the Optimal column.
Now, take those percentages and multiply them by the current year Total Expenditures.
Write those numbers in their respective squares.
Next, compare the current year numbers to those optimal numbers.
Subtract the current year numbers from the optimal numbers and place them in the right
hand variance column.
Add all those columns up.
Now compare those numbers. This is the moment of reckoning.
Examine what your current expenses are against their optimal. The total variance
shows how much you have overspent due to financial mismanagement. See example
again if you cannot believe your eyes and numbers.
Now remake your budget so you can sleep at night. That means adjusting your outgoing cash,
including savings, to live within your means. Buy a household expense record book to track
your expenses using this sheet and follow up on them on a monthly and yearly basis. The
questions below will help you consider proper proportions and calculations.
1. In today‘s dollars, how much money will you need to live on per year during your
retirement? Remember to factor in inflation. If you need $40,000 per year now, that
could be $53,900 in nine years.
2. Assuming a 20-year retirement per person, how much money will you need for
retirement? (Take answer from question #1 and times it by 25).
3. Amount of money that you would like to bequeath from your estate at the end of
your life in today‘s dollars?
4. What is your present income?
5. How much do you have put away in savings now?
6. What percentage of your income can you afford to save each month in addition to
what you are saving now?
7. Please list the financial goals that you and your family have. Give a dollar amount
and time frame for each event. Define short-term as less than 6 months, mid-term
between 6 months and 3 years, and long term as anything over 5 years.