Deloitte’s CORE Leadership Program teaches Veterans the art of personal reinvention

Change is hard – it requires effort, it takes time, and demands gut-checks that are uncomfortable.

Thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen leave the service every year. Their choice means leaving behind a strong sense of purpose, service, leadership, teammates, co-pilots, neighbors, classmates, responsibility, and a life they understood and knew how to navigate. As a group, Veteran’s have more management, leadership, and decision-making experience than civilians twenty-years senior to them, but they often lack interview skills and job search experience. This is a gap Deloitte’s CORE Leadership Program fills.

Deloitte University

A few weeks ago Deloitte volunteers completed another three-day CORE Leadership Program for 50 Veteran’s in transition. Participants were selected to attend a series of workshops and networking events at Deloitte University (DU) to learn more about themselves, know their fit, know who to ask for help, and learn how to tell their stories effectively. Soon after the immersive program began Dorie Clark gave a powerful talk about personal reinvention.

Dorie’s an accomplished writer, speaker, and teacher who’s observations and ideas are supported by pivots from journalism, to politics, to non-profit leadership, then on to teaching, speaking, and writing for Forbes, the Harvard Business Review and other premier publications. Her talk about personal reinvention resonated with every person in the room.

Over the years I’ve witnessed capable peers, and accomplished employees, struggle. They either lacked confidence or story telling skills; they languished in jobs they were overqualified for because they didn’t know how to reinvent themselves. One of the greatest skills anyone can learn is how to interview well. Simply put – it’s a high payoff activity that gives people command over their careers, and it’s the reason CORE is so potent. The exercises, workshops, round-tables, practice interviews, and evenings at the “Barn” filled the middle.

The Barn

CORE ended on a Saturday afternoon – with a presentation by a Veteran, and two-time, Paralympic gold medal winner.

Here’s a preview at the risk of sharing too much with future CORE participants. During a raid the speaker activated an IED while moving to aid two Afghani Commandos who suffered serious injuries minutes earlier when they set off a 40lb explosive charge. Days after being flown back to the United States he learned devastating news. His situation changed – he had to reinvent himself.

This hero delivered an emotional, inspiring story. He offered more laughs than tears and called out many people who put themselves at risk or made other sacrifices to give him a second chance at life. He’s still adding chapters to his amazing story, and all of us have someone to cheer on in the 2016 Paralympic games.

Before CORE I thought about what I could offer, and how I could help. I left CORE  humbled, and more grateful for the Veterans who stepped-up after I left the Army seventeen years ago; I left filled with a sense of purpose and pride in Deloitte that is every CHRO’s “employee engagement” dream and I’m looking forward to meeting a new group of Veterans in February 2016.

Personal reinvention is hard, but a comprehensive roadmap exists. Please share this with service-members you know are ready to transition. Click here for more information about the CORE Leadership Program, including program eligibility and application requirements.

Originally published on LinkedIn.

Coaching

A Top-Secret Technique That Guarantees Successful Leadership

There’s a powerful secret that successful organizations apply to get higher performance from their people. And it stands in contrast to the low performance generated by managers who filter their teams’ efforts, rather than acting as catalysts to drive productivity and results.

Let me tell you a personal story.

Second-Lieutenant Lessons

I remember the moment I led my first platoon operation outside the walls of an Army compound in South Korea. I was twenty-two and responsible for a convoy with ten armed Humvees, thirty-two people, and a handful of eighteen and nineteen year-old drivers strung-out over a half-mile behind my truck. I kept one eye behind me, and one on the road, always ready to pull in the mirror to navigate between houses on a road designed centuries earlier, and way too small for our enormous vehicles.

Don’t screw up – and no accidents.

The words of my larger-than-life Commander echoed in my ears. He was a big man – even measured against a Company of MP’s. He played football at a Division I University before the Army – and he was a combat veteran. Lucky for me he was also an incredible teacher and a strong leader.

I had already confronted the stress every new Second-Lieutenant experiences when they’re not with their unit during an operation. It’s impractical for a Military Police Lieutenant to spend every waking hour with his soldiers during law-enforcement operations, when each squad is assigned an eight-hour shift. How would you sleep if your employees (fresh out of high school with sixteen weeks of intensive training) strapped on a Kevlar vest, a Berretta semi-automatic pistol, a few extra magazines, and a ticket book–and dispatched a four-wheel drive vehicle, with lights and a siren, to drive around all night? It’s a maturing experience–one that left a lot of bruises and a few scars, but far more lessons I’ve put to good use every day since.

As I looked back at that line of trucks, with gunners in their turrets to man their M-249 grenade machine guns, I’d already received a few calls at 3 a.m. from my Platoon Sergeant who always started with, “Sorry to wake you, but I want you to know about…”  It hit me that they had all the training and experience they needed to make a sound decision in any situation we would encounter. I realized what the secret ingredient was. Trust. Expect more, and you will receive more. Said another way, “You get what you reward.” This is moving beyond lip service to the phrase, “empower people.” You should really expect more–and tell them.

Autonomy + Expectations = Higher Performance

When you give people autonomy, and make it clear what’s expected, you’ll get high performance to match, without the overhead and friction created by micro-management. One of my favorite expressions is: “I’m not asking for perfection, but I want you to try.”

There’s a lot of research that proves what I learned during my first weeks as a troop leader in Korea. I describe it as “Engineering Human Performance” – or how to create a pre-determined outcome. How can business leaders engineer higher performance?

Easy. When you put someone in charge, they’ll step up to perform well, make sound decisions, and generally do the right thing. The military operates using the ‘situational attribution‘ theory; decision-making authority rests with the senior person present. When the boss is gone, the next person in line has the authority to make operational decisions required to complete immediate tasks. This quality causes soldiers, sailors, and airmen to view leadership as a condition of their circumstances rather than their pedigree. They are not paralyzed by the loss of a leader, because even the lowliest Army of one has someone in charge.

Rising to the Role

In most companies, when the boss is away, subordinates need to find another senior leader to sign documents, approve budgets, sign off on expense reports, and make other decisions to operate the business. This is the ‘disposition attribution‘ theory at work; businesses incorrectly assume that sound decision making is a function of the employee’s level. It’s not.

“People assume the qualities of the roles they’re assigned.”

People who wear surgical scrubs, judge’s robes, or uniforms understand this. Uniforms create a feedback loop from bystanders–even a tentative rookie will step up under scrutiny from a crowd that expects them to succeed or to perform in a predictable way.  People also routinely commit the fundamental attribution error–they assign values and assume expertise where none exists. This misperception is demonstrated each time someone asks a doctor how they should invest their money–wrongly assuming that high achievement and domain knowledge in one area translates to other domains.

Catch Me If You Can

We saw countless examples of this in Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in the 2002 Steven Spielberg film, “Catch Me If You Can.” Consider how people treated Frank Abagnale Jr. when he forged checks as a nineteen-year-old pilot for Pan Am Airways. Self-confidence can overcome negative bias, since it can be difficult to identify an expert out of context–someone wearing tattered clothes who walks up and declares–”I’m a doctor” will get everyone’s attention. Think about the Holiday Inn commercials when self-confident people tackle a challenge they would otherwise be unprepared for–at the end revealing they have no qualifications except that they “stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

The Guards and the Prisoners

In 1971, Dr. Philip Zimbardo and other researchers at Stanford wanted to measure how role expectations could change behavior, outlook, and self-esteem. In a study about prisons sponsored by the U.S. Navy, they devised an experiment where young men were randomly selected to be guards or prisoners in a Stanford prison experiment. Twenty-four students participated in the mock prison. Guards quickly asserted control over the prisoners, and subjected them to various forms of psychological torture. Most of the prisoners accepted their treatment, but a few resisted, only to be attacked by other prisoners who helped guards keep everyone in line.

“Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress.” Philip G. Zimbardo

The Blue Eyes and the Brown Eyes

When we don’t live with an open mind, our bias is predictable and easy to uncover. The day after Martin Luther King was assassinated In 1968, Jane Elliott, a third-grade teacher in Riceville, Iowa, divided her class for an exercise about discrimination. Students were arbitrarily placed into two groups–blue eyes (superior) and brown eyes (inferior). The blue-eyed group was placed in charge, while brown-eyed students were not allowed to use the playground equipment or the drinking fountain. Students were told that blue-eyed students were naturally better at math, English, and other skills, while brown-eyed students were told they were not as good. The next day, Jane announced she had made a mistake and the roles were reversed.

Immediately, previously low-performing blue-eyed students were producing better work. They were trying harder, while high-performing brown-eyed children started to perform below their previous levels. Jane Elliott’s impact on education is significant. Her experiment in Riceville created the foundation for her work as a speaker and coach about discrimination and diversity training for corporations and colleges around the world. In 1970, her third group was filmed and a documentary was released called “Eye of the Storm.” In 1985 Frontline created a program about the experiment, based on a book by the same title, “A Class Divided” and it includes footage from the 1970 documentary. You can watch it here.

Jane tested her students regularly and found that scores went down during the time a student was part of the low expectation group, and up during their participation in a high performing group. But another effect was more surprising. After their participation in the experiment all students’ scores increased. Researchers at Stanford reviewed the results and concluded that the experiment led to a dramatic change in the students’ performance.

“The act of believing you could do better showed the kids they were able to achieve more, to perform better, and evidence presented during their time as high-performers increased their self-confidence and performance.”

Damage of Discrimination and Stereotypes

Jane Elliott demonstrated how discrimination is manufactured, and Philip Zimbardo showed us how people act out role stereotypes.

Both experiments offer important lessons for us. It’s a small leap to recognize that leaders and managers who encourage and support their teams will generate higher performance, while the reverse is true, too. People will perform to the expectations others set for them, and knowledge about their situations does not automatically reverse those effects.

Powerful, Little-Understood Leadership Lessons

My own military experience provides further evidence to support Jane Elliott’s conclusions and the Stanford researchers’ experience. Incredibly, those lessons have not yet penetrated business leadership principles in a meaningful way.

You have a chance to make a positive, lasting difference, and as you do, think about how the evidence in this article could influence leadership-rotation programs, recruiting practices, and B-scale pay plans. Trust your team, expect more, and give your people more autonomy–the results will shock you.

I’d love to hear from people who want to change the culture in their business or organization.

This article was originally published on the PipelinerCRM Sales blog

Coaching

Self-Confident Networking

Successful people are self-confident. Confidence alone doesn’t make you successful, but it’s so important it’s worth studying in detail.

Confidence has several ingredients – how we act, look, feel, what we say, and how we say it. Our body language, speech, and delivery influence people around us.  Amy Cuddy taught the world how “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” in a TED speech watched more than twenty-million times. We convey a lot of information about ourselves, our status, and how we’re feeling through our posture, body language, and how we move to establish personal space.

How do confident people act, walk, and talk? You know it when you see it. Let’s look at an effective teacher – the Military. Drill and ceremony rehearsals, confidence courses, the “gas chamber,” where Soldiers and Marines are inoculated against the fear of being hit with “tear gas” through the experience of being exposed to it. On demolition ranges where they learn how to throw live hand-grenades – safely. Airborne school, where Soldiers are turned into Paratroopers, and on countless missions, deployments and real emergencies that challenge participants to control their emotions to keep fear in check.

Early in my Military Police career I witnessed how attitudes affected preparation, readiness, and performance. I watched a five foot three inch, hundred and ten pound women control her fear to subdue a violent man twice her size. Phrases I half-believed then I embrace completely now – “fake it till you make it”, “when in charge, take charge, and when you’re not, act as if you are.” Confidence is not a substitute for competence, but it trumps alternative ways to approach life.

Training can be designed to teach tasks that together form skills that Soldiers or business-people master before they are qualified. Drown Proofing is a good example. It begins as a series of easy-to-achieve tasks. Soldiers are taught how to stay afloat and to make a flotation device from their clothing. The training culminates with a fully-clothed soldier, complete with kevlar vest, helmet, rifle, and boots thrown into the water. To pass, they need to stay afloat, no style points – as long as they don’t panic, they’ll get through it. And that’s true for anything you do in life – don’t panic.  More dramatic than conventional drown-proofing, this image shows Marines inside a helicopter mock-up as it rotates into water – you can watch the entire video on youtube here. This specialized training increased the survival rate for helicopter passengers caught in a forced-landing on water by several hundred percent.

Marines a modular Amphibious Egress Tank

Lessons learned in the Military can be applied to business. Networking is to business what drown-proofing is to Marines. Research on networking conducted at Harvard University adds evidence on this topic.

“Basically, the more “powerful” the person, the less they view “networking” as a “Dirty” activity. The lower power the person, the more they view it as a shameful chore. One implication for practice is that, to foster the advancement and effectiveness of professionals at low hierarchical levels, organizations need to create opportunities for emergent forms of networking, as those who need instrumental  networking the most are the least likely to engage in it.”

People I work with don’t need to do more good things better, they need to stop doing one thing poorly or step-up in situations where senior leaders wouldn’t hesitate. Usually it’s a single self-defeating inaction, or belief that stops them from moving forward. Self-confidence is the most common element their focus can fix to achieve the results they want. Think about how this could apply to you.

Gavin de Becker points out that young circus elephants are tied to a post with heavy chains they can’t break. Over time, they learn to stop trying, and eventually, as adults, they can be restrained with the flimsiest rope. What ropes are holding you back? Are you afraid, or lack confidence, or self-worth? Learn to be fearless.

Please “Like” and share if you found this useful!

Paul’s talk – “Personal Branding and Digital Footprints” is a discussion about how people connect, learn, and grow. He introduces ideas and techniques you can apply to achieve your goals, enhance your career, and help other people along the way.

Paul Laherty leads Diio LLC’s efforts to improve airlines’ decision-support processes, and access to critical data. Over the past fifteen years he’s led teams in Sales, Marketing, and Finance at American Airlines, Advito, Travelocity, and Cornerstone Information Systems. Paul’s an instrument-rated pilot, writer, speaker, world-traveler, former Army Officer, a husband, and father.  He uses his life-experience, and an MBA and BS in Psychology from Indiana University to help people and organizations achieve significance, travel safely, and think differently. Paul publishes at paullaherty.com, and is open to connecting on LinkedIn at LinkedIn/paullaherty, or twitter @paul_laherty.

Coaching Risk Management Sales & Marketing

Sales Planning for Start-Ups

The right focus, at the right time, has enormous influence on top-line and bottom-line growth for any company, but it’s especially true for new ones.

At the moment a company’s founders decide it’s time to add a sales team there are usually more issues to think about than who. “Sales” is used as a catch-all for a long list of activities and documentation that need to be rolled-out before the sales production line is running smoothly. Hiring a traditional salesperson first, before sales-support, and a marketing-driven lead-generation engine is in-place is a recipe for disappointment.

Chief Marketing Officers and Business Development VPs must understand the evolution of effective selling techniques to identify skills and timing that will achieve the best results for their new company. Professional selling is about leading the customer to imagine how your product will improve their condition.

Before there were Challengers: In the 1800’s through 1925, producers and collectors were recognizable personas of formal selling – also referred to as Hunters and Gatherers. Producers were the highly-compensated sales people who secured new business, while “collectors” were low-value operators assigned to gather fees and payments.

In 1925, E.K. Strong published “The Psychology of Selling.” Strong formalized descriptions and methods to handle objections and focus on features and benefits. This approach stood until the 1970’s when research created SPIN selling (Situation, Problem, Implications, Needs). SPIN segmented customers by size and sales by product complexity. The approach was popularized by Neil Rackham’s book, “SPIN Selling.” By then procurement organizations were seeking ways to control costs through various negotiations frameworks. McKinsey & Company introduced the McKinsey 7S process and procurement embraced it as a way to vet suppliers.

Contemporary sales thinkers, leaders, and sales trainers are driving high performance through programs based on the Corporate Executive Board’s research and 2011 book, “The Challenger Sale.” Written by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson it’s based on surveys from more than 1,200 companies about their B2B sales performance. Dixon and Adamson identified five sales personas and their occurrence rates: The Hard Worker (21%); The Challenger (27%); The Relationship Builder (21%); The Lone Wolf (18%); and the Reactive Problem Solver (18%).  They noticed that in low complexity sales, there was little difference between performance rates among the five types. But as product & service complexity increased Challengers separated from the pack as they generated a higher share of companies’ sales and profits.

Five Sales People Profiles

Challengers thrive: In complex environments with multiple stakeholders in the buyer’s organization. The Board’s research found that as product complexity increased performance separation began to favor Challengers over other sales personas.

Challenger Advantage

Here’s how Challengers do it. “A Challenger is defined by the ability to do three things – teach, tailor, and take control – and to do all of this through the use of constructive tension,” (Dixson and Adamson 2011).

Challenger Skills

Teach, Tailor, Take Control – great news – it’s possible to teach other personas and mid-performers how Challengers apply those skills in the buying process. Challengers don’t tell – they create business partnerships to uncover meaningful insights; they see the world from the customer’s point of view and generate ideas to help them grow faster and more profitably. Challenger selling engages the whole organization to think about ways to generate value for customers. Simply put, the Challenger method can be learned. The trick is to understand the mechanisms Challengers use to manipulate the buyer’s path.

Challenger Path

Marketing automation: The arms race between sales and procurement has been accelerating.  Contemporary marketing automation strategies, enhanced through lead-scoring programs offered by Act-On, Hubspot, Pardot, Infusionsoft, and others, are force-multipliers that allow sales and marketing organizations with a few employees to close complex deals with large customers, faster, at a higher-rate.

It doesn’t take an active imagination to realize what a Challenger could accomplish if they were handed a list of prospects who poked around the company’s website, viewed pages with information about implementation schedules, and opened a pricing page multiple times over the previous four days. Marketing automation is a goldmine. Want to see it in action? Download the beacon viewer extension from ghostery.com, once it’s active on your browser visit your competitors and other leading companies’ websites and check out the tools they’re using to track visitors.

Summary: For CMO’s, finding someone who understands the customers’ business and has the bandwidth to position the seller’s products in a meaningful way, earlier in the decision-process, will make a big difference to their new organization’s success. And if you don’t need a Challenger, you might not need a sales team. Sales people cost far more than sales and marketing automation programs, so a solid plan that incorporates both is necessary to drive success from each. A Challenger mind-set, along with a comprehensive list of lead scores from the new company’s prospective customers creates a good starting point.

Ideas and Suggestions:

  • Identify customer personas, and determine those customers’ “consideration paths” to buy your products, then organize content to respond to what you already know.
  • Launch your website early to accrue benefits the Google search algorithms bestow for site age.
  • Focus on meaningful, relevant content to drive participation on your site; refine your meta tags, keywords, and messaging to achieve low bounce rates, and increase visitor times on-page to drive higher organic search results – read “Call to Action” Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg’s e-commerce classic if you don’t know what this means.
  • Hire a good marketing person to create and publish sales collateral, marketing materials, and develop content that buyers will exchange personal information to get their hands on.
  • Launch a marketing automation program to capture buyer interest and develop a sales pipeline.
  • Now you’re ready to hire a Challenger sales leader.

Slides: From “The Challenger Sale.”

Coaching Sales & Marketing

Productivity and Performance

Productivity is a catalyst that boosts self-confidence. Several months ago I sat next to Jason Womack on a flight to Los Angeles. In his book, Your Best Just Got Better, Jason describes strategies to become more productive. I adopted several immediately, but he also pointed out the need to understand why we do what we do, to do more, or to eliminate it from our lives. As a career coach I frequently encounter people who have the skills and experience to tackle any job in their field or profession, but they’re missing a key ingredient. Self-confidence.

Jason’s book caused me to analyze my activities before sales trips. It occurred to me that most of the items on my checklist could be described as self-confidence boosters, but I also evaluated what I need to be at my best:

  1. Good night of sleep.
  2. Coffee.
  3. Showered and dressed.
  4. Only view emails once I’m prepared to respond to them.

I’ve lived long enough to know my flaws – and peak performance requires down time and an adjustment period to reflect, rehearse, and wind-up before I walk into a client meeting. I tailor each discussion to the customer’s needs; I challenge their approach to create tension and demonstrate proficiency; and I teach them how my products will drive their business. All of this gives me control over the buying process to steer ideas and decisions into my strengths. This is why I want to be on the ground a day before meetings with International clients. For me, there’s too much at stake and too much to lose…even if same-day travel flows smoothly it diminishes delivery preparation.

It’s tough to be productive when your ‘chores’ haven’t been done. Here’s my pre-trip checklist:

  1. Haircut.
  2. Favorite clothes / clean – pressed.
  3. Notepad / pen.
  4. Coffee / dressed / groomed.
  5. Electronic devices powered up – power adapters available.
  6. Itinerary / schedule / map / transportation options.
  7. Be on-time.
  8. Site reconnaissance – visit the office before your meeting to determine how long it will take to get there.
  9. ID / passport / currency.
  10. Data and voice active (mobile phones while traveling).
  11. Music / headphones.
  12. Glasses / contacts / supplies / medications.
  13. Local knowledge about tipping, credit card useage, other customs.
  14. Hardware has network connectivity / back-up plan if network is unavailable.
  15. Thank you cards – Always Be Ready.
  16. Be productive during delays – see above.
  17. Treat yourself to an airport spa or airline clubs when traveling.
  18. Use the arrivals lounge for a shower / fresh clothes.
  19. If the day matters – upgrade yourself to a suite. The space will make you feel better and injects confidence.

I hope this list triggered ideas to put you in the right mindset. Here’s one to end on and it’s worth repeating. “Don’t review emails on your cellphone until you’re ready to take action.” Adopting that best-practice has eliminated anxiety from my routines so I stay focused to make my best even better.

 

 

Coaching Sales & Marketing

Babies and Billionaires are Assertive

The most assertive people I know are babies and billionaires. Babies demand attention when they’re hungry or have a dirty diaper, and great wealth isn’t acquired by those who think about questions but never ask them. I have an example – during the opening-night reception for the King Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art the hushed crowd flowed into the signature room containing the King’s greatest treasures. An older man wandered in, and in a loud, familiar voice, asked, “Where’s the Mummy?” I turned around and found Ross Perot standing in the doorway.

In business, speaking, presenting, selling, and networking are common sources of stress. When a leader reacts calmly, and confidently to a stressful encounter, their emotional intelligence and leadership strengths shine.

Self-confidence is about overcoming fear. Fear motivates us, but it can also disable us, through panic, or over longer periods through the corrosive effects from elevated stress. Inoculation is a process to induce immunity from panic. Inoculation increases our ability to manage fear and to operate effectively when we’re exposed to the fear-inducing thing. Stunt pilots are trained to fly an airplane upside down, just a few feet off the ground, without engine power, while Firefighters learn to navigate hazards in the dark during simulations in a “burn tower.” Paramedics and ER physicians don’t panic when they have two minutes left to stabilize a trauma patient.  All of these people were exposed to conditions that simulated their worst-case scenarios to teach them how to respond. They developed reflexsive responses to save themselves and others from serious harm.

Good leaders know that you can reduce fear by pushing rising-stars in front of an audience to speak or being tasked with a presentation for the Board of Directors, or leading a project for a Senior Vice President. Inoculation against our fears expose courage, and assertiveness is the way we demonstrate it every day. Fear is in our minds most of the time.

Here are a few actions you can take that will increase your courage, and innoculate you against fear – be polite, but be assertive:

  1. In situations with lots of people including conferences, conventions, and large internal meetings – reintroduce yourself to people you should know. And if you can’t remember their name lead with this “Hi – my name is…, I know we’ve met, but I’ve forgotten your name!”
  2. Always let someone know if their out-of-office message has expired. When you check in to a hotel ask, “Is there anything I can do to receive a complimentary upgrade?”
  3. Stop eating food that wasn’t prepared the way you asked, and send it back to the kitchen.
  4. Spend time with a few people who seem to be fearless and watch what they do.

And if you’re still looking for something to really push your limits try a ToughMudder race – they offer great confidence challenges.

Over time you’re self-confidence will increase and situations you once viewed as stressful will become normal parts of your day.

 

Coaching

Work-Life Balance

We’ve all tossed around expressions about work life balance, and they have different meanings to different people. But how many of us actually keep track of our balance in a systematic way? What if you could measure your balance on a regular basis to uncover insights about your happiness or career satisfaction? Or learn how problems with your kids, partner, or other factors affect you in other areas of your life?

The “wheel of life” has a long history; it’s originally from the Indo-Tibet region – as the Bhavacakra. It’s a powerful way to identify areas in your life that require attention and help you move up the satisfaction food chain. Kevin Burgess describes four states people are always in: Survival, Sustainment, Success, and Significance. Where are you? As you fill out your wheel of life think about how problems in one area affect the others. You can create a simple radar chart in excel or download this chart here.

Life Wheel

Consider each category and assign a score.

1. Health

Are you generally healthy, other than the normal aches and pains that accumulate over the years? Do you get enough sleep and exercise? Are you comfortable with your weight? or battling habits and addictions like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or obsessive eating?

2. Family

Is your family supportive, available, and healthy? Are they a source of strength and encouragement or a drain? Are you caring for someone who is sick or disabled? or coping with a troubled child?

3. Friends

Do your friends push you forward or demand support? Are they coaches and cheerleaders or emotional vampires?

4. Finances

Are you doing well and saving for retirement, or does your income just cover your bills? Conversely, are you battling with medical bills, late fees, and home and auto repairs that threaten to swamp you? Give yourself a high score if you’ve paid off debts with a windfall.

5. Recreation

Do you have time for yourself and spend it on activities that you enjoy and look forward to, that energize you, and increase your satisfaction?

6. Personal Growth

Do you have written goals and a plan to achieve them? Is formal training part of your day-to-day life or something you avoid?

7. Career

Are you satisfied with the three “R’s” Responsibility, Recognition, and Rewards provided by your job? Is there a clear path to achieve your goals? Do you have the support you need to reach them?

8. Workspace

Your office space or work space should be ready for you to do your best work. Does it help you or get in the way? Is your space clean, and workable or cluttered and disorganized. Do you have to hunt for things when you need them, or are they ready for quick use?

9. Romance

Is your romantic life satisfying? Do you feel loved, and receive attention, affection, and support? Does your partner feel that way?

Once you’ve recorded your responses plot them on the wheel and add a score to describe your happiness, satisfaction, optimism, and choose which of Kevin’s four phases you’re in now – put the date on it and keep it at your desk. Revisit the wheel again in six months to learn how happiness, satisfaction, and optimism ebb and flow as multiple dimensions in your life change.

Coaching