Get The Right Things Done in 2017

To jump to module discussion, click here.

To view Module 2, click here.

Module 1: What is your YEAR about? (3 Parts)

Part 1: Identify What’s Most Important (8:27)

Module 1, Part 1 Worksheet Download

Download the 6 Box To Do List here: Word | PDF
Download Peter’s 6 Box To Do List

To jump to module discussion, click here.

Part 2: Identify Your Sweet Spot (14:57)

Module 1, Part 2 Worksheet Download

Download the Sweet Spot Worksheet: Word | PDF
Download Peter’s Sweet Spot Worksheet.

To jump to module discussion, click here.

Part 3: Head, Heart, Gut Check (12:06)

Have you ever had an experience where you know you should do something but you don’t do it? It happens when your mind wants something but other parts of you aren’t so sure. It’s why I talk about how important it is to incorporate all of who we are – intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual. In this next video, I ask you to be in touch with all those parts to evaluate your five areas of focus. If you’re used to being mostly in your head, it might feel a bit uncomfortable, but this part is critical. And it will help us when we get to the very practical application of this work in Module 2.

Module Discussion

  • Peter Bregman January 12, 2017

    Hi all – I am so thrilled that you are joining me on this three week workshop journey! This is the first time that we have done anything like this so I’m excited to get any feedback you have.

    Please feel free to use this comments section liberally – it will be great to learn from each other and to feel the support from each other as we work to get traction on what’s most important to us this year.

    Please comment with any reflections, challenges, learnings, insights, questions, or musing you have. In addition, some things I’ve asked you to post here include:

    From Part 1:
    – If I had all the time in the world . . . (finish the sentence)
    – The first draft of your top 5 Areas of Focus

    From Part 2
    – A few sentences about your sweet spot

    From Part 3
    – Your final, revised 5 Areas of Focus

    Thanks again for being on this journey with me. Let’s make 2017 the best year yet!

135 comments

add yours
  • Howard Jacobson January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world:

    1. I’d set up a local chapter of Back on Our Feet
    2. I’d develop a permaculture retreat focused on healthy plant-based lifestyles
    3. I’d become the best coach I could possibly be by taking advanced training and getting supervision and mentorship
    4. I’d go through medical school
    5. I’d become an elite endurance athlete in the senior division
    6. I’d write novels and screenplays
    7. I’d travel the world and spend a year living and working in different countries
    8. I’d develop events and retreats to show people how to change their diets, exercise regimens, and health destinies
    9. I’d develop a TV show dedicated to healthy weight loss
    10. I’d work out until I could dunk a basketball
    11. I’d set up an awesome mobile recording studio and travel around the world interviewing people for my podcast
    12. I’d write more of these sentence completions

    My 5 Work-Related Areas of Focus
    1. Big Change Program marketing
    2. Big Change Program development and delivery
    3. Plant Yourself Podcast
    4. Writing “I Cover the Ground” with Josh LaJaunie
    5. Training for a 52 mile race in 2017

  • Howard Jacobson January 12, 2017 Reply

    My sweet spot:

    I’m creating art: a combination of beauty and function. I’m collaborating with inspired and committed people. I work on projects that constantly challenge me to get better. I’m responsible for the outcome. I take risks. I’m allowed – hell, encouraged – double hell, required to be playful and joyful and funny and weird to be successful.

  • Howard Jacobson January 12, 2017 Reply

    My 5 areas of focus stand (full disclosure: I went through this exercise in more detail when I attended Peter’s coach training this fall).

  • Ryan Cadigan January 12, 2017 Reply

    Howard, that permaculture retreat sound like an incredible idea. Now that I have read your list I feel like I was thinking too small!

    A few highlights from my “If I had all the time in the world exercise”
    – rehab old injuries to joints and back
    – volunteer for an environmental non-profit
    – run for state legislature
    – cook amazing healthy meals every day
    – finish a novel

    My 5 Areas of Focus
    – Master’s writing program
    – Freelance marketing & advertising
    – Physical Health
    – Mental Health
    – Extracurricular writing projects – travel writing & genre

    My Sweet Spot
    Constant learning and challenge, coupled with likeminded, supportive group of people. I am both a student and a teacher. The things I do improve the world. There is structure and support but balance, allowing me to get the physical practice and alone-time I need to run clean and fit.

  • Nan Reed Twiss January 12, 2017 Reply

    “If I had all the time in the world…” 
    1. I would really get fit – I’d have time to work out every day, to bike, to ski…
    2. I would spend a lot more time at Torch Lake
    3. I would visit my closest friends who live far away
    4. I would travel, travel, travel – backpack for months at a time in other continents
    5. I would do service work in developing nations… teach, coach, whatever… maybe Heifer
    6. I would declutter our house!!!
    7. I would study Eckhart Tolle and develop a more regular meditation practice
    8. I would maybe get involved in theater again… direct or act
    9. I would do something artistic… play the piano, sing, draw
    10. I would study and practice photography
    11. I would slow down
    12. I would spend a lot of time in nature – especially camping
    13. I would sleep more
    14. I would create and deliver more interactive workshops
    15. I would take classes at U-M… from Ross or whatever
    16. I would maybe get an MBA – focused on positive psychology
    17. I would volunteer at Hospice
    18. I would spend one-on-one time with each of our children every month
    19. I would see local friends more
    20. I would do more pro-bono coaching
    21. (because I always have more to say!) I would cook real food from scratch for every meal

  • lynn spachuk January 12, 2017 Reply

    -Improve my thyroid health through food choices
    -Find my “home” meaning I am living not where I want to live and have done so for many years. I want to find “home”.
    -Start my court mediation and coaching practice with elderly
    -Honor my parents’ lives by producing a heartfelt video to share with family that may be too young to remember them young (one just died the other will soon)
    -Commit to practicing meditation every day, must calm down my mind to focus on a career based on passion

  • Cindy Marston January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would…
    1. Read
    2. Travel
    3. Play on the beach
    4. Visit family and friends all over the country and world
    5. Hike Machu Picchu
    6. Learn to knit.
    7. Go for hikes in National Parks.
    8. Go to TED talks.
    9. Volunteer at a variety of places
    10. Do/make crafts
    11. Sit in the sun and read.
    12. Hike and listen to audio books.
    13. Learn more about social media.
    14. Learn more about computers.
    15. Explore Alexa.
    16. Create my own water-saver for the shower.
    17. Read and research and learn.
    18. Make Sunshine Baskets.
    19. Garden
    20. Spend more time with friends – have them over!

    And my five areas of focus are: Find a career direction, enjoy time with my husband, spend time with family (esp. new DIL), travel, exercise (1/2 marathon???)

    • ewa burak January 12, 2017 Reply

      Hi Cindy, what is a Sunshine basket? Love that word!

  • Terri Browne Kutzen January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I would…..
    Read all the enticing books that are piling up in the house
    Clear out paper files so that we have only what is needed on hand
    Create a death file so our son will have some direction if the two of us go down in a premature and tragic event
    Get the taxes prepared early
    Sort out the files on our non-profit community garden organization so I can find things more easily
    Recycle the cookbooks that I no longer use
    Visit my mom more frequently now that she is closer
    Go to Golf School in the spring and take 5 strokes off my handicap by the end of the summer
    Compete in m0re golf tournaments
    Develop a plan to brush up on my French – tutor? books? Movies? Rosetta stone? skype with a native speaker?
    Book plans to travel to France and really reach out to the culture and history in that area with reading and research so that it will be insanely interesting and the other guests in the group will be transported beyond their normal range of conversational topics
    Redeisgn the glade and hire an arborist to come in a plant new trees and replant the shade loving perennials into a new garden configuration based on new patterns of light
    Decide where to install the rack for the kayaks and put it in
    Rig up the blue boats with additional floatation and newer seats
    Spend more time researching boats to buy
    Make friends with someone that has a 25 foot boat and will let me practice driving it
    Research the new certification requirements for coaches with ICF and make plans to get to the next level
    Enjoy my coaching practice more and with more clients
    Organize the poems I have written into a book and decide if I am ready to publish, or do I need to build up the content first
    Attend this year’s poetry festival
    Inspire my committee to bring arts and culture into garden gatherings so that they become irresistible to the community
    Help Tom buy a boat
    Install beautiful window blinds in the dining room

    • Sabrina January 13, 2017 Reply

      Hi Terry,
      can I give you all the unread books in my house and you give me a summary then 🙂
      Or you take me out on the boat and I can lie on deck reading them ?

      Curious to see your Five areas of Focus !!!
      Sabrina

  • Karen January 12, 2017 Reply

    Read more
    Exercise consistently
    Play more
    Dance more
    Go biking
    More walks – including taking the dogs!
    Travel more
    Spend time with friends & family
    Sleep more
    Attend more events
    Volunteer more
    Focus on fun activities
    Continue education/learning

    • Sabrina January 13, 2017 Reply

      I am curious to see your 5 areas of focus 🙂
      Sounds like you want to have lots of fun and activity!!!

  • Terri Browne Kutzen January 12, 2017 Reply

    My Five areas of focus are:
    1.Eliminate the unnecessary to clear the mind and calm the heart
    2.Best of health for me and my family
    3. Be a joyful leader of the community garden
    4. Reclaim my fluency in French
    5. Navigational capability and confidence driving boats

  • Sanita Johnson January 12, 2017 Reply

    “If I had all of the time in the world, I would…”
    *Develop a youth leadership program for middle school youth
    *Pursue two master degrees at the same time
    *Travel the world more
    *Open a homeless shelter and transitional housing for battered women

    Five Areas of Focus:
    *Pursuing my higher educational goals
    *Becoming more organized and disciplined
    *Working on my personal health goals
    *Helping my mother’s life become easier

  • Craig Abbott January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I would:

    1. Read all the books I have on my list
    2. Watch movies
    3. Learn to spin a basketball on my finger
    4. Cook
    5. Plant a garden
    6. Walk the Appalachian Trail
    7. Build a boat
    8. Write a book
    9. Learn to really play a musical instrument
    10. Write down all of my memories
    11. Paint my house
    12. Restore a barn find car
    13. Travel to every country
    14. Sail around the world
    15. Climb a mountain
    16. Paddle the Mississippi
    17. Race from Paris to Dakar
    18. Become a race car driver
    19. Learn to surf
    20. Play golf

    These are my draft categories:

    1. Do Great Work That My Customers Will Notice
    2. Develop Plan Z (2nd career)
    3. Be Present with Family and Friends
    4. Have Fun and Take Care of Myself
    5. Give Back

  • Craig Abbott January 12, 2017 Reply

    My sweet spot scenario: I’m helping others understand complex problems by deconstructing the process from start to finish. Working with people that want to make improvements and are passionate about moving forward. I’m helping them see that there are many right ways to address issues. I’m working with early in career and seasoned veterans of their discipline who I may or may not always agree with but we share making things better for the organization we are part of.

  • Priya January 12, 2017 Reply

    5 Focus areas: I have one focus for this year – gain clarity, create the plan and implement the “channel” for how I can replace my income with work that I love to get up for every morning.

  • Linda Brandt January 12, 2017 Reply

    5 Areas of Focus: physical health, build Lean In Together MSP, build Lean In leadership regionally and internationally, promote health in my community, take more risks

    All the time in the world highlights: be super kind to myself by moving slowly, read, make time for inspiring people and connect people, build the Midwest Feminist Brain Trust, develop a passions exchange, and develop the the Inspiring Health Leadership Slack group

  • Sanita Johnson January 12, 2017 Reply

    My Sweet Spot Responses:
    1. Think of some times when you loved what you were doing:
    *Call Center Supervisor experience: (Exciting, challenging, NEVER a dull moment, a multitude of variance in people and people characteristics, full of action, constant change which caused you to be consistently flexible; had to be updated on policies and practices of the entire agency, major opportunity to learn, grow, develop, coach, and mentor people; Also served as the Trainer for the department
    *Youth Group at Church: Exciting, constantly on your toes, don’t know what is going to come out of a youth’s mouth at times; multitude of opportunities to assist a young person in their development and learning about the Bible; assisting in a time of transition in the young person’s life; helping to instruct a youth on how to make good choices/decisions
    *Hanging out with book club friends: very enjoyable, fellowshipping with a group of friends that I have know for years; group of people who have been with me through many seasons/transitions of my life over the past 20 years; all of our families have bonded/connected over the years; watched the children grow from infants into adulthood; very supportive network
    2. Think of some times when you felt bad
    Call Center Supervisor Experience: Constant turn over with the staff which means starting over all of the time and learning new people continuously; not able to fully give your time and attention to some areas that I would have liked to due to I was serving in multiple roles; when the staff didn’t heed the protocols and procedures taught it sends out a negative message
    Church Youth Group: Because of the many transitions that the youth go through, they are sometimes not consistent in coming so you may not have the same group of youth on a weekly basis; when a child loses interest it is difficult to deal with at times because you always look within to evaluate if it is something in the way the information is being presented that is not keeping/holding their interest
    Lack of preparation- If not prepared for a particular event/situation then the outcome is not that positive so you have to accept that this poor outcome is due to the poor planning.
    3. What does your life look like when you are in your sweet spot?
    Mutuality of respect with the people that I work with
    Having the opportunity to attend trainings to learn so that my professional growth and development can continue
    Peace in my family; love to spend time with my family members
    Balanced Life-taking the time to really care for myself and go back to participating in different activities
    Exercising 3 to 5 times per week on a consistent basis
    Having multiple opportunities to make an impact in the lives of others
    Teaching on leadership development
    Having opportunities to travel

  • Brie O'Malley January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world
    -spend more time playing with my daughter in child-led play
    -cook more
    -exercise every day
    -do experiments with my daughter
    -spend time alone with my husband
    -get certified in yoga instruction
    -finish more sewing projects
    -go skiing
    -compost more
    -grow more of our food
    -preserve more of our food
    -see my friends more
    -volunteer
    -learn how to fix our bikes
    -go through the boxes in the garage
    -clean my desk
    -make my daughter a tutu
    -have special time with each of my kids every day
    -mend clothes
    -exercise more
    Areas of Focus:
    #1: Exercise in ways that include the kids
    #2: Plan and tend our garden to meet our food needs
    #3: Build my professional brand
    #4: Cultivate a mindfulness practice
    #5: Reduce the amount of stuff in my home

  • Craig Abbott January 12, 2017 Reply

    Head Heart Gut Check: Identifying, Designing and Developing 2nd Career for whenever I decide to stop doing what I am doing now as my 1st career. My head was hesitant saying “What I’m considering as a potential 2nd career is not consistent with my sweet spot.” My heart was saying “I know but I really want to do this!” My gut was aligned with my heart saying “It’s worth exploring – let’s do this!”

    As a result, my draft 5 categories became final:
    1. Do Great Work That My Customers Will Notice
    2. Develop Plan Z (2nd career)
    3. Be Present with Family and Friends
    4. Have Fun and Take Care of Myself
    5. Give Back

  • Eva G. January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would…

    … spend more time with my passion, music (I take voice lessons since 2,5 years, learn to play the piano since about 1,5 years, and last year I started to learn to compose music. (I am getting 50 this year and work full-time as software developer. So everything takes place in pockets of time… )
    … write vocal music that I can sing alone or with one or two others in church, or music for our local choir
    … take some time to deepen my knowledge in my field of work
    … spend some time in a nursing home or with older people who are lonely, maybe just listening and being there, maybe playing music and singing for them
    … reorganize my home (declutter and make more space so that it is comfortable and inviting)
    … learn to cook 😉
    … learn to build marionettes
    … take more time to maintain and deepen friendships and relationships with my family
    … get things done (in work) that I’m procrastinating because they are intimidating
    … take more time to be outside, taking walks, discovering new ways or just sitting somewhere
    … go swimming, preferably outside in the lake nearby
    … live on a small island for a while
    … find some people to make music together and write music for them
    … take more time in the mornings and evenings to reflect on my work and life
    … find some time each day to sit in a very calm place and just be there
    … try to find words/lyrics for the music that comes to me when I improvise music
    … watch out and take time each day to do something helpful, encouraging, inspiring or liberating for someone else
    … take time to listen to others, whenever I have the impression that it would help
    … take time to look at people and things around me and draw them
    … take time to sleep enough

  • Eva G. January 12, 2017 Reply

    I’ll add my areas of focus & sweet spot tomorrow… where I live, it’s 11 pm and I’ll get up early, so it’s time to sleep.
    I found that reflecting on what I would do “if I had all the time in the world” is not as easy as I thought.
    Also, strangely, I’ve found that when I have more free time, i.e. on weekends or one/two free weeks, a lot of that precious time just goes by without me doing much of the things above. That’s why I often don’t feel good on Sunday evenings or at the end of holidays – there is always this voice inside saying “you could have done more!”.

    • Peter Bregman January 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Eva – I love the thoughtfulness with which you approach this. In terms of your final insight, it’s one of the reasons why I love doing the exercise. Next time you have some free time, pull out your list and pick something from that list. It doesn’t have to be about doing more, or being more productive. It just has to do with making the choices of what you want to do in the time you have available that gives you pleasure.

      • Eva G. January 17, 2017 Reply

        Thanks Peter, for your reply and for offering this workshop!
        This reflection work, and to share the thoughts with others,means really much to me!
        Maybe I’ll try what I’ve just wrote in another comment further down relating to my focus area work:
        I’ll think of a first small non-threatening activity related to each of the proposals on my list, that I can immediately use as start and that will get me going – instead of getting lost in a huge field of possible activities. If that is of interest, I can post an update with some example starter activities that have proven helpful, when I’ll have some.

    • Ty January 17, 2017 Reply

      I find your insights here very relatable, Eva. I wonder why we are so quick to put ourselves on the hook, maybe it has become habitual? Perhaps with a set of curated intentions, we can finesse that blame game into a more gentle, honest dialogue ❤️

      • Eva G. January 18, 2017 Reply

        Thanks Ty, and yes you’re right about a more gentle and honest dialogue.
        I work in a team with a colleague who paints and draws in her free time, and we often share experiences with our creative endeavours and with our struggles at work. She reminded me of two things – with regard to gentleness with myself – that I find worth adding here:
        – I should to listen to my mind and body and take the downtime I need to breathe and relax from the week and calm down – I needn’t stuff my weekend or holidays with activities for the sake of satisfying some inner slave driver.
        – As Peter also advised, instead of trying to pack all possible activities in a short weekend or holiday, she advised that I select one field of activities for the next weekend or holidays and collect ideas in that field beforehand – e.g. ideas related to music OR taking a trip OR painting OR …. ( That is, to focus on this area and look forward to it and preparing for it, instead of tearing myself apart. ) The process of collecting ideas can bring a lot of joy and can take place whenever and wherever I am – when something comes into my mind, I’ll note it down.

  • ewa burak January 12, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world…
    – I would try new exciting things
    – I would be more spontanious
    – I would stay up late and still get enough sleep
    – I would spend more time outside
    – I would constantly read and learn
    – I would have longer phone conversations
    – I would be more creative, sew, knit, paint, play…
    – I would volunteer, get more involved around health dance and youth

    My 5 Focuses
    1. My Family and our Health
    2. Explore my soul purpose
    3. Develop my dance for/with Youth
    4. Grow mentally physically
    5. Organize my physical space

  • Susan Z. Martin January 12, 2017 Reply

    A couple of things from my ‘If I had all the time in the world list” (since I printed out mine and wrote it by hand 🙂 ):

    I’d go for long walks every day.
    I’d deeply research all kinds of topics.
    I’d buy a good camera and do some photo projects.
    I’d slow down and really focus.
    I’d work on establishing and strengthening relationships.

    Five Areas of Focus:

    *Make an Ultimate Decision on the future of YYJWorks (an employment blog I’ve been running for 6 years without any monetization)
    *Develop a meaningful side hustle (I am following Chris Guillebeau’s new ‘Side Hustle School’ podcast – this may mean remodeling YYJWorks or trying something new)
    *Write – even if no one reads it
    *Learn PRACTICAL and FUN skills
    *Less planning, more action in all areas – fail early, fail without regret

    After doing the Sweet Spot Exercise I see that My Five Areas of Focus are pretty self-centric – that is they don’t involve other people but all my Sweet Spot highlights were when I was interacting with other people – either working with them on a project or helping them with learning (at the same time I was learning myself) or serving them (volunteering to cook for large groups). So I think I need to go back to the Five Focus exercise and look at the statements I’ve made from a different angle(s) or perhaps come up with new ones. Back tomorrow or on the weekend.

  • william b. January 13, 2017 Reply

    A question. On deciding the five areas of focus, I am unsure if I’m being tricky by combining two items that should practically be separate. For example, I want to focus on both drawing and coding; they are both forms of making, both forms of expression. Yet obviously different the two pursuits are different many ways. So, what to do? I could combine them: (1) Develop drawing and coding skills as means of expression. Or I could seperate them.: (1) Develop drawing skills as means of expression, (2) Develop coding skills as means of expression.

    It feels somewhat natural to put them together. Yet I feel most people would separate them. And I think practically they should be separated. I don’t know how to come to a resolution. Am I trying stuff more than five items into the list, or am I seeing a good connection that I should honor and take seriously?

    • Sabrina January 13, 2017 Reply

      Hi William,
      I would take them in two different boxes if you want to work on both and develop them. You need to have different environments, different mood but the same consistency to achieve them.
      So what could happen if you put both in one box, you do not have enough time and focus to do both at the same time. It could easily happen that you e.g. work 80% on coding and 20% on drawing as each time when you are doing one of it, you satisfy your box.
      So if you want to give both equal focus I would put them in two boxes, not combine in one.
      Best
      Sabrina

      • william b January 14, 2017 Reply

        Nice, clear answer. I like the guidance. I’ll separate both. Thank you. 👏🏻

  • Sabrina January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would
    1) do something fun
    2) learn by exploring interesting things
    3) learn the piano
    4) travel a lot
    5) go to the gym daily
    6) help people grow
    7) help making a difference in others life
    8) sail across the atlantic
    9) work with amazing people making projects and companies successful
    10) would invest more in a few friendships
    11) make a difference in the world
    12) coach lots of people so they become the best version of themselves
    13) write a book
    14) learn how to play the piano
    15) teach/coach people what I know
    16) make a difference
    17) meet all my employees on a regular basis
    18) feel unfocussed
    19) do too much work and maybe loose having fun
    20) not be as good or successful, as my strength is doing the right things in a short amount of time / during a crisis

    My 5 areas of focus
    1) My MBA programme
    2) Leadership (Develop and Practise on a daily basis)
    3) Work (Successful delivery with people focus)
    4) Coaching (Develop my coaching and get my accreditation done)
    5) My Personal Life (Balance Gym, Friends and Me-Time)

    My Sweet Spot

    1. Think of some times when you loved what you were doing
    1) Participating in my Coaching Development Programme : Having an amazing cohort and faculty , different state of mind, open and full of opportunities, around people who all wanted to do their work to grow, supportive, different opinions, all working in the same direction, supporting each other achieving a goal.
    I could just be part of it and sometimes I was leading, sometimes i was participating, I was always trusting the process

    2) Running an improvement workshop for 70 people
    Feeling the responsibility, getting people buying into the idea, got the ok against all odds, doing the planning and mapping it out but during the week having to spin so many plates at once, that I could not think and just follow my gut knowing what is important in the moment. Taking one thing at the time, as my brain was switched off. Feeling this incredible feeling of success when I saw the room buzzing and afterwards getting the great feedback.

    3) Most of the time in my current role : being an active part of the senior leadership team and looking after a team of 10 on a multi year software delivery programme with 140 people
    Having a challenging situation, which throws each day something new at me, but also making enough capacity to do strategic work and look several weeks ahead.
    Working with incredible smart people who are SMEs in their area where I can’t keep up with, and my job is to protect them, get the overall picture and make decisions on behalf of the overall programme of 140 people, hoping it will make the work environment better and we deliver great software. Also having a trustful relationship with my peers and boss , being sounding board and being listened to and valued for my strength of finding and highlighting problems and having a counterpart of smoothing things in them.
    And besides all this having incredible fun and be able to laugh and being silly

    2. Think of some times when you felt bad

    People were not listening to my opinion, I had to justify my gut feel. I was told how to do my job, no fun, no personal conversations, no understanding of Emotional Intelligence factors, bad communication, no respect, repetitive tasks, no challenge, nothing new, no customer and people contact, not being in charge and able to influence the solution and the work environment

    3. What does your life look like when you are in your sweet spot? Write the story:
    My current job is 75% in my sweet spot.
    My boss has my back and is listening to me , valuing my opinion and is often not making a decision without hearing it. He is giving me feedback, about how much he is valuing me and he keeps me on my toes and it is a mutual respect.
    My peers know their job, we do not questions each others competencies, they are passionated about the goal and we find together a pragmatic way to achieve it or deal with problems at hand
    We are all aligned and support each other to deliver something successful and new, while creating an environment for our teams, which is fun, motivating and an opportunity to grow.
    I then have my own team , which is just doing the work. I support them defining priorities, unblock them and help them understand how to do their job even better, I am there to coach and protect them, but they understand what I need and give me information on short notice I need to support my boss. We have fun together, laugh and are in this together.

    The improvement would be to have more time to have a proper work life balance, so I can go to the gym in the morning and have my morning routine.

  • Annabet January 13, 2017 Reply

    1.travel
    2.healthy rhythm
    3.spent more time with my parents
    4.more outside
    5.self development
    6.more attention, focus
    7.study
    8.make love
    9.do something for my parents in law
    10. make creative stuff
    11. making my house beautiful
    12. going out movies/theater/concerts
    13. spent more time with (old)friends
    14.making new friends
    15. creative course
    16. reading books
    17. playing games (board games)
    18. voluntary work
    19. welcoming children in our house en take care of them
    20. I’ll take a dog

  • Eva G. January 13, 2017 Reply

    My areas of focus (draft)

    Annual Focus #1 Health and Wellbeing (physical and mental)

    Taking responsibility for my own wellbeing:
    Develop and implement some good habits – resp. minihabits – relating to getting moving more, relaxing, sleeping better, eating better

    Annual Focus #2:Work: Getting more deliberate and efficient

    Find out and implement …
    …how I can stop procrastinating on projects and tasks that feel intimidating
    … how I can overcome my tendency to tackle every problem alone however long it takes
    … how I can learn necessary skills more efficiently and just-in-time without losing myself in research
    … how I can get myself out of ‘deadlock’situations (conflicting tasks) more easily and quickly and get something done instead of being paralyzed

    Annual Focus #3: Music

    Go on learning and practicing singing and piano.
    Find opportunities to actually make music with others.
    Compose vocal music for one or multiple voices; learning from mistakes and challenges as I go along.
    Songwriting: finding out what I have and want to say and express it in words and song lyrics

    Annual Focus #4: Relationships in Family and with friends

    Relationships with my brother and sister seem to have come to a halt – I have a chronical bad conscience (because they spend more time with my mother) and have the feeling they have given up on me but am afraid to talk about my feelings with them. (It might turn out that I’m right.)
    Most friendships and contacts outside work seem to have faded down. I’m not sure what I can and should do. Actually I enjoy talking with others and exchanging mails.

    Annual Focus #5:
    Creating more space and free uninterrupted time in my life.
    Either stopping or completing projects I’ve taken on in order to do someone a favour out of a feeling that I owe it to hem.
    Getting rid of bad conscience.
    Saying no to some things or projects in order to be able to say yes to others.
    Finalizing some of the online video courses that I’ve bought, maybe returning some others that I haven’t even begun with. Maybe scheduling them later in the year.
    Decluttering my personal space

    Sorry it took me more than 2 minutes – it’s just that way with me, when I start to answer such a question, ideas and thoughts and words begin to flow. I get into a flow, and most of the time, I find out surprising new things and connections.

    • Ty January 17, 2017 Reply

      Eva, I also appreciated your conscious struggle with procrastination. Peter’s book 4 Seconds has been helpful (mastering your focus – such a great, nurturing precept,), as has a book by a different author called Deep Work. Creating the blocks/optimal conditions to support certain types of work, getting out of my own way, plugging my to very simple daily do list into a very simple time tracking app – it feels like I have better tools. Using better fuel (food, sleep, inspiration) has also helped to shift a discursive mindset that was likely the result of feast/famine work cycles in tech/support and ultimately habit-based. Let’s get some good habits planted in rich soil for the year ahead!!! Good luck with it all 🙂

      • Eva G. January 17, 2017 Reply

        Ty, thanks for the book tips and other hints. I know and have both books, and I actually love it when I can do deep work… seems it’s time to re-read and get inventive what I can put into practice. I am also looking forward to the next workshop module. – The start is usually the biggest challenge. So far it seems to help to find a first small unthreatening but immediately actionable thing “to do next” – often this gets me going.

  • Priya January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time I would….
    – Be more spontaneous
    – spend more time outdoors
    – travel more & live in the places I travel to for at least six months
    – spend more time making things – quilting, painting, crafts
    – give my talents away – volunteer my time to anyone who needs help
    – learn any topic I feel drawn to
    – clean my house
    – decorate my house that it can be sanctuary of each member of our family
    – redesign my garden
    -spend more time outdoors
    – really get to know my spouse
    – do nothing
    – enjoy the moment
    – enjoy nature
    – really get to know people in my life

  • Julie January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I’d…

    1. LOVE it
    2. spend it with my daughter
    3. find my tribe
    4. play more
    5. feel more
    6. travel everywhere
    7. explore more
    8. experience everything
    9. meet everyone
    10. laugh more
    11. find new and interesting ways to give back
    12. invent something fun
    13. feel like all is possible
    14. focus more on what I love
    15. learn to relax
    16. take more risks
    17. dare to dream
    18. be excited to see what would unfold
    19. feel free
    20. be grateful

  • Steven Raft January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world…
    1. Travel extensively around the world
    2. Start a philanthropy to battle illiteracy
    3. Learn to play piano
    4. Write a novel
    5. Explore my reality TV show concept more fully.
    6. Read all the books sitting on my bookshelf that I’ve purchased but don’t make the time to read.
    7. Be a better father.
    8. Be a better husband.
    9. Begin sculpting again.
    10. Workout consistently
    11. Get our estate in order.
    12. meditate
    13. Organize our digital life – photos, music, files, etc.
    14. Hike the Appalachian Trail
    15. Take a riverboat cruise
    16. relax
    17. Stop procrastinating
    18. Sleep more with better quality.
    19. Live at a beach house
    20. drive around the 48 contiguous states and Canada
    20.

  • Linda Brandt January 13, 2017 Reply

    My top area of focus is taking more risks.

  • Eva G. January 13, 2017 Reply

    My sweet spot at work:
    Just this afternoon, I experienced a time when I loved what I was doing at work: I sat together with my previous team to talk through a substantial process change that their biggest client asks them to support. I had left the team two years ago after working 15 years with them, because the management needed me in another team, but I still give advice or answer questions from time to time. It turned out that we might now be able to benefit from ideas and concepts which I developed years ago. I found I could still supply a lot of expertise as well as ideas, and I felt this was much appreciated by my former colleagues. Looking back, it has always been a challenge to fulfill the needs of this particular big client, but we have always found some good and practical way.
    Sitting together, listening, mentally “wandering” through a process from beginning to end and find solutions that fit well into the existing system,.. that is an aspect of my work which I love. Allowing creative sparks, testing ideas against the demands, drafting the new process, refining it and finally implementing it to our client’s satisfaction.
    I love this flow and I have found this flow often was and is initiated when I write a first response regarding a new demand, wanting to say “this won’t work, it is not possible, and these are the reasons:…” – and then ideas begin to flow about what might work… so I have an opportunity to really be of help and to make a difference.

    My sweet spots in my own projects and passions away from work
    – In voice lessons, I feel most happy when I am wholly present – body, mind and heart – and when the teacher makes me aware of something and I can feel as well as hear the effect of a change, and I know I can reproduce and internalize it (like releasing unwanted tension somewhere in the body that I built up unconsciously). I feel best when the teacher appreciates my efforts and reflection and takes them seriously, and both encourages and challenges me.
    – In my own practicing, I love to think of ways/methods to practice and improve exactly the problems we identified in the lessons, try out these methods and reflect on whether they help or how I can still improve them.
    And I love analysing the accompaniment of the music I sing, creating my own fingering and learning to play the accompaniment on the piano, so I come to know the structure and harmony of a piece very deeply “from both sides”.

    I am happy when I find connections and parallels between these different areas of my life: e.g. finding it helpful in voice practice to apply the same structured and patient incremental approach I use when debugging software. Or the experience of learning something deeply encourages me at work when I am confronted with new challenging tasks.

    Last but not least, I was most happy when I could create or do or write something that touched someone else deeply and brought him or her joy, encouragement and inspiration for their own life.

  • Nan Reed Twiss January 13, 2017 Reply

    5 Areas of Focus:

    1. Self-Care – fitness, fun, spiritual well-being
    2. Coaching – provide outstanding support for clients; do more speaking/workshops; deepen relationship with WBENC
    3. Family/Friends – spend time, have fun, connect
    4. Domestic – declutter, simplify, automate (routines!)
    5. Community – volunteer, support refugees, participate as a citizen

  • Neha Patel January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would….

    1. Spend more time writing my family’s history project
    2. Volunteer more
    3. Read more books
    4. Cultivate a hobby I have been wanting to learn (pottery, photography, spoken word)
    5. Spend more time providing pro bono services to non-profits with causes I believe in
    6. Join a writer’s group
    7. Start a blog
    8. Organize all the photographs in our home
    9. Get a leadership coaching certificate
    10. Take an executive management or leadership program or class
    11. Pray more
    12. Spend more time being mindful and quiet
    13. Visit all the national parks; spend more time in nature
    14. Go on more date nights with my husband
    15. Spend more one on one, quality time with my friends
    16. Write more in my journal
    17. Sleep more to feel rested and rejuventated
    18. Take a cooking class and experiment with new and healthy foods for the whole family
    19. Work out at least 5 times a week
    20. Grow my consulting business
    21. Last, but not least, spend more quality time with my family, as my oldest child is going to college in the fall!

    My five areas of focus:
    1) Focus on my writing
    2) Focus on my health
    3) Focus on creating memorable experiences with my family
    4) Focus on deepening relationships with close friends and family
    5) Focus on becoming more disciplined, routine and dependable

  • Dana Lehman January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would:
    • Work out 5 days a week – go to Crossfit
    • Stretch before and after each workout and take the time to get ready and cool down
    • Meditate everyday
    • Read fiction for pleasure
    • Read more leadership and management books with new ideas
    • Help my team practice more
    • Go to something at each of my kids’ schools each week
    • Walk outside every day
    • Cook new recipes
    • Volunteer for MARE
    • Talk to pre-adoptive and newly adoptive families more
    • Be trained to be a MAPP teacher
    • Be trained to be an AFT facilitator
    • Do nothing for a little bit of time every day
    • Write about our family
    • Connect with friends more
    • Always be caught up on email
    • Review more Principal Management video
    • Connect with Amanda in a genuine way…everyday
    • Foster babies!
    • Read and learn more about coaching
    • Practice coaching

    5 Areas of Focus
    • Start a Coaching Career
    • Connect with Amanda
    • Connect with Jack, Te, and Josiah
    • Build Systems and Capacity in the K-12 CDT
    Take Care of Myself

  • Ellen January 13, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world ….
    -be outside more in nature
    -find and go visit lost family
    -be lazy
    -sit on a porch by a river or a lake
    – quit my job, reduce my hours
    – cook healthy, bountiful, plant-based food and share it
    – make more friends
    – read
    – play with animals
    – get involved in my community
    – yoga teacher training full immersion
    – get trained in something
    – take the summer off, rent a cottage, play in the water
    – visit my kids
    – spend more time with my Mom in my hometown
    – visit my brother
    – fix and finish my house
    – be a better friend
    – travel the U.S. and visit all past and present friends
    – change jobs

  • Ellen January 13, 2017 Reply

    1- Nourish Joyful Healthy Strong Body
    2- Enjoy & Play in Nature
    3 – Focused, Positive. Collaborative Work Life
    4- Gratitude, Mindfulness, & Brave Openness
    5 – Deep Family & Friends, More Connected, Community

  • Ellen January 13, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot:

    A balanced life without rushing or cutting things out to include:
    • regular exercise and time in nature
    • cooking and eating healthy energizing and satisfying food
    • “good stress” (productive challenges)
    • grateful and open mindfulness through meditation, focus breaks, and open listening
    • working with a cohesive team of colleagues, diverse talents/experience/personalities, to do intense co-creating collaboration related to physical design and use of the workplaces. No competition – we win together.
    • appreciating, supporting, and loving relationships at work, at home, and in community
    • being well supported with work colleagues who fill my gaps, so we create together far beyond what we individually can do.
    • clients who really need and appreciate what we can do together
    • organizational support for flexible work schedules, working at home, continued training, coaching
    • grounded life with regular time (balanced travel and hometime schedules) for my husband, friends, community, and family
    • time off and team support for client work to allow time off for travel, family needs, refreshing, learning

  • Ellen January 13, 2017 Reply

    Head, Heart, Gut Check

    For several of the focus areas, strong thought came up, “Release that which no longer serves!” — body weight, being “busy” (to allow more time for play, nature, and rest), my job & aspects of it (release yucky and keep focus on positive sweet spot while letting go of old patterns to please and compete),. What will open mindfulness bring? will slowing down to savor and be grateful “slow me down”?.

    Surprised how often friends, long distance family came up in my “more time list” — and I’ve struggled with the goal to develop more local friends and community (I travel for work a lot).

    So Top purpose/ scariest/ hardest is 5 – Deep Family & Friends, More Connected, Community.

    1 – Nourish Joyful Healthy Strong Body
    2- Enjoy & Play in Nature
    3 – Focused, Positive. Collaborative Work Life
    4- Gratitude, Mindfulness, & Brave Openness
    5 – Deep Family & Friends, More Connected, Community

  • Julie January 14, 2017 Reply

    Five areas of focus:

    1. Resources for my daughter
    2. Resources for myself
    3. Legal issues
    4. Establish relationships
    5. Establish finances

  • Eva G. January 14, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot/Question 2: Times when I felt and feel bad:
    Fear to fail, despite all efforts. Fear paralyzes me.
    This was worst early after leaving school in practice blocks during a training to become a nurse in a mental hospital. (My training contact was terminated.)
    I found that I encounter this fear again anytime when I began some new job or in a new team. I then try to take courage from the experience I have gained so far, and remind myself that it takes time and patience with myself.

    In my current job, additionally: Deadlock situations – having to work at different projects and tasks and having big difficulties to decide which to give higher priority and get the other tasks out of my head temporarily. I tried, and still try to work with to-do-lists, but they frequently get too long and overwhelming.
    Being in situations where I can’t solve a problem alone but nobody has time to explain or talk through with me what can be done. I then either have to abandon this task for the moment, or I spend some time researching what I need to know or do to solve the problem. Getting lost in research without finding the necessary info quickly enough, then giving up frustrated and in panic.

    • Eva G. January 15, 2017 Reply

      (My training contact was terminated.) – Misspelled, sorry; I wanted to say, my training contract was terminated … prematurely, after half a year of training. And what bothered me most at that time was, I had been so convinced this was what I should do with my life. To be there for people who suffered from mental illness, depression, fears. Since then I have difficulties to believe that there is “this one thing” for me that I should do with my life. I need a job, I need to do something for a living and it should rather be something satisfying and creative.

  • Eva G. January 14, 2017 Reply

    There is another sweet spot, I forgot it: I like talking to and connecting with our customers, such as, finding out their requirements or problems, reflect back what I understood, discussing solution options with them, concluding in such a way that they feel understood and taken seriously and their problems are taken care of. I love to build and maintain such contacts over time and make a difference in how they experience working with my company.
    Though English is not my mother tongue (I’m German), I read a lot and use every occasion to write in English. I had the occasion to work with a client in the UK, to draft and implement various system enhancements for them. In this role, I took part in several workshops with their staff, and this was a side of my work I enjoyed very much.

  • Eva G. January 14, 2017 Reply

    What does my life look like when I am in my sweet spot?

    I am working in a team with a leader who knows me well and who appreciates my work, helps me to learn any necessary aspects of my job on the job, and who needs and makes use of my qualities and skills. He or she gives me feedback on what I could improve and how, and what worked really well. I am not left alone with time-critical and new problems without any advice for too long.
    I am challenged with problems for which I work out solutions and I can take part in implementing the solutions.
    I have the time and freedom to try out different ways, develop the solution incrementally – using mistakes as important source of information.
    I can dedicate some time of my work hours to learn and/or research, where the team leader and I agree beforehand what topic or issue I should research on.
    I can dedicate some time of my work hours to experiment with ideas for improvements and enhancements of our software.
    Work hours and work load allow me to have a reasonable time off, and off-line.

  • ewa burak January 14, 2017 Reply

    My Sweetspots, love that word, so friendly and inviting…
    CREATING CONNECTING CONTRIBUTE
    Where I am being creative, stretching, growing with others. Making a difference in the smaller and bigger room. Being challenged and allowed. Head and heart is dancing. Im excited, deliver and having Fun!

  • Lisa January 14, 2017 Reply

    My 5 focus areas:
    1. Great work with ideal clients
    2. More friends and family
    3. Health and Well being
    4. Travel more
    5. Expand my business focus and plan for transition

    Head seems to be full of lots of “shoulds”: (I know what to do, I know what I should be doing. I’m not doing enough.)

    Heart is sometimes but not always very sad. I actually cried through parts of this exercise. Heart is afraid to “go big” and be disappointed, have my hope crushed, have to go ahead and die…

    Gut is sometimes in alignment with anxiety and fear of aborted plans, failure, not being able to do stuff. But, not always. Sometimes gut says you’re okay right now and just go with it.

    Most important, although not the most exciting, or, the one I’d be the most excited to tell people about, is the “health and well-being”, as it’s the foundation to build everything else on.

    • Cindy Marston January 19, 2017 Reply

      Lisa – I’m in the same boat on the head full of “shoulds” and the uncertainties of “go big,” but I’m looking forward to resolving the conflicts via the exercises in this course. Good luck to you!

  • Neha Patel January 15, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot = When I am around positive and active people, connecting, interacting and learning, doing something for the greater good that will change something for the better, while also taking the time and space for my own self-care and individual quiet time. I feel my sweet spot also includes operating as a stronger, more resilient, more responsible and accountable self.

    Hardest area of focus to do is the one where I focus on my writing. The one that I circled as most important that would help many other areas of focus fall into place was the one where I focus on becoming a more disciplined, routine-oriented, resilient and dependable person.

    When I did the head/heart/gut check on my focus areas, I found that fear of failing was a common thread and putting myself out there when something wasn’t perfect often hindered my ability to dive in and start trying. Knowing this means something important to me and I hope to transform this into some kind of positive action in the coming weeks.

  • Lee Shanahan January 15, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would…
    – Work on education reform
    – Find ways to spread Montessori in my local area
    – Help the effort to make quality healthcare available to all people in the US
    – Travel to new places and to see new cultures
    – Build meditation into my daily practice
    – Learn practices to better practice and teach emotional awareness and intelligence, gratitude, compassion
    – Find a team of people to create and be entrepreneurial with
    – Read even more fiction than I already do
    – Maybe try writing some fiction
    – Spend time inspiring children to love life and love learning
    – Adopt or foster kids
    – Explore what other people find meaningful in their lives through first hand qualitative research
    – Find other communities of people who care about the same things I do
    – Cook more
    – Practice yoga
    – Help other people find what is meaningful to them and move towards it in their lives
    – Plan and do more family activities that include my dad, help him enjoy a little more life and make him a slightly bigger presence in my kids lives
    – More trips to see my mom so we have more shared experiences and my kids know her better
    – Try to get to know some additional family members, maybe starting with my uncle and cousins
    – Visit places and cultures important to my family, maybe starting with Taiwan and China and Germany

    My 5 focus areas:
    – Family bonding and experiences
    – Meaningful work/career
    – Deepen relationships
    – Reading (fiction and nonfiction)
    – Regular physical exercise

  • Caroline January 15, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would:
    – write lots of books
    – get famous enough that lots of people would read my books and articles (that means .. work on my audience)
    – go to Kamchatka and up the Lena river
    – go for more lo o o o ng walks
    – learn to make films (so I can do a documentary following the Venetian spy Michele Membre)
    – take naps and do meditation
    – be pleased with myself more often … much more often
    – have lots more good sex
    – not only make more good new friends but also keep up with my old friends
    – go to Montserrat and walk and write about the forests. And of course Mappie
    – worry less
    – cook more delicious fresh food and invite more people round to eat it
    – work on getting myself into a community of excellent writers
    – have already sorted my social media presence
    – keep on (i just managed to start! at last!) developing my relationship with my mum
    – learn Turkish, and to read, not just speak, Russian. Brush up on my Persian
    – support school kids with their reading
    – sing more
    – link up more with / reach out to people I admire
    – monitor what works

    My five focus areas:
    1. Write more
    2. Be kinder to myself and let myself be happy
    3. Learn from new behaviour experiments / Be self-reflective
    4. Work on joining / making community of excellent writers
    5. (May be dull, but) tidy / financial sorting

    Strengths:
    – Learning / being taught how best to run downhill through a forest (with packed trees). Hint: trust gravity
    – Time that I cleared a huge queue in the ER: super-rapid clinical assessment – actually ridiculously theoretically- dangerous-but-totally-logical triage by eye
    – Reading in the British Library Rare Books reading room: when I find something I never knew (and especially when no-one else seems to have thought of it) and go share that with the librarians – who also get excited
    – I just broke my hip / had a total hip replacement : and have invented a Supper Club – with my friends coming round to cook for me (since I cant carry stuff), and chat

    I haven’t done the weaknesses etc yet
    But will

  • Evaldas January 15, 2017 Reply

    Five Annual Focuses:
    1. Travel. Get more people to unknown locations
    2. Health. Solve blood pressure issues without medication, with healthier living style.
    3. Earn. Develop new ways of travel management.
    4. Closest people. Coach a young people to get on track in life.
    5. Charity. To help local Church in their projects.

    Sweet spot.
    To organize big, challenging projects in unknown areas with young, learning, motivated people. Making change to what it seams unchangeable.

    Head, Heart, Gut exercise
    All focuses remain. Top priority is #2. Biggest disagreement is in the focus #5. Head says – too big and too ambitious and Gut – do you really have time for this. Heart – this is important, do it.

  • stephen January 15, 2017 Reply

    20 if I had all the time…
    i share it with my best friend
    ii better help the kids navigate their lives
    iii explore deeper themes about life, meaning, purpose
    iv declutter & hyperorganize
    v travel
    vi generate robust income streams which are not employment
    vii a pizza oven and fire pit out the back
    viii a veggie patch
    ix remodel the barn & the kitchen
    x decorate our new home
    xi run & play soccer better
    xii ski more
    xiii become proficient at guitar & piano
    xiv be laser focused on value at work
    xv meditate and reflect on life and the universe
    xvi stay healthy through diet and exercise
    xvii maintain funds that grow and provide security for the future
    xviii help & see my parents more
    ix walk hand and hand with my love
    xx in warmer climes where i can swim, dive, hike amongst natural beauty

    5 areas of focus:

    I Home
    II Family
    III Work
    IV 2nd income
    V Health

  • Petar Serafimov January 15, 2017 Reply

    TOP 5:
    1. Learn.
    2. Start my own business.
    3. Learn programing.
    4. Play football.
    5. Hiking.

  • Petar Serafimov January 16, 2017 Reply

    Sweet spot is dynamic, diverse content, impacts direction of society, powerfull.

  • Rajiv Vohra January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I would
    1. Meditate
    2. Spend time with my wife and daughters
    3. workout and get fitter
    4. read books
    5. do self development
    6. spend time with my father
    7. spend time in toast masters meetings
    8. spend time with myself other than meditation
    9. spend time with friends and extended family
    10. learn dancing
    11. learn swimming
    12. learn guitar
    13. learn to drive multiaxle trucks
    14. write articles
    15. do plan my days
    16. write a diary
    17. train people
    18. travel to new places
    19. play cricket, football and volleyball
    20. run a marathon

  • Jenny January 16, 2017 Reply

    Five areas of focus:
    1. Family
    2. MA
    3. Felt
    4. Community
    5. Physically Fit

  • Petar Serafimov January 16, 2017 Reply

    Revised TOP 5:
    1. Society’s diversity.
    2. International relationships.
    3. Culture (Arts, Literature, Music).
    4. Sports.
    5. Reading.

  • Rajiv Vohra January 16, 2017 Reply

    My five focus areas are
    1. Personal Development
    2. Relationships
    3. Professional Contribution
    4. Social Contribution
    5. Financial Stability

  • Janet January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I would:

    1. Work on craft ideas
    2. Train Zeta (dog) for completions
    3. Train Donkey to pull cart
    4. Travel to National Parks
    5. Take a vacation
    6. Watch more movies
    7. Read more books
    8. Re-organize my space
    9. Bake more often
    10. Start my garden with seeds
    11. Revive houseplants
    12. Socialize and entertain
    13. Remodel sections of my house
    14. Build barn and equipment storage area
    15. Sell all the stuff on the ranch
    16. Revise bookkeeping process
    17. Shop for a new truck
    18. Start sewing again
    19. Minimize daily task
    20. Re-decorate my space

    Draft 6 Box To Do List
    1. Finances
    2. Ranch
    3. Crafts
    4. Plants
    5. 4 legged crew training/activity

  • Johannes January 16, 2017 Reply

    My 5 areas of focus:
    1. Build professional relationships
    2. Establish myself in new job
    3. Family time and care
    4. Get physically healthy*
    5. Financial confidence

    *the most difficult one:

    The head says: you’re healthy enough. We don’t have time for that!
    The heart says: you want to stay fit for the family. You want to grow old and see your child grow up.
    The Gut says: Hm, mixed feelings. It’s important. But I’m also lazy.

  • Jeff Kleen January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would…
    1. Read great books
    2. Watch great movies and television shows
    3. Exercise and get into great physical condition (yoga, weightlifting, cardio, biking)
    4. Meditate
    5. Learn German fluently
    6. Play the piano
    7. Read, learn, and practice to become a great chef
    8. Volunteer at Sisters of the Road
    9. Volunteer and write for Street Roots
    10. Learn about equity issues and the U.S.’s history of racism
    11. Work for social and racial justice
    12. Attend concerts
    13. Spend time with family and friends
    14. Travel
    15. Watch and learn about football (history and strategy)
    16. Take online courses that would lead to personal and professional development
    17. Learn about personal finances and investing and start investing more wisely
    18. Develop my cognitive skills: strategic thinking, problem solving, decision-making, critical and creative thinking
    19. Engage in local and neighborhood civic activities
    20. Learn about history

    • Eva G. January 16, 2017 Reply

      Hi Jeff, about point 5 on your list – I am a native German speaker and I like writing emails. So if you think it could be of help to have someone to write emails to, and getting emails from, in German language from time to time, then please don’t hesitate to let me know.
      In my experience, it helps a lot to write about things that interest you and touch or trouble you in a language you want to learn, in several ways:
      a) You start to ‘think’ in your target language,
      b) It helps to clear your thoughts because you give special attention to select the words to use. (I experience the same in this workshop.)
      c) For things that trouble you, the use of the foreign language can serve as a kind of emotional ‘protection layer’ when you write and think about difficult issues. I made this experience as I wrote and read along in a few online dementia support groups.
      Kind regards
      Eva

      • Peter Bregman January 17, 2017 Reply

        I love that kind of collaboration and offer. Thanks for reaching out to each other!

      • Eva G. January 18, 2017 Reply

        Another thing which I have found helpful to stay in the flow of reading, is reading e-books if a dictionary in the same language is integrated, like in Amazon’s Kindle. If I do not know a word, I can mark it and see if a simple explanation is offered – I usually don’t need a translation, just an understanding, and then I can immediately go on reading. Reading is something I often do while commuting, and I don’t want to carry a large dictionary with me 😉

        • Eva G. January 18, 2017 Reply

          … and, sorry yet another thing 😉 that i frequently use and find very helpful: If you haven’t found it already, try https://www.linguee.co.uk/ (in English language, or linguee.de in German) . It is actually a browser for the use of words and phrases in a certain language in their actual context, ordered by relevance; doubtful uses are flagged. I often find equivalents to phrases that aren’t directly translatable, or come across ideas how else something can be expressed alternatively.

  • Bryan Stoudt January 16, 2017 Reply

    Thanks, Peter, for this helpful exercise. And inspiring responses from others.

    Some highlights from, ‘If I had all the time in the world, I’d…’

    1. travel the world with my wife, especially Europe
    2. sleep 8 hrs/night
    3. spend much more time on blogging, creating my own products, and speaking
    4. run more and do an ultra-marathon in an amazing location
    5. create a community where our healthcare students and professionals could live among the underserved, greatly benefitting them – and us
    6. plan an amazing experience with each of my kids
    7. simplify my life
    8. go an some sort of ‘extreme’ outing with my guy friends, maybe making it an annual experience
    9. spend more time mentoring and coaching the guys in our ministry
    10. spend more time mentoring/coaching the campus leaders in our ministry
    11. learn more about coffee
    12. help people focus and live lives that matter, particularly as it relates to those within the Christian tradition (I’m a pastor)

    5 Areas of Focus:

    1. pursue new depth in my relationship with the Lord
    2. help people grow in Christ, providing them with both foundational and practical resources
    3. raise up leaders in our local ministry so that it becomes a movement, rather than (primarily) a reflection of my own vision and passion
    4. proactively engage and be present with my family
    5. invest in my blog community, helping it deepen and grow

  • Sergio January 16, 2017 Reply

    Hi Peter!

    First, congratulations on your books. I love them. I believe in your approach but, obviously, I have some troubles going from what this year is about to the everyday minutiae.

    I checked your 6 Box To Do List and I was surprised that I didn’t see anything related to family, health, etc. Everything was work related.

    Here are my areas:
    1. Health: eat better, sleep 7-8 hours, exercise 5 times a week.
    2. Learning: to read books that will help me to achive my goals.
    3. Starting a business: from idea definition to its implementation.
    4. Spending quality time with my wife and daughter.
    5. Relocate in a foreign country.
    6. Chores.

    Here is my question: if I include in the 6BTDL five areas that very differentiated, would it be spreading myself too much?

    One more thing. All the areas that I have defined are very specific except area 3. What’s your advice for that (not being too specific)? how can I improve it (please don’t say be specific – this is my “I don’t Know”)?

    Thanks again for bringing to the light this course and helping normal people (no corporate people) to get a better and fuller life.

    Sergio

    • Peter Bregman January 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Sergio – Glad you like my books – thanks so much for letting me know. We all have troubles with “going from what this year is about to the everyday minutiae.” – that’s what these three modules are all about so you’re in good company!

      In terms of your observation that my 5 areas of focus are all work related – that’s true and it hasn’t always been like that (last year my five areas of focus were more integrated, with one box titled “Nurture myself and my family”.

      A part of me is concerned about the total work focus. But I am trying something a little different this year which is really cordoning off my family and personal time from my work time. And using the 6 boxes specifically for my work time.

      It’s an experiment and I’m a little worried about it to be honest because I am a bit of a workaholic (perhaps that’s an understatement). Also, I often work from my home office which means that I can work all the time. Point in fact: it’s 10:45 PM.

      But, recently I’ve been successful at shutting off and being with Eleanor and our kids and working out and even reading fiction. This is personal to me – I am not advocating it for everyone – but trying it this year to see if it works.

      In terms of item #3 – Starting a business: from idea definition to its implementation – It would help to break it down into 5-10 steps that would represent the journey from idea definition to its implementation. You may need to do some visioning work to get clear on what implementation looks like. But once you’ve broken it down to the basic steps or stages, it will be easier to get more specific.

      I don’t think it’s a problem that 6BTDL (love the acronym, btw, even though it’s a mouthful) five areas are very differentiated – if they are all important to you, it’s a great way to make sure you spend time focusing on each. If you’re in a race to get one of them done, sure it may slow you down. But life’s not a race (unless it is).

      I hope this helps Sergio.

  • Michelle January 16, 2017 Reply

    Areas of focus
    1) Build my career/job/contribution to the world
    2) Self/health/exercise
    3) Mental health (find peace around my own childhood abuse)
    4) Actively work on creating independent loving adult children that can rely on me (their mother) for emotional support for ANYTHING they choose in their life
    5) – can’t come up with more than 4! 😉

    If I had all the time in the world, I would
    1) get an MBA
    2) teach Entrepreneurship classes at UM
    3) actively work to eradicate (or nearly eradicate) Human Trafficking in the state of Michigan (from local to state government level)
    4) fully explore the emotional space around our needs as humans to over eat and how to overcome that. (would like to explore it for myself, not just read books or others’ opinions about it)
    5) Hike rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon
    6) become a wildflower gardening expert
    7) travel to Ireland

  • John Bernia January 16, 2017 Reply

    1. Focus on deepening my relationships with my family.
    2. Do a great job of doing my job.
    3. Work on my dissertation.
    4. Focus on my health
    5. Read.

  • Eva G. January 16, 2017 Reply

    Head/Heart/Gut check:
    About all my focus areas are directly or indirectly aligned with health and wellbeing: Overcoming issues at work or in relationship that trouble me and cause panic or frustration, creating more free space and time, experiencing and writing music. So,
    Head says, YES, all of these! But especially health and work: No one can be left out because disregarding any of them would weigh you down and disturb every other activity or effort.You earn the money for the family and so you mustn’t risk your job. This means your job must always have maximum importance. All else comes after that. And well, writing music might be a waste of time – who on earth needs your music? Who on earth do you think you are? For all music that you can ever create, or song you can write, surely there will be thousands of songs and pieces that already have expressed the same in a more refined way. And look at all that’s happening in the world – aren’t you just try to steal away into a níce little world of harmony and sound?

    Heart says, YES, all of these! Work and health have priority, too, just for fear to get into health problems or to lose my job, rather than because my field of work means anything special to me.
    Heart has a bit mixed emotions regarding some relationships – for fear of getting hurt. And writing music – also for fear of getting hurt. “Anyway, there are these moments when music just flows through you and you feel such a power and joy, you feel so alive – don’t throw that away!”

    Gut says: “I abstain from voting, because most of this year still lies in the dark and unknown. You have to keep your eyes, mind and heart open and decide from moment to moment. Do your best to weave everything together in your life, it all belongs to you and yet you are more and will be more than you can define in 6 boxes.”

  • Lee Shanahan January 16, 2017 Reply

    Write the story:
    I am working collaboratively with others who care about the same mission I do. We have different backgrounds or perspectives and are all learning from each other – I am learning new skills or ideas or ways of thinking from them and they are also learning from me. We are creating something new that leaves the world in a better place than when we got here. We are studying people and their needs, maybe helping them better reach their personal goals, but ultimately adding some value to people and the world.
    With whom are you working?
    I am working with people I see as peers, people I can learn from and who can learn from me, people who value me and accept me for me, people who care about the same mission and also want to create something that leaves the world better off than when we got here, people who see adding value to the world better in the same way so we are a team. We are a team who learn from each other and who make each other better and more effective. The people I’m working with are people I want to strive to be more like and who also love creating and making a difference.
    What are you doing?
    We are creating something new, studying people and their needs, making progress towards an idea or deciding the idea won’t work and needs to pivot.
    How are you doing it?
    Iteratively, through interviews and building and testing and changing to get the idea right and create something that means something and makes a difference.

    5 areas revisited – keeping them as is for now since they encompass connections and meaningful work and family, which are the start of how I will find people who care about the same things I do and who want to learn and grow and create and make a difference.
    1 – Family bonding and experiences
    2 – Meaningful work/career
    3 – Deepen relationships
    4 – Reading (fiction and nonfiction) — for continued learning about ideas and research and ways of communicating and for fun
    5 – Regular physical activity

  • Eva G. January 16, 2017 Reply

    … out of the head/heart/gut check, my areas of focus have remained. And I have to admit, I can’t circle this ‘one most important thing’. Probably, living a whole-hearted life, courageous, curious, creative, not only balancing work and all the other aspects, (that is a necessary but not sufficient) – condition) but also open for what life might offer me this year, gifts and challenges.

  • Mark Bertler January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world….
    1. I wouldn’t worry
    2. I wouldn’t get anything done
    3. I’d relax more
    4. I’d learn a language
    5. I’d learn an instrument
    6. I’d learn to dance
    7. I’d read more
    8. I’d learn more
    9. I’d exercise more
    10. I’d slow down
    11. I’d volunteer more
    12. I’d be more patient
    13. I’d be less anxious
    14. I’d smile more
    15. I’d sleep more
    16. I’d travel more
    17. I’d spend more time with friends
    18. I’d talk more
    19. I’d listen more
    20. I’d focus more

  • Lisa January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I’d:
    1. Finish writing the novel
    2. Write more essays
    3. Read Proust
    4. Read Infinite Jest
    5. Walk one hour a day
    6. Learn how to play a musical instrument
    7. Spend more time in museums, plays & concerts
    8. Learn how to dance
    9. Plant a garden that flourished
    10.Drive across the United States
    11.Create an artistic practice
    12.Clean my closets of what I don’t need or want any longer
    13.Ride a bike everyday or least several days a week
    14.Design the virtual space for two decades of thinking to reside
    15.Meditate with more regularity
    16. Study sacred texts
    17. Swim more often
    18. Travel
    19. Finish or close, the unfinished projects I have started
    20.Spend more time with kindred souls

    Areas of Focus:
    1. Self care
    2. Business Development
    3. Writing
    4. Learning
    5. Connection

  • Linda January 16, 2017 Reply

    19) If I had all the time in the world, I would go for a long walk on the beach.
    20) If I had all the time in the world, I would draw a picture of the beach.

  • DClarkin January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I’d

    1. finish War and Peace
    2. restart my book blog
    3. read more classics – continue reading through Guardian 1,000 best fiction titles.
    4. garden more
    5. learn to identify local birds.
    6. get caught up with all my friends and meet some new ones.
    7. finish my project management certification
    8. complete hike along Hadrians’ wall
    9. bike the length of the c & o canal trail
    10. rent a camper and spend part of the summer traveling to national parks
    11. volunteer with schools
    12. spend time practicing mathematics
    13. get back into drawing
    14. get back into making jewelry
    15. make lots of great food and have parties every weekend — or at least nice dinners with friends
    16. volunteer at a local park
    17. spend more time with parents

    My five areas of focus:

    1. get fighting fit/lose 10 lbs
    2. get financial house in order — ensure enough funds for retirement
    3. move work team forward on a number of major goals for the year that involve stronger collaboration and creativity
    4. take an amazing hiking trip with my husband
    5. strengthen all my relationships especial extended family and old friends

  • Erica January 16, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I’d…
    paddle 3x a week (or even more)
    read the paper everyday
    journal every morning for 15 minutes
    do pranayama every morning before anything else
    travel to see family more
    hike 3x a week (or even more)
    write more thank you notes
    write a book
    buy more new music
    clean out my closet/office/basement every month
    go on a 2-week vacation with my wife
    read more fun books
    take another NOLS course
    take more leisurely walks
    teach more yoga workshops
    play guitar more often
    get 8 hours of sleep every single night
    cook more delicious meals
    grow more of our own food
    fly-fish every week
    go down to the water every single day

    Annual Focus
    1. move each day
    2. grow my list
    3. build the team
    4. music
    5. play

  • Bryan Stoudt January 16, 2017 Reply

    From video #2:

    – Biggest area of challenge: raising up other leaders to ‘own’ the ministry

    – What I learned from this excercise about ‘head, heart & gut’. First, I had a little trouble understanding what you meant by ‘heart’ & ‘gut’, but opted to loosely define heart as what I feel and ‘gut’ as what my instincts say despite what my ‘head’ & ‘heart’ do. Feel free to fill in what you meant! 🙂

    I’m generally in touch with my all of me, thankfully, but noticed that I sometimes (often?) don’t correct my heart, which is often filled with fear, or, follow through on my gut, partly because of the fear, and, because I allow other things to crowd its conclusions out. I suspect that busyness can be an excuse for not challenging my heart and its fears.

    Thanks for this very practical, helpful module, Peter & team!

    • Peter Bregman January 17, 2017 Reply

      Just a note to say thanks for your thanks – I really do appreciate it and I’m glad to know that it’s helpful!

  • Anjana January 17, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I would:

    1. Exercise more
    2. Read more
    3. Balance my work and family life
    4. Share more quality time with my daughter and son
    5. Network – create and meet new friends
    6. Sleep more
    7. Prayer and meditation
    8. Gardening
    9. Learn to dance
    10. Start new projects
    11. Look after my house and work out the painting
    12. Sort out things at home, those not required to share with those people in need.
    13. Volunteer for work in the community
    14. Deepen my strategic thinking and apply to work
    15. Share my Boss load to a higher extent
    16. Ask for feedback regularly with Boss and improve
    17. Make things happen
    18. Don’t spend time on petty and useless issues
    19. Move on in life
    20. Go to swimming often

    5 Areas of Focus

    1. Improving my own skills mainly in strategic thinking
    2. Exercise, healthy eating and take care of self
    3. Balance family and work
    4. Meditate and strengthen self mentally
    5. Work as a team, coaching, learning and sharing
    6. Work out my fear of driving….
    Hope to achieve most of it if not all this year

    My sweet spot

    I am lucky to be working with great leaders and I have climbed the success ladder because of my commitment, willingness to do that extra mile, and always working towards improving self be it in learning new things, sharing and always accepting the challenge. Lost my both parents but this has only strengthened me when faced the reality and enabling me to put into action what I learnt from them in terms of values and principles and the leadership style. Hope to be able to share with my daughter and son and ensure it keeps going on in the family.

  • Karen Grant January 17, 2017 Reply

    May I be honest here? In preparing the “if I had all the time in the world” question, I realised I’m not really stuck for time. I’m stuck for money to do the things I would like to do and so I found myself constrained. I earn enough, but if I were not to work I wouldn’t be able to do all the things time allowed for lack of resources. Did you want us to disregard $ in the question?

    • Peter Bregman January 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Karen – that’s an important question. Here’s my perspective, if the things that are most important to you – that you value most – require more money than you have, the question is: Do you want to make it a priority to make more money? If so, that should be in your top 5. If, however, the idea or reality for you of making more money is either uninteresting or unrealistic (in your view), then it’s worth reconsidering how you want to spend your time.

      What I love about your question – and dilemma even – is that it brings to the forefront a question you can really sit with and come to terms with. Ask yourself, what’s most important to you?

      • Laurie January 17, 2017 Reply

        Sweet spot:
        1. I’m most happy when I’ve been creating something…either art, or a baked dessert or something. Insights: I find that I get ‘in the zone’ when I create with music on in the background, and I am alone (my husband or family might be in the house, but I’m doing my creating alone, as an individual contributor). Reflecting back, I realize I was most successful (and happy) when I was an individual contributor in sales. I started not enjoying my career when I had to slog through the crap part of being in management (however, I did like the people part!). I did not like executing the vision of others, especially if I did not feel passion about it.

      • Bruce Breeding January 19, 2017 Reply

        Peter, thanks for answering Karen’s question about financial constraints on the “what I would do if I had all the time in the world” list. I had the same question, but chose to limit mine since I could easily come up with 20 that were conceivably within reach within some degree.

        I notice that most of my items dealt with processes (routines I want to establish, for example) and not products (things I can determine have been completed such as writing a book). I’m one of those perfectionists you write about and I keep thinking (wrongly I presume) that if my processes were actually successful (efficient and effective), I would actually finish some things.

        • Peter Bregman January 19, 2017 Reply

          Hi Bruce – Here’s a thought I had in the shower (TMI?) – If finishing things is your biggest issue, what if you made one of your five boxes: “Finishing Things”?

    • Bruce Breeding January 19, 2017 Reply

      Karen, thanks for asking this question. I was thinking the same thing and wondering if I understood the purpose of the exercise.

  • Ty Francks January 17, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world I would…

    1. Make art to bring beauty to the world.
    2. Be truly loving and present in my relationships.
    3. Cook slow food everyday.
    4. Become a full-time stone sculptor.
    5. Get all my paperwork done on time.
    6. Keep up with the care and feeding of all sentient and inanimate beings under my care.
    7. Inhabit natural places more often.
    8. Write gorgeous poetry as an offering
    9. Gently capture and release the butterflies of insight
    10. Be mesmerized by clouds passing
    11. Live with more spontaneity, in the moment
    12. Serve others more fully and meaningfully
    13. Travel as a means of vilifying life
    14. Extend my love outward more consistently, where it is needed.
    15. Listen better, more often.
    16. Enjoy long periods of silenceinterspersed with loud music and raucous birdsong.
    17. Restore buddhist temples in Nepal, Thailand, etc. using my stone carving skills
    18. Make more time for zen retreats
    19. Study stone carving with a mentor, perhaps in Italy.
    20. Find a way to give everyone else all the time in the world, IF it proved to be beneficial.

    Area of Focus for 2017 – first draft 🙂

    1. Change Leadership (Apply OCM skills – adopt a model, learn, replicate success)
    2. Program Management (upgrade PM skills – for Marketing, strategic vision, execution, realization)
    3. Creative Practice (stone, poetry, spiritual expression, community)
    4. Relationship Building (more space, exploration, presence, deepening)
    5. Family Success (Teens set up for next stage, model, mentor)
    6. Other: Financial Planning, responsible Resourcing (simplify), Wellbeing and spiritual Practice as backbone to top 5 Focus.

    I will now read all your wonderful comments and intentions 🙂
    Thank you for the fellowship and for sharing your vision!!

  • Ty Francks January 17, 2017 Reply

    Sweet spot:

    Making art (or leading change) that carves me from the inside out, demanding mastery of new skills to positively transform space and time and bring beauty into the world.

    Building on open, ambitious peer connections, leading values-driven projects that pioneer, inspire, causing self and others to dare greatly and give back generously.

    Making time to reflect in and be energized by natural settings, I restore my own nature and creativity. Art is nature.

  • Laurie January 17, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would:
    1. Create art
    2. Master pie making
    3. Travel to art shows to attend and/or be an exhibitor
    4. Buy a Winnebago and travel all over the country
    5. Finish the recipe book I’m making for the kids
    6. Start a blog with videos for the recipes for the kids
    7. Read more books
    8. Go back to school to learn interior design principles
    9. Knock off all the places on my bucket list
    10.Move to a sleepy beach town in the south
    11. Chronicle our family history
    12. Do more yoga
    13. Read the classics
    14. Go to more comedy shows
    15. Attend more live music shows
    16. Paint (oils, watercolors, etc)
    17. Learn to sew
    18. Volunteer at animal shelters
    19. Learn how to repair stuff on my own
    20 Master French and Mexican cooking

    5 Areas of focus for 2017:
    1. Body (get in shape **again!**)
    2. Start that company!!!!!!
    3. Create art
    4. Master pie making
    5. Move to a smaller house and resettle

    Note: As I was typing these lists, I realized that my list of 20 doesn’t necessarily track with the 5 things I want to accomplish this year. So this exercise has already been an eye-opener for me. Can’t wait to see where it takes me.

  • Margo January 17, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I’d…
    1. Travel
    2. Be less uptight/busy/distracted/anxious
    3. Exercise more
    4. Earn another degree/certificate
    5. Return to dancing
    6. Read more
    7. Write
    8. Go to concerts
    9. Go on more outings with my boys
    10. Join a volunteer board
    11. Hike
    12. Declutter the house
    13. Sleep more, but worry about sleep less
    14. Connect more deeply to my husband (on his terms)
    15. Spend more time with friends to deepen relationships
    16. Get more civically engaged
    17. Make eye contact more regularly
    18. Meditate/pray
    19. Do crafty projects
    20. Watch/observe my children more patiently

    Annual Focus (first draft):
    1. Cultivate my next career move
    2. Deepen relationships, particularly with my young sons, by being more present
    3. Tend to my body’s health (more exercise, less sugar)
    4. Commit to community/civic engagement
    5. Devote time to professional growth at current job

    In my sweet spot, I am:
    1. Indulging my intellectual curiosity – learning, teaching, research, reading, listening, exploring, taking risks
    2. Moving swiftly, but not drowning
    3. Balancing time with my family/friends + work
    4. Exercising regularly
    5. Cheerful, flexible, motivated/driven, creative

    Recognizing alignment, or lack thereof, among head, heart and gut builds awareness of obstacles and opportunities. I claim to want to take risks and learn and grow, so I need to remember that it’s ok to try something that isn’t easy (even if I fail). Sugar: it’s you vs. me this year.

    • Cindy Marston January 24, 2017 Reply

      “Sugar: it’s you vs. me this year.” Love it!!!! And good luck!! 🙂

    • Cindy Marston January 24, 2017 Reply

      I just finished the Head/Heart/Gut exercise and discovered that I need to let my heart convince my head and gut more often – I have a gentle, encouraging heart!
      Of my 5 focus areas, the hardest and the one I’ve chosen that I believe will impact all of the others is Bible study and prayer. My head said it wasn’t all that important (not as important as “real world” stuff anyway), wouldn’t make much difference, can be very time consuming, and I didn’t know enough to sustain it. My heart said it was critical to me, my family, my community, and the world, that God would help me every step of the way, and to just get started. My gut said to go for it – it’s absolutely the right activity for right now.
      I’ve very much appreciated this exercise and thinking through the idea of alignment, as well as the advice on just being aware and learning how to “talk back” to whatever is holding me back.
      Color me grateful!!

  • Susan Z. Martin January 17, 2017 Reply

    Here are some ‘big picture’ questions I have about finding focus/doing the right thing:

    Question 1:

    What do you do when all the things that you REALLY want to work on are unavailable to you/unlikely to happen because there is almost no room for them in your life. For example I said I wanted to focus on revamping, relaunching and finding some way to monetize a blog that I’ve run for free for almost 6 years. But I am a student who wants to maintain a high academic standard and I work two days a week – so yes, I might be able to fit in this ONE thing but the other four??

    And of course I am very cognizant of the response that the fact that none of my areas of focus fall within either my day job (a not-very-intellectually-challenging clerical position in health care that is conversely very challenging from a chaos/lack of resources/do less with more perspective that seems to be in every sector these days) or my academic pursuits points to a problem in that I am DELIBERATELY not engaging in things that are vital to my best experience but a girls gotta eat (both today – hence working 2 days a week – and for the next few years – hence the pursuit of an undergrad in a field where I know I’m assured a lucrative job after finishing).

    Question 2:

    What if you see qualities in your ‘sweet spot’ exercise that you can’t see how to work into your FOCUS FIVE – for example all my best experiences were when I was interacting with a group whereas most of my FOCUS FIVE are things to be undertaken alone. Yes, I could move some of them into a group environment – i.e. maybe writing could be done in a group setting or I could get together with other writers to get inspiration/have fun/do free writing exercises but where the rubber meets the road writing is a solitary endeavour.

    Question 3:

    Could you leave the framework up for some time so that if we want to we can review the process in 6 months or a year? I think that would be really valuable (and I for one would be willing to make a small monetary contribution to a charitable org you believe in for continued access behind some kind of a password system – I don’t think you should give away stuff forever).

    • Ty January 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Susan, just sharing that last fall I took both a creative writing and a poetry course at the local university. In well over my head. We workshopped every week in both classes, the poetry was especially active with personal writing and providing feedback for several others. It was a very lively, human counterpoint to digging for words while picking up poop on solitary doggie walks. It was raw and bold and I highly recommend workshopping with a dedicated, direct and loving group of souls. Your work will improve and it’s a wonderful generosity practice, too.

      • Susan Z. Martin January 17, 2017 Reply

        Thanks Ty for that suggestion – there is a writer’s group that meets once a month at the public library – I may try that. And maybe a more structured course but one without a ‘goal’ in mind (the last writing course I took was about freelance magazine writing and I enjoyed it but ended up beating myself up because I never took it any further).

    • Peter Bregman January 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Susan – thanks for your great questions – I am sure you are not alone. There is almost always some gap between our ideal focus and what is realistic in terms of the obligations and commitments we have in our lives. A few thoughts:

      – Embrace what I call “one breath” thinking. When someone tells me they don’t have time to meditate, I ask them if the have time to take a single, mindful breath. Of course the answer is yes. That’s a great place to start – you can always build up to two or, if you have an abundance of time one day, three :-).

      – Make sure to notice when you do take that one breath (metaphorically) or when you do interact with people. In other words, appreciate the small inroads you do make towards what you care most about – don’t miss those moments, no matter how small. It’s the appreciation that fuels your next steps.

      – Ty’s thought is al

  • Ty January 17, 2017 Reply

    Family Success was my tough area of focus.
    head: I can’t lead people/kids. What if I fail them like I have failed myself?
    Heart: nothing is too hard to attempt (with loyalty, love) and they are worth any sacrifice.
    Gut: What difference can I make? I feel overwhelmed by what they need as I am on my own with a lot to try to manage when issues arise.

    Surprisingly, my Creative Practice feels like it connects the whole and will positively energize and nurture all areas of endeavour.

    Common threads:
    Head: conscious change
    Heart: courage and willingness, seasoned wisdom
    Gut: push past fear, anxiety; ambiguity is okay, I can afford to fail or success.

    This has been terrific. So wonderful to see the posts and watch your videos, Peter. Thank you all 🙂

  • Lee Shanahan January 17, 2017 Reply

    My head, heart, gut check:

    Family bonding and experiences
    Head: This is about being a good parent, it’s my responsibly. It’s important for my kids to know and feel that I love them. I wonder if there is a way to achieve those goals in a less time intensive way. I’m sacrificing a lot, maybe more then needed, for my kids.
    Heart: I love my kids.
    Gut: of course, this one is a no brainier!

    Meaningful work
    Head: I feel alive when I’m doing meaningful work. I wonder if there is a way to feel I’m contributing and doing something meaningful without having it be quite so lofty. This is difficult to do with little ones who are so dependent on me at home.
    Heart: Some of my best moments in life have been in flow when I feel I’m collaborating and creating and contributing.
    Gut: yes, desperately needs some focus and attention!

    Deepen relationships
    Head: Life is about relationships, joy comes from relationships. Deeper relationships will not only provide joy but also open the door to networks, future opportunities. I’ll need to practice being a better listener and asking more about others instead of sharing my opinions or needs or experiences.
    Heart: I feel loved and valued when I’m connecting with other people.
    Gut: this is critically important

    Me Time I enjoy such as Reading (fiction or nonfiction)
    Head: I love my quiet reading time, it’s my me time and I need me time. This is really about ongoing learning… changing focus area. Learning can be fun like fiction books, doesn’t have to be nonfiction reading it online or in person classes. Maybe there is a way to get benefit of learning through other focus areas. Or, maybe calling out ongoing learning is essential. Or, maybe changing this to ongoing learning loses the importance of me time and not sacrificing for my kids so much.
    Heart: I love my quiet reading time, it helps me recharge and sometimes escape and sometimes feel like I’m a better me.
    Gut: Keep the focus area about me time. Ongoing learning can be rolled into meaningful work. At least for now.

    Regular physical activity
    Head: So hard to fit in, never a real priority. Necessary if I want to stay healthy and not be a hunched over old person prematurely. Exercise creates new brain cells and boosts mod so is good for me mentally add well at physically. Need to find way to fit in with kids to be realistic when competing with other priorities.
    Heart: I don’t love exercise as much as connecting with people or meaningful work.
    Gut: …

    @Peter Bregman: Do you have any advice or guiding principles about how specific or general our 5 focus areas should be?

  • Ram January 17, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time…
    1. Spend quality time with my family
    2. Start a new venture to introduce modern farming in India
    3. Implement changes in my life based on my learning from the books I read
    4. Improve my technical skills by learning a new technology
    5. Improve my relationship with friends

  • shibu January 18, 2017 Reply

    Five Areas of Focus
    1. Learn SAP ERP – BW MOdule
    2. Practice and Do a Project in SAP BW
    3. Join for UK MBA in September
    4. Be Present with Family n.Fun
    5. Network for SAP ERP Job
    6.Others (social work,small business,family parties/trips)

    The Biggest Event to make happen is to Join for UK MBA(6mnths in scotland from Sep-16)

    If ihad all the time in this world…

    1. Get a SAP BI/BW or Data Analyst Career.
    2. Get a UK MBA
    3. Get a Masters in Computer Applications
    4. More kids
    5. Vacation Trips.
    6. A new home.
    7. income from rents or business…
    …………
    ………

  • SassyMom January 18, 2017 Reply

    Thank you Peter for the first Module.
    I have been taking steps to set a plan for 2017. I was not sure I would complete the modules but had a few minutes today before going to work and decided to start.
    Part 1: I did follow your instructions of exercising and then writing down the 5 areas of focus.
    Part 2: Completed the worksheet and wrote an outline of areas I love as well as feel bad. In search of the “sweet spot”.
    Part 3: I chose what I thought was my easier and “lowest priority” Annual Focus #5: What I did not expect is the emotions I felt doing the exercise. I actually cried. I realized that my head, heart, and gut are not in alignment in this area and I seriously came up with some really great ideas that may benefit me. Without going in to detail I will just say thanks.
    So far, worth the time already. I will look forward to the next module.

  • Dana Lehman January 18, 2017 Reply

    My Sweet Spot –> • I wake up excited to tackle the day. I work with groups and individuals but also have time alone to be productive. I am helping others achieve the results they want and close the gaps they have trouble closing on their own. I am excited about upcoming check-ins and feel confident!

  • Janet January 19, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot
    I flourish when I’m using my unique, creative juices to put together thoughts and actions resulting in a new way of being or doing within a comfort zone.

  • Terri Browne Kutzen January 19, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot
    When I am in my sweet spot I am working with intelligent or world wise people with whom I share a love of the mission we are joined by – whether that is community gardening, providing leadership to our local YWCA on matters of operational excellence and leadership, coaching individuals to lives of greater fulfillment and clarity. There is a high degree of creativity involved, which can take the form of poetry, good writing, live music, good golf games, figuring out how to solve a physical or a horticultural challenge that we have never done before and there is a happy collaboration among the people involved. Barriers come down and people get to know each other in positive and constructive ways and contexts. Outcomes include producing hundreds of pounds of fresh food for the local food pantry, creating community where there was none, securing the resources to provide assistance to victims of domestic abuse, providing good and safe recreational opportunities, enabling more people to have a regular and relaxing way of enjoying the outdoors, the seasons and the beauty of nature. I am doing this by brining my organizational and operational skills to a group of people that I have attracted with the creation of two community gardens and building a board, two steering committees and a leadership structure that spreads the responsibility and the joy. I am organized, I am able to think ahead and be ready for most of what is coming up and I am graceful in my communications and relations with others.

  • Janet January 21, 2017 Reply

    Most Important Focus: Finances

    Alignment Exercise: helped me to understand that benefits offset the challenges; being aware of the misalignment allows me to structure my work plan accordingly.

  • Ashley January 21, 2017 Reply

    Hello, coming late to the party. Thank you all, for posting your thoughts and results. It was super helpful as I navigated the process.

    What I’d do if i had all the time in the world:
    I would do yoga and get a really fit body
    I’d write a book or at least blogs
    I’d read all my piled up books and be enriched
    I’d develop my friendships more
    I’d join the meditation group
    I’d have more coffees with parents
    I’d get more involved in the school
    I’d start a hobby with the kids
    I’d learn the rubics cube
    I’d take a course on edx
    I’d start dancing
    I’d start badminton
    I’d join the maker lab and make something with the boys
    I’d enjoy the house building process and do endless research
    I’d connect more with coaches
    I’d become a parent representative
    I’d do more market research in Singapore
    I would explore online learning space more
    I’d relax and enjoy every minute
    I wouldn’t be stressed

    Draft 1: Five focus areas
    1. Write my ideas down
    2. Communicate more
    3. Build the team to delegate
    4. Help the kids
    5. Physical fitness and weight

    Thanks to the head, heart, gut exercise, I now have areas that I can actually see myself realistically doing this year – instead of falling flat after weeks because of fear, or exhaustion. (Peter – this exercise made all the difference! Thank you!)
    I adjusted my areas: I shifted perspectives, tweaked the language, and the areas are more doable, more appealing now. Here’s the next version:

    Draft 2:
    1. Write my ideas down* (most important)
    2. Speak up – show myself
    3. Empower the team
    4. Learn more about behavior change online
    5. Improve physical fitness and weight

    For the sweet spot, its not flowing for me. Could it look completely different in six months? Maybe i’m over thinking this.
    Here is what i’ve got so far:
    1. I am helping people to make sense of themselves and their working lives
    2. With the team we are generating new ideas, designs, and approaches every day
    3. We are exploring, experimenting and putting new ideas about learning into practice
    4. We are contributing to creating and shaping a new industry

  • Nan Reed Twiss January 21, 2017 Reply

    My Sweet Spot:

    • Working/collaborating/adventuring with really interesting, engaged, open-minded, open-hearted, intelligent people who are up to good – doing something meaningful, playful, and challenging
    or
    • Empowering people with their most noble aspirations – people who are eager to learn, hungry to improve their ability to make a difference in their world – or the world, aligned with their values and skills; helping them clarify what’s deeply important, develop awareness, identify growth edges, have courage, take risks, learn, grow, open up, connect… and find joy

    Although my five areas of focus remain the same, I found the head/heart/gut exercise illuminating. For reference, here they are:

    1. Self-Care – fitness, fun, spiritual well-being
    2. Coaching – provide outstanding support for clients; do more speaking/workshops; deepen relationship with WBENC
    3. Family/Friends – spend time, have fun, connect
    4. Domestic – declutter, simplify, automate (routines!)
    5. Community – volunteer, support refugees, participate as a citizen

    #4, Domestic, is by far the hardest. Lots of head reasons… but not much response in the heart or gut. Actually, there was a lot of heart response, but it wasn’t encouraging – more a sense of dread and lack of confidence in being able to be successful. Keeping it on the list, though… because the head reasons are so strong. Good to know for strategizing!

    #1, Self-Care, is my biggest arrow. Total alignment here and it will support all of the others, no question. That’s the foundation, and I’m happy to be finally making it such a priority. (It has been a priority for the past year or two and, especially as I age – now 57! – I experience how critical it is.)

  • Mark Bertler January 21, 2017 Reply

    Five Areas of Focus:
    Improve personal relationships
    Aquire additional professional credentials
    Operationalize Company website
    Improve personal fitness
    Continue volunteering

  • Julie January 21, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot:

  • Julie January 22, 2017 Reply

    My Sweet Spot:

    Enjoying the company of inspiring people, people who according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “…have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.” Expanding, being touched by each encounter. Exchanging ideas and experiences exploring social interaction, creating human connection. Creative expression through words and body movement and music that holds a space for fun, playfulness, curiosity, imagination, emotions and risk taking. Being of service in a way that helps to empower. Exploring past life regression, writing and reciting meditation scripts, spoken word and energy healing. Travelling, experiencing new places. Immersed in crowds of people.

  • Julie January 22, 2017 Reply

    Five areas of focus:
    1. Resources for my daughter
    2. Resources for myself
    3. Legal issues
    4. Establish relationships
    5. Establish finances

    Five areas of focus slightly reframed after being filtered through my sweet spot:
    1. Support my daughter in expanding, growing and finding her pleasure
    2. Expand, grow and find my pleasure
    3. Approach legal issues with the mindset that my goal is to reconnect with my daughter and build a healthy relationship (I need to find ways to keep reminding myself of this)
    4. Establish healthy relationships
    5. Establish finances by doing work that is pleasurable and meaningful

  • Julie January 23, 2017 Reply

    Most important area of focus:

    2. Expand, grow and find my pleasure

    If this is made a priority I believe that I’ll be able to show up in a more inspiring and productive way which will help to create the outcomes that i desire in the other areas of focus.

  • Trevor Manning January 23, 2017 Reply

    My Top 20 List: (If I had all the time in the world I would..)
    1. Spend even more time with my wife getting to know her at a deeper level.
    2. Spend time visiting with my family (especially my adult children, and aging mother who live in different countries to me.
    3. Travel, travel, travel. Explore this amazing world of ours.
    4. Become amazing at playing the piano (by ear).
    5. Write more books.
    6. Do more probono work coaching youngsters and helping others.
    7. Do more hiking.
    8. Read more books
    9. Develop more training courses.
    10. Speak at seminars.
    11. Write blogs more often.
    12. Develop my photography skills.
    13. Get fit
    14. Become an expert cook
    15. Start singing lessons
    16. Play golf more often
    17. Relax more
    18. Go to live music gigs
    19. Go dancing with my wife – maybe on a long cruise!
    20. Find even better answers to this question!

  • Jill January 24, 2017 Reply

    Five Areas of Focus:
    Sharing my story
    Wellness
    Finding meaning in my work
    Closer walk with God
    Budgeting and saving money

  • Jill January 24, 2017 Reply

    Sweet Spot: I’ve always known it to be around creating and facilitating and writing (using markers and white boards and AP Stylebooks) … but this exercise also helped me better pinpoint it’s the experimenting, researching and finding unusual sources and manners by which to accomplish something usual. And, it’s being with individuals who laugh through the stress, have fun, are vulnerable with ideas and self plus acknowledging research and asking questions helps find answers that we don’t have. That’s my sweet spot.
    It isn’t working with egos where I have to prove and re-prove myself and take notes for ‘audit’ purposes, creating documents for the sake of filing a document.

  • Julie January 26, 2017 Reply

    Head, heart and gut check of my 5 areas of focus:

    1. Support my daughter in expanding, growing & finding her pleasure.

    Head says I need guidance in this area. I don’t know enough and I’ll make things worse.

    Heart wants nothing more than this.

    Gut feels the misalignment between the head and heart and feels constricted, cautious and somewhat anxious.

    2. Expand, grow & find my pleasure.

    Head says I’m not really doing this to my full potential and I wish I was doing this more graefully.

    Heart feels compassion.

    Gut is excited.

    3. Approach legal issues with the mindset that my goal is to reconnect with my daughter & build a healthy relationship.

    Head says I’m going to make things worse and become farther away from my goal of reconnecting with my daughter because I don’t think clearly in this situation, I react and don’t make the best choices.

    Heart feels pain, grief, longing.

    Gut wants to move forward and do it.

    4. Establish healthy relationships.

    Head asks where do I start? I’m not sure that I know what healthy is and therefore I’ll repeat old patterns that won’t just hurt me but my daughter also.

    Heart feels a longing and sadness.

    Gut is scared and excited and willing.

    5. Establish finances by doing work that is pleasurable & meaningful.

    Head says it’s to much for me to work through to know what I’m passionate about let alone being able to make a living from it. I don’t have any special skills.

    Heart feels longing.

    Gut wants to try.

  • Alejandro Pliego January 26, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would:
    1. Write more
    2. Draw more
    3. Cook more
    4. Do more sports, like swimming and yoga
    5. Travel all over the world
    6. Deepen my relationship with God
    7. Improve my marriage
    8. Remodel my house
    9. Meditate more time each day
    10. Work less and enjoy free time
    11. Visit my father more frequently
    12. Visit my friends
    13. Do social or community service
    14. Study a new profession like furniture design
    15. Study foreign languages like Italian, Latin and Greek
    16. Walk with my dogs
    17. Do gardening
    18. Be more time with my family
    19. Start a new business
    20. Enjoy all the previous things.

  • Alejandro Pliego January 26, 2017 Reply

    Five areas of focus:

    1. Financial stability
    2. To remodel my house
    3. To add value to my job. PMP certification
    4. Health of body and mind, trough sports, nutrition, meditation, and other activities in order to control negative impulses and to overcome addiction.
    5. Deepen my relationship with God: to study, and to help others

  • Laura January 30, 2017 Reply

    Day 1 Head, Heart and Gut Exercise was very focused for me. by the time I revised my top 3 Focus Areas I was already sharing with my mentor – a demo of the influence model I learned on Friday. I have put sharing topic of Culture on my performance management for 2 years and yet today after participating in the head/heart and Gut exercise I got to present a quick demo.

    It does instantly re-align my focus areas so I can share my intent with others and move past my old fears. It was like those old fears are light years away.

  • Laura January 30, 2017 Reply

    My top 4 2017 Focus Areas have now included: Check my Alignment – Notice my Head, Heart and Gut exercise is telling me and re- align my intent.

  • Robyn Leone February 3, 2017 Reply

    If I had all the time in the world, I would:
    1. Be able to lie in my bed and watch the sun set into the ocean
    2. Learn to speak French and Italian
    3. Live in Paris
    4. Ride a bike through Europe
    5. Have a pottery wheel in my house
    6. Stay in an ashram in India and learn yoga
    7. Teach or volunteer at a school in Africa
    8. Read every Thich Nhat Hanh book
    9. Go to medical school
    10. Train for an Ironman
    11. Knit things I would actually wear
    12. Hike the entire Kalalau Trail
    13. Redo all the landscaping in my front & backyard
    14. Restart piano lesson and learn to play jazz
    15. Set-up an art studio in my house
    16. Travel through Thailand and learn to cook
    17. Write a book
    18. Get as many tattoos as I wanted
    19. Make people smile – everyday
    20. Enjoy everyday like it’s my last

  • Robyn Leone February 3, 2017 Reply

    Five Areas of Focus
    1. Relationship with my husband
    2. Maintain good eating habits
    3. Remain committed to health and fitness
    4. Mindfulness Practice
    5. Honor friendships

  • Joana Mendonça February 8, 2017 Reply

    Five areas of focus:
    – Teaching
    – Develop new research projects
    – Publish
    – AM Agenda
    – Get Healthier

  • Eugenia B. September 12, 2017 Reply

    Can you believe am just now doing this. I’m ready now and pretty excited. Just doing this first module confirmed where my head heart and gut is. This is already giving me confidence and pushing away the fear that is holding me back.

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