Monthly Archives: June 2015

Post LifePlan: I’m Still Flawed, But Now I Have Tools to Overcome

LifePlan gave me the perspective, tools and plan I need to carry out my best life.  But, it doesn’t mean that I will be without struggle.  

Because I am human and I am flawed…there will be times when I…

1. Have to remind myself that my self worth doesn’t come from achievements or other people

2. Respond with emotional immaturity in a heated discussion

3. Don’t respond with enough grace

4. Have to fight off self doubt

5. Am too hard on myself

6. Don’t think I’m achieving enough

7. Struggle with a multitude of things

But, here’s what Lifeplan caused: An ability to catch  myself in these moments and respond with self-knowledge and to calmly ask “why” am I responding this way.  I can pause and ask “What in my root system is causing me to react the way I am?”  What LifePlan gave me was a tool to overcome emotional immaturity (yes, we all have that at times!)  It allows me to identify the roadblock, gain perspective on it and work through it so that it doesn’t hold me and my relationships back.

Was LifePlan transformative? Yes, but there was no wave of a magic wand that suddenly fixed my flaws.  But, it gave me something even better, the tools to overcome them myself. 

 

 

LifePlan Released my Brake Pedal

Life is like riding a bike. 

As I helped my three-year-old ride his bike today, he struggled with understanding how to pedal. He couldn’t figure out how to release the brakes and gain momentum. He was okay with me just pulling him along, but with his brakes engaged, pulling him along was difficult!

“This,” I thought to myself, “was me prior to LifePlan.”

Was I moving forward and okay with my progress?  Sure. I was attempting to balance life as a working mom. I was learning a ton in my new position at work.  I continued to exercise and maintained relationships that mattered.

But, I was stuck. I knew something was holding me back, but like my son trying to understand the brake system, I couldn’t pinpoint what was holding me back. Things in my life were seemingly good. What was “wrong” with me?

Well, nothing was wrong, I just lacked perspective. I lacked an understanding of my root system–those aspects in my childhood and life that ingrained certain beliefs and actions in me….some positive aspects and some things that had limiting implications for my life.

LifePlan revealed this to me so that I was unable to unlock the brakes and move forward.

Are your brakes engaged?   Want to release them and live your best life?

Or, is your life going great and you want to know how to excel even more. Yes, LifePlan is for you, too!

Start by listening to these podcasts: Understanding your Root System  & Is Your Root System Holding You Back?

Then, listen to these:

The LifePlan Episode

Your LifePlan Questions Answered

And, if you want more, check out other related podcasts by Chris and his team here.

 

 

LifePlan: An Awakening

 

“Every teacher has the capacity to be a leader in some way.”

In my third year of teaching, this is what my principal told me in a heart-to-heart as I contemplated my career path.  I was very intrigued by leadership.

Five  years into my teaching career, I took a leadership role and was handed the book Awakening the Sleeping Giant by Marilyn H. Katzenmeyer.  This book verified for me what I knew…that there was a leader inside of me that needed to be cultivated….to be guided…to be developed. It literally awakened the leader inside of me.  What I did after that, how I capitalized on the guidance that was given to me, was completely in my hands. It was my responsibility.

After LifePlan is an interesting sort of thing.  Two long days of intense conversation, digging into the depths of your life (aka, your root system) and finding the “why” of who you are…was powerful.  It was another awakening, in ways I cannot even begin to describe.

But then you leave.  And that’s an odd feeling.

If you’re like me, you go through a ton of emotions (and I’m a pretty even-keeled person). After I went through that post 24-36 hours, I was left with knowing I leaned on my facilitator during those two days….we walked the journey together.  But, Post LifePlan, it’s up to me.

Luckily, I’m a learner….a reader…a podcast listener…an observer.  LifePlan lasted two days, but the implementation period, is crucial.  Because without that follow-through, the impact LifePlan has lessens.  The potential I have to live my best life, lessens.

So, for today, the learning continued with an Entreleadership podcast, entitled “Breaking Bad Habits with Gretchen Rubin.” There’s so many golden nuggets in here that I can apply to my LifePlan.  The basic premise of this podcast: you can change your life by changing your day-to-day habits.  As I reflected on this, I saw ways I had changed my daily habits to live out my LifePlan (ie, a specific early morning exercise routine six days a week.)  I also saw ways that I was not changing my daily habits.  A gentle reminder…it’s up to me. And, if success isn’t happening in a particular area, I can change that, likely with a daily habit.

So, the daily learning will continue via books, podcasts, conversations, etc. Because the awakening (as life-changing as it was) wasn’t enough. The follow-through and daily habits are key.

LifePlan was an awakening. What I do with it, is up to me. 

What Grace Allows

Grace opens up so many doors.

Grace is a huge part of Chris Locurto’s LifePlan process.  During my LifePlan, it was communicated in the very first conversation how grace would be delivered. It was modeled throughout, which opened the door to allowing me to give myself grace.

Grace is the facilitator of LifePlan.

During LifePlan, grace allowed…

1. Openness

2. Conversation

3. Understanding

4. Perspective

5. Progress

6. Truth

After LifePlan, grace allowed…

1. Motivation

2. Drive

3. Growth

4.  Achievement

5. Sense of content

6. Compassion for others

7. Perspective on self and others

8. Better understanding on leadership

9. A free feeling

As a child, I witnessed my grandmother give others grace, despite the extremely hurtful ways she was treated. I wanted to strive for that type of grace as I grew older. I proactively worked on this trait and became better at it.  After LifePlan, though, it’s in my heart and being like it never was before. I am finally extending grace as it is meant to be.

The awesome thing about this….when I extend grace to others, what doors will it open up for them?

 

 

LifePlan: Living Life to the Fullest

When you’re eighty years old and looking back on your life, what do you want to see? 

For me, it’s many things, but one of those is that I really lived life–by seizing the moments that make life amazing beyond measure. Those opportunities exist for us all. If we just allow them to happen.

LifePlan was one of those moments for me.

Truth be told, I struggled with the decision to actually do LifePlan. I had no doubt that I wanted to, but it was an investment for me and for my family.  Was it worth it?  I thought it was.  But, I still struggled.

Did I really need this to figure out where the discontent was coming from?

Did I really need to travel nine hours away to work with someone?

Was it fair to make this trip our family vacation?

Would the impact be lasting and deep?

So many questions.  I questioned it, too much, admittedly.

But, here’s what I did know.   There are moments and experiences in life that are unique and can change the course of events in your life.  I knew this because I had experienced some…

1. When my high school softball coach guided me through a situation that was requiring emotional intelligence, and he looked at me and said, in the most matter-of-fact way possible, “There’s nothing  you can’t do if you set your mind to it.”  And, he walked off. That planted  a seed in me that has blossomed and allowed me to excel.

2. The birth of my child showed me a kind of love I have never known.

3. My husband and I reciting our marriage vows.

4.  A mentor saying “You have to get out of this situation. It is unhealthy for you, and it’s not your responsibility to make it better.”

Etc.  We all have these moments…these moments that stand still in our memories, as if they just happened yesterday.

I believed LifePlan would provide powerful moments like that for me. And, it did.

The entire process has impact that cannot be measured.  But, there were particular points in the conversation, particular statements that were made with such conviction, with such truth….they became part of who I was instantly. They were statements that set me free from exactly what was holding me back.  They were statements that I internalized to the point of them being my foundation. They were moments where life stood still, for just a second.

LifePlan will do this for you, too.

Looking back at the process, I know that when I am 80, this will be an experience I reflect on, knowing that going through the process was me living life to the fullest. 

 

The Magic Happens in the Conversation

The answers are somewhere, oftentimes in the pages of a book, but not always. 

I’ve been a reader for all my life.  As Dan Miller says, the pages of a book can be your mentor.

Books have profoundly impacted my life. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom helped me move past the death of my grandmother, the only person in my early childhood who said “I am proud of you.” The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell introduced and guided me through mid-level leadership. Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life by Michele Cushatt has reminded me of the beauty that exists in life despite the day to day, and sometimes lengthy, struggles we have.

I could go on and on about how books have impacted me.

But, books would not have done what LifePlan did for me….it revealed my root system and its grasp it had on me.

How did this happen? It was in the conversation…the conversation with my facilitator. It was through his graceful questioning.  It was through he and I mapping out my life on chart paper and him asking “why.”  It was through him saying “I’m seeing a pattern in how you communicate and what you say.”  It was through his challenging my premise of “This is just who I am.” It was through the grace the conversation was led with–grace that was modeled, which allowed me to give grace to myself.  It was through him saying “You do realize, that you do impact people beyond the current generation now, right?” It was through him saying “You trust me, right?”

“Magic” happened in that LifePlan room.  It never would have happened in the pages of a book, or for that matter, in the endless podcasts I listen to.

Sometimes, you just have to let someone else, someone outside of your life, reveal the light.

Consider LifePlan.  Be willing to trust the process, have the conversation and find what’s holding you back.

 

Growth…in All Domains!

At one point in my career, I was working 70 hours/week.

Why?  I learned that in LifePlan.

The core reason was that I has a high need to succeed.  Why?

1) Succeeding had become part of who I was because I had to work myself out of poverty, in both the financial sense and the emotional sense.  (Being in poverty embeds a unique mindset in people…to be discussed in a later post).

2) My self worth was tied to my level of achievement. It’s how I measured myself. Oh man…did I just say that?!

Post LifePlan has caused a cascade of discoveries. One of them was something I already knew to some  extent, but didn’t live enough.  To live your best life, one has to grow in all areas, not just career.

Of course, I intellectually knew this. I read marriage books with my husband.  I took up running in eighth grade and never stopped.  I took personality surveys to learn how to communicate with family better.  I listened to health and wellness podcast.  Etc.

But, the fact is, that my balance tipped way more towards my career than anything.  (My Twitter profile was an example of this: it only shared who I was as an educator).

In LifePlan, your facilitator will walk you through all five domains: personal, family, vocation, god, and community.  Prior to LifePlan, so much of what I envisioned LifePlan to be was career related. Little did I know there were so many other areas I needed to dive deeper in.

I’ve spent an immense amount of time since LifePlan focusing on things other than career…making exercise more effective, communicating with my husband, contemplating how to effect community more….

I have to admit, there’s a tinge of guilt that I am not spending hours after hours reading professional material as I had done in previous summers.  But, what I learned PostLife Plan is to identify the emotion, talk about it, then grow past it.  July will led to more professional reading, but for now, growth in the other domains take priority.

The thing is, this time I am spending now, focusing on personal, family, god and community, will make me a better educator/coach later.  I’ll be a stronger person. I already am. I was the minute I left LifePlan.

Is your life balanced in these five domains?  Are you ignoring one area that could be impacting your growth in the other areas?

It’s Okay: Let Others Pour Into You

“I’ve never known a truly successful person who didn’t allow others to pour into them.”

Joel, a member of Chris’s team, tweeted this out a few months ago. They were powerful words for me.

If you looked at my Before LifePlan page, you’ll see things were actually going pretty good for me. Which made it obvious to me: the only person holding me back was me.

I’ve always used this as guiding belief.  In order to get out of poverty and unhealthy relationships, I had to.

With that said, it still irked me that I couldn’t figure out my “why.”  Why did I have a feeling of discontent?  Why was I so freakin’ hard on myself?  In all reality (despite what I thought), I wasn’t failing.  Was I struggling outwardly?  No.  Inwardly, yes.  Not being able to figure out why, was the part that ticked me off the most.

As explained in a previous post about listening, I attempted to “listen” to what life was telling me. I saw Joel’s tweet.

I paused.

That really was true, wasn’t it?!

I had navigated through life on my own, with the exception of some powerful, yet very brief, moments with mentors. Mentors who came and went, unfortunately.

I relied on my husband, but he doesn’t have all my answers.

I needed someone else.  I needed someone to pour into me.  And, that was okay.

That’s what they do during LifePlan.  I’m very much an observer of people and as much as I knew those two days were about me, I also watched my facilitator pour energy, thought and time into me.  I never mentioned it, but I saw him tire throughout the two days.  But, that’s because they believe in what they do at LifePlan.  They pour everything into you for two powerful days.

And, in those two days, I found some of my answers.

Other answers, came afterwards.

But, without allowing someone else to pour into me, I guarantee you, I would still be discontent.

But, instead, I’m living my best life possible.

Can you take the leap?  Can you let someone pour into you?  Are you ready to live your best life possible? 

Listening to Find My Answers

Listening is a  lost art. 

Not only listening to others and to yourself, but listening to what life is telling you.

Prior to LifePlan, I debated for weeks whether to go through with it. (Thanks goodness Chris Locurto’s team is patient!)

I tend to overthink….a lot.  As I pondered the LifePlan decision and caught myself overthinking, I would try to consciously stop and just listen….

Listen to what life was telling me via golden nuggets in books, from my past, on Twitter, on podcasts….everywhere.  I really believe that when I listen, I gain so much perspective.

Here are some quotes/tweets/thoughts that I heard and reflected on as I considered LifePlan.  I could go through each one and explain their impact, but instead, I think I’ll let them stand alone.  Perhaps they’ll speak to you.

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life tell me who I am.”

~ Parker Palmer (Jeff Goins, The Art of Work)

“If how you see yourself is tied to how others see you, you’ll never truly know yourself.”  

~ Joel Fortner tweet

“I’ve never known a truly successful person who didn’t allow others to pour into them.”

~ Joel Fortner tweet

“When you allow others to define you, you’ll never know you.”

~ Joel Fortner tweet

“Don’t let success define you, it’s fleeting. Realize you’re good enough right now.”

~ Joel Fortner tweet

“What we don’t see in ourselves can hold us back from success.”

~ Joel Fortner tweet

“Nobody ever reached success alone. A wise person understands the need of others.”

~ Chris Locurto tweet

“There’s nothing you can’t do, if you set your mind to it.”

~ my high school softball coach

“Your life is a gift. Do what matters.”

~ Michael Hyatt

“Live like no one else so one day you can live like no one else.” (Said in reference to money, but I apply it to all areas of my life.)

~ Dave Ramsey

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

~ Winston Churchill

“Be who you were born to be, not who you’ve allowed yourself to be.”

~ Glenn Beck

What’s your life telling you? Are you listening?

What I Wanted My Husband to Know

For me, the LifePlan event was a path I had to walk alone, but my husband’s role in it was instrumental. 

Without his support, I would not be where I am today (and this is a pretty amazing spot to be!)

Here are somethings I wanted my husband to know before, during and post LifePlan.

Before LifePlan

1. I was happy with so many aspects of my life, but I wasn’t completely happy. That wasn’t due to any one thing in our present.

2. As independent as I am, I could not find the answers through introspection, in the pages of a book, or on a podcast. I had been doing that for months (no, make that years!) . My knowledge increased during that time, but there was still something missing. I needed to lean on someone that could facilitate that discovery.

3. I knew I was asking our family to make an investment in me. But, the purpose was so that I could be better for myself, for him, for our son and for those I interact with personally and professionally.

4. I believed in the LifePlan process and because I was committed to it, it would be successful.  And, if he didn’t believe that, I needed him to trust me and my belief.

During LifePlan

1. I thought of him often during LifePlan. He is one of the most significant aspects of my life.

2. I was in the midst of a process that was about to change me. It’s an experience I can’t describe fully.

3. I wanted to share, but I also needed time to reflect.

4. I didn’t need answers from him; just someone to listen and allow me to find my answers.

After LifePlan

1. I had emotions I could not explain (at last in the first 36 hours afterwards). The emotions were not negative.  Most of them caused a sense of peace and happiness.  One of them caused sadness, but there was a reason for that in my root system, not in the LifePlan process).

2. I had a level of self-acceptance I never had before.

3. THIS was me, who I was now, right now!

4. I didn’t do this to remedy every small improvement needed in our marriage.  But, there are things I learned that will allow me to give him more grace and work through things in a more mature way.

5. I need time, lots of time to reflect and implement.

6. This changed my life forever.

7. Your support before, during and after this process means the world to me.

The LifePlan event was a path I had to walk alone with my facilitator.  But, at the same time, the before, during and after process is a path my husband and I have walked together as our path is intertwined. And, it is only after writing this post, that I truly recognize that. 

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