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Living Forward: A Proven Plan To Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

Compiled by Chuck Olson

Title: Living Forward: A Prove Plan To Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

Author: Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

Copyright Date: 2016


I’m a fan of living life intentionally, on purpose. I’m also a fan of Michael Hyatt. And when these two favorites intersect, I’m all in.

Best-selling author, speaker, and virtual mentor Michael Hyatt has teamed up with author, speaker, and executive coach Daniel Harkavy to produce Living Forward—a book that will certainly become the go-to text on how to create a life plan. The book is both motivational and practical.

Check out these BookNotes to get a quick overview of the wisdom it contains and pathway it provides.


Book Description:

Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Are we drifting through it as spectators, reacting to our circumstances when necessary and wondering just how we got to this point anyway? Or are we directing it, maximizing the joy and potential of every day, living with a purpose or mission in mind? Too many of us are doing the former—and our lives are slipping away one day at a time. But what if we treated life like the gift that it is? What if we lived each day as though it were part of a bigger picture, a “plan”? That’s what New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy show us how to do: to design a life with the end in mind, determining in advance the outcomes we desire and path to get there. In this step-by-step guide, they share proven principles that help readers create a simple but effective life plan so that they can get from where they are now to where they really want to be—in every area of life. 

Book Quotes:

A Life Plan is the app you need to stay on the path to the life you desire. Without a plan, chances are good you’ll end up at an unintended destination: an unhappy marriage, an unfulfilling career, in bad health, or all of the above. LOCATION: 281

Believing that self-leadership always precedes team leadership, we start our clients with Life Planning before discussing business and leadership development. LOCATION: 304

Living Forward will heighten your sense of what’s truly possible for you in life. If you feel out of balance, aware that your current pace is unsustainable; if you are making great gains professionally but don’t want to neglect personal priorities; if you want to have better focus to succeed financially; if you have gone through a recent tragedy and suddenly become aware that life is short; if any of those are true, this book is for you. LOCATION: 332

The good news is that we have more control than most of us realize. Each day is filled with thousands of opportunities to change the story of our lives. We want to help you make the most proactive, intentional, and beneficial decisions possible. LOCATION: 336

What J.P. Morgan said is right: “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” LOCATION: 342

Many people get into their forties, fifties, and sixties, look around, and realize they have been pulled out to sea. Perhaps their health is failing, their marriage is broken, or their career is stalled. Maybe they have lost their spiritual connection, and life seems meaningless and unfulfilling. Whatever the case, they look up and find themselves far away from where they thought they would be at this point in their lives. They have become victims of the drift. LOCATION: 395

Life Planning is the exact opposite of the drift. The drift is about passivity. Life Planning is about proactivity. The drift is about blaming our circumstances or other people. Life Planning is about taking responsibility. The drift is about living without a plan. Life Planning is about having a plan and working it. LOCATION: 451

A Life Plan is a short written document, usually eight to fifteen pages long. It is created by you and for you. It describes how you want to be remembered. It articulates your personal priorities. It provides the specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life. It is most of all a living document that you will tweak and adjust as necessary for the rest of your life. LOCATION: 481

The Life Plan format is driven by three powerful questions. But before we share those with you, we want to talk about the incredible power of questions. Our lives are shaped by the questions we ask. Good questions lead to good outcomes. Bad questions lead to bad outcomes. LOCATION: 508

One of the best questions you can ask when something negative happens is this: What does this experience make possible? Do you see the shift? Suddenly, your attention moves from the past—which you can’t do a thing about—to the future. LOCATION: 519

The same is true when it comes to your Life Plan. It is the result of answering three powerful questions. Let’s consider them one at a time. LOCATION: 524

  • Question 1: How do I want to be remembered? In planning anything, the best place to begin is at the end. What outcome do you want? How do you want the story to end? How do you want to be remembered when you are gone? LOCATION: 526
  • Question 2: What matters most? Maybe you have never given yourself permission to ask this question. For example: You know what’s important to your parents. You may know what’s important to your spouse. You most certainly know what is important to your boss. But what’s important to you? What matters most in your life? This is a question about priorities. No one else can decide what they are for you. You must take responsibility for them yourself. LOCATION: 529
  • Question 3: How can I get from here to where I want to be? If you are going to improve your life and realize your potential, you will have to figure out where you are now; where you want to be; and how you get from one to the other. LOCATION: 532

Life Planning is something you will want to do for the rest of your life. In fact, it will become a way of life. LOCATION: 558

Self-leadership always precedes team leadership, and the Life Plan can be one of the most powerful tools to help you best lead yourself. There are at least six benefits to doing so. LOCATION: 567

  • Benefit No. 1: Clarifying Priorities LOCATION: 568
  • Benefit No. 2: Maintaining Balance LOCATION: 595

It is important to point out that balance does not mean applying equal resources to every area of life. People sometimes imply this when they talk about work-life balance, as though they have divided their resources evenly between work and the rest of their life. That’s not what we’re talking about. LOCATION: 612

Balance is giving not equal but appropriate attention to each of the various categories of your life. LOCATION: 615

  • Benefit No. 3: Filtering Opportunities LOCATION: 622
  • Benefit No. 4: Facing Reality LOCATION: 640

The truth is, you can’t improve what you won’t face and own. The problems you encounter in your health, marriage, parenting, career, or personal finances will not just magically disappear. They have to be confronted and dealt with. This is difficult to do without outside help or a process that forces it. LOCATION: 649

  • Benefit No. 5: Envisioning the Future LOCATION: 653

Keeping your eye on the future is essential for making the most of today. You need to acknowledge where you are, but you also need to see clearly where you are going. LOCATION: 659

Pull power is essential to reach our goals. You need to see a future with such clarity and desirability that you will go through all the uncomfortable things life throws at you to attain it. LOCATION: 669

  • Benefit No. 6: Avoiding Regrets LOCATION: 674


People lose their way when they lose their why. The reasons for creating a Life Plan are as varied as there are people. But the important thing is to connect with your reasons. LOCATION: 691

Our days add up to a lifetime. At the end of that life, what will those closest to you say, what will they remember, how will they assess your legacy? The bad news is that once you’re gone, you won’t have any control over it. You will have passed on whatever you had—the good, the bad, or the ugly. LOCATION: 737

Our legacy comprises the spiritual, intellectual, relational, vocational, and social capital we pass on. It’s the sum total of the beliefs you embrace, the values you live by, the love you express, and the service you render to others. It’s the you-shaped stamp you leave when you go. LOCATION: 745

One way to write a compelling eulogy is to create a series of short Legacy Statements that describe how you want to be remembered by the important people in your life. LOCATION: 760

The people who live and lead with the most joy and contentment are those who have clarity about their priorities. LOCATION: 852

What’s Best for You?…This may be a question you have never considered. Perhaps you have let others decide what should be important—perhaps your parents, your spouse, or even your boss. We all face tremendous pressure in this regard. LOCATION: 860

Start by thinking of all the various compartments that make up your life. Most people can organize their lives into seven to twelve distinct areas. We call these Life Accounts. LOCATION: 873

Your job in this section of the Life Plan is to create your own “Chart of Accounts.” You want to write down a list of Life Accounts that are important to you. LOCATION: 883

As you think through your own list, here are four considerations: LOCATION: 890

  • Your Life Accounts are unique to you.
  • Your Life Accounts can be named whatever you want.
  • Your Life Accounts are interrelated.
  • Your Life Accounts will change over time.

Some accounts have a growing balance. LOCATION: 911

Some accounts have a consistent balance. LOCATION: 913

Some accounts have a declining balance. LOCATION: 915

The Life Assessment Profile is an online tool designed to help you determine if each of your Life Accounts is getting what it needs. You can find it at LOCATION: 924

The goal is to have a positive balance in each of your Life Accounts. But what exactly does that mean? In our experience, people have a positive account balance when they experience both passion and progress. These are two distinct but essential components. LOCATION: 929

For each Life Account, you will be in one of four states:

  • Drift. This is the state of no passion and no progress. LOCATION: 953
  • Lift. This is the state of having passion but not experiencing progress. LOCATION: 957
  • Shift. This is the state of experiencing progress without passion. LOCATION: 960
  • Gift. This is the state of experiencing both passion and progress. LOCATION: 963

As we said in chapter 2, “Understand the Mission,” a Life Plan is the answer to three powerful questions. We have answered the first two, so now it is time to answer question 3: How can I get from here to where I want to be? Put another way, how do I properly chart the course I’ll take? We suggest breaking each Life Account down into five sections. LOCATION: 1047

  • Section 1: Purpose Statement
  • Section 2: Envisioned Future
  • Section 3: Inspiring Quote
  • Section 4: Current Reality
  • Section 5: Specific Commitments

If you’ve heard renowned business and life thought leader Jim Rohn’s “law of diminishing intent,” you know why this is important. The law of diminishing intent says that the longer you delay doing something, the less probability you have of actually doing it. You lose all the emotional energy. That’s why we encourage you to schedule a day within the next two weeks to create your Life Plan. LOCATION: 1243

Please, please, please listen to us when we say this: perfectionism is the mother of procrastination. If you expect perfection, you will never finish. LOCATION: 1373

Margin is possible. But it requires you to recognize the forces that threaten to gobble it up and then enact the appropriate countermeasures. It specifically requires that you learn and practice three skills: triaging your calendar, scheduling your priorities, and saying no to more requests. LOCATION: 1420

A plan is worthless unless you review it on a regular basis. Once you have completed your Life Plan, it’s important to establish a pattern of regular review. LOCATION: 1530

At Building Champions, we coach our clients to read their Life Plan daily in the morning for the first ninety days. You should also read it out loud. The idea is to lock each aspect of your plan into your heart and mind and to avoid this exercise from becoming rote. LOCATION: 1547

Here’s the reality: Your personal life is a myth. There is no such thing as a compartmentalized life. Every area, space, category, and set of relationships is interrelated. You are a seamless whole. LOCATION: 1672

Self-leadership always precedes team leadership. Leaders who build cultures and organizations that make the greatest difference are highly self-aware and well rounded; they invest time into several accounts and live lives that are attractive to those they serve and lead. LOCATION: 1680

The second is that our teams are watching us. They set their levels of trust and engagement based on what they see in our lives. How we leaders live matters. LOCATION: 1682

Real transformation happens when people take responsibility for their own lives and begin to live intentionally in every area. LOCATION: 1783

Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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