In Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy suggest that we define a plan for our lives. They introduce us to the concept of Life Planning and show us how to implement the process.
What is a Life Plan?
According to Hyatt and Harkavy, “A Life Plan is a short written document, usually five to fifteen pages long“. The Life Plan is personal, describes your priorities, the steps to reach your goals and the legacy you want to leave.
It is a life long process, that can continually be adjusted and improved. A Life Plan doesn’t shield you from life challenges and failures. Instead, it will help you create intention for your life.
It is common to have a career plan but no Life Plan. The Life Plan enables you to:
- Set priorities and stick to them.
- Stop sacrificing yourself, to stop trading health and time for work, career advancement, accolades or money.
- Filter out opportunities. As you get older and as you get experiences, opportunity coming your way will multiply. It is therefore important to know where your priorities lie and what opportunity to choose.
- Avoid distractions, confront and deal with reality.
- Avoid the feeling of being stuck and allow you to keep your eyes on the future.
- Avoid regrets and increase your level of control.
The drift and its consequences
Most people drift away from their dreams because:
- They are unaware that their ideas and assumptions are inaccurate and harmful.
- There is a discrepancy between their beliefs and reality.
- They are distracted, are spread too thin or too busy to focus on their lives and to start prioritizing.
- They don’t understand that there is hope, that they can change and that they have more control over their lives than they think.
When you drift away from your dreams and when you don’t have a Life Plan, you tend to:
- Lack meaning and purpose.
- Waste your time and other valuable resources on meaningless tasks.
- Lose opportunities and their sense of urgency. People who drift away procrastinate and are unable to discern a good opportunity from a bad.
- Experience trouble more intensely because they are unprepared.
- Take a passive approach to life, shift blame and live in regrets.
Designing and implementing your Life Plan
To design your Life Plan, it is necessary to outline your legacy, to set your priorities, get clarity on your objectives and to reserve one day to build your Life Plan.
Outlining your legacy
To design your Life Plan, keep in mind that everybody leaves a legacy, face your mortality and begin with the end in mind. It is critical to write your Life Plan like you are writing your eulogy, to imagine how you want others to remember you and to stay committed to the process.
Setting your priorities
Getting more clarity on your objectives will definitely increase your commitment. To do so, you must steer clear from external expectations and do what is right for you.
Getting clarity on objectives
- Identify your purpose.
- Project yourself into the future, picture yourself in it and imagine all the different positive outcomes. To make your vision much more compelling, write down in the present tense what you hear, feel, see, smell and taste.
- Find and apply a quote that inspires you.
- Make an honest assessment of your current progress.
- Commit to specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bond goals.
Devote one day to your Life Plan
It is necessary to allow yourself to dream, to not expect perfection and to not get distracted.
Implement your plan
Implementing the Life Plan is the most challenging part. It is necessary to:
- Include your Life Plan in your everyday routine.
- Fight the feeling of being overwhelmed by life’s drama.
- Don’t be afraid to say no or to disappoint others.
- Read your plan daily and review it often.
Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy is an easy to read self-help book that is based on some of their traumatic experiences. It is destined to increase our focus, to helps us find out what matters most, to acquire meaning and fulfillment in our everyday life, to allow us to prioritize our lives and to contribute effectively,
This book is written for people who are looking for a better direction for their life because they are either:
- unsatisfied with the current state of their lives,
- lack purpose,
- seeking more balance,
- unable to overcome life challenges,
- noticing that their lives don’t fit their vision or dream,
- not reaching their full potential.
The earlier we start creating and implementing a Life Plan, the better.
Living Forward will heighten your sense of what’s truly possible for you in life. If you feel out of balance, aware that your current pace is unsustainable; if you are making great gains professionally but don’t want to neglect personal priorities; if you want to have better focus to succeed financially; if you have gone through a recent tragedy and suddenly become aware that life is short; if any of those are true, this book is for you.
I know that how we lead ourselves in life impacts how we lead those around us. Self-leadership always precedes team leadership. We must have a balanced approach to accumulating net worth in all of the critical accounts in our lives, not just one or two. Ultimately this allows us to make the greatest difference and adds the most value to those around us. It is possible to grow at work without diminishing other areas of our lives. Living forward helps us find and maintain our balance.