Not just for Dads

Intentional Influence – Thoughts for Leaders and Fathers…and anyone who knows some!

Archive for the category “Perseverence”

How a letter to yourself could change your life…

The website “Future Me” let’s you write an e-mail to yourself, that will be delivered at a specific point in the future. That’s a great idea, because if you are anything like me, you have good ideas, great intentions, lots of motivation…until you get busy…get distracted…forget.
By sending yourself an e-mail NOW about something that really matters to you, you will actually receive that reminder sometime in the future when you are…well, busy, distracted and in need of a reminder.

Another way to help you stay on track, or help you understand what you personally define as success in your life, is something called “the 7-year-letter”.

In this simple exercise, you write a letter to a close friend or family member. The twist is that you imagine yourself 7 years from now and that you havn’t had contact with the person you are writing to in those seven years. Tell them where you are, what you are up to and what happened in the past 7 years, if you could CHOOSE the results. Be specific, add as many details as you can think of:
Are you married or single?
What are the names of your kids? How old are they?
Where do you live? What type of accommodation?
What jobs have you had,  what’s your position right now?
What kind of things are you involved in outside of work? Sports? Clubs? Teams?
What have you accomplished? What are you proud of?
What went wrong in the past 7 years? What are some of the things you would rather not mention (but will, for the sake of the excercise)?

By writing this letter as if it were 7 years from now, you are forcing yourself to think ahead, to look inside, what is really important to you.
In some way, you are putting yourself in your ideal setting, without the restrictions of time, money or opportunity. You are creating a “dream scenario”.

But it doesn’t stop there:
The next step, after you have written the 7-year-letter is to review it frequently and use it as a map. It’s NOT like a navigation system. It won’t tell you what step to take next. But it IS like a map. It shows you where you want to be. Now it’s up to you to figure out how best to get there…one step at a time.

So in review:
– Take some time to think about where you want to be 7 years from now in life.
– Write a friend or family member a letter, imagining it is seven years from now.
– Frequently review the letter, as it will give you a good idea of what success in life is, by your own definition.
– Use the map (the letter) to help you make small steps towards that future situation.

A friend of mine did this simple little excercise and it changed his life!
I have done it and I am excited, how it has worked for me so far.

Will you take the time and be brave?
Let yourself dream of where you want to be in 7 years and then start writing…it might just change your life, as well!

Isaac Newton and You – Part 2: Friction, Momentum and the Rest

In my last post, I talked about how the law of inertia can help to explain our tendency towards procrastination.
The first step towards success is “getting started”. Now, admittedly, that is a very simple approach. Because it makes things sound a lot easier than they are. So consider with me these three ideas to help us move on once we’ve started: Friction, Momentum and the Rest.

For the sake of simplicity I said we would forget about gravity and friction (after all, that is usually what physics teacher do to explain why the results of an experiment don’t match our experience in “real life”). But we all know that real life doesn’t work without friction.

And that’s all there is to it! Realizing that there will always be friction is the key to success. Things will be harder than we expect, and take more energy than we calculated. Realizing this can help us with two things:
– Take measures to reduce the friction (e.g. plan ahead, communicate well, etc.)
– Not to be surprised, when things get tough.

Momentum is defined as the product of the mass and velocity of an object. That sounds very technical, but it’s quite simple actually: “Momentum describes the resistance to stop”. Now the last thing we want to do after we got started is to stop. And momentum says: the bigger the mass and the bigger the speed, the harder it is to stop an object.
In other words: the bigger and the faster something is, the harder it is to stop.
Don’t believe me? Consider this: try stopping a car at 100 kph then try stopping a truck at 100kph. Which one had more momentum?

How does that apply to us? Well, the best way I know how to increase the mass and the speed is to team up with an accountability partner or a group. That increases the mass (unless you partner with vacuum) and usually increases the speed by creating excitement, competition and accountability.
With a team of support behind us, we are less likely to quit when things get a little (or a lot) difficult.
The more people we are, moving in the same direction, the harder it is to stop us.

The Rest:
We humans are not “perpetual motion machines”…we can’t just keep going indefinitely. I know, Newton said we could…but remember friction?

So in order to stay functional, we need to rest.
If you don’t rest, you will crash.
You can’t blame Newton.
You certainly can’t blame me.
You can only blame yourself.
Take a rest and you will get a lot further.

In summary:
Reduce the effect of friction by planning ahead. Nothing can surprise you, if you are expecting it!
Increase momentum by building a team. Anyone can walk alone, when it’s easy. It’s when things get tough that we need support.
Take a rest to stay your best. You can’t keep going at full speed all the time.

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