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It’s Time to Design Your Year


Ever find yourself talking about your life as if you have no say over it?  Especially in an area in which you are not particularly proud? Whether it’s your (and my) aging body, your job, your home life, or your finances, we speak about ourselves and our lives like we’re reporting on the weather. We make sweeping generalizations like: “I’m bad with money.” “I’ve never been good about working out.” “I’ll have to work this hard until the kids are out of school.”  

Sound familiar?

We at HG have come to call that voice of ours the “weather reporter.” It is the voice of passive helplessness. It simply reports on one’s life without taking responsibility for any of it. And given that a weather reporter has no control over the weather, the best one can do about a storm (especially a winter one!) is describe what’s coming, prep for it, and, fingers crossed, hope for the best.

And you know what’s also interesting (at least in our book, literally)?

We even act like weather reporters even when things are going well! “I was in the right place at the right time.” “I was lucky to get the promotion.” “You do this long enough, you’re bound to {fill in the blank}.”

And boy do we ever believe our own “forecasts.” So much so, there is nothing to do about winter storm Shir or winter storm {insert your name here} except, you know, brace for a 70% chance of righteousness with a 30% chance of blame others.

I know, not you. Or me. Or any of my clients…

Nothing frustrates me more than when I hear my clients speaking like weather reporters. You know why? Because they are giving their power away. For example, if a client really believes his marriage will never be better because, well, marriage after X (a lot) of years is just hard, what do you think is going to happen?

You guessed it: nothing. They will keep on keeping on in the same marriage, year-in and year-out.

Yes. We have THAT much power over our lives, but conveniently, we don’t relate to ourselves as the authors of our own weather. If you truly are the author of your life, the good and the bad, then you can roll up your sleeves and get busy doing something about you.

You can change any of it.

So how to get going? The best way to start authoring your life is with one of my favorite coaching tools we use called a DD (Designed Day).

The DD is a simple tool and takes just a few minutes. In the morning, you write up an accounting of how you want your very best and most fun day to unfold, equipped with attitude and aspirations. Whether you accomplished all the work you set out to do, had the date of your dreams, told the truth, led an inspirational meeting, or had two out of the blue business opportunities appear––you write it up, literally creating your day before it happens.

And it works. This seemingly simple tool was the one thing that completely rocked the personal and professional world of one of my CEO clients (turned dear family friend). It changed and dramatically improved his already-great life.

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Figuring since we’re talking about authoring, I’d let my client author his own journey with coaching and the DD. Here are some answers to my (and hopefully, your) questions to him about how this simple tool caused big shifts:

Q: Why did you come to coaching in the first place?
A: I was at a stuck place in my professional and personal development.

Q: What was the biggest takeaway or uncovery you got from coaching?
A: I would say it helped me get refocused on total ownership of my life. If I made the mess, then I can clean it up.

Q: Why do you think DD-ing rocked your world? How did it impact you, your business, and those who read them every day?
A: When I started out, it was somewhere between a to-do and a wish list. Once I sorted out how to take ownership of the process, the results were transformational. Writing in the future perfect tense about your day is hard, sending it to people you barely know around the world is harder, and publishing each day’s results is really hard. But four plus years later it has evolved into the daily script of my life, one that resets the best vision of myself and emanates it out as far as I can project it. For me, it balances bold ideas, emotional connection to check validity, scary vulnerability, a fair amount of quantum physics, and full accountability. I only ask for what I can create, which has gotten pretty big. I also get a random thank you every few weeks from someone on the distribution list, mostly about the inspiration of intentional living.

Q: How many people are on your DD distribution list?
A: I think the number is around 80 now, I haven’t counted in a while. The cross section of people is pretty diverse from all over the globe, some are my oldest friends, some I met for less than an hour. There are business leaders, special ops warriors, house moms, wanderers, even a bona fide rockstar or two. But the distribution list is confidential, and no one knows who else is on it.

Q: How many people started DD-ing in response to your DDs?
A: I get six or so “non-Handel” DDs most every day now, three of which are people I work with. That was an uncomfortable line to cross, but the payoff was huge.

Q: Why do you keep doing them?
A: There was a quote I used one day long ago that I can vaguely paraphrase as “Life is either lived by design or witnessed by chance”. I still skip a day or so once in awhile other than weekends (usually when I’m sick), and on those days I feel lost. Why would someone want to live totally by chance and leave the choices of their day up to anyone but themselves?

Q: Any favorites you want to share? Any helpful hints you want to  give others when it comes to DD-ing?
A: I love the ones that I feel deeply inspired to write, ones that challenge both me and universe to think much bigger, and especially the ones that are a little scary to hit send. Also, if you ask small you get small. Finally, stop asking for more money in the DDs and start asking to create a better person or company that people want to give more money to.

Want a sample of what one of my client’s DD’s looks like? Okay, you asked for it (sort of).  Though be forewarned and inspired, he’s a bit of a poet.

Tuesday DD

“What if the world is counting on you?” Dave Roberts

The day asked early and I answered with bold clarity of choice, heaven right here right now.

What an amazing opportunity to redefine leadership today. I kept the zoom way out and let the thinking crystallize on its own. The material learned today filled the vastness of the new space with both a cohesive integration strategy and a very bright spark.

I cultivated so much space between cause and effect that the link could no longer be found.

The NY team brought some big news of their own home today.

The girls had the most amazing of days. P was turning into a cool little sailor and L and mommy were happy and healthy all day long.

Big Tuesday magic happened.

The flight back was fast, safe, and easy. Sleep came fast and I had more than enough gas back in the tank by wheels down at JFK.

Well lived.

There you have it. And Lord knows, in a time when the weather truly is precarious and unpredictable, isn’t it about time we control what we can and not only forecast our own magic, but conjure it?

Love,
Shir