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Take Your 1st Step in Becoming the Person You Want to Be

Here are tips on how to utilize a written assessment to jump-start your personal growth

Allyson Lewis, 08/25/2011

Growing and improving your competencies in your career is a cornerstone value of living The 7 Minute Life. In order to grow and move forward, you must know where you are today. In this article we will help you understand the importance of stepping back from the crushing noise in life and in business and using The 7-Minute Life 90-Day Focus Kit that we talked about in last month's column.

The first tool is The 7-Minute Life Written Assessment Worksheet. And this is why we recommend taking the time to reflect on your current skill sets, time management, and overall health:

--assessments provide a framework to learn more about yourself (such as the following five factors):

   --what you like
   --what you don't like
   --what you are good at doing
   --what you are not good at doing
   --where you find meaning and purpose in your work

--assessments force you to be honest about your own self development
--assessments allow you to embrace new challenges
--assessments are designed to bring positive change
--assessments guide you in future decisions for how you will spend your time

Assessing is a powerful word that requires appraisal, evaluation, and reflection on where you are today in life--and where you want to be 90 days from today.

There are three key takeaways from this article:

1. The reasons why you need to take the time to self assess every 90 days.

2. The importance of the correct tools to use to score and track your progress.

3. From your assessment, by recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, your personal preferences, and the condition of your overall health, you can make better-informed choices for how you will focus your time in the next 90 days.

1.  The reasons why you need to take to self assess every 90 days.
Assessment is a process of asking questions. One of my friends and business mentors is a senior executive for a major financial-services firm. Sean Phillips and I were talking recently, and he encouraged me to think about four things when it came to personal growth. First, he encouraged me to take responsibility and control of the decisions I was making every day. Second, he reminded me that I have a choice every day to focus my attention on the things I can control, such as how I choose to spend my time, and let go of the circumstances that were completely out of my control (but of course still affect my business like the economy and the volatility of the stock market). Third, he said, "What are the questions you are asking yourself every day? When you ask bad questions, you get the wrong answers. To get better answers, you need to ask better questions."

Sean's first three comments were definitely pertinent to my own self assessment.

Am I accurately aware of where I am in business so I can take proper responsibility for the decisions I make?

Am I properly assessing what I choose to focus my limited time and attention on accomplishing during the next 90 days?

And, his third statement really made me stop and think: What are the questions I'm asking every day?

Am I consciously asking:

--What can I do better?

--What additional information and training do I need to be more competent?

--What is the most important thing I can do today?

But, it was his fourth comment that surprised me: Have fewer "RULES" about what it takes to be happy.

Why do you need to take time off to reflect and assess where you are in life? Because this is all we have. This moment, this day, this month, the next 90 days. In the next 90 days, what will it take to truly be happy?  Happy at work?  Happy at home?  And, happy in life?  That 90th day is coming. It will be here before you know it, but you do have the opportunity to stop and evaluate your life and proactively decide what you will do with those 90 days.  

2.  The importance of the correct tools to use to score and track your progress.
We have created a variety of concrete and tangible tools to help you score and track your progress. You will find what we refer to as our "7 Minute" tools (as many of the tools have been created to be completed in "7 Minutes" or less) in the free membership section on our website www.The7MinuteLife.com. These tools are free to download. Simply register, and you will be emailed a password that will give you access to these tools.

The tool we will focus on today is The 7 Minute Life Written Assessment Worksheet. (Click here to be taken to the registration page to gain access to the free download.)

This single page assessment may take you less than "7 Minutes" to complete.  And our hope is, that just as Sean Phillips encouraged us, this assessment will encourage you to ask better questions of yourself. For example, this is a short excerpt from The 7 Minute Life Written Assessment Worksheet:

As you scan this list for the first time, it is likely you will feel two emotions. You might feel an instant recognition that there are some significant disconnects with where you are today and where you want to be in the future. As you honestly take assessment of your life, you recognize how much more life can offer. The second emotion for some is a sense of overwhelm. There are so many things that might need to be changed to live a more purposeful and meaningful life. You may be asking yourself "How can I even begin?"

This is where the third takeaway steps in.

3.  From your assessment by recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, your personal preferences, and the condition of your overall health, you can make better-informed choices for how you will focus your time in the next 90 days.
It is impossible to change everything in life at once. But, the great news is by clearly assessing where you are today. You now have the great privilege to decide what specific daily action steps you will take to make your life better. Armed with the information of a self assessment, you can begin to paint a vivid picture of what you would like your life to look like just 90 days from now.

The 7 Minute Life is about recognizing that you can be different tomorrow than you are today. We believe "Change happens in an INSTANT--it happens the moment you DECIDE to change." As a reader of this article you can make two decisions: You can decide to choose one area of the assessment and decide to make some simple daily life changes, or you can decide to do nothing. Life is a series of tiny choices we make every day. Over time these choices become the life we experience. What will you choose to do today?

Allyson Lewis is a time management and productivity expert.  Be on the lookout for her next book: The 7 Minute Solution: Creating a Life with Meaning "7 Minutes" at a Time. Pre-Order your copy on Amazon, it is due out January 3rd, 2012. Find out how you can have Allyson speak in person at your next corporate event by visiting www.The7MinuteLife.com, subscribe to her blog: www.AllysonLewis.com, and follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/allyson7minutes.

Get practice-building tips and information from our team of experts delivered to your e-mail inbox every Thursday. Sign up for our free Practice Builder e-newsletter.

Allyson Lewis is the author of The Seven Minute Difference. She speaks about improving time-management, increasing productivity, and rediscovering purpose. Find out more about her new online video training program, The 7 Minute Life System, here. She also has a blog and a Twitter account.

The author is not an employee of Morningstar, Inc. The views expressed in this article are the author's. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Morningstar.

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