Well, this is my second blog post on desk p.m. This is the thing with alpha testing, a lot of things are still broken. I had a blog post all written out, I thought I saved it, I selected all the text to try to edit and everything got deleted. Ya, so the auto-save feature apparently is not working and I know I had taken longer than 20 seconds to drafted so I’ll have to figure out something there.
So I guess this is still my first Post that gets published. I’m actually writing the entire draft with the dictation by Apple on my MacBook Air, More impressively with this new application by John Saddington. This is the second application I’ve tested for John, PressGram being the first. Huge thanks to John for letting me in the inner circle, and Michael for passing my name along.
It’s been a longer day than expected. I bought a car because a great deal showed up and I jumped on it. Finally got rid of the 1998 Subaru outback. I got a 2010 Ford fusion which I’m very happy with. But needless to say it’s been a long day after that ordeal. After that deal got done, I had to take the kids and Tori over to Katie who is babysitting for my sister. After getting Sorin and Christian down, this is the first time I’ve had all day. I’m so happy to be using it for a few minutes testing this new application. DeskPM in Alpha!!
I believe leaders and people want to be successful in life should write and publish more often. I believe that after hearing John preach that for many years. Anyway, I have some edits to doing this draft to give John a good look and figure out that auto save thing that happened.
I love to execute. I love to jump into something where I know how it works, I know what’s going to happen, I see it through and get the results I expected. I love to execute. But what about when I’m executing something new? What about executing a goal I’ve had for a few years and I’ve failed just as long? Execution on tasks like this is a different bird. Execution is uncertain. If I’m honest, execution doesn’t even get a fair shot.
So what needs to change? I’ve published my goals for 2014 and I know they are important. They will get me where I want to go. They not only benefit me, they benefit my family. As it sits right now, I’m motivated to make these goals a reality. The reality, though, is that some of these goals are pretty big. Big enough that I failed in the past. I don’t want that to happen again. What do I do differently?
Instead of the mountain of a goal in front of me, I need to think about President Jed Bartlett. What? You’ve never heard of him? He’s the main character from the West Wing, a show that enjoyed seven seasons of Emmy award-winning honors and a cult following. President Bartlett was famous for saying, “What’s next?” He had big decisions in front of him, he had big meetings to conduct, big conversations to navigate. But he understood that the fundamental question to ask when big things need to happen is this: what’s next?
This week at church Matt Metzger was talking about living our lives in such a way that we pursue rules for Godly living. This is not a religious post, though. It’s a post about taking steps. Watch this video from 32:55-36:22.
Step one of this blog series was to identify the big goals for the year. Step two is to understand that we reach these goals by executing a number of small steps. What are those steps? I can’t launch my wellness program until I survey the employees to determine their interests. I can’t compete in an olympic triathlon until I train for a certain number of days in the pool, on the bike, and in my running shoes. Every project, every goal has a next step. Not a finished product, a fast track. But a next action step (as David Allen would call it) to move closer to the end game.
It’s a big task, but this week I’ve drafted every project (all the big ones, most of the small) and figured out the next action step on each project. This helps focus our daily efforts which in turn helps us conceptualize our place in the bigger picture of accomplishing these goals, finishing these projects.
As Jim Collins says, great work requires great discipline. This week I’m finishing a disciplined process to convert my big goals into manageable next action steps.
Goals have gotten a bad reputation. That’s why I like drafting them early in the year and publishing them in the next couple weeks, so we avoid the emotional “conquer the world, do a 180-in-life” kind of commitment. It’s a negative thought to begin this blog post, so let’s get away from that. Let me paraphrase my favorite quote about goals: If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it every time. If we do not have clear goals, what can we really expect in 2014? On the other hand, if we plan now, execute all year, how will we fill in the middle of December?
I argue that well-crafted goals, a disciplined routine of execution, and a support staff or inner circle will guarantee 2014 to be the most productive year ever. Big statement, I know. The reason I can make this claim is because very few people follow through with their resolutions and goals. That’s just a fact. Many will read this and put it away, move on to the next Facebook update. Some will participate in the comment section, some will participate alone at their desk. Cool! I’ve done this for quite a few years, I’m ready to take it to the next level. How about you?
(The following goals are in no order of importance.)
Wellness program shipped
I will have an functional wellness program for small businesses by March 1. I will done the research, I’ve done the homework, I’ve even worked out some of the kinks with small businesses already. But I’m working towards literally publishing a manual for how to implement a wellness program for small business. I also have a goal in the number of companies I want to work with this year, but I’ll keep that goal internal. Here’s the thing – March 1 is on the calendar because it aligns with a current client and relationship that’s already in place. It will evolve throughout the year and with the subsequent clients, so there’s lots of work after the third month of the year. But the goal is March 1, wellness program.
Exercise is Medicine
I will double the number of doctors I work with for exercise prescription. I think (again) it’s wise to keep numbers to myself right now. Trust me, there’s an inner circle that’s well aware of my numbers goal, and failing to reach those numbers – I take that very seriously.
I was talking with Katie the other day about when email came into my life. Do you remember your moments? I had an email in high school, I think I was the only one. But when I got to college, it was required. It immediately made communications (basic letter writing) simple. Painfully simple. I always new in middle and high school that I should write more letters. I loved in English class when Mrs. Curtis made us have pen pals with 4th grade students (mine was Katie Ruffel). But in reality, I never made writing a priority. Now with email – it was easy, it was fast, and with pictures it was fun. I want to bring that back. I want to write people more often. I’ll go public with this goal. My goal is to write one person a personal email (or FB message) each week. Relationships are important (more about this coming later in this post). This correspondence project will force me to slow down and improve the quality of my relationships dramatically. I’m especially excited about this goal.
My spiritual goal for the year is to finish Eat This Book. This is the third (!!) time attempting this goal. I’ve failed in the past and I’m not giving up. Not much else to say. I think the Bible is an excellent book, certainly worthy of the first 20 minutes of my day. Talk to me around the 4th of July, I hope to be on pace. Then the week of Christmas you can check in again, it should be just finishing up.
Last year I became a triathlete. This year I want to continue that and take it to the next level. My goal is to compete in an Olympic distance triathlon and also improve my time in the sprint distance.
Summary: Your mileage may vary. You may have more detail, you may have less. You may have more goals, you may have one. Please consider having at least one goal by the end of the week. You don’t need to conquer the world. You don’t need to do a complete 180 with your life. But let’s set ourselves up to succeed this year in new and exciting ways. Today was about publishing our goals. Later this week we’ll talk about a plan for executing them. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
I think the best time to set goals for a year is right about now. The emotion and energy from New Year’s Day is gone, but still lingering is a sense of promise for a better year. We’re still looking at 2014 with only twelve days behind us, so many ahead. We can make our plans, set our goals, take our aim at things with a sober mind. So obviously I need to ask: what’s it going to be?
Two of my favorite people on Twitter (Shaun and Mike) made concerted efforts in the last few weeks to focus on the importance of goals. They created programs where people could sign up and be mentored by these guys and be part of a community to help achieve these goals. I’m leery of crafting my goals in a context like this because it feels too emotional. But I respect these two gentlemen so much that I really considered each one. I retreated from the invitations to my home office to think about goals and execution. I thought about what it would feel like to hit my goals. And then of course my next thought was what it would feel like to miss them. It’s that mentality that proves that I have a lot of growth to do in this area. Maybe you feel the same. Maybe you’re afraid to fail just like me. Maybe we could take this journey together. Just a thought.
Back to the goals. It’s not too late to work on a goals project for the year. I’ve been crafting my 3 Words (version 2010, version 2011, version 2012version 2013) for the last couple weeks. I heard a great message by Matt Metzger that got me thinking about goals and taking small steps towards a goal. I’ll share that post later this week. For now, we need to establish some goals. There’s actually research that says people who set goals and focus on execution are more successful! Well that’s enough for me!
So this week I’m getting bold. I’m posting three days this week on this subject of goals. Of course I’d love for it to be a discussion, taking place in the comment section. But if you message me privately that still counts. If you keep it to yourself that’s good too but please consider going public on some kind of level. We’ll all grow if/when that happens.
Here’s to goals affecting 2014! See you this week.
Last night I got to finally meet Jon Swanson. I was introduced to Jon when I was following Chris Brogan and he tweeted about not being a spiritual guy, but he reads 300 Words a Day (following Jesus). That intrigued me. I started following Jon’s blog and I’ve been reading it ever since. Jon and I have tweeted back and forth a bit and even started emailing last spring regarding one of my blog posts. His writing has always challenged me with the ease in which he crafts and presents his words, really his voice.
You can imagine my joy when Jon tweeted a few weeks ago that he’d be driving past Madison and was hoping we could make time for dinner or coffee. We made the arrangements and last night Katie and I met Jon and Nancy at the El Dorado Grille for dinner. We chatted for over two hours so we went next door to Ground Zero for some decaf coffee to end our evening. I’m documenting this on my blog because it was wonderful to meet a (Twitter) friend in person. This is the world many of us live in these days, and I love it. Additionally, I’m writing this to put a rock down and mark this moment as significant for me professionally. Jon asked me some pointed questions about my writing and my routines that have sparked tremendous creative thoughts over the last 24 hours. They’re not all fleshed out, I suppose I’ve only scratched the surface. But I’m thankful tonight for meeting a mentor of mine, a pastor of mine for the first time.
Welcome to 2014. I’m excited for the newness of the season and the energy of moment. As many people do this time of year, I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past, planning for the future. After all, life is a series of adjustments. My last post was an epic recounting of 2013 and I am very proud of what I captured and what I published. But the year also ended with a thought that maybe it’s possible to capture too much.
It was by far by best year of blogging. Reviewing everything I wrote and posted this year, I am filled with joy at the memories I created and captured. Blogging for me is a way to process and a way to remember. It’s also turning into a way for me to plan; more on that at the end. Blogging is about creating a web log of what you do, but to be successful (intentionally leaving this undefined) you need to do this with some sort of routine. That’s where I’ve always struggled, and that’s where I started my year 2013.
I started blogging in 2006. Wow! That was 13 years ago. I remember walking to the coffee shop and writing that first post. Sure, my writing has changed a lot but I’m happy to report that this initial set of thoughts are still very applicable today.
I wrote about having a game plan, reflecting on life, learning from successes and failures, and growing stronger for the sake of my family. I still have a long way to go, but I appreciate the journey that I’m on.
Today I read a Facebook update from Michael Hyatt asking why we blog.
So in this line of thinking, here’s the three reasons I blog.
Process life with words
I’ve always kept a journal. I process so much of my life when I take time to be disciplined in thought and reflect on things that have happened, thoughts or ideas I’ve had, and the results which occurred. I believe being an active thinker and reflected are essential to being successful in life. I don’t think I’ll ever stop blogging for this reason alone.
Telling a great story
People are looking for encouragement, purpose, and connection. I do not have a huge following on social media or my blog, so this is not a humble brag. I believe our story needs to reflect God’s story. I am a part of that story and I want my blog to demonstrate it. I want to help people pursue a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. Those are biblical principles; it’s the narrative God has given me. Blogging helps me tell the story, then I want the story to continue and build after a post goes out, so the process becomes cyclical. I want the posts to become a living narrative and thus a significant source for inspiration to live a great story.
I have always coached. I’ve always had a leadership role or mentoring relationships. As I’ve grown my professional life, that coaching has continued and my blog is my home base for this. To be clear, my blog is still evolving and I need to continue to prune away and develop my niche. But part of my thought process in writing on my website is to create a resource of people to help them lead a healthy, active, disciplined life. As I said – people are looking for all kinds of motivation and step-by-step guides. They want a project. Healthy living is my project, and I thoroughly enjoy creating this content for people to consume for themselves and hopefully share with others (hint hint).
Question ::: Have you ever thought about blogging?
I’ve been doing 3 Words since 2009. I saw Chris Brogan do this on his blog and I immediately thought it was a great idea. My interpretation is that I don’t want to just pick three words that are self-explanatory. I want them to be a little bit cryptic and a little abstract. I want them to beg deeper meaning and contemplation. They deserve a story.
Because that’s what I want to be about. Donald Miller has taught me that a good life is a good story. A great story is compelling and life-giving.
The point of this blog post is to reflect on my goals for the new year. I have a lot going on with grad school ending right at the same time Katie and I are expecting our third child. Of course the grad school this is meant to launch me into a new job. Lots of stuff going on. That haste is well-represented in my three works for 2013.
When I think of research, organization, professionals, I think of Jim Collins. In his seminal book, Good to Great, Collins demonstrated to me how meticulous he and his lab were in researching what difference between good companies and great companies. I had never heard such detailed analysis of companies. Collins knows his stuff, and many would consider him an expert in the field of business and management. That’s where I’m going. I’ve got a huge passion for exercise as medicine, and I’m very much inspired by the work of Collins and how I would replicate his work and research philosophy to my own.
But Collins to me also is about that book I reference: Good to Great. There’s a distinction between the two, and I need look at that every day this year. It’s very easy for me to focus on the good things and not ever get to the great things. The good things make you feel good, probably because they’re easier than the great things. I need to cut the fat, I need to streamline the process, I need to focus on the great.
The main component of this word in 2013 for me is in reference to Coach Lombardi’s famous quote: “There are three things important to every man in this locker room. His God, his family, and the Green Bay Packers. In that order.” He was obviously talking to the team, so #3 was their job, which came after faith and family. I know in my heart this needs to be true, and in 2013 I need to make bigger strides so that it becomes a reality. It’s very easy for me to say, “take care of business, support the family…” But it’s entirely different to lead each day putting faith absolutely first (lucky I’m a morning first) and family right there at #2.
Coach also is about what you first thought about – coaching athletics. I’m a personal trainer, exercise specialist, cardiac rehab specialists. It all comes down to coaching. And as I launch my new business this year I want the ethos of coaching and athletics to be a strong component.
Lastly, I feel I’ve been coached in a new and exciting way via someone I met on Twitter. His name is Jon Swanson and he runs a blog called 300wordsaday. His writing has been inspiring and introspective. We’ve connected numerous times via email also and his coaching has made for an excellent end of 2012, and I want that to springboard into this next year.
One of my favorite books of all time is Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart. It’s all about Christian manhood. It’s extremely educational and motivations. I think in this world we need much better and stronger men in homes. Wives need us, kids need us, other members of the family need the men to step up. Good things (great things!) happen when men are doing what they’re meant to do – lead. I want to examine the meaning of being a pillar in my family. The author (Stu Weber) breaks this down in the book – so there’s a lot of room for learning with Pillar.
So there you have it. The goal for this post isn’t for everyone to know what my three words are – what are yours? It’s still early in the year – skip the New Year’s resolutions. Identify three goals or three words to drive how you spend your days this year.
I figure a great start to the year would be to show up. I don’t believe for a moment the saying that “90% of life is showing up.” There’s just too much great work to be done for success to be reduced to that. But there is something to be said for having a presence, establishing a reputation. And then following through.
One goal of mine this year is to show up on this blog. I get a lot of value out of the time spent reflecting on life and processing it in words, hitting the publish button. And I know many people who read the words every time I post. I want to be that consistent presence in 2013, and I’ve already thought about how I’m going to execute that plan. You’ll be hearing about it by Friday in my Three Words post for the year. My sister-in-law Jess has already asked me about my three words, so that’s pretty cool.
As I said, that post is coming Thursday or Friday. But I wanted to begin here with a simple post on the first day of the year. Showing up is a big part of life. I’m here. You’re here. Let’s pursue greatness.