My One Thing: Creating Alignment in Our Lives

How You Can Create Alignment Between Your Personal and Professional Lives, and Create a Life Part 2

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Alright in the last entry, My One Thing: Creating Alignment in Our Lives, we discussed vision and goal-setting. And, in this entry, we will discuss.

  • Creating Objectives
  • Creating Priorities
  • Creating Next Actions
  • Results and Metrics
  • A Single System

Of course, both objectives and priorities, must be connected to your goals, and vision, so we’ll also take a look at how to connect them all.

Ready? Good. Here we go.

First, let’s use a goal that is actually part of my work today. A very practical example. Here we go.

  1. Increase connection, collaboration, and unification of noncredit organizations throughout the state of Oregon within the next 2 years.

Alright, we’ve got a goal set. Now, let’s discuss objectives.

Creating Objectives

Where goals can be set for long-term planning, and short-term planning, in the context of this conversation we are using a long-term goal.

Our focus then is to go from our long-term goal to day-to-day activities that will connect back to our long-term goal. Creating objectives can help us do that by breaking our goal up into smaller pieces, which we can achieve in a shorter period of time.

Let’s take a look at an objective for our goal.

  1. Create a noncredit consortium, which includes representatives from each organization that delivers noncredit education throughout the state of Oregon in the next year.

There we go.

Because our goal is to increase connection, collaboration, and unification of noncredit organizations throughout the state of Oregon within the next 2 years, we need an objective that will, well, basically, help us get there.

In this example, creating a consortium within the next year can do just that.

Alright, now we’ve got a 2-year goal, a 1-year objective, now we need some priorities.

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Creating Priorities

Priorities are typically set for a shorter duration of time. They can be set for a day, week, month, and even a quarter. Alright, let’s create some priorities for our objective.

  • Priority #1 – Create bylaws for the non credit consortium in quarter 3
  • Priority #2 – Create a leadership structure for the noncredit consortium in quarter 4.

It is possible in this example, that both of these priorities can be achieved within quarter 3, however, to illustrate the example, I’ve chosen to spread them out.

The important point is that we now have a goal, objective, and priorities that are all connected. And, they all have timeframes allocated to them, so we know if we are on or off track. Important.

Once priorities are created, it is time to create next actions.

Creating Next Actions

Creating next actions, or action items, or next steps, is really about identifying the work that needs to be accomplished to meet your priorities, which then means, yep, that you are meeting your objective, and moving closer to attaining your goal.

Let’s create some next actions.

  1. Identify bylaws needed and begin to create them in the January meeting.
  2. Identify 2 or 3 committee members that will continue to work on the bylaws in between the January and February meeting.
  3. Create agreement and alignment on the bylaw next actions, which are due by the February meeting.

There we go.

Now, you’ll notice that I did not create the next actions for priority number 2. The reason this is so, is that that priority is for quarter 4, and, as we complete the next actions to meet the number 1 priority, we will learn more.

Meaning, that the second priority might shift a little by the time we get to the end of quarter 3. Normal.

Recapping, we now have a 2-year goal, 1-year objective, a priority for quarter 3 with next actions, and a priority for quarter 4 with next actions still to be identified.

Before we get to the system part of our conversation, which, of course, is one of my favorite topics, let’s discuss results and metrics a little.

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Results and Metrics

It’s important in all goal-setting activities, personal and professional, to identify a way to measure progress. The measurement can be quantitative or qualitative. Both are needed and necessary.

In our conversational example about the noncredit consortium, we can create a couple of ways to measure our progress. First let’s reset the goal. Here it is.

  • Goal – Increase connection, collaboration, and unification of noncredit organizations throughout the state of Oregon within the next 2 years.

Now, let’s set a result and a metric.

  1. Result – Increased service to all communities as an outcome of increased collaboration between the noncredit organizations.
    1. Metic – Total service numbers by organization.

We can even take a deeper dive with this result, by creating actually percent increases we expect, such as:

  1. Result – Service numbers increase by 10% in year 2.
    1. Metric – Total service numbers by organization.

Once you have your results and metrics, we need to think about how to gather the data to measure the metric. In this example, we would utilize the systems the various organizations use to gather their student service data.

Alright, we’ve now covered goals, objectives, priorities, next actions, and results and metrics. Let’s now take a look at how these components work together to create a single system.

A Single System

As you all know, I love white boards. And, yes, I’ve created two simple white boards to help us visualize the linear information provided in this post. Here we go.

Corvallis, Oregon 2021

In this first white board we can see I’ve used a relationship ecological system to display the connection between the self, team, organization, and community, and a vision, goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions.

They function the same way.

As we develop as a leader, we take in information from the team, organization, and community, and we give information back out the same way. It’s completely reciprocal and, well, quite lovely.

Similarly, when we create a vision, and set goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions, they inform each other. For instance, the vision informs the goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions. Just as our next actions will inform our upcoming priorities, objectives, goals, and the vision, as needed.

Pretty cool.

Okay, one more visual. Here we go.

Corvallis, Oregon 2021

In this simple illustration, we can see a similar pattern. The vision is the anchor, as the self is in a relationship system, and informs our goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions, which, in turn, informs our upcoming goals.

Wow, that was fun.

That concludes the second and last installment in My One Thing: Creating Alignment In Our Lives.

You can use these tools in your personal life, just as you can at work. The most important thing is to create a vision for your future self; and; to work towards the realization of that self by taking actions each day that align with the self you see yourself becoming.

Remember, you are the only one that can make that future self a reality.

#creatingalignment, #goal-setting, #leadershipdevelopment, #metrics, #myonething, #nextactions, #objectives, #personaldevelopment, #priorities, #professionaldevelopment, #results, #systemsthinking, #visioning

My One Thing: Creating Alignment in Our Lives

How You Can Create Alignment Between Your Personal and Professional Lives, and Create a Life Part 1

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In November of 2019, I went to a Nationwide Conference for practitioners of non credit education. There was a lot of valuable information at this conference, and a few book recommendations. I read often, so taking on more reading, with an already long list, is not something I do often, yet the book, The One Thing, caught my attention.

The book caught my attention, as everyone, professionally, yes, and even personally, have lots of things they want to accomplish. And, sometimes, when we have too many goals, we are unable to concentrate and move anything forward.

The basic premise of the book is to focus on that one thing that will move you forward, either personally or professionally, and let go of the rest. Yes, yes, easier said than done.

However, it got me thinking about a new series, where the goal will be to convey the one thing I’m focused on that day, week, month, quarter, or even year. And, then?

Well, most importantly, what I’m learning. Where have the obstacles been, and how did I get around them, or how did I let go as needed.

I think it will be fun, and if you find it interesting and educational, I’ll keep it going. What’s first? Good question.

One that is part of my work of the year. I would even go so far as to say it is my one thing this coming year. What’s that?

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Creating Alignment

Alright, so I’ve now been in my current work position for 3.5 years, and, in that time, there has been much change. Some created internally, and some, as we’ve all experienced, created externally.

However, the change is created, the important takeaway?

Change always comes. It is part of life. An unavoidable part, as much as some people would like to remove themselves from change as often as possible. And?

I understand. Change is difficult. Yet, there is a paradox here. What’s that? Change is also beautiful. Truth.

In addition to being in my current role at the community college for 3.5 years, I also developed myself during that time, both personally, and, yes, professionally. And, the more I develop, the more I see alignment between all aspects of my life. All of them.

And, that, quite frankly is just simple fun. Many people, as I once did, create a distinction between their personal and professional lives. These distinctions, however, can leave people feeling frayed and stressed when Monday, or the first day of their work week, rolls around. This does not need to be the case.

Photo by Tamara Gore on Unsplash

However, it takes time to get to a place where you can see alignment in all that you do. I’ve been working on it for 3.5 years; and, I’m closer, yet still have work to do. And, that’s okay, for it’s in the work we do in life, whether personal or professional, where the experience of life lives. And, that’s being alive.

Now, what tools have I used to create alignment between both my personal and professional lives. Good questions. Let’s take a look.

  • Vision – as I’ve written about before, having a vision, or declaring a purpose for your life, both personally and professionally is a key ingredient in creating alignment between your work life and your home life. Here are a few that I’ve used over the years.
    • To increase access to higher education for everyone.
    • To increase access to higher education for everyone by making leadership development, creativity, inspiration, and personal transformation available to every business, employee, and community member.
    • I live to create new access points to education and knowledge, and part of those access points is dissemination in print and in collaborative contexts, such as leadership and coaching individuals, teams, and organizations.
    • Develop, Inspire, and Transform.

Alright, that should do. As we can see there are definite similarities and dissimilarities between these visions. Still a work in progress. Yet, the fun part about creating a vision, or purpose, or mission statement, is seeing your vision iterate over time. Super fun, innovative, and expansive.

  • Goal-setting – as I’ve written about before, having tangible goals that live inside of our visions is of utmost importance. If you don’t have goals, you will not create movement on your vision. Here are some of the goals I’ve created for both my personal and professional self.
    • Pull community members and business leaders to us by providing them the why.
    • Create new relationships with community members and business leaders.
    • Priorities that are tied to the vision and mission.
    • Continue to improve and document all processes.
    • Publish a novel.
    • Increase my fluency in Spanish.
    • Travel to Spain.

Now, we can see how there is alignment, and, maybe, non-alignment between the goals and the visions. For the purposes of our discussion that matters less, than that there are goals declared. For it is in the declaring of goals, and setting our intention, that there will be movement in an area, that movement then becomes possible.

Funnily enough, sometimes you can set a goal, and totally forget about it, and you will still see movement in that area of your life if you pay attention. Why? Because you’ve set your intention that something be so, that you want to create movement in an area of your life. Intention is powerful.

Photo by Keytion on Unsplash

Alright, that’s all for this installment of the One Thing on creating alignment. In the next entry in the One Thing, Creating Alignment, we will look at how to take out goals, and create clear, and sometimes not so clear, objectives and priorities. Why is this important?

You can think about creating alignment, starting with a vision, as part of a larger process, which is like starting at the top of a funnel, and working your way down to the actions you take every day.

Because creating alignment is a part of my work of the year, it will take a couple entries to complete. However, as I’ve mentioned, this series will be an exploration of my One Thing, sometimes, of the day, week, month, quarter, and, yes, year, which is where we are starting.

I’m already thinking about a One Thing entry on baking. Hm. How fun would that be?

Remember, creating a One Thing simply means developing the ability to focus and create action around a vision or purpose we’ve intentionally created for ourselves. And, that vision might be for the day, the week, the month, quarter, or year.

It’s a paradox. In one way we can say it’s less about the timeframe and more about the focus you create on that which you want to manifest for yourself.

And, on the other, we can say, timing matters, as the more alignment we create between our personal and professional lives over time, the less of a distinction between these two realms there is; which I can say from personal experience is pretty powerful.

#creating-alignment, #creatinggoals, #creatingvision, #goal-setting, #huamndevelopment, #intention, #leadership, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #theonething, #thepowerofintention

A Blogger’s Diary 12/27/20: On Writing, Goal-Setting, Systems, and the Holidays

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Well, this past week, I had an insight about writing. An insight that was derived from some of the blogs I follow. Yes, some of you, so thank you. The insight? Sure.

Namely, to write and schedule posts in advance. I’ve not done something like this on a regular basis, yet I can definitely see the utility, especially when during normal work times, of which this particular time period is not. So?

Well, I’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s take a look at this week’s writing. Here we go.

Writing

  1. The Framed Window
  2. Focus
  3. Joy
  4. The Sunshine Blogger Award
  5. Swing
  6. Christmas Day
  7. Friends
  8. Flow

Yep, lots of poetry. Fun. And, this week? Sure.

As I was writing about above, I already have two posts scheduled for next weekend. An article on leadership, and one on vulnerability. It’s nice to have those written and scheduled, which will allow me to get back to work on the leadership series, the reflection series, and the social construction series next week. Excited.

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Goal-Setting

I’m present to goal-setting today, as I’ve created a new vision for some of my upcoming engagement on LinkedIn, and have set new goals within that vision. Of course, I’ve also created priorities that are connected to both the long-term, and short-term goals.

If goal-setting is something you’d like to learn more about, you can learn more about how I think about goal-setting in this article, Create A Vision For Your Future Self in 5 Minutes.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Systems

And, when you have goals that live within your vision, whether that is personal or professional, you need a system to put it into. I’ve written a couple articles about creating systems, and will share my LinkedIn system with you here.

Venngage

There we go. That was fun. I do love venngage. Anyway, here we can see the department priorities, and then one way that I will take action next quarter to create more engagement through LinkedIn (LI). You will see there are some blog series listed, which are not actually a reality yet, however, that’s how goal-setting works.

First you create the vision, then the objectives, then the priorities, and then? Well, you get to work. I am excited about the opportunity to discuss the new series with you in the future.

Okay, let’s turn to holidays, shall we? Good. Here we go.

Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

The Holidays

Wow, what a lovely time of year. I do love the holiday, as I’ve written about before. It’s more the time of year, when we are heading into deeper winter, and I can start to see the spring not far off.

Well, it’s still a ways off at this point, however, in the Pac Northwest, the days start to get noticeably longer in January. And, I do love longer days, and the possibility of more sun as we head towards March.

Though, we had a gorgeously sunny day today. Beautiful.

Though I didn’t travel this holiday, we did Zoom calls, like lots of people, and that was nice. I also spent time with my oldest son, playing frisbee golf in the rain and cold, yet it was so nice to spend time with him. We made a sweet potato and butternut squash chili, and had dark chocolate cranberry bread for dessert.

Yes, of course I made the bread from scratch! I love to cook and bake, which I don’t know that I’ve written about before. Anyway, the bread was delicious.

Alright, that’s all for this entry.

As we approach the New Year, I want to wish you all the best in the coming week, and in the coming year. I am so excited about this next year. Seriously. I am excited to continue to create and write, and continue to engage with your beautiful creations.

Stay healthy and well, and enjoy your week.

#poetry, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #business, #diary, #goal-setting, #holidays, #leadership, #linkedin, #newyear, #objectives, #poem, #priorities, #systems, #videos, #vision, #writing

Create A Vision For Your Future Self in 5 Minutes

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Alright, I’ve written about creating a vision for yourself in several posts, yet, to date, have not walked through the process of doing so. What’s interesting is that people usually associate creating a vision with business, which makes sense, yet it makes as much sense, as we will discuss, to create a vision for yourself – for your life. Ready? Let’s go.

What’s first?

First, you want to get out all of your ideas about what your future self will look like, think like, and feel like. Here are some questions to get your thinking started.

  • What are your goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
  • Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

That’s enough to get us started. Let’s take them one at a time, and use practical examples. Here we go.

Identify your 5-year goals

Make a list of all of your goals. Yep, all of them. Why? Because at this stage, you are concentrating on getting out all of the goals that you want to accomplish. Make a list. Here are some of mine.

  • Publish a book
  • Travel to Spain
  • Learn Spanish
  • Travel to Japan
  • Knee recovery so I can run again
  • Expand our remote community education classes
  • Take a trip out of the country with my best friend

Alright, there are some we can work with. Once you have your goals identified, pick one to start working on. Where you start in the future will depend on the goal. I suggest going out as far as you can. Why?

Because you will find that once you start thinking about 5 years from now, let’s say, more goals will come to mind.

Now that you have your 5-year goals identified, time to start working those goals backward. Meaning that you need to create 3-year goals that connect to the 5-year goals.

Photo by Alex Nemo Hanse on Unsplash

Year 3

Let’s use my 5-year goal to publish a book and work that backward. In order to actually publish a book 5 years from now, I would like to have 75% of it written by year 3? Why? That will give me plenty of time to edit, market, and engage people about the book.

Now, publishing a book is not something I’ve ever done, and that is okay. The realisticness of your goals in year 3 matter less, than that you have an idea or picture of what that future state will look like.

Having that picture in mind is important to the next step, which is creating the next year inside of the 3-year goal.

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

The next year

When you start working on your goal for the next year, you are now in the realm of actually putting your theoretical goal into practice. I’m sure you’ve heard people say theory should feed practice, well, it is as true that practice should feed theory. They are inextricably linked. Always.

Now you can choose how to create your next year inside of the goal you are working on. There are many ways to put yourself to work inside of your goal. First you need to decide what your goal will look like at the end of the next year. Let’s keep using my goal of publishing a book.

What will the book look like at the end of the next year?

I would like to have 150 double-spaced pages written. Alright.

Now, to complete 150 pages by the end of next year, I will have to schedule time to get those pages written. How? First, create quarterly goals. With this particular example, I will break 150 pages into 4 parts.

My quarterly goal then is 38 pages. Now take that to monthly, which is 13 pages. Yep, now to the week. 3 pages a week. Alright, I now have a weekly goal.

And, it is a weekly goal that is connected to a quarterly goal, which is connected to a yearly goal. And, that yearly goal is connected to a 3 year goal, which is connected to the 5 year goal. Phew. Pretty cool.

Here is the system. And, you can put any goal into it, and work it backward the same way.

  1. Identify all of your goals.
  2. Pick one to work on.
  3. Set that goal out into the future and visualize what it will look like.
  4. Work backward to year 3.
  5. Set that 3 year goal.
  6. Work backward to the next year.
  7. Set that yearly goal.
  8. Work backward to each quarter.
  9. Set that quarterly goal.
  10. Work backward to each month.
  11. Set that monthly goal.
  12. Work that backward to weekly.
  13. Set that weekly goal.

You can even take it to daily goal-setting, however, in this example it is not necessary. Now, if my goal was to get that book finished in the next year, taking the goal-setting to daily would actually be very helpful.

As you create these goals and work on them, know that you are actively creating the vision of your future self. Yep. And, as you put them into practice in your life, you are actively working on and creating your future self every day. Pretty cool, and fun.

How to organize them to ensure you move them forward?

Here are some tools you can use.

  • Calendars
  • Post-it boards
  • Whiteboards
  • Day planners.

How you organize yourself matters less than creating the actions and actually holding yourself accountable to doing them every day. Use whatever organization system that works for you.

And, if what you are using now doesn’t work, change it. There are tons and tons of tools for organization. So many.

Okay, that’s creating a vision of your future self in 5 minutes. Another thing I like to do with my goals is to create a mind map. As I’ve mentioned in many other posts, I am very visual, so I love to see my goals inside of a mind map.

In case you’ve not created a mind map, here is a quick video I created that describes the process.

Alright, you now have a system to create your future self. And, when you get into it, I think you’ll find that it is quite fun. And, guess what?

When you take those daily or weekly actions to create your future self, you will find that your longer term goals are being accomplished bit-by-bit each day. Happy creating.

#creatinglongtermgoals, #creatingshorttermgoals, #creatingyourfuture, #dailyactions, #goal-setting, #goals, #growth, #mindmaps, #practice, #selfdevelopment, #theory, #theoryandpractice, #vision

Creating Your Life Anew by Letting Go of The Life You Are Currently Living

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I’ve been thinking a lot this week about creating the future. Creating the future we want to live into, what will be, while also reflecting upon the deep attachment we all have to what was, or the past. What’s created the space for such reflections? And, why do these reflections matter to the future we plan to live into? Let’s take a look.

The COVID-19 health crisis has created the space for these reflections, as every day, people, including myself, continue to have new experiences, both at home and work.

These new experiences are a product of an unplanned event that has disrupted life as we once knew it. What we once knew as our reality is over. Gone. The “new normal” people often refer to will look nothing like what once was.

Inside of this understanding I think about how hard that has been, and will be for many people. An impossibility for some, as it once was for me, as humans are deeply attached to the ways they understand their lives, thus reality. It will be continue to be painful for people to let go of that previous reality, the past.

People that are unable to let go of their old views of life, will meet untold challenges in our new reality, and our coming future reality. Why? Because those behaviors and actions may not mesh well with our future reality.

Though I have no idea what that reality will look like, I do know that preparing for, and creating the new life you want to live into will be needed and necessary.

What can we do to prepare for this future reality? Start creating now. Don’t wait. What might that look like?

Here are some strategies I use that you might try.

  • Journal – start to write about the new life you want to live into.
    • Here are some questions I use to get my thinking started.
      • What do I want that future life to look like?
      • What do I want to create for myself, both personally and professionally?
  • Write down your goals – you know, the ones that you’ve wanted to achieve, yet have not been able to do so.
    • Make lists of them. You can even start to plan them out. Start a year or two out, and work backwards to today.
  • Take action – one of the most important steps in creating that future life, is to start living it now. When you are clear about your goals, create actions that you can take today to start to bring them to life.

Here is a picture of a very simple, what I call whiteboard post-it, that my youngest son and I created with goals we both want to acheive.

I labeled this board strategic thinking as I was teaching my son about the difference between reacting to an already existing environment, the one we are currently attached to, and creating a new future reality that we can live into. And, that is a part of strategic thinking.

It matters less how you begin to create that new life, than it does that you take action today and begin to create it. What will stand in your way? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being told it can’t happen, by yourself, and by others.

Let me be the first to tell you that it can happen; and, you are the only one that can make it happen. You can do it.

How do I know this? I know this because I live it today. I live it in my personal, and professional life. As some of you may know, however, living this way was not always my life, or my reality. My reality was once predicted predominantly on the past. What was.

As difficult as it is, we must let go of the past.

There is a shift in thinking, and your corresponding awareness to live this way. Yet, if I can do it, so can you. It simply requires creating new goals within the new life you want to create, and taking actions that align with these goals, and that life.

As we enter new phases of the COVID-19 health crisis, continuing to reflect upon, and create new actions inside of the life we want to create and live is available to us all. You simply have to take action. Take one step. Then take another. One step, and one action at a time.

#attachment, #covid-19, #creating-a-new-life, #creating-a-new-reality, #creating-your-life, #goal-setting, #letting-go-of-the-past, #reality