I moved house a couple of years ago and still have boxes hiding in the loft of my garage that need sorting out.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Last weekend, I decided to start ‘operation garage clean up’.

It’s a far bigger job than I imagined which is probably the reason I’d been unconsciously avoiding it for a long, long time!

With each box I opened I had to keep stopping to take a moment.

A caricature from my wedding day — taking me back to the moment and bringing a tear to my eye.

Old Father’s Day presents from when my sons were tiny — bringing back flashes of those days before they could walk and talk that now seem a million miles away.

A book one of my clients wrote with an acknowledgement about our work together — reminding me why I do what I do.

A pocketbook my wife gave to me when I chose to create a new career for myself — leaving behind my chase for conventional success.

And, then there are the notebooks. No end of old notebooks. Notebooks I’ve journaled in for many hours, over the years.

I used to favour black, hardcover, Moleskin ones with quality paper.

I picked up one from a few years back and read one of the pages from many years ago.

It said:

  • Spend time with my sons daily
  • Coaching amazing clients
  • Take holidays with my family without worrying about work
  • Exercise daily
  • Build our own home

Simple things I wanted to create … that I now have. I feel very grateful.

How did it happen?

Can things be manifested just by writing things down?

In my experience, no.

As a recovering ‘positive thinking junkie’, I can say this, having spent endless hours continuously writing out lofty goals ‘thinking’ they would materialise. They didn’t.

Things get created when people take action.

Things get created when people practice and persist — one moment at a time.

The things I created happened through having clarity about what I wanted to create, routines, habits, practice and a mindset dedicated to continuous improvement.

All these things led to transformation.

And, the more intentional I was, and the more I practised, the more good fortune came my way.

Most people don’t ‘get’ this part of ‘transformation’.

It’s the piece most of the people I coach find the hardest to grasp. The irony is, it’s also the simplest when you break it down.

The notebook I opened made me smile and inspired me to write this blog.

I wanted to share with you a roadmap for transformation from my own experiences. A set of systems that have worked for me and my clients. I hope you find them useful.

Get Clear on Your Personal Values

When I finally became crystal clear of my personal values everything suddenly seemed to make much more sense in my world. I was able to say ‘no’ to things that were not aligned with who I am. This made space for me to say a bigger ‘yes’ to things that are. A life-changing level of awareness.

Get Clear on Your Purpose Across All Areas of Your Life

I worked with several coaches and mentors, like Dr John Demartini, and looked at all areas of my life and became clear on three things.

(1) Who I wanted to ‘be’

(2) What I was going to ‘do’

(3) What I would ‘have’ after ‘being’ that way and taking those actions

This, much like values, highlighted my awareness no end, allowing me the freedom to focus on being aligned with what I wanted. I call it my authentic self. It was freeing and made things much simpler.

Create Meaningful ‘Values-Aligned’ Goals

The main reason why most people set goals and never achieve them, or achieve them but still feel ‘empty’ inside, is because they haven’t done the deeper work around values and purpose first.

This means the goals they set themselves lack authenticity.

Goals, ideally, have to have a deep meaning and meaning comes from making a difference.

By slowing down and setting goals aligned to your values and purpose provides you with additional resources inside yourself because you know, deep down, how they are connected to who you want to ‘be’ in the world and how they will make a specific difference to the areas you value most in life (meaning).

So, when the going gets tough, you stay on track and see challenge and support as ‘on the way’, not, ‘in the way’. You also feel fulfilled on a much deeper level.

When I started doing this, my goals started to be realised, rather than be unrealistic fantasies.

Create an Inspiring and Authentic Vision for Your Life

With the foundations of values and purpose in place, along with aligned goals, the next step is to create an inspiring vision for your life. Go into great detail so, when you read it, it’s ‘seeable and feelable’. This is what a vision should be like, that’s why it’s called a vision (the clue is in the name!).

This can be a tricky process because most people don’t know what they want so they settle for creating a vision that’s aligned with what they feel they ‘should’ do. Obligations, fantasies, and unspecific goals that lack meaning and detail.

If you do the heavy lifting here you’ll make sure you have a rock solid foundation from which to create an authentic life you love to lead.

Put a Plan Together for The Year

Once you have an inspiring vision it’s time to bring it down a level and put together an annual plan that outlines your goals, in priority order, and how you envision them being achieved through the year.

Get clear on what projects each goal contains that, when achieved together, will bring the goal into reality.

Once you have the projects, break them down into quarterly focuses and monthly focuses and add dates, deadlines, and accountabilities. This is your roadmap for the coming 12 months.

A lot of people stop once they have created a vision and plan … don’t!

It Won’t Happen On its Own.

I remember, many years ago, I created a business plan which my bank manager, family, and friends all said ‘this is the best plan we’ve ever seen!’ I then promptly put it in my desk drawer and jumped to action … ignoring the plan … becoming incredibly overwhelmed and disorganised. Don’t do what I did, please.

Make sure you use your plan and vision on a weekly basis.

Once you have that, it’s time to move onto metrics so you can track your progress.

Create Meaningful Metrics

The next step is to create a set of meaningful metrics aligned with your most important goals (which, as previously mentioned, have meaning and are values-aligned).

Include ‘hard numbers’, black and white things that are easily measured such as revenue, hours invested in a certain project, net profit. And, ‘intangibles’, things that are more of who you’re ‘being’ in the world that, on first glance, seem hard to measure.

How can you measure something without a metric?

Simple, you can create a scoring system that’s bespoke to the area you want to measure, a scale to benchmark and track your progress. I learned this initially from my many years of being an EMyth coach and it’s a game changer.

Most people just measure endless meaningless numbers … but … if you have a set of meaningful metrics covering the tangible and intangible and track them weekly, you’ll be amazed at the results you create.

What gets measured gets managed.

Break it Down — Monthly Review, Weekly Review, Daily Planning

Sometimes, when people create inspiring and powerful visions, it can lead to fear.

Fear of, ‘how the hell am I going to achieve that, it’s just too big to imagine where to start!’

I’ve faced this myself, many, many times, and the key here is to slow down and break the goals from your vision down into bite-sized pieces. I use a monthly, and weekly, review.

Monthly Review

Read your vision, goals, and plan and then choose what the priorities are to focus on for the month. After creating the first draft, slow down and review it again, making sure you’re not taking on too much.

A lot of people forget they still have ‘furniture’ in their calendar — the tasks and projects that form part of your monthly routine as a leader. Staff one-on-ones, finance meetings, strategic time to work on yourself and business, personal time for fitness, family, etc. Make sure you don’t forget these as they all take time — the closer you can be to the reality of how much time you have to focus on additional projects the better.

Don’t live in a fantasy where you think you have all the time in the world … you don’t.

Once your monthly review is set after you’ve put it through your, ‘is this really possible with the time I have filter’ a couple of times, move to plan your week.

Weekly Review

This is a smaller version of the monthly review that allows you to slow down and focus on the specific tasks you’re going to do this coming week.

Each week, on either a Friday or Monday, start by reading your values, purpose, vision, plan and monthly review to refocus yourself. This helps connect you, and remind you of, what you want to create (your vision).

Then, outline the tasks you’re going to work on this week and allocate space and time for them in your calendar — literally, block out the time with specific titles that relate to what your working on.

Booking time with yourself to work on your plan is crucial, and often overlooked by most people.

Project and Task Management Software

I use a project management system called Asana I use to keep track of everything I’m managing, repeating tasks, ideas I have, all my projects.

After my monthly and weekly review, I add everything into Asana with a specific date and relate it to a project. Then, I cross reference this with my calendar a few times to schedule specific blocks of time into my calendar to work on my priorities.

Asana is brilliant, and there are many more bits of software that do the same job. I like it because it allows you to clear your mind and have tasks come and ‘find you’ when they are due. More headspace allows you to be more present and create better quality work.

Don’t just have a daily ‘to do’ list … take a broader view.

Your Calendar is Your Best Friend

I’m writing this because my calendar says, ‘write the blog’.

Your calendar is your best friend when it comes to self-organisation and vision achievement. If you use it correctly, it doesn’t lie and it helps you stay connected with reality. Allowing you to know whether you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to things that come to you.

Most people say ‘yes’ to everything and wonder why they become overwhelmed. Slow down and say, ‘let me just check my calendar’, you’ll be amazed at what you can create. It’s ok to say ‘no’. Or, if that’s too much of a stretch for you saying ‘no for now’ can be a stepping stone for you.

People understand if you say no, they really do.

Create Space

Space in your calendar is important. Make sure you have space in your calendar because that’s where the magic happens.

Never have blocks of time back-to-back, always leave space between meetings, even if only 5-15 minutes.

Never schedule more than 75% of your working day, leave space in case you have an idea that needs some thought.

Having space allows you to breathe and stay focused as a leader.

Slow Down

I review my calendar and tasks several times a day, morning, lunch, and evening. Sometimes, if I’ve underestimated how long a task will take, I move things around to help make sure I don’t miss it off, leaving a loose end.

Loose ends take up mental energy and create anxiety — impacting all other tasks.

Your mind is not designed to have endless unfinished tasks floating around in it. All that does is make you overwhelmed and keeps your mental wheels spinning. Not healthy, you can change it if you slow down.

End of Week Review

At the end of each week, slow down, again, and review your week.

Read your values, purpose, vision, plan and then take out your weekly review and see if you achieved all you wanted to.

Measure your metrics vs. targets and plan your next week and repeat the process I’ve already outlined.

If it’s the end of the month then review the month in the same way and outline another set of priorities for the coming month.

Rinse and repeat.

This is such a powerful process and helps keep your momentum moving forward, bit by bit.

Your weekly and monthly reviews can also benefit from having also a set of bespoke questions to slow you down and raise your level of awareness as to if you’ve actually been aligned with who you want to be and everything you want to create.

You can never slow down enough, there’s always slower. Slow and steady wins the race.

Sack Your Postman

Have control over your email, checking a couple of times a day and prioritising responses. Make sure you control it vs. letting it control you.

A great coach I worked with many years ago, Josef Shapiro, told me a wonderful story about email.

He asked me to imagine I had a virtual postman by my side all day, every day. He then said:

‘what would happen if, every time you got an email, he tapped you on the shoulder and said, ‘mail for you, David’, thrusting the latest one in your hand on a piece of paper?’

How distracting would this be to your life and goals if you always had this postman in your face, each moment of the day?

This is how most people manage email but, because it’s virtual, they don’t see it.

Sack your postman.

Healthy Habits

Have a set of healthy routines and habits as part of your ‘system’ to guide you to being ‘on purpose’ and living your life with intention.

For example, my morning routine includes: Up at 5.30am, meditating, creating (writing or working on myself), reading, waking up my sons, eating breakfast, walking my dogs, taking my sons to school, exercising, and then serving my clients or creating during the day.

If I stay within these disciplines I feel centred and my vision becomes realised. If I don’t (and I’m not perfect, I fall off the horse sometimes) I don’t feel ‘on the ball’, a little lethargic, lower-minded, and I enter a world of reacting more to life vs. creating a life I love to lead.

Simple systems, habits and routines.

You’ll have yours … if you slow down enough to take note of what they are (and, everyone is different).

Mindset

I’ve outlined some steps that I’ve found helpful for myself and my clients. The biggest one of all is your mindset.

You can have all the best systems in the world but if you’re running an internal operating system that’s not serving you taking a look at your mindset and limiting beliefs can also be incredibly valuable. That’s one of the reasons I love working with my coaches, they see how I’m in my own way far better than I can.

One shift of the mind can change everything … forever.

Lots of information above here and, with Google, if information was all we needed everyone would be billionaires with six-packs …

For transformation, you have to slow down and look inside, get curious about your mindset and what it is that could be holding you back. Work on yourself, be curious and create habits and routines that serve you.

Back to my garage.

It’s not as organised as I’d like it to be, yet. And, that’s ok. I’ve put the time in my calendar to continue with the process, one step at a time.

I wanted to show you how I’ve created many things I desired using a combination of deep inner work, where I slowed down and worked with some amazing coaches to get really clear on who I wanted to ‘be’ and what I wanted to ‘create’, and installed simple systems to help make progress. All underlined with the discipline to practice, accountability from my coaches when I wavered, realising that progress beats perfection, and caring about myself enough to not chastise myself when I ‘fell off the horse’ … continued learning with teeny, tiny, daily steps.

My three step process: Purpose — Plan — Progress.

I used to be so chaotic and disorganised, with so many loose ends. I realise now I had the perfect system for staying exactly where I was in life — stuck — I’m not making that wrong, a lot of people are, but there’s a difference from feeling stuck and taking action to empower yourself to create a better life and business.

I realised I wasn’t living an authentic life true to myself and everything started to change.

If I can do it, anyone can.

Right now, your life is a representation of all the systems you’re running (consciously and unconsciously) that are producing consistent results (ones you want and ones you don’t).

You can transform, just like I did.

If you’re interested in learning how to live a more authentic life you may be curious about a very unique program I’ve put together designed to guide eight people, hungry for growth and transformation, towards creating a life and business they love leading.

It’s called ‘The Authentic Entrepreneur Program’ and it starts in May 2019. Here’s the link:

The Authentic Entrepreneur Program Information Page

Love and wellness,

David.

“You’re always one choice away from a totally different life.”
— Anonymous.