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Stop Playing Small – Six Activities to Empower You

Here are some suggestions and ideas to help you step into the New Year with a new plan! These suggestions can be used to develop actionable steps to achieve the results you want to see in your life, whether it be work, home or both. Keep in mind, these activities do not have to be completed in order, but because they naturally build on one another, they have been outlined below in a series of interrelated steps. Any one of the activities could also be used independently.

Mapping

Take a blank piece of paper, turn it sideways, now draw a circle in the middle of the paper and write the word “manifest”, then think about what you would like to bring into being in your life and draw spokes off the center circle, with those words embedded in the other circles at the end of each spoke.

Assessment

Take a written assessment that would help you clarify both your strengths and your opportunities for growth. There are several out there you can take for free or for a reasonable amount. Here are some I recommend. Both will generate a report providing you with information about yourself that is useful for a starting point.

Free assessments can be found at the University of Penn State, if you are interested in assessing your well-being or you can search VIA Character for a free strengths based assessment.

Fee based assessments are more comprehensive in nature. For instance, the Gallup Strength Finder will provide you with a comprehensive report, resources and basic ideas of how to move yourself into action.

Touch Point Exercise

Chose three different touch points in your future. This can be any time frame you chose, just make sure there are three different dates. For this example, I am going to use one, three and five years. At those specific intervals, take time to develop a detailed snapshot of your life. “Where will you be living and working? What will your job description be at this point?” The more time you spend making the details come alive and aligning them with your vision and goals, the more “clarity” you will establish for yourself.

Action Inventory

In keeping with the example of a one, three and five year touch point, utilize a calendar (given how long your time line is you may have to print off your own calendar for subsequent years in the future). Begin identifying dates in which your tasks, steps or actions will be completed by. For instance, if you want to have an article published by January 2, 2017, start by looking at the action steps you have identified and sit down with a 2016 calendar and start working backwards from your goal date, targeting “by when” dates for the specific actions you are taking to reach your goal. Example: by February 15, 2016, research will be complete, March 20, 2016, article will be in rough draft form. Make this “you-nique” to you by using colored pens for each goal you are working on so you can visually see your progress. The one thing you HAVE to do is not let anything roll off your calendar. In other words, if you miss your March 20 deadline, you have to be committed to identifying another date and getting it on the calendar immediately. Commitment is key!

Fear Inventory Exercise

After taking the time to establish “touch points,” sit down and make a list of all the things you have identified at these specific times in your life. Don’t hold back during this exercise as the two work in tandem. Next to each item you have listed, write what you are afraid of associated with this step, task or ultimate goal. Example: In one year, I would like to be a published author. I’m afraid of being rejected. I’m afraid that I’m not a good enough writer. I’m afraid my family will find out and make fun of me. Seeing your fears outside yourself helps to give you a sense of power over them. Now you can begin to work with them and take your control back by designing ways to deal with them effectively.

Celebration Exercise

This is personally my favorite exercise because it’s all about YOU! Through my work with others, I have noticed the majority of us do not take time to celebrate our accomplishments. Yes, I myself am guilty of this so I can speak to it from an expert’s point of view! We get something done, breathe a small sigh of relief, and before we know it, we are off and running onto the next thing. Most of us do not allow ourselves to feel a sense of accomplishment. In this exercise, write down some rewards you are going to promise yourself as you get some of the items completed on your action plan. Don’t wait until the end, but reward yourself with small things along the way. These things do not have to cost money, they can be as simple as a bubble bath, a hike you have been putting off, taking the time to catch up with a friend for coffee. Once identified, DO NOT let these things roll off your calendar. If you miss your deadline, re-establish a new one along with your reward for completing it. STAY COMMITTED to the process.

Okay, it’s time to take action!

Remember, if you don’t take the time to design your destiny, someone else will.

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