My Top 10 Secrets for Developing a Life I Love

Top-10-Gold-LogoAfter 30 years of coaching, teambuilding, and developing programs like Clarity Summits and 3-2-1-GO!!, I’ve determined 10 “secrets” that I believe aid me in developing the life I want. They represent a lifetime of mentors, books, and presentations. Here are some of the books that have changed me and been incorporated into my top 10. Read more

There are some books that you cannot read without significantly improving how you interact with your world, thus creating a more pleasant, less stressful, and more meaningful existence. A short (and partial) bibliography, in no particular order, includes:

How to Run Your Own Life by Jut Meininger
The Way of Transition by William Bridges
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Managing Thought by Mary Lore
Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith
Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
Egonomics by David Marcum and Steven Smith
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by Stephen Mitchell (Byron Katie’s husband)
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams
Doubt (the play and the movie) by John Patrick Shanley
…and the granddaddy of all self-help tomes…the Bible.

I keep a copy of each not more than five feet away from my desk…unless it’s in my car or on loan to a client! I have multiple copies of most. Some are by famous authors you’ve all become familiar with, and others are written by people you’ve probably never been exposed to. Such is the nature of constantly looking for tools to make my world a better place for me.

For example, I use the fourth of Ruiz’s Four Agreements—always do your best—linking it to Marshall Goldsmith’s concept of focusing not on accomplishing but on doing your best to make incremental improvements. I have a list of things I want to do my best at. I fail at it every day, for a variety of reasons. I often fall backwards. Being aware of that movement and whether or not I did my best is the key to my progress.

My goal in all of this is to examine the Knower/Judger “rules of life” I’ve been endowed with by my parents and upbringing—right and wrong…good and bad…all that judgment stuff—and allow myself to question it. Doubt my truths and allow in new data. These books help me with that. This is not easy stuff, and it takes a certain amount of courage to blank out what you know in your heart of hearts is right and open your mind to someone else’s version of truth. It’s the key to growth.

So here goes:
…everything and everyone.

Let go
…of all that gives me excuses for my behavior.

Be accountable
…for me.

Be clear
…in my conversations with others (present without agenda).

Don’t judge
…anything…I’m probably not accurate anyway.

…as opposed to reacting.

…my knowledge so I can be exposed to someone else’s.

Connect intimately
…to everything and everyone…I am part of a bigger picture.

Let more things happen
…make fewer things happen.

Keep moving
…it’s the barometer of success in the aging process.

As I peruse this list, it occurs to me that there’s nothing very new or innovative here. The list is a set of “rules” just like my childhood “clean your plate” rule, which has led to almost 70 years of a fractious relationship with the scale. I don’t normally like new rules. I like to stay in my own set of “comfort zone” rules, but I’ve learned that I can’t expect the changes I want using the old rules.

I’d be happy to chat with any of you about my top 10 secrets, or any of the books I’ve listed. Perhaps you’ve got your own list of rules to live by or pivotal books you’d like to share. I’d love to hear about them. Call me anytime.


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