It’s time for WAR WEEK! I received a flurry of responses from you last week which motivates me in ways you can’t imagine, and I’m thrilled to hear that you are ready to wage war on mediocrity in your own life right along with me! Many of you have been asking me to share this again for years, and I’ve finally been able to get it done. For those of you who are new to War Week, let me share the backstory before we jump in.
War Week was born from a feeling of unrest I experienced 11 years ago, right around the time my son was born, as I looked at different areas of my life where I had slipped into complacency. Every fiber of my being was screaming, and I truly felt like a caged animal. There was a powerful soul trapped deep inside my body literally screaming to be freed. I made the decision at that point to wage a full-blown war on the mediocrity of my life, and I have spent the past decade tweaking and fine-tuning my processes, while sharing my experiences with anyone who felt a similar calling. It was a major turning point in my life, and it has since become a recurring event on my annual calendar.
Once I made the renewed commitment to step out of mediocrity and back into excellence in every area of my life, I needed two things: clear vision on exactly what excellence looked like to me, and a very specific plan for how to get there. I blocked out my first ever “Staycation”, and the entire week revolved around the creation of three simple lists. I’m going to share them with you and invite you to try this exercise yourself.
The first list I created was my “frustration list” — a list of everything in my life that bothered, frustrated, or disappointed me in any way. It included both personal and professional content and involved anything—great or small—that kept my life from operating the way I wanted it to. Some of my personal examples on this first list included things such as:
- my medical bills from when my was born were not accurate,
- I was unhappy with my existing financial strategy,
- I wanted more time off for vacation and family,
- I had some business ideas that I wanted to pursue, but I felt too caught up in my existing schedule to make anything “new” happen.
For your personal situation, it could include things like: the cluttered garage or closet stresses you out, your desk and files are unorganized, your will is outdated or doesn’t exist at all, you’re paying too much in monthly credit card interest, or you really wish you had stronger professional skills in a certain area. Get the idea? My list included literally anything and everything that kept us from living at what I considered to be my ideal life. I included my husband in the exercise, and I definitely invite you to get your family involved as well.
The second list I created was my “goal poster life”— a list of exactly what our life would look like if we were living in our goal poster! Mine included things like:
- ideal weight/nutrition/fitness
- different types of hired help (trainer, family chef, tax advisor, attorney, etc.)
- number of annual vacations
- number of monthly work days
- specific income
- certain professional projects,
- details on how we allocate our time
Some of you may be thinking of a “dreams” list, and that’s not exactly what this list was, so let me clarify the difference. A dreams list is literally a list of the dreams that you want to accomplish within a certain timeframe or before you die. While I do have a dreams list, my “goal poster life” list is different from that. My “goal poster life” details exactly what my life could look like right now if I were operating at full capacity—not what it might look like some day after all my dreams come true. Make sense? In other words, if I were to get my act together and fire from all cylinders, what would I be capable of achieving right now…in the very short term? That is my “goal poster life” list. Note: my lists have changed considerably over time, but I’m giving you examples here from my original lists, the first time I walked through these thought processes.
The final list we created was our “action items” list—the list of everything that would be involved in moving us from the first list to the second list! If the first list defines where you are and the second list defines where you want to be, then the third list becomes your project plan for how to get there! You may want to include action items such as negotiate new credit card rates, find better health insurance, research life insurance policies, hire house help, clean out the garage, save money for a family vacation, get a new job…anything that will need to take place for you to move from your existing situation to your ideal life. You want to be as specific as possible with your list. It will likely be quite long, and that’s perfectly fine. And for all of you non-detail people out there, this is where you are really going to need to Dig Deep to stay with me to make this plan work, OK? Don’t let yourself shut down from the length or complexity of the list, just keep writing and brainstorming the solutions. We’ll worry about exactly how to get it done later.
And here is the one final piece of information you need to be prepared for battle! I call it my “implementation schedule”. You must have this to win the war on mediocrity! Once I had created this final “action items” list, it was literally pages and pages long. After I spent a week designing my life and putting together a project plan to attain it, the list included more than a hundred action items…everything it would take to “fix” all of the existing problems plus all of the new projects I would need to tackle in order to create my ideal situation. However, this new list was so long and overwhelming that I thought I would hyperventilate just from looking at the list! But in refusing to settle for mediocrity in my life, I knew there had to be a solution. So, I took this third “action items” list and created an implementation schedule from it…one that allowed us to “eat the elephant” of our life goals one bite at a time! I created a simple excel spreadsheet that allowed me to step out of overwhelm and into action.
So, before we go any further, I invite you to stop and take a deep breath. Do not let the daunting size of the mission shut you down. This is not something that needs to be done overnight. See if you can carve out some time this week to start work on your three lists. You may not be able to knock it all out this week – and that’s OK. Remember, I planned in advance to do this by blocking out time as well. First, I realized the need. Then, I carved out time on my calendar to make it happen. Finally, I was able to tackle War Week through a Staycation I had blocked into my life. Perhaps you simply want to look at your calendar and block out some time to do it in the near future. I’ll come back next week and finish up our discussion of War Week by describing the “implementation schedule” in detail so that you can create one for yourself and start your own war on mediocrity if you choose to do so. Thanks for Digging Deeper with me!