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Mastering Your ‘To-Be’ List

A ‘to-be’ list contains a roster of the characteristics and traits that you’d like to attain, develop, or improve upon

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Virtually every responsible adult maintains some type of to-do list, whether it’s as simple as a few notes on a page or a comprehensive electronic system. To-do lists, as nearly everyone knows, have high utility – the items on the list are reminders as to what we want or choose to get done.

How often, however, do you compose a to-be list, containing a roster of the characteristics and traits that you’d like to attain, develop, or improve upon?

From Little Acorns

The encouraging news about composing a to-be list is that you can start from scratch. You can enter on to your list any characteristic, trait, or value that appeals to you, regardless of the life you have led up to this moment.

All of your setbacks, and triumphs, the observations you’ve made, the lessons you’ve learned, the insights you’ve gathered, and the perspectives that you’ve developed can be brought to bear as you compose your to-be list.

As you decide how you want to be, inexorably you move in that direction. As a young man, to employ a personal example, I chose to write books in areas where I personally needed to become more adept.

When I felt a lack of breathing space and more stress at the end of every workday, with my stomach in knots, I sensed that a better way to proceed in life had to exist.

I wrote the book Breathing Space initially as a form of self-guidance, recognizing that once finished, it would also help others. Likewise with other books, such as Simpler Living, Dial it Down-Live it Up, and even The 60 Second Self-starter, when I finished writing the last page, my journey towards becoming the type of person I want to be would receive a major boost.

How about you? What have you not explored that lingers on the periphery of your consciousness? What traits do you want to embody? What or who do you want to become?

You have the capability within you to move in that direction, and one fine day, you might find yourself exactly where and who/what you wanted to be.

Disarming and Enervating

Considering who and what you’d like to be could, at first, be disarming. After all, few people fixate on what they want to become as opposed to what they need to do. Most people proceed directly to listing the projects and tasks that will help them to reach  specific goals. Most times the goals are work-related, but often they are personal in nature as well.

Yet, without identifying and acknowledging who you want to be, you can miss the forest for the trees. Periodically it’s vital to make the cerebral link between the tasks that we accomplish and the roles and positions to which we aspire.

When you produce a to-be list you help to put in motion an array of behaviors and activities that will increase your probability of becoming the person you wish to be. For each to-be that makes your list, a variety of to-do type tasks become associated.

Leadership Can Be a Choice

If you aspire towards leadership, for example, and your to-be list includes “to become a leader,” then you are drawn to those tasks and activities that will help you to accomplish your goal. Such tasks might not necessarily be those that normally make your to-do list.

In pursuit of being a leader, beyond executing your tasks, you might also chose to read one book on leadership each month, regularly observe the leaders in your own organization, volunteer for situations which enable you to exhibit leadership skills, and start addressing articles, interviews, and features on leaders in your industry, geographic area, or those whom you simply admire.

As a second example, if you aspire to be a better partner to your spouse or significant other, you might find yourself gravitating towards a variety of activities that traditionally would not have made your to-do list.

In becoming a better partner, perhaps you enroll in a course (with or without your partner) on relationships, perhaps you speak at length with friends who have been in long and successful relationships, or, perhaps you listen to a CD on becoming a more effective listener, and so on.

Explorations

The items that make your to-be list might require new types of exploration. You might find yourself attracted to events and activities that are new to you, or find yourself associated with others with whom previously you felt you had little in common.

At some point, you find yourself trying new behaviors, putting yourself into novel situations, and asking others for advice on new topics.

The wonderful thing about a to-be list is that the mere act of composing the list increases the odds of your movement in the desired direction. The positive, self-fulfilling progress that you make, compared with previously doing nothing of the sort, significantly puts the odds in your favor.

Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, when we make up our minds to accomplish something, we are already half way there. So true! Deciding to move in a particular direction and intending to take action to support your decision is the precursor to actual movement and achievement.

Give yourself the wonderful opportunity to become the person you truly want to be. Starting with a blank piece of paper or a blank screen, list four to six characteristics, traits, or attributes you desire to embody. You do have it within you to succeed.

Achievement vs. Goodness

Here is an afterthought. We subconsciously reason with ourselves that as long as we’re not shortchanging others, have a decent number of friends, and support society in some way, then we must be okay as individuals.

Yet, how far have we veered from the potential for deeper experiences and greater joys? Such to-be developments take time, and build slowly via certain experiences, sometimes hard choices, and the ability to learn from life’s lessons.

We’re urged by motivators to follow our passions, be true to ourselves, and march to the beat of our drum. Fine, but how often do such pursuits begin and end with the self? David Brooks, author of The Road to Character suggests that instead of asking, “What do I want from life?” ask, “What is life asking of me?

In other words, how can my natural talents serve the needs of the world? Brooks observes such “inner light” people are made, not born.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

The Elusive Nature of Integrity

Integrity is the summation of the decisions we’ve made and actually yields an easier, joyful, and more powerful life

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In the operating room of a great hospital a young nurse had her first day of full responsibility. “You’ve removed eleven sponges, Doctor,” she said to the surgeon. “We used twelve.”

“I’ve removed them all,” the doctor declared. “We’ll close the incision now.”

“No,” the nurse objected. “We used twelve.”

“I’ll take the responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly. “Suture!”

“You can’t do that!” blazed the nurse. “Think of the patient!”

The doctor smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the twelfth sponge. “You’ll do,” he said. He had been testing her for integrity – and she had it.

This story, related decades ago by noted editor and author Arthur Gordon, illustrates a key component of integrity: having the courage of your convictions – sticking to your guns, doing what you believe is right, and not fearing to speak out. Such actions are needed in the world today where looking good, showing up well, and garnering favorable press predominate. At the root of our existence is the need for the re-emergence of integrity as a common element in the collective character of humankind.

No Paragons

No one lives a life of absolute integrity. Rather, it is an ideal for which to strive. Even those who consistently display integrity can be overwhelmed by what is left over – what wasn’t acted upon and what wasn’t met with integrity.

Integrity is difficult to define. Eleven dictionaries carry eleven different definitions. We know integrity when we see it, but we have trouble explaining it. There is an illusive nature to integrity. It cannot be self-proclaimed, only observed in others. Yet most acts of integrity are performed in private and not subject to public review.

Those who have integrity in large measure have discovered something that the rest of the world must know – that integrity, which many look upon as being comprised of sacrifice, struggle and non-advantageous decision making, actually makes life easier, joyful and powerful.

After the fall youth soccer season, the head coach of  the second grade team resigned. To ensure continuity, the assistant coach was asked to take over as head coach for the spring season. He accepted the position.
Less than a month before the season started, the new  coach changed jobs. His new job was a high-pressure executive position requiring longer hours and more travel. There would be conflicts between the demands of the new job and the needs of the soccer team. But the new coach stuck to his commitment to the players and their parents.
He was rewarded for toughing it out. The soccer team, playing in a more difficult division, had a good season. But the best part of the story is what happened on the job: he earned a bonus for outstanding performance!

Historian Arnold Toynbee observed that of 21 notable civilizations, 19 perished “not from external conquest but from the evaporation of belief within.”  In his address to the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Charles H. Brower remarked that “today our country still has a choice. I believe it has always begun to make that choice. I believe it is going back to its old beliefs – such things as ideas, pride, patriotism, loyalty, devotion and even hard work.” Though those words were spoken over three decades ago, their ring of truth is now being heard.

Curiously, we discount acts of integrity practiced by others, not believing that they can have done what they’ve done simply because they thought it to be right. Paradoxically, we’re quick to condemn others who vividly display a lack of integrity, all the while overlooking or forgetting our own lapses.

Emily Carruthers was a teacher in an elementary school in Spokane. A dispute between the school administration and the teacher’s union surfaced. At a union meeting the teachers discussed striking. After the vote to strike, Carruthers got up and voiced her opinion. She knew her opinion would be unpopular and she knew that she would alienate people because of it. Nevertheless she told the teachers that she would cross the picket line as she deplores strikes.

What is Integrity?

Many things, really. Perhaps it is the pivotal concept of what it means to be human and involves fully accepting one’s humanity. Integrity has many synonyms however no single synonym is sufficient;  trustworthiness, loyalty, virtue, sincerity, candor, uprightness, honesty. Integrity is also the avoidance of deception and the avoidance of expediency. It is being complete and undivided.

During a bitter cold snap, quick action by concerned neighbors stopped flooding from a burst pipe in an unoccupied house. Early one morning, water was spotted gushing from under the back door of the house. Two neighbors, who had no key, got inside by dismantling a window frame.
They found the entire lower level of the house flooded with two feet of frigid water. The two men ignored the icy geyser spraying from the ruptured pipe and shut off the water line. Using push brooms, they swept the water out the back door. They moved furnishings upstairs to dry out. Then they reassembled the window frame.
Another challenge was notifying the homeowners of the situation. Neighbors knew only that they were visiting relatives in the Miami area. Long distance directory assistance provided a list of a half dozen people with the same Iranian surname. On the second call, the residents were located. Because of the early notification, they were able to expedite the insurance claim. Neighborly resourcefulness and persistence had averted a major household disaster.

All that We Are

Integrity is an achievement, not a gift. It is not the characteristic that determines decisions. It is the summation of the decisions we’ve made. Integrity communicates to others immediately. It is being the same person to everyone. It’s not noble; it’s not altruistic; it is a practical vehicle for living effectively, for having life work. It is maintaining values steadfastly and focusing on what you believe is right.

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Elections

Will You Take Action to Assure GOP Victory on November 5?

Every single person voting Republican needs to decide now, how they will lend support to the cause

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In less than 17 weeks, the GOP will take back the White House, and hopefully the Senate and House, and begin to restore America. Or, we’ll face a gargantuan nightmare that will all but seal the fate of this nation. Do not be fooled by Joe Biden’s defiance of those calling for him to withdraw. Any Democrat challenger will be a danger to us because the DEMOCRATS WILL CHEAT IN UNPRECEDENTED WAYS.

Time is of the essence. While being informed is wonderful, taking action is paramount. What exactly will you do to ensure that we achieve victory? It is no longer sufficient to be a concerned bystander.

No End to the Left’s Destruction

Every day when you log on to news sites, you are flabbergasted by the degree to which the radical Left continues to impose its civilization destroying policies, programs, and activities on the rest of us. There is no end game for the Left, no bottom, and no limits to their mass insanity.

Most recently, we have learned of a professional couple who was greeted at 6 a.m. by armed FBI agents banging on their door to arrest them for having the temerity of stepping into the Capitol on January 6, for 12 minutes, ushered in by Capitol guards. We have witnessed the unending persecution and prosecution of Donald Trump over non-crimes that have been concocted in unison and are part of an overall strategy emanating from the White House.

We have witnessed corrupt district attorneys, corrupt prosecutors, and a corrupt press. Donald Trump is merely the bellwether. All other Republican politicians will be fair game from here on out, and if we lose the election in November, with little or no recourse. One by one, the maniacal Left will quash dissent in ways that perhaps we currently cannot imagine.

The Left is Maniacal

The logical outcome to having the Left predominate in all areas of society is a totalitarian regime. Don’t discount this scenario. As Leftists ultimately do everywhere, they demand compliance. Thought control is their desired form of servitude. For those who do not comply, execution is not out of the question. Like radical Islam, we’re dealing with a malevolent genie that has escaped bottle, has no intention of ever subsiding, and wants everyone to either totally capitulate, or be imprisoned, deported, or terminated.

There will be no effective way to dismantle the maniacal leftist machine if Joe Biden is re-elected, he continues to be the puppet of Obama and far Leftists, and the border continues to be flooded with illegals — until Democrats have congressional representation that steadfastly insures a permanent majority. At that juncture, they will pack the Supreme Court. They will end the Electoral College. They will ramp up gender dysphoria opportunities wherever they might lie.

They will continue to show poor judgment and ridiculous weakness on the world stage. They will kowtow to China on a wide spectrum of issues. They will embolden our enemies to the point where such enemies are ready to pick apart America. This is not hyperbole and is all too likely.

Nothing here is beyond the bounds of possibility and with each passing week becomes more likely for the distant if not foreseeable future. In a sentence, we simply must win in November. No alternative will suffice.

All of Us

All of which leads to the point that every single person voting Republican needs to decide now, how they will lend support to the cause. In what ways will you participate? How will you volunteer, where, when and for what duration? Will you donate money? Who will you influence to vote GOP?

How will you support your candidates locally, regionally, and nationally? How are you going to impact others? It would not be sufficient to say, “I was busy,” or “I felt we had an overwhelming majority.” This approach is gambling with the future of our nation, the future of our communities, and the future of our families.

If we are to win by an overwhelming majority, let us each assure one another that we did everything we could to make sure that that is the result. To do less is to simply take a child-like approach to what is perhaps the most eventful year since 1776, 1812, 1861, 1941, 1968, and 2001. There will be no palatable tomorrow if we lose in November.

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