In March I read the excellent new book, Living Forward, by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. I invited my boss to go through the book with me as well. After I read the book I immediately began to implement the authors’ recommendations.
Living Forward is a book that brings both your heart and mind together to determine what you really want in life and to chart a course to get there. Unlike any other nonfiction business book I’ve read, this book stops you in your tracks to compare your daily actions with what you want your legacy to be. (Just wait until you read chapters 4 and 5. They’ll give you a brand new perspective on your life’s work!)
“The question is not, ‘Will you leave a legacy?’ but ‘What kind of legacy will you leave?’” Living Forward, p. 61
You will discover these direct benefits of reading the book:
- You will take an active role in designing your life. “The drift” is a passive take on life, when you live without a plan. When you are in the drift, you blame your circumstances or other people. In contrast, life planning is a proactive approach to life. You have a plan and work it. You take responsibility for life.
- You can’t outsource your life plan; you have to create it yourself. It is a document that will continue to adjust and change throughout life. It is not like a document that a large corporation may create and then stick on the shelf to collect dust.
- Balance means giving appropriate (not equal) attention to each of the various categories of life.
- “What does this experience make possible?” This is the question of opportunity, of an open future: instead of wallowing in the past, we look forward to the future.
- Writing the compelling future in present tense helps you visualize your future in a clear way. You will begin to make the incremental changes each day to get to your compelling future.
- Chapter 8 is where this book takes the life plan and makes it very practical, translating it from a planning document to your weekly and annual calendars. This book is not theory—the authors have lived it, and they show you how to transform your vision of life into an everyday experience via your calendar and intentional times of reflection.
“If you are not careful, you will wake up one day and discover that you have spent your life living for other people’s priorities.” Living Forward, p. 128
Here’s how my life has changed because of reading Living Forward:
- I started regularly exercising again in March. I enjoy my brisk walks in the early evening after coming home from work.
- Now I think in a longer-range time frame. The typical goal setting process taught in workshops is to look at your next one, three, five and 10 years. With Living Forward, I have the end in mind (my eulogy), not just a few years down the road.
- I first encountered Hyatt’s life plan idea on his blog in 2013. I started to work on it; however, I filed it away without finishing it. I wrote a new one this spring, finished it, and have implemented it. My life plan is a document that will continue to adjust and change throughout life. It is not like a document that a large corporation may create and then stick on the shelf to collect dust.
- With a written life plan, and a regular review, I am staying on track with my values and my long-term vision.
“The Weekly, Quarterly, and Annual Reviews we have suggested here ensured that I was constantly moving toward a future I wanted to embrace.” Living Forward, p. 144
The only drawback I found: their examples in the book come from service businesses or office environments, none from agriculture, manufacturing, or blue-collar work. Sure, it’s applicable to people regardless of the industry you work in; I just wish the authors would have considered more industries in their examples.
Some books you can set aside and they were a “good book”—others rise to the top 10 that you’ve read in your entire life and you reread them from time to time. This book is one that makes an impact and sticks with you!
“While you can’t control everything, you can control more than you think, and you can live your life with a plan that will dramatically improve your chances of ending up at a destination you choose. You can end up with no regrets.” Living Forward, p. 53
Get the book today, remove the drift, and carve out an entire day (yes, you can do it) to write your first draft of your life plan!