Steer Your Life in the Direction You Want With This Framework
The Personal Whiteboard is a framework that helps you look at yourself and your life comprehensively then take initiative to align your actions with the outcomes you desire. Think of it as a north star that keeps you on your intended course as you navigate life. This framework guides you through a structured process of Self Analysis, Focus & Outcomes, Actions, and Growth. It contains a series of specific exercises and inputs for each block to help stimulate new thinking and expand your mindset. Personal Whiteboard blocks can be worked on sequentially or in any order that makes sense to you. The interconnections throughout the whiteboard relate each block to another, so chances are you will revisit blocks again as you progress. It is important to note that many of the questions answered by the Personal Whiteboard can be quite challenging to settle on. Therefore, it is advisable to think of this as an ongoing and iterative process. The first time you begin filling out your Personal Whiteboard should be done with a goal of progress, not perfection. It is more important to go quickly through each block and put down whatever things come to mind, even if you know that is not what you want to ultimately remain. This draft step is necessary to help your brain connect the dots and formulate deeper perspective. Once you have completed your entire whiteboard, plan to visit each block again and again, making changes as you desire. At first, this should happen several times per week until the changes you are making become minor. Then, you can reduce the frequency for reassessing blocks on a monthly basis or until something happens in your life that inspires a sooner look.
Have you ever promised yourself that you would commit to New Year’s resolutions, only to see them fade away months, or even weeks, after making them? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. We are all familiar with the importance and benefit of goal setting, which is partly why New Year’s resolutions have been a common tradition among cultures all around the world. It marks an opportunity to reset and resolve ourselves to better behaviors and new achievements. Unfortunately, these resolutions rarely lead to lasting change and most people find themselves repeating the same tired promises year after year. Does this mean that goal setting is a futile endeavor that is only effective for the lucky few? Absolutely not. The problem with goals is that we rarely go about it in the right way. Creating permanent changes to our behaviors, attitudes, and habits is very difficult. There are many internal and external forces that resist our intention to change. To help overcome that resistance, we need to set goals that are appropriately suited for our unique circumstances. This means that goals should be directly connected to our underlying motivations, they must move us toward outcomes that we genuinely want in life, they need to be compatible with our belief system, and it especially helps if our goals draw from our internal strengths and capabilities. Therefore, proper goal setting begins with a deeper understanding of ourselves. In the Personal Whiteboard, we build that understanding in the Self-Analysis section.
Some of the most compelling films that come out of Hollywood are origin stories. Origin stories are effective because they provide the backdrop that makes us care about the character we are following. Before we can care about a particular character’s goals, we first need to understand what motivates them, what they believe in, and why they do the things they do. The Self-Analysis section is your origin story.
It begins with the Code block that helps you identify your intrinsic motivation from the things you value and care about. Next, the External block provides an opportunity for you to identify what influences your thoughts and behaviors, and from where you draw your inspiration. Following that is the Internal block, which guides you through an introspection of the attributes that are your strengths, while also shining a light on the shadows that hold you back. The last part is the Core block. It sets the direction for your focus by encouraging you to define a singular objective that drives your decisions and actions.
Self-Analysis can be an uncomfortable experience if are not used to pulling back the many layers of your character, personality, and behaviors. It can be hard to distinguish the truth from the lies we tell ourselves in an attempt to escape self-judgement. Likewise, it can be common to color ourselves too harshly in unfair condemnation. The best approach is to try and analyze yourself as objectively as possible without judgement. The more authentic your self-analysis is, the more likely you will be able to determine the right path that will lead to the life you truly want.
Focus & Outcomes
The Personal Whiteboard uses Focus Lenses for Relationships, Wellness, Work, and Interests. Each Focus Lens acts as a filter that helps ensure your focus, desired outcomes, and actions are addressing the essential aspects of your life. In the Focus & Outcomes section of the whiteboard, there is a unique block for each Focus Lens. These are the blocks where you can write a focus statement and define your desired outcomes related to the associated lens. Writing a focus statement that aligns with your Core Objective and Core Competency while enabling you to realize your pursuits is an integral step in this process. Do your best to be specific with your focus. Writing an overly broad or too vague of a statement is often tempting since it seemingly allows you to accomplish more. But this will diffuse your efforts and potentially end in you falling back into old patterns. Focus is most powerful when it concentrates on a single point like a laser. Laser focus will cut through the excuses and reveal success. Finally, the four Focus statements should also be synergistic with each other. Establishing sharp, coherent focus through these statements will provide a remarkable payoff by keeping you on track when faced with all the distractions that are sure to come.
The Actions section of the Personal Whiteboard is the place where you determine what significant things you need to do to achieve your desired outcomes. These actions are the major efforts and steps you will take to catalyze big changes in your life. Some examples include moving to a different city, enrolling in an educational program, learning a new skill, or building a website. These actions are different from the daily or recurring activities you would engage in to form new habits, which are covered in the growth section of the Personal Whiteboard. There are Actions blocks for each Focus Lens. If the Core Objective is your destination, the Focus Statement is your course heading, and your Outcomes define waypoints, then Actions are the movements that will progress you forward along your path. Therefore, you will want to create a list of sequential actions that carry you toward your outcomes. Don’t get so granular with your actions that they become a daily to-do list or else you may become disconnected with the bigger picture. Size your action items so they are small enough to avoid feeling overwhelmed, but large enough that you can clearly connect them to your outcomes and core objective
Planning your Personal Whiteboard is a valuable exercise. It can be highly enlightening as you introspect and forecast. However, the biggest value comes when you grow as a person. Growth is a direct result of our efforts. Build new habits that reinforce the behaviors you want to practice and become the person you know that you can be. Evaluate your progress every day as you build new habits one daily link at a time. Appreciate the reward that comes with seeing yourself make the changes that will deliver the outcomes you want. Use the journal to prompt yourself with questions or notions that keep your mind focused on the things that matter to you. Lean on your offshoots group to provide support, encouragement, and accountability.