In Living Forward, New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy show us how to do: to design a life with the end in mind, determining in advance the outcomes we desire and path to get there.
A story about a wise old man who lived high in the Himalayan mountains
Periodically he ventured down into the local town to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to psychically tell them the contents in their pockets, boxes, or minds.
A few young boys decided to play a joke on the old man and discredit his special abilities. One came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew, of course, the man would know the object in his hands was a bird.
The boy devised a plan. Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead. But if the man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. No matter what the man said, the boy would prove the old man was a fraud.
The following week, the man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird, cupped it out of sight behind his back, walked up to the wise old man, and asked, ‘What is it that I have in my hands’?
The man said, ‘You have a bird, my son.’
The boy then asked, ‘Tell me, is the bird alive or dead?’
The wise old man looked at the boy and said, ‘The bird is as you choose it to be.’
So it is with your life. The power is in your hands. You have been given a great gift–your life. What will you do with it?
How did we end up here?
Drifting usually happens for one or more of the following four reasons:
- It happens when we are unware. Sometimes we drift because we simply don’t know what’s happening or what’s really at stake.
- It happens when we are distracted.
- It happens when we are overwhelmed. Sometimes we take on more than we should. Sometimes we are given more than we think we can bear.
- It happens when we are deceived.
The consequences of drifting
Drifting can have serious consequences, not only for you, but for those you love and those counting on you.
- Confusion. When we are drifting, we lose perspective. Without a clear destination in view, the challenges on the journey seem pointless.
- Expense. Drifting through life can also be enormously expensive, both in terms of money and–more importantly–time.
- Lost opportunity. Unless we have a destination in mind, it’s tough to separate the opportunities from the distractions.
- Pain. While some pain in life is unavoidable, we bring much of it on ourselves.
- Regrets. Perhaps the saddest consequence of all is getting to the end of life with deep regrets. We experience the ‘if onlys’.
[bluebox] Life Planning is the exact opposite of the drift. The drift is about passivity. Life Planning is about proactivity. The drift is about blaming our circumstances or other people. Life Planning is about taking responsability. The drift is about living without a plan. Life Planning is about having a plan and working it.[/bluebox]
What is a Life Plan?
A Life Plan is a short written document, usually five to fifteen pages long.
It is created by you and for you. You can’t hire someone else to do this for you. This is something that has to start with you. It has to flow from your heart
It describes how you want to be remembered. When we are gone, the only essential thing we will leave behind are the memories we create in the lives of those we have touched and those we loved
It articulates your personal priorities
It provides the specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life.
A Life Plan is a result of answering three powerful questions:
Question 1: How do I want to be remembered?
In planning anything, the best place to begin is at the end. What outcome do you want? How do you want the story to end? How do you want to be remembered when you are gone?
Question 2: What matters most?
What’s important to you? What matters most in your life? This is a question about priorities.
Question 3: How can I get from here to where I want to be?
If you are going to improve your life and realize your potential, you will have to figure out where you are now; where you want to be; and how you get from one to the other.