4 Principles for a Better Life

Have you started working on your annual plan for 2016? One of my personal disciplines each year is to not only create a plan for the upcoming year, but to also assess what worked and what didn’t from the current year and attempt to improve the process.
As I approach the New Year, I’m looking for a new angle. What can I do to make my plan fresh, relevant and applicable? Certainly, it will be linked to my 30-year vision. And, I will still share it with trusted friends for feedback, encouragement and accountability. What else can I do?
This year I decided to create a list of the principles I would use as a filter for the first draft of my plan. Although I have always tried to live a principle-centered life, I have never thought about the principles that should drive my planning. Here’s what I came up with…
You cannot create what you cannot envision. My wife and I are building a house. The builder wouldn’t start building and the bank wouldn’t loan us any money, until we had a plan. If we couldn’t produce a plan, we couldn’t build a house. The prerequisite for the plan was a vision. If you don’t know what you are trying to build, the chances of it coming to fruition are just about zero.
When you think about your life, what are you trying to build? What do you need to add to your 2016 plan to more accurately reflect all that you want to become?
To lead others well, you must lead yourself well. People always watch the leader – whether we want them to or not. Generally, they are looking for two things: Competency and trustworthiness. Competency is not confined to the outer manifestations of leadership. People want to know if we can lead ourselves - everything from alignment and constancy to personal discipline and our performance standards – it is all in public view. 
[tweet_box design="default"]We earn the right to lead, in part, by how we lead ourselves.[/tweet_box]
What can you include in your 2016 plan to strengthen your self-leadership?
Our legacy is built in the stewardship of our time. I find myself thinking about this more and more these days. Perhaps it is the stage of life or maybe it is a cumulative awareness that as leaders, there is nothing more valuable than our time. Recently, I wrote about The Irrational Power of the Calendar. I firmly believe the key to realizing our full potential as leaders can be found in our calendar. How we invest our time will create or crucify our legacy.
What will you do to ensure your 2016 calendar reflects the legacy you want to create?
Written plans increase execution… and success. Have you ever made a grocery list or created a to-do list before you go on a trip? Have you ever crafted a plan to finish a major project at work or school? I’m guessing the answer is yes. Have you ever asked yourself why you do these things? The answer may seem obvious, even silly – you write things down you don’t want to forget or screw-up. The same logic applies with written plans. The only thing that happens when you write down your plans: The odds of your success go up drastically.
Who will you give you feedback on an early draft of your 2016 plan?
My wish for you is that 2016 will be the highest impact, most productive and fulfilling year of your life. A well-conceived plan is a great first step![GLS_Shield]
What principles will inform your planning?


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