“Life is actually an essay, not a series of responses to someone else’s agenda.”

“Life is actually an essay, not a series of responses to someone else’s agenda.”

—Seth Godin, American Author

Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalog

In order to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools and other learning institutions closed for the year.

Once the initial “extended summer vacation” excitement wore off and the reality set in, we were given an extremely important assignment.

Our homework is to write and experience the next chapters of our life stories. Some of us might look to the limitations and constraints. But we can also see new levels of creativity, innovation, and freedom to express ourselves through the amazing examples set by others in our various communities.

EXERCISE:

What will you include in your Hero’s Journey essay? How can you continue to influence your communities, expand your capabilities, and make an even more purposeful difference in the world?

What would happen if more of us put down the remote and picked up our pens to pursue our personal agenda?

“It may be time to play screenwriter and take another pass at the script of your life.”

“It may be time to play screenwriter and take another pass at the script of your life.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Chivalry Creative

Given that we are nearly 60 days into the new year, how would you say things are going compared to 2019?

Where are you on track or ahead of your plans to achieve your goals? Where are you stuck, or even falling behind?

To what extent is it time to get out your favorite pen or sit at your keyboard to rewrite a few scenes? How might you remove or replace supporting or leading characters to minimize drama in your life?

EXERCISE:

In what area of your personal or professional life is it time to edit your life script to add significantly more fun, laughter, adventure and joy?

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

—Ralph Marston, 20th Century professional football player

Image from Unsplash by Glen Carstens-Peters

The critical word in today’s quote is “can.”

There is, of course, no guarantee that today will improve all, or perhaps more realistically, most of your tomorrows.

With the right attitude, planning, and of course, inspired effort, the likelihood of a more positive and successful future is inevitable.

EXERCISE:

What attitude-enhancing efforts will you bring into your day today?

What planning did you do yesterday, or this morning, to assure you are working on your top personal and professional priorities?

What inspired and committed actions will you take today to guarantee many better tomorrows?

Things do not necessarily happen for the best

“Things do not necessarily happen for the best, but I can choose to make the best of things that happen.”

—Tal Ben-Shahar, Israeli-American Author/Lecturer

Image of a sailboat on rough waters

Image from Unsplash by Alan Meceanu

Take a few minutes to reflect on your day if it is evening, or on yesterday’s events if you are reading this in the morning. To what degree did everything go as planned, and work out exactly as you hoped?

If things did not work out for the best for whatever reason, what consequences did you experience?

How did you react or respond, and what emotions or feelings came up?

EXERCISE:

Consider the metaphor of a sailboat. How might you adjust your sails and rudders of mindfulness and adaptability to the sometime stormy seas of life?

Feel free to reply to this post to share the approaches you take on a daily basis to make the best of things that happen.

The method of the enterprising

“The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity and execute with vigor.”

—Christian Bovee, 19th Century New York City writer

Image from Unsplash by Simeon Jacobson

To what degree are you a “Go for it” person?

When you put on your thinking cap, how creative and bold are your ideas and plans?

Once your strategies and tactics are formulated, how inspired, energized, and motivated are you and those around you to execute them with passion and purpose?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional priority would a far more enterprising approach be what is needed to achieve a more audacious outcome?

Now is the perfect time to prepare

“Now is the perfect time to prepare.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a checklist

Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carsterns-Peters

Prepare for WHAT?

When I reflect on my days, I see numerous areas where I prepare for activities that help my life run smoothly and successfully. Some of them are:

  • Meal preparation
  • Layout out my exercise clothes
  • Creating agendas for meetings
  • Reviewing my calendar to plan my day
  • Preparing checklists for shopping
  • Organizing and preparing financial documents to review with my accountant

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional matters – big or small – is it time to prepare more fully, to realize the goals and objectives you most desire?

The pause is as important as the note

“The pause is as important as the note.”

—Truman Fisher, American Composer

Image from Flickr by Ben Rogers

Do you enjoy music? If so, what types of music do you prefer?

Prioritize this list from high to low based on your preferences:

Pop Hip-Hop Holiday Electronic
Swing Classical Rock Folk
Rap Reggae Disco Jazz
Blues Chamber Country Bluegrass
Alternative Show Tunes Baroque Dance

Although the instruments used in these various forms of music can be different, it is perhaps the pauses, or rests, as much as the notes that are played that give each genre its own special sound.

EXERCISE:

Consider your life as a form of personal symphony. Where would paying even more attention to the pauses, to resting between your life notes enhance the melodies in your world?

Plan your day work your plan

“Plan your day and work your plan.”

—Author Unknown

image of a daytimer planner

Image from daytimer.com

Many people find planning their day downright boring, preferring to simply go with the flow and see what the day brings.

The most successful and often most disciplined people, on the other hand, chart their course and prepare for their day before they venture out into the world.

Consider this statement from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.”

What payoff do you get for planning—or not planning—your own course? Some would say that unhappy people get to play the victim and blame other for their lot in life.

What does it cost you and others to abdicate opportunities and responsibility for planning your own course?

EXERCISE:

Consider posting today’s quote in several locations in your personal and professional environments. Take 3-5 minutes each day over this week to discover its benefits in creating a happier and more successful life.

A Wonderful Thought

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet!”

-Author Unknown

image from searchengineland.com

image from searchengineland.com

Today’s quote caused me to pause a bit longer than I normally do as I look to the New Year ahead. Instead of looking at the year as a whole, or even fleshing out the priority goals and objectives I wish to tackle, I plan on looking at each day as a unique and precious gift.

One way to see the value of this exercise is to take a trip into your past to examine and pleasantly re-experience, through memory, some of the really great days and experiences. As you take the time to do this, count how many great days you can recall. The list will probably be finite.

EXERCISE:

How can you design the coming year, proactively and intentionally, to have as many remarkable days this year as you have had to this point in your life?