Much like every other holiday undertaking, my annual planning and goal-setting exercises have ratcheted up to Griswold-Level insanity in recent years.
Five years ago, I started a ritual of completing Brian Tracy’s 25-page Ultimate Goals workbook in its entirety. I would complete this (fairly sizable) task sometime between Christmas and each New Year. Every chapter contains 8-10 questions requiring multi-paragraph answers.
So, I have no shortage of Big Dreams chunked-down into smaller achievable goals. I also have every action plan necessary to thwart off resistance, along with every conceivable detail outlined.
It’s an intense process. I love Brian Tracy. While I’m at it, I also love Tony Robbins and his Time of Your Life program. While we’re giving shout-outs, I’ve also learned a lot from Jeffrey Gitomer (The Ace of Sales) and countless others.
But what did I learn from spending countless hours, and introspective weeks working through their workbooks?
“There’s a little knot in this one, Russ”.
None of these ever quite worked for me.
Sure, they got me thinking on a much deeper, practical level about my dreams and goals. They motivated me to get organized and clear-headed. But when I revisit those lists, quadrant boxes, and action plans, I notice an undeniable trend: I was actually achieving (or completing) less than 50% of whatever I wrote down.
On the flip side, whenever I uncover an old page in a journal written in intentional language, I’m blown away by how far beyond I’ve lived out those intentions.
Is it just that I’m a little more “airy-fairy” than “rubber meets the road”? Is my method of creation more in line with the Wayne Dyer and Abraham-Hicks schools than the Stephen Coveys or Zig Ziglars?
I don’t think so, because I truly dig all of it. I can see it’s all essentially the same methods and processes with different packaging.
But in the interest of actually getting MY shit done (and staying inspired while doing it), it’s time to take a different approach.
We have to completely align with our core virtues, and craft an over-arching mission for ourselves. Then, we can pare down our lives to the absolute essentials, or “non-negotiables.” From there, we can then practice and achieve a higher-state I call “full-life integration”.
BLOWHARD DISCLAIMER: I don’t list out any of what follows to impress you. It’s more of a personal inventory from 2012. More importantly, I want to give you (for free) the tools to design, and rock the livin’ hell out of your OWN life.
If you would’ve told me 365 days ago that in the next 11 months I’d create, produce, and release my own comprehensive personal & spiritual development model, I would’ve said: “You, dear friend, are bat-shit crazy.”
It was never in my plan. I just knew I wanted to be a paid speaker and help inspire other people.
Similarly, if you would’ve then told me how my parallel visions for my family, music & art, diet & exercise, and career would fall miraculously in-line with that model, I would’ve said: “Oh. Hayell. Naw!”
But what if that was only the beginning?
What if I somehow found MORE time to meditate & run, the determination to walk away from a (glorious) 20-year drinking career, and the money to travel with my family, mentors, and heroes? What if I can honestly say that in 2012 I laughed more heartily (and at times, annoyingly) than the prior four years combined?
And I’m still coming to terms with the fact that next week I’ll start the first job I’ve ever felt fully designed to do: overseeing sales training & development for a nationwide sales force, which will soon number above 100-Badasses-Strong.
Still, none of this encapsulates the intangibles of 2012: some of the deepest, most inspiring conversations with my wife of 13 years, releasing a candid conversation with my hero Ani DiFranco, befriending an army of inspiring people who are truly improving the world, and an expanding sense of inner-calm and happiness throughout every cell of my body.
Last December, I set out to pivot the income-generating aspects of my career to align with my core passions. This in itself would’ve been quite enough.
But what’s come to pass dwarfs not only last year’s goals exercises, it actually refines and elevates whatever I thought I was doing with all this planning shit.
There was still plenty of trial and error (and error, and error) this past year. There were also plenty of responsibilities and administrative tasks. Day to day, I still managed a sales team. I still actively co-parented our 3 kids. There were innumerable dishwashers to unload, reload, and expense reports to compile.
Through all of 2012, I was reminded of a powerful truth: that no gatekeeper, or boss upstairs has any power to anoint us as successful. Certainly no one outside ourselves can declare us happy, or fulfilled.
No one is coming to our rescue, or discovering us.
That is OUR job.
The beauty is this, that as we zero-in on our self-discovery we realize how tragic it would be to deprive ourselves of it.
This is your job: to sift all your grit, muck, and gold through the sluice; to recombine every seemingly disparate puzzle piece of your life and experience into something infinitely larger than previously imagined; to integrate all of your singular magic and value into…
So in regards to 2013 planning: First, would you like the good news or bad news?
The bad news is that when it comes to achieving inner-alignment with our deepest desires and highest ambitions, there are no shortcuts. There’s no playbook for your life. It’s up to you to write it.
The good news, is that depending on your core success metrics, I may (or may not) be a couple blocks further down the road. The even better news, is that I’ve meticulously documented my travels, and have created a framework that you can easily apply to your own life. And perhaps the best news of all, is that all of this is completely FREE. It’s my gift, to you.
So please, if you haven’t had the chance yet, download “The Framework”, along with the free workbook here.
I’m happy to answer any additional questions you may have along the way. What are you waiting for? Get moving. I promise you’ll be so happy that you did.
Much love, and Happy New Year!
-kc- Akron, Ohio
PS. If you know others who could benefit from my work, or message, please take a minute and SHARE THIS, or forward it along. I’m currently 2% toward my (long term) goal of 100,000 downloads of The Framework Manifesto. 🙂 It’s a movement, y’all. And you’re the bigger part of it. I just work here. Much love.
A beautiful piece of feedback I received this week:
“I came home this afternoon and was feeling pretty down. I sat down and read The Framework and listened to your tunes and just wanted to THANK YOU cause now I feel like I’m swimmin in an ocean of yummy chocolate pudding: silky, smooth and buzzing like the magical dragonfly I be.” – A. Evans, Aspen CO