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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.

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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 Fine Art of Doing Nothing

Sometimes it’s hard to be alone, especially alone with our own thoughts

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“…people never are alone now. We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it’s almost impossible for them ever to have it.” ~ Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

In this era, it’s becoming harder to be alone, especially alone with our own thoughts. Dr. Timothy Wilson, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, along with other researchers conducted an experiment with student volunteers. The students were given two options: For 15 uninterrupted minutes they could do nothing.

Or, they could give themselves a small, electric shock. Roughly 67% of the men and 25% of the women in the experiment chose to give themselves small shocks, even though earlier, many had proclaimed that they would pay money not to endure such a shock.

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Anxious for Anything To Do

Why did they opt for the shock? They became increasingly anxious for anything to do over the course of the 15 minutes. Aha, you say! These were probably millennials for whom a 15-minute stretch of doing nothing is virtually impossible.

As it turns out, the participants consisted of adults recruited from a farmer’s market and from a church. They acted in much the same way that you might expect of millennials. They felt anxious and antsy when left alone for a 15-minute stretch with nothing else to do but be with themselves.

The question  for each of us is why is it becoming so hard to take a few moments throughout the day to simply do nothing? Have we become such a driven populace that we cannot even spare a few minutes for ourselves? Do we not recognize the peace of mind that we can experience when we’re not fully occupied every minute of the day?

Weaning Yourself

If you feel that you are constantly seeking to optimize every minute of the day, and perhaps are oversubscribed, over-informed, and overwhelmed, here are interlaced ideas that you can put into practice:

Start small. Rather than attempt a long stretch of doing simply nothing, see if you can last for 60 seconds or maybe 120 if you’re feeling brave. It’s best to attempt this after you finish a task, and feel good about your accomplishment. Marinade in your positive feelings.

Perhaps before you go to lunch or return from lunch, or before or after taking a break, why not allow yourself a little time to pause and, well, simply do nothing.

If you have a 15 minute break, where is it written that you can’t spend 60 seconds at your desk doing nothing, take a 13 minute break, then spend the last 60 seconds at your desk, again doing nothing.

Expand Your Ability

As you build more and more confidence in your ability to take some time out with no thoughts or activities in mind, strive for three to five minutes. If you arrive at work early, you could spend such time in your car with the radio off, not checking your cell phone, and not doing anything, other than simply sitting there.

At your workplace, maybe you can spend three minutes undetected in a conference room, corporate library, rooftop terrace, or elsewhere.

At home, where you have more flexibility, could you attempt a short weekend session? This should be no problem. During the weekday, it’s understandable that you seek to efficiently commute to and from work, although even on weeknights it might be possible for you to carve out a few minutes. Think of all the times you’ve been online, or you flick through the TV channels, and how aimless that can be.

Reinforce What Works

As time passes, giving yourself some stretches here and there where you don’t have to do anything can become reinforcing. You have the opportunity to take a deep breath. You get a chance to reflect, or to clear your mind. You have time to visualize.

Even if none of these things happen, you still get a chance to slow down. Any way you look at it, it’s a good proposition.

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Faith

WOW. Grab the Kleenex and Watch this Girl Sing!

Simon Cowell gives Nightbirde the Golden Buzzer

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WOW. Grab the Kleenex and Watch this Girl Sing!

Simon Cowell gives Nightbirde the Golden Buzzer after her beautiful performance of “It’s Okay.” Nightbirde chases her dreams and proves that she is so much more than her cancer!

This is a message you will want to share! Watch below:

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