Dec 112011

Are you one of the millions of Americans are asking themselves today what they are doing, where they are going, and what  they want to do with the rest of their lives?

Faced with a myriad of options, many become paralyzed. Author, speaker, and counselor Richard Leider offers this simple formula for making life choices:

T + P + E x V

T is for talent. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and are you maximizing those strengths while managing the weaknesses? Many of us aren’t aware of our talents and shortcomings, and as a result most of us aren’t living up to our full potential.

P is for purpose. Most of us are searching for meaning, and we want to know that our lives matter. “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation,” Aristotle once offered. How are you using your talents to make the world  — even your little part of it — a better place?

E is for environment. Many people have real talents and are prepared to apply them in something they believe in, but their environment holds them back. What environment best suits your style, your temperament, and your values?  Using the Birkman Method, I  help clients determine their ideal work environment so that they won’t make costly mistakes.

V is for vision. Talent, purpose, and environment are about work style and choice.  Vision describes how work fits into the rest of your life. For close to 25 years, Richard Leider interviewed more than 1,000 people who retired from leading companies after distinguished careers. Most said if they could live their lives again, they would:

1.      Be more reflective

2.      Take more risks

3.      Understand what gave them fulfillment

Leider concludes that fulfillment is the truest measure of success, and fulfillment comes from integrity, knowing who you are and finding the courage to express yourself in the world.

Jul 082011

My friend Justine is a single mom with two special-needs kids. As if that’s not enough, Justine is a busy solo-entrepreneur whose business is just beginning to take off.

“I get so overwhelmed, I want to shut down,” she confessed. It was martini night at one of our favorite restaurants, and Justine I were taking full advantage of the special.

I sympathized. Many  people—especially women—I talk to these days are feeling stretched to the max.

“Everything seems to be a priority,” she continued.

Recently, I created a simple formula for determining priorities that I’ve begun to share with clients. I wondered if it would help Justine. I asked her.

“Please! Anything! I’m desperate.”

I began. First, question if you really need to do the project in the first place. Review return-on-investment, passion, and purpose. Begin by thinking of the three as interlocking circles; then look for the place they met.” I explained that for each option, she should consider:

Return-on-Investment: Does the effort and expense justify the amount of money the new project will produce? For example, when I analyzed writing another book, I had to conclude no. Writing is hard work, and it’s time-consuming. Yet books seldom generate a great deal of money.

Passion: How juiced am I about the project? I love writing, but writing a hundred-page book right now seems daunting.

Purpose: Finally, does the project support my mission: helping professionals stand in their power by becoming the full expression of all they are? Depending on the topic, it could, but so would a number of other vehicles that are less time-consuming, more fun, and offer a higher return-on-investment.

I crossed writing another book off my list.

“That’s really great, Randy, but who has time to do all that introspection?” she asked, laughing.

It struck me that maybe the best thing I could do for Justine right now is to just listen and be sympathetic.

“You’re one of the busiest people I know. I don’t know how you do it all,” I said. “How about another round?”