A guest blog by Mark Filo
I did think of writing about a time in my life when I taking care of the small steps, and the big goal revealed itself; a small decision that involved knee surgery which led to a change in direction vocationally.
I was also thinking of writing about how I have found it more effective to think about an end and work out the steps backwards from there. Stephen Covey says to begin with the end in mind, and Raymond Aaron, in his Monthly Mentor Program, talks about identifying what you want to have written on your tombstone.
I have started and stopped this blog many times, thinking that I knew what I had wanted to say in the end. Now I finally know.
I have spent much time over the last year working on, and thinking about and talking about and praying and meditating about, where I want my life to go. I have a few people to thank for their encouragement and support along the way, at times being challenged, sometimes rather strongly.
To get to where I am at now has involved a few different steps. One of the more interesting steps comes from Bob Proctors Thinking into Results program, where I was challenged to describe my ideal day. This I became able to do. My ideal day involves being in or near mountains, though it could be a waterfront. Family time and some quiet time is important. The quiet time will involve walking or reading or learning, but definite me time. Working with others to help them make changes in their worlds is the vision that keeps coming to me, and this I am doing in many different ways now, directly through some coaching, but also helping them make things happen, how their organizations or life operate.
This is an executive summary of my ideal day, probably not unlike many others. What I have struggled with, until just recently, is the idea of helping others to make a change in the world. This is the line that I believe that I want to see on my grave stone: "He helped others make a difference." Why this way? By helping others change, the effect on the world can be so much greater than just the one little pebble that is Mark, changing in the big pond. I feel very good inside when I can watch someone that I have worked with have their ah ha moments and go on to make the changes they need.
Working with small groups and working with another person feeds my imagination and creativity, and working with others helps to multiply the potential and the output.
With this end goal in mind I now get to break my life up into smaller parts and set a path to follow. Thinking back to Raymond Aaron again, he has suggested that you write out a thank you note a year in advance for achieving your objectives. These objectives would be tied into the tombstone. At this point I am being like a farmer and planting the seeds for the year ahead, so that the final harvest will be the goals or objectives, and like any farmer I have to do more than just plant the seeds. This is where I need to break everything goal down monthly, taking care of the pennies, so that the pounds will take care of themselves. Some of the pennies involve cleaning up messes, whether they be living environment, financial, relationships, it does not matter. Learning to do something new each month, doing something for myself and doing something for someone else are all part of the taking care of the pennies. Each of them can be small, but they do add up. Kind of like the idea of compound interest. But I do need to start, and I do need to write them down as a plan, before starting.
I did this for 2015, and I have nearly achieved my objectives for the year, not necessarily in the way that I would have originally thought I would, or in the order that I would, but coming into the month of December all of the objectives are being met to some degree or another.
This brings me to this December and taking some time to write another letter to myself and date it December 31, 2016. I have to think about how I will thank myself for living a life filled with vigor, a soundness of mind and body, and how I have carried out my desire of supporting myself, no, more than that, prospering, helping other make changes in their worlds.
To do this will involve many different steps and actions, and putting into place what Mahatma Gandhi said : "Be the change you wish to see in the world." But right now, I first need to start my letter to myself.
Come join me on the journey, and this December instead of a letter to Santa, how about one to yourself.