It was a beautiful August morning, and I was flat sitting for a friend in Barcelona. If I looked out across Gràcia, one of the city’s most popular and vibrant districts, I could see preparations taking place for August’s Festa Major. I was eager to get outside and see how the decorations were coming along for this week long street party. Part art exhibition, part rock concert, the Festa Major de Gràcia is a veritable explosion of creativity and it’s huge fun. The problem was I was stuck indoors, rooted to my laptop, dealing with a work crisis that required my attention. So much for my holiday! Michael Hyatt Living Forward

Alternately cross about the intrusion in my holiday, and relieved  to be finished by lunchtime, Itook a walk over to one of my favourite squares, the Plaza Virreina. There I reflected on how unhappy I was with my current work situation and how it HAD to change.

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” ~ John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan

The opening quote to Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s new book “Living Forward: A Proven Plan To Stop You Drifting and Get The Life You Want” sums up my thoughts on that August day. It WAS time to take swift action to leave my CEO role and create the life that I’d been dreaming about, but hitherto had done little to make happen. I’d been drifting because I felt overwhelmed by the work involved in changing my situation. If I could just get through this season, then I'd be able to give my full attention to making the necessary changes… But somehow the season didn’t ever seem to end.

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Michael Hyatt’s work. I first discovered his blog back in 2004, and was one of his first subscribers. Still relatively new to my CEO role, I loved reading his weekly blog posts about leadership and how you could create more margin in a crowded schedule. People often think that being a CEO is glamorous but in fact it's an incredibly lonely role. I was delighted to find a resource that mirrored my own experience. I also resonated with Michael’s struggle to find balance in his life as I wasn’t doing an especially good job of this myself.

Back in 2007, Michael shared some of the tools that he been using while working with executive coach, Daniel Harkavy. His life plan, annual time block and ideal week templates. I’ve used these tools – with varying degrees of consistency – over the past 9 years. It was devising my ideal week that helped me to think about how I could incorporate more self-care activities into my everyday life. I started a regular and lifelong yoga and meditation practice. If only I could say the same about the gym! It was writing out my life plan and reviewing it on a regular basis that enabled me to create the strategy to transition from stressed out and exhausted CEO to the owner of a thriving business consultancy and coaching practice. And it’s the latest version of this life plan that gives me so much confidence for the future.

So  when I learnt that Michael and Daniel were to publish “Living Forward,” a book designed to help people to create and execute on a clear, compelling and practical Life Plan, I was really excited. I got my order in fast so that I received all the free bonuses!

So why read “Living Forward”?

As Michael and Daniel write in the introduction:

We want to provide the clarity you need to articulate a vision for your life—your whole life—and develop a plan for getting to a better destination.”

“Living Forward” starts out by addressing what the authors call ‘the drift.’ ‘The drift’ happens when we arrive at destinations we didn’t consciously choose - like me working every morning during my holiday in Barcelona. When we’re:

  • Unaware
  • Distracted
  • Overwhelmed
  • Deceived

Nobody wakes up and says “today I want to drift.” But if we’re not living an intentional life according to design, then the chances are we’re drifting. And nobody ever drifts to a place they want to be!

“Living Forward” is divided into 3 sections: 1. Understand Your Need 2. Create Your Plan and 3. Make it Happen. It literally walks you through the Life Plan process step-by-step. As you read this book you’ll answer 3 powerful questions:

  1. How do I want to be remembered? This is your legacy.
  2. What matters most to me? These are your priorities.
  3. How do I get from where I am to where I want to be? This is your action plan.

Fast forward five years and I am delighted by how different my life is.  It hasn't always been easy, but I've created a thriving business consultancy and coaching practice, with clients in the UK, US and Canada. I'm having huge fun co-running a group mastermind programme, The Winners Enclosure, with my two #BBFs, Emma D'Arcy and Christina Jones. I get to pursue one of my passions, writing about business, on a regular basis. I'm building a community of like-minded entrepreneurs through my Plan For Profit Facebook group.  And I've been fortunate enough to go on an annual 'big adventure,' most recently to India and the US.

“Living Forward” can be just another self-help book or it can be life changing. The choice is yours. I recommend reading this book, following the guidance and taking action. Its contents has served me well. I hope it does the same for you too.

To Prevent The Drift In Your Business...

... I strongly recommend you track your key business metrics. I've collated the key business metrics I've tracked in my businesses since I first became a CEO back in 2003, and out them into this spreadsheet. Using my 'Key Business Metrics' spreadsheet means I don't have business nightmares. And better still, it helps me to chart a steady course towards hitting my targets and attaining my goals.

Join the Conversation

Question: What steps will you take this week toward creating a life by design? I love hearing your views. Please do leave a comment in the box below.

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If you’re interested in publishing a book yourself, you’ll love this blog post about how the Living Forward team organised such a killer book launch, topping the best seller lists on Amazon, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly:

About Denyse

Prior to becoming a business consultant and coach, I have 25 years’ experience in business, including 8 years as a former CEO. This experience is backed up by training at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school. With experience in business planning, financial management, risk management, building strategic partnerships, product development, marketing (including PR) plus leading and developing staff teams of up to 150 people, there’s very little I haven’t had to deal with or experienced.

You can find out more about working with me HERE. Or alternatively email me on denyse@denysewhillier.com to arrange an informal chat over coffee. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching or business consultancy would be a good fit for your business, the results you can expect and how to get started.