One of the things I give every coaching client is the “High-Performance Scorecard.” It’s a postcard-sized printout designed to be carried with them in their day-planner or another medium that works for them.
It reinforces many of the mental habits we talk about, keeps them focused on their goals, and gives them “check-in” techniques when they are feeling distracted.
But there’s also one focus item on there that says, “What’s one thing I did today to pursue my goals: ______________________”
After spending hours designing this scorecard, I think this is one of the most important questions on there.
Because, as a High-Performer training other high-performers, here’s what I’ve learned: we have trouble acknowledging the day-in-day-out habits of success.
But if I’m honest, some days (more than I care to admit) I think “But what did I really do to get closer to my goals?”
In the day-in-day-out grind of the entrepreneurial life, I often feel like I don’t do things of consequence.
Writing a blog is a part of my business, nothing heroic.
Same with coaching a client.
And Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and email.
Networking is hard but necessary, so nothing special there.
And that’s precisely my problem. When I can convince myself that nothing matters then nothing ends up mattering.
So I put that question in the scorecard to remind my clients that what you do absolutely matters, 100% of the time.
Because what’s the alternative? Not writing the blog post? Now that would be a tragedy.
Not coaching, not engaging in social media, and not networking would mean the end to my business.
So in reality, it’s those little things that do matter. It’s the little things that add up to big wins. Big wins lead to success.
Success is what my clients pay me for.
Never Knock Progress
One of the mindsets I’ve had to change in myself, and one I work hard on my clients with, is that of the daily routine. In the scorecard, it’s a built-in process. At the end of every day, you acknowledge a success, however seemingly small or insignificant, and champion the work done.
And no matter how small a victory, I tell them, “It’s progress, and we never knock progress.”
It’s a great way to combat fatigue, discouragement, and frustration. By remembering the one thing we did today, we’re encouraged to do one more thing tomorrow.
Day after day.
Week after week.
Month after month.
Year after year.
Until all of a sudden, we realize that we’ve made our own version of success.
That’s why we celebrate one thing.
That’s why we never knock progress.
What’s one thing you would tell someone facing discouragement or disillusionment in chasing their dream?
When we left Denver for our California move, it was Valentine’s Day 2017. My wife boarded a plane with our four kids (and my mom) with a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.
Most of our items were onboard a semi-truck moving company and in transit already. After I dropped them off at the airport, I took our minivan loaded with only essential family possessions and my camping gear and headed west. With a full tank of gas and a queue of podcasts and audiobooks, I plugged my ending destination into the GPS system on my phone and took off.
Fourteen hours later I had made it. I was halfway through the trip, and after a quick one night stay at a campground, woke up early the next morning to finish the trip.
At regular intervals, I would stop, fill up the gas tank, grab some food, stretch my legs, and start a new audiobook.
Even when I stopped, got rerouted because of road work, or got stuck in traffic, my end destination stayed the same.
I had a clear goal and objective in mind: reuniting with my family.
Everybody ends up somewhere. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision. – Andy Stanley
Somewhere on Purpose
Life works the same way. So does business. Family. Hobbies. Income. Education.
You are going to end up somewhere. The only question is if it is where you wanted to be.
To get where you want to be, you have to have a vision. Practice Intentionality. Cultivate solid habits. Engage in Discipline.
To get where you want to go, you have to be clear in where it is you want to end up.
If I had simply entered “California” or “West” into my GPS, there is a strong likelihood that I wouldn’t have ended up next to my family.
In life, if your only goal is to end up “not here,” then you probably won’t. But that also doesn’t mean the destination is any better.
Like a good GPS system with a final address, our life needs to have a clear end destination in mind. A clear goal to reach. An objective measure that we have arrived.
As a success and mindset coach, that’s much of how I work with my clients on a daily basis.
But success doesn’t have to mean financial. Maybe it means that it’s having just enough to be able to take trips with the grandkids. Success for some might mean living long enough to see a family member take over the family business. For another, it could be to lose weight and run their first 10k.
Success for one former client was to start her own business and never work for someone else again.
For another, it was to build a speaking platform and tour the country providing health lectures.
Ending up somewhere on purpose doesn’t happen by accident.
So, if you’re ready to end up somewhere on purpose, here are five tips to help you get started.
5 Tips to End up Somewhere on Purpose:
1.) Create a list of the non-negotiable elements of your life. Key relationships, experiences, and mindsets are always foundational.
2.) Visualize your success. Create a vision board, write it down in your journal, practice intentional meditation. Whatever it is that works for you, spend time actually thinking about and picturing yourself in that future state.
4.) Share your vision with someone you love. Life is best traveled with someone you love. A spouse, friend, mentor, or coach can encourage you during the downtime and help you push through the tough moments.
5.) Stay the course. It won’t happen overnight. Real Talk: It may not even happen in a thousand nights. But if you are faithful, day in and day out over the course of a lifetime, it will.
I’ve spoken with clients who felt like the 4th of July was only two weeks ago.
Our oldest turned ten this year.
I’ve been out of high school fifteen years already, and college more than ten.
The number of people who have told me, “The days are long but the years are short” are only half right.
What do you do when even the days are short?
The Power of Journaling During Change
In my doctoral program, I was introduced to a way of “checking-in” emotionally during a changing season. It gave space to everyone in the room to acknowledge, own, and share their feelings in a safe environment.
Over the years, I’ve also used it with my clients and with myself during seasons of change. It’s a quick focusing technique that can empower us and it’s a great place to start journaling.
Journaling may be a new idea or discipline for you, and it can feel tough to get started.
If so, here is the technique for you to use that won’t eat up a bunch of your short days, but give you immediate power.
Plus, as you continue in this discipline and the journaling and writing process comes more easily to you, it becomes easier to expand on these ideas and create that daily journal to reflect on.
The power of journaling during change is that it gives us memories to look back on. To see how we’ve grown. To see what we’ve overcome. To see the victories.
The power of journaling during change is that it gives us the power to own our narrative. Experience healing. Embrace transformation. To remember that every day is a season of change. That no matter what you’re going through, “You got this.”
How To Start A Daily Journaling Habit
The easiest way to start a daily journaling habit is to remember the acronym S.A.S.H.E.T.
S – Sad
A – Angry
S – Scared
H – Happy
E – Excited
T – Tender
At the end of your day, journal your emotional state using these words. Maybe you experienced all of them in a day. Maybe only one or two. There is no “right answer” only what is true for you now.
As time unfolds you’ll also begin to expand on these. Like the keys on a piano, being able to identify more emotions will expand your “playing range.”
Great pianists can play the full range of the keyboard. Similarly, people in tune with their emotions will be able to feel, experience, navigate and lead from a wider range of emotional states.
A simple journal entry could look like this.
Today, I’m checking in with myself. One thing that made me scared today was when I was running late for work. I thought it would make me look bad to my boss and fellow employees.
I was angry when I got home from work and saw that my kids hadn’t done their chores as I had asked.
I am excited about our upcoming family vacation. I really need that time to relax.
I am feeling tender at the moment for my oldest. His birthday is coming up soon. I see the man he is becoming and it makes want to parent more intentionally.
Consistent journaling will serve us well in a couple of areas
1.) It gives us the power to own our day. By owning our emotions we can then own our actions and work to get better.
2.) It expands our emotional keys. By consistently checking in, we may soon discover that these words are not enough. Soon enough, something will happen where you won’t merely be ‘happy’ but ‘elated.’
3.) It allows us to reflect. The best time to plant an oak tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. The same is true of personal growth, writing that book you’ve always wanted, and growing your emotional intelligence. The best time to start journaling was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Soon enough, you’ll be able to look back at last week, last month, and the last several years to see where you were, what you’ve overcome, and how you’re growing.
4.) It allows us to shape our future. If we can see where we’ve been and know where we are now, we can better navigate our future. We notice trends, can see recurring patterns, and break out of destructive habits, relationships, or no longer important goals.
Do you journal? What have you learned about yourself? Leave a comment below!
The power of journaling during change is part of our week-long look at how to navigate the “changing seasons” of our lives. To receive exclusive access to all of the content, get an easy to read recap of the topic, and receive my free five-day course on productivity, joinmy community newsletter.
At the end of my fifth-grade year, I took part in our annual school play. Put on entirely by the fifth graders, it was supposed to be a way to introduce kids to the arts program before band, music, and other opportunities opened up.
For me, it became a self-defeating narrative that plagued me long into adulthood.
When the parts of the play were announced, I was excited. I had always been an outgoing, energetic, and rambunctious kid. Fairly outgoing, I thought that this would be a wonderful time to explore acting.
I got the practice lines and spent weeks rehearsing them.
In the mirror.
I wanted to nail one of the lead roles.
After the auditions, the music teacher announced the roles by posting them on the bulletin board outside her classroom. I excitedly went up to find my name.
Except, it wasn’t listed alongside any of the starting roles. Or any of the secondary roles.
On the roster, I was listed dead last. In fact, I think my official role was titled, “Person #6” or something like that.
The rule was that everyone had to have a part. I was listed even below my friends who wanted no part in the play. It was almost like they went, “Oh crap. Not everyone has a part. Let’s make some up.”
I felt like a failure.
My only part was at the very end of the play. After almost an hour and a half of watching everyone else get up on stage and do something exciting, I got into position for my scene.
What did I do?
At the very back of the stage, behind all the singing and dancing of almost the entire fifth-grade class, I walked from stage left to stage right.
The Biggest Failure I Ever Had
That moment is the biggest failure I ever had.
Well, not quite, but I also see how that experience, in many ways, led to a lot of my other failures.
From that moment I took away a feeling of shame and embarrassment.
I let that moment define much of the next 25 years of my life in one way or another.
Why try something new? You’ll just be “Person #6” again.
Why put yourself out there? Remember the last time you did that how you got nothing out of it anyway? Just quit.
“You’re not good enough.”
“Don’t embarrass yourself again.”
“You’re a loser.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
My narrative, until I was almost thirty resonated with many of these thoughts. Thankfully, through years and years of therapy, coaching, and personal development I have been able to (mostly) shake that false narrative.
The real tragedy
But there is a real tragedy and a real failure in all of this.
One that I could easily say is the biggest failure I ever had.
What is it?
I listened to that awful narrative. For nearly twenty years, I let one failure and setback dictate the rest of my life.
It was why I could never be a good enough student.
Run for a school position.
Emerge as a leader.
Become a good husband.
Be a good father.
The biggest mistake I ever had, was letting my mistakes define me.
Having a growth mindset
Now, after those years of therapy, coaching, and personal development I try to practice a growth mindset.
A firm and unwavering belief that I can (and will) learn from any and every situation.
Tried a new weight limit for squat? Got buried at the bottom. Okay, not a big deal. What can I learn to improve and get stronger?
Lost my temper with my kids? Not who I want to be. What happened? How can I better control my emotions?
Lost a sale or business venture? It happens. How can I improve so I close the deal the next time?
Nelson Mandela once said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.”
That’s a key foundation to a growth mindset.
Failure is only fatal, only final if we use it as an excuse to quit or give up. Otherwise, it’s a learning opportunity.
Don’t let the greatest failure you ever make be the acceptance of a (false) limiting belief or narrative about your life. Embrace failure and use it to make yourself, and those around you, better.