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Alexia’s Legacy: Lesson #7 – Take Time to Appreciate When Things Go Right

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book

 

Ray,

I will definitely take a look at this over the break and let you know what I think!

This week has been amazing so far! Nothing has been too stressful, nothing has been too pressing, everyone has been incredibly nice, and I have been getting to sleep earlier than normal!

We had a PLP SD holiday dinner tonight so I didn’t get home until after ten but I have gotten all settled in and am already curled up in bed ready to fall asleep!

Talk to you soon!

Alexia

 

From Alexia’s Journal:

I am thankful for:

  • The McKinsey Consulting Meeting
  • Time to call my parents
  • Such beautiful weather

 


Lesson: Take time to appreciate when things go right.

Celebrate your small successes. Take a few moments to stop and appreciate the things that are going right. As leaders, we are often caught up in all the challenges and problems we need to solve. We have long to-do lists that seem like they will never be completed. So as a leader, you have to consciously stop and appreciate what is going right and what you have accomplished. Celebrate small successes, personally, and with your team.

Opportunity: Every day, email a friend with a list of things that went right for you personally and for your team.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Lesson #38 – Leaders Fight for Their Team

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Six Flags Student Director Trip

In October, the Student Directors of PLP planned a trip to Six Flags. We all felt it was important to build relationships outside of “work.” We had purchased passes to go to the Fright Festival events; however, when we tried to enter they wouldn’t let us in. There was some confusion about the wrong kind of tickets and needing extra tickets. Naturally none of us were okay with that response since broke college kids have little money and the tickets were $20 each. The security guard mentioned a customer service booth back at the main entrance. So we had to turn around and walk 20 minutes back to the front of the park and most of us assumed we would just leave then and go home. But as we got near the customer services booth, Alexia looked at me and said, “Oh no! We didn’t pay $20 each to drive out here and leave.” We began discussing how we were going to “nicely” persuade Six Flags to exchange our tickets for the ones we thought we had bought. I used my iPhone to do some research and could not find any fine print on the ticket or website suggesting that what they were saying was accurate. So we all waited in line with Alexia at the front. Alexia, wanting to be a lawyer, approached the “judge” of Six Flags and the court was in session. She was passionate for us, but gentle. She became very passionate in her defense because she cared about our not wasting our time and money. She wanted what was best for us.

Fortunately, her gentle approach and the lack of evidence from Six Flags to support their position, led to our all getting the correct tickets. Credit is also due to the very nice person working at Six Flags. The point is Alexia cared about us and was willing to fight for us. I tell this story to show that, even though we weren’t best friends with her, friendship meant something to her. She fought for us with gentleness, despite her passion, showing that grace may abound in frustration.    Austin Hatcher

 

Lesson: Leaders fight for their team.

Leaders fight for their team and for what is right. Great opportunities to show your qualities as a leader arise when your team is not getting what they deserve or when you want to help get them something a little extra. Nothing brings a team together quicker than a common enemy or the feeling that being part of that team means something special. Step up when the time is right, and make sure your team gets what they deserve. Use your resources and energy to defend their honor or to make sure they are rewarded for their hard work and sacrifice.

Opportunity: Consider what battle you could fight to help your team get the recognition and success they deserve.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Leadership – Don’t Over Complicate It

As with many things in life, people tend to over think leadership and what it means to the success of their organization and themselves.  CEO’s, Boards, and other management often take so much time to think and re-think their vision, strategy and plan that they either never get to a point of execution  or by the time they do, the market has changed.  Additionally, by that time, their employees may have lost interest.  Leaders then become frustrated and start the infinite “do loop” process over again.

When it comes to leadership, don’t waste time overthinking it.  As Tony Jeary communicates in his book Strategic Acceleration, leaders need to look at Production Before Perfection (PBP) – a strategy that focuses on “starting instead of finishing, and then adjusting as you go”.  Think about it this way, it is a generally well accepted fact that companies measure and are measured by results.  However, you can’t produce results until you start doing something.  By sitting back and waiting for perfection, you are basically doing nothing.

Consider the Pareto Rule or the 80/20 rule – where 80% of the results come from 20% of the action.  Instead of acting, some people spend 80 percent of their time waiting for the last 20 percent of the data or information.  All of this time could be spent making progress instead of waiting for perfection.

Leadership doesn’t have to be complicated.  If you think it is, answer these 2 simple questions and you will be off to a good start and can re-evaluate and adjust as you progress and learn:

  1. What’s the WHY of your business?  People want to be part of something that has purpose and that they can understand.  By establishing the WHY of your business – setting a simple purpose for your organization, something that gives your team a reason to come to the office or do their job each day, you will see improved engagement and performance.  Purpose is something that filters down to everyone in the organization and they begin to see how they “fit” and help with the success of the company.
  2. WHO Are You?  Being a leader is much more dependent on WHO you are than WHAT you do.  People can generally see right through fabricated and scripted attempts at leadership.  Too often I see people who read a book (or a blog) and try to mimic what someone has stated as a critical leadership skill.  Leadership is about your values and beliefs and how you bring them into the culture of the organization.  Be authentic.  How are people treated?  Does management listen?  Do you allow people to follow their plans to achieve goals or do you micro-manage their every step?

Be humble and realize that individual contributors are just as critical (probably more critical) as the senior leadership in an organization.  Everyone contributes in their own way and if you set the right purpose for the organization and it is filtered down to every employee, the sum of the parts will be greater than any single individual.

Being a leader may be challenging at times, but don’t over complicate the role with by overthinking your plan.  Even if you know that you are only 80% there… get started and adjust along the way.

Alexia’s Legacy – Make a Plan

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

 

From Alexia’s Journal: I dream of a very productive week! I will give my undivided attention to my work and get well ahead so I can have a FUN, RELAXING weekend in College Station.

 

Ray,

Today was a smooth transition back into work and classes! After work and class, I made a plan for this week and got some RA work done. I got a workout in and am now off to bed!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Alexia

 

Lesson: Make a Plan.

Leaders make plans. Many people romanticize leadership as the charismatic person who just naturally knows what to do next. Although the “fly by the seat of your pants” and “instinctively know what to do” type of leadership might exist, it is not very common. Leadership can be as simple as being the person who takes time to make a plan. To be a better leader start by thinking about the big picture and taking time to organize your tasks and priorities so the next steps are clear. As the “organized person” you could become the de facto leader because you won’t be overwhelmed by the hundreds of swirling options. If you take the time to group or categorize those options and create a plan you can help get the team started.

Many people believe they are not the most organized person on the team. As a leader, your plan may be as simple as finding the most organized person and working with him or her to help you organize next steps and actions, prior to the team meeting. In other words, make a plan to recruit help in making a plan.

 

A few other benefits of being an organized leader:

 

  • Your team will have more confidence in someone who is clear on next steps.
  • Your team will become more cohesive as they accomplish small tasks together on the way to a larger goal.
  • Your team will begin to work independently as they create successes with your short term plan and can begin to visualize the long term potential.

 

Opportunity: Make a Plan for Your Next Team Meeting

  1. Pull your list of goals and priorities from the previous chapters.
  2. Brainstorm a list of actions you should take to reach those goals.
  3. Put the list in sequential order. What has to happen first before anything else can be done? What has to happen second? For items that don’t have a natural sequential order, but them in order of priority. Largest priorities first.
  4. For each action, write down the name of the person on the team who would be the best leader for that action. Who has the most interest or relevant experience and knowledge?
  5. Take your plan to the meeting and offer it to the team. Ask for volunteers and recommend the people on your list. Explain to the team why they would be best suited for the role.

 

Opportunity: Make a Plan for Your Week

 

  1. What are your goals and priorities?
  2. What do you have to accomplish or attend to this week?
  3. Put time on your calendar for each activity.
  4. Color code the activities by level of importance.
  5. Remember to leave open time for the unexpected.
  6. Follow your calendar and see how much you get done.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy – There Will Be Chaos. Learn to Roll with It

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Ray,

Sorry! I thought about that this morning. We have had a program going on in the hall all week, Assassins, and every evening there have been discipline things to deal with… They are getting way to crazy and disobedient with the rules! That is preoccupying some of my time combined with a big midterm I took today and the big project due next week, I have been scatter brained and falling asleep as soon as I sit in bed! I have even fallen asleep before getting to my journals, or even while studying, a few of these past nights. I have still been sleeping seven to eight hours and getting my exercises in. I usually am able to squeeze some extra me time in on top of what I have scheduled weekly, but this week I haven’t found much of that extra time. 

Otherwise things are going well! Just staying VERY busy! 

Hope all has been well with you! How did your meetings with Wayne and Marty go?

Thanks,

Alexia 

 

As a Resident Assistant for an on-campus dorm, Alexia and her team had to be available for whatever might come up with students who are fighting through the pressures and challenges of making their grades, figuring out who they are, and deciding what they will do with the rest of their lives. Many of the most dramatic events occur in the middle of the night and there is not an opportunity for planning.

 

Hey Ray,

Unfortunately, I had to deal with a missing person situation for quite some time tonight. I just wrapped up writing my report for housing and am finally able to lay down for bed! I did have some me time today and some exercise time. I did my journals and am off to bed. Good night.

Alexia

 

Ray,

I had to deal with more crazy on call situations tonight so I am just getting to bed but I did get a nap today and some me time so I’m feeling pretty good and pretty refreshed!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Unfortunately some RAs were dealing with two different students in crises/upset student situations tonight. Because of those, I am unfortunately just now getting showered and ready for bed.

I will update you more on my meeting with Professor Staff and her advice for my career going forward on Monday when we meet.

Have a good night (or I should say morning!)

Alexia

 

Ray,

 

Today I had plenty of rest and me time to help hold off the cold that I have been feeling coming on. I am now all done with on call stuff. Hopefully I won’t have any more pages in the middle of the night!

Alexia

 

Ray,

You already got a brief overview of the RA staff meeting and the meeting with the pre-law advisor. Everything seems to be in a better/more hopeful situation than before, so that’s a plus! I can give you more details and we can talk through an action plan on Monday.

A bit of devastating news tonight… My laptop gave me issues turning on last night and when I called tech support tonight they said my lap top is no longer under warranty. They were able to tell me what the most likely issue is, the motherboard, based on my description of the problem and advised me to get it checked at a Best Buy to confirm the issue. Downside is they no longer make my laptop so even if I can confirm the issue, parts probably are scarce and potentially costly, if even still available. The whole situation will put a strain on my always staying productive between classes and commitments, but I will have to find a way to make do until I can resolve the issue!… Yet another curve ball and life lesson in learning to be adaptable!

I also got some exercise in today so between it all, I have had about all my energy sucked out of me for today! So, I am off to finish my journals, crash, and sleep in a bit tomorrow morning!

Have a good night and I will talk to you tomorrow!

Alexia

 

 

Lesson: There will be chaos. Learn to roll with it.

 

“I am sorry to say so,

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups

can happen to you.”

Dr. Seuss

No matter how well you plan or how organized you are; the chaos of life can and will interfere. Our computer breaks down, our car won’t start, or someone on the team doesn’t deliver as promised. When these challenges arise, you can worry, scream, and stomp your feet; or you can calmly assess the situation and determine what to do next. You can focus on the disruption and challenge or you can focus on getting back on track. People want to follow leaders who are calm in the face of new challenges and unexpected roadblocks. They want leaders who have or can create a Plan B without having an emotional meltdown. They will look for you to remain confident, adjust, and adapt, so they can remain confident and flexible. As a leader, accept that unexpected challenges will disrupt your best plans at the worst times. Take a moment to feel the frustration. Then quickly consider the impacts, evaluate your options, and create a list of next steps. Stay calm and quickly adapt to those challenges. The chaos of life is going to happen. You can let it ruin your plans and your day, or you can adapt and change, and be happy anyway.

Opportunity: Evaluate how well you are adapting to the chaos that interrupts your plans.

 

 

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Take Time for Appreciation and Recognition

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Ray

Tonight I wrote a bunch of thank you cards for all the leaders and execs at McKesson that helped make the internship so memorable for me. I did a 30 minute work-out. I am writing my journal and am off to bed!

Alexia

 

Karolyn,

Great update for everyone! Thank you so much for this! Melissa has completed the hours and was having lunch with the director who can verify that last Friday so she should just need to turn in the form. I will double check though!

Alexia

 

Lesson: Take time for appreciation and recognition.

We are often busy with the chaos of life and forget to take time to show people how much we appreciate their help and support. But it is important to take that time, not just for them but for ourselves. It makes us feel better to reflect on things we are grateful for and to share those feelings with other people. Successful leaders make time to show appreciation and recognition for the people who make a difference and who make things happen.

Opportunity: Think about how you can recognize and appreciate someone today.

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Create Time for Family and Friends, Even in the Middle of Chaos

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

 

Ray,        

So today I got a lot of little things done for my classes. It was A LOT of reading! I also had some time to get some little household type chores done, take some me time, and get some exercising in.

This evening for me was overtaken by RA things. I spent two hours working through a harassment situation for one of the residents and finished that up just in time to run to get ready for our fire drill. Those events pushed back my plans to go see a movie with friends. Although later than planned, we did still go which was a nice change of pace after the heavy topics that filled this evening! I’m now exhausted and heading off to bed! Talk to you soon!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today I drove home to Houston, spent some time with friends, and now am writing in my journals and headed to bed!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today mom and I had a relaxing girls day bumming around town. I also ran around playing with my dog for quite a while today for some exercise! I have written in my journals and mom and I are now watching a movie while we lay in bed to fall asleep.

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today I relaxed and spent more time with my mom and got some exercise in, and I am now getting ready to do my journals and head to bed!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today was, over all, a pretty good day! I played volleyball intramurals tonight and it was so much fun! I just finished a quiz and packing for this weekend’s trip! I can’t wait to catch you up on all of the PLP recent events as well as RA! See you Monday!

Alexia

 

Hi Ray!

This long weekend was much needed! I spent some time with family/friends, catching up on my rest, and being productive. It was a good mix and I feel a lot better going into this week!

Thanks and talk to you soon!

Alexia

 

Ray,

I had some fun play time after a department meeting with McKesson and I had some great friends time tonight to help vent a bit and help mentally relieve some stress which was awesome! I did my journals and am now headed to bed!  Talk to you soon,

Alexia

 

Lesson: Create time for family and friends, even in the middle of chaos.

Make time for family and friends. Don’t let the chaos of life derail those plans. The people in your best relationships are understanding and supportive, and therefore easier to blow off. But those relationships are also the most important things in your life and a key to your success and happiness. Every now and then, the chaos of life will interfere with your time with those important people. But don’t let it postpone those visits indefinitely. Make sure they happen on a regular basis and you get your needed energy boost and support from your best relationships. More importantly, you need your opportunity to give back to those relationships, as it will make both you and the relationship stronger. As a leader you need confidence, energy, and diverse opinions you can count on. Those all come from your positive relationships. Make time to nurture your important relationships, especially in the middle of chaos.

Opportunity: Make a list of your most important relationships. Reach out and schedule time with them today.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Let Your Employees Change the Company

In the last blog we spoke about the importance of employee surveys, feedback, and following up on the results.  One of the challenges is how busy we are as leaders and how many other initiatives we have as priorities. As a result, we take the survey or other feedback, gather the broad ideas, and implement overarching initiatives that involve large numbers of employees. This limits us to implementing a few big ideas rather than lots of little ones. It also creates a situation where there is very little time to test, so whatever we roll-out has to work the first time or has to be delayed several months while we test to make sure it accomplishes our goals.

 

One solution is to push company change down to the employees who are affected most by it. Encourage them to make changes in their work spaces and departments. Give them guidance with a Higher Purpose and clear values and expect them to create the environment they want to work in. Let them create hundreds of smaller experiments. Create mechanisms so the most successful ideas can be shared through the organization.

 

Here are a few steps to creating a culture of continuous culture improvement:

 

  1. Make sure your company’s Higher Purpose and values are clear. These provide a framework to guide the teams to make the right decisions.
  2. Give your teams permission and the opportunities to make changes. Most employees wait to be asked for their opinion and then wait for executives to bless their ideas. Make it clear that you expect them to move forward with their ideas to improve the company and they should meet with their peers on a regular basis to discuss how to make it happen.
  3. Have them schedule weekly or monthly CIT’s or Company Improvement Team meetings in each office with a few local employee leaders. They can meet with their peers to vet, improve, and implement ideas. Representatives from local CIT’s can meet nationally on quarterly conference calls to share the best ideas throughout the company.
  4. Give them a clear budget. $500 per office or $10 per employee. Something to cover minor needs until the idea can be tested. A larger budget can be allocated if it is rolled out nationally.
  5. Highlight the successes in company meetings and newsletters. Praise the failures and use them as stories to encourage others to take risks.

 

In a future blog, we’ll talk about how you can create tribes that can help implement these and other similar ideas.

 

Executives usually make up about 5% of the workforce. Why not get the other 95% working to make the company better as well.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Every Goal Needs an Action Plan

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Alexia’s Goals August 2013 with Action Plans

 

Professional Learning and Development Goals

 

Action Plan

 

Goal 1: Make a decision about whether to go CPA/JD or JD/MBA

 

1.    Meet with counselor to discuss academic feasibility.

2.    Meet with 7 professionals to gain input and perspective

3.    Speak with top 3 law schools to see if credits will transfer from MA to MBA or JD

 

Goal 2: Evaluate my relationship with McKesson to be able to decide their role in the rest of my college career.

 

1.    Can I work and maintain my 4.0 GPA

2.    Do they have a place for me in the spring?

3.    Can I make enough money to meet my budget goals

 

Goal 3: Gain a better working knowledge of LinkedIn

 

1.    Meet with Rachel

2.    Study Linked-in Presentations

3.    Build my profile

 

 

Personal Goals

 

Action Plan

 

Goal 1: Improve work life balance techniques

 

1.    Create Scheduled “Me” time. 1 hour – 3 times per week

2.    Exercise. 30 minutes – 4 times per week

 

Goal 2: Maintain 4.0 GPA

 

1.    Study at minimum 3 hours per day

 

Goal 3: Create a working budget

 

1.    Meet with Student Money Management Center

 

 

PLP Goals Alexia Helped Set as Leader

Professional Leadership Program Action Plan
 

Goal 1: Develop stakeholders; students, mentors, and faculty

 

1.   Improve class offerings

2.   Member/Mentor Review program

3.   Recruit new majors to PLP

4.   Increase involvement of Faculty

 

Goal 2: Create a family-like culture

 

1.   Create engagement opportunities outside of normal meetings

2.   Focus on clusters

3.   Increase mentor involvement

 

Goal 3: Create communication that supports connections and relationships, and exemplifies our brand

 

1.   Thank you letter process

2.   Post events on social media

3.   Encourage stakeholder involvement in media sites

4.   Create Student Director bonding time

 

Lesson: Every goal needs an action plan.

Once we set our goals, we need to build and implement an action plan that will get us there. Most importantly, we always need to know our next step. Notice that several of Alexia’s goals were related to making decisions. Her plans related to how she would collect the info she needed to make those decisions. The plans also had multiple steps so there was a clear path to accomplishment. Create a plan for each of your goals. Clarify the steps in your plan, even if those steps include brainstorming next steps. One of the keys to goal accomplishment is understanding that it is more important to visualize the steps it will take to get there than to visualize accomplishment of the goal itself. Focus on your action plan and always keep your next step top of mind.

Opportunity: Create Action Plans for Your Goals

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Put Your Goals in Writing

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

From Alexia’s Journal: I want to go to a great law school & become a corporate lawyer.

Alexia’s Goals August 2013

Professional Learning and Development Goals
Goal 1: Make a decision about whether to go CPA/JD or JD/MBA
Goal 2: Evaluate my relationship with McKesson to be able to decide their role in the rest of my college career.
Goal 3: Gain a better working knowledge of LinkedIn
Personal Goals
Goal 1: Improve work life balance techniques
Goal 2: Maintain 4.0 GPA
Goal 3: Create a working budget

[Note: Alexia’s goals also included plans and due dates not shown here]

PLP Goals Alexia Helped Set as Leader

Professional Leadership Program
Goal 1: Develop stakeholders; students, mentors, and faculty
Goal 2: Create a family-like culture
Goal 3: Create communication that supports connections and relationships, and exemplifies our brand

 

Lesson: Put your goals in writing.

“First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective.”           Aristotle

Goals are an important part of leadership, both for setting an example and for helping the team move forward. Setting goals helps us align today’s actions with the future. What do you want to accomplish and what are you doing today that will help you get there? People without goals meander through life experiencing random events that don’t lead them down any discernible path. They engage in activity without progress. Goals focus our actions to a self-chosen path and bring pattern and clarity to what would otherwise be a haphazard menagerie of experiences.

Make your goals specific and challenging, yet achievable. Have a set date for accomplishment, and make them measurable so you can objectively evaluate your progress.

Writing down your goals is the first step to achieving them. Written goals can be more easily shared with your friends which significantly improves your chances of achieving those goals. Most importantly, written goals give you something to refer back to that refreshes your memory. As our lives get busy, the goals get pushed to the background; and we need to re-read them to bring them back to being part of our conscious intentions. Once our goals are in writing we can objectively evaluate our progress in reaching those goals on a regular basis.

Opportunity: Write 3 goals you want accomplish this year.

 

My Goals
Goal 1:
Goal 2:
Goal 3:


 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.