Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Dan Harkavy: Summary and Notes

Living Forward

“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”

Rating: 8/10

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Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Dan Harkavy: Short Summary

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy teaches how to create a Life Plan. To avoid regrets, fulfill your potential, and leave behind a powerful legacy we need a Life Plan. In the book, Hyatt and Harkavy share their secrets on how to create one and change the direction of your life. An easy-to-read book with many life-changing lessons.

Acknowledge The Drift

In life, it is easy to drift off course despite our best efforts. Such drift can happen because of four reasons:

  1. Being unaware. We can drift because we don’t know what is happening, or what is really at stake
  2. It happens because we are distracted. Sometimes we can get caught up in something and lose the sense of time
  3. It can happen when we are overwhelmed. Taking too much than we can handle can overwhelm us
  4. It happens when we are deceived. When you believe that you have no control over your situation, you can feel powerless and do nothing

Consequences of Drifting include:

  1. Confusion. Confusion comes from losing perspective
  2. Expense. When you drift through time, you incur costs that include lost time and money
  3. Lost opportunities. Without a plan, you have no way of taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves to you
  4. Pain. Failure to plan can result in a lot of pain from failed marriages, unfulfilled potential, and so on
  5. Regrets. The saddest consequence of the drift is having regrets and asking “if only”

“Life Planning is the exact opposite of the drift. The drift is about passivity. Life Planning is about proactivity. The drift is about blaming our circumstances or other people. Life Planning is about taking responsibility. The drift is about living without a plan. Life Planning is about having a plan and working it.”

Understanding The Mission

Characteristics of a Life Plan:

  1. It is created by you and for you.  A Life Plan has to flow from your heart. It is created by you and for you
  2. It describes how you want to be remembered. A life plan doesn’t leave anything to chance. You can be intentional about how you want to be remembered
  3. It articulates your personal priorities. A life plan gives you the chance to create a vision for yourself that is separate from what your family or others want from you
  4. It provides specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life
  5. It is a document that you can tweak and adjust when necessary. A Life Plan is flexible and it is a manifestation of an ongoing process

When faced with a negative situation, ask:

“What does this experience make possible?”

Your attention will move from the past which you can’t do anything about to the future

When formulating your Life Plan ask three important questions:

  1. How Do I want to be remembered?
  2. What matters the most?
  3. How can I get from here to where I want to be?

Appreciate The Benefits

Benefits to creating a Life Plan:

  • Clarifying priorities. Having a life plan will make you understand your priorities and how they work together
  • Maintaining balance. Balance is not equal but appropriate attention to the things that are in our lives
  • Filtering opportunities. Having a Life Plan gives you clarity on what opportunities you need to pursue and which you can let go
  • Facing reality. You can only improve if you take responsibility
  • Envisioning the future. To make the most of the day, you need to keep your eyes on the future
  • Avoiding regrets. You don’t want to finish life with regrets. Optimize your life for regret minimization

“People lose their way when they lose their why. The reasons for creating a Life Plan are as varied as there are people. But the important thing is to connect with your reasons. What are the benefits you see to creating a Life Plan?”

Design Your Legacy

A legacy consists of the spiritual, intellectual, relational, social capital, and vocational capital that we pass on.

“Truth is, everyone is in the process of creating—and leaving—a legacy. The question is not “Will you leave a legacy?” but “What kind of legacy will you leave?” The sooner you come to grips with this reality, the sooner you can start creating it.”

Determine Your Priorities

“We tend to think effective people are busy. Not so, unless they’re busy with the right things—and many people aren’t. When things in our business or life get busy and hectic, we often lose sight of our priorities. But by keeping the truly important things front and center, we often get the perspective we need to make better decisions.”

You have to decide what is best for you. There is no point in keeping up with others if they are going to a destination that is different from yours.

Life Accounts: Life can be viewed in terms of compartments. These compartments are called life accounts.

  • The Circle of Being. These are things that emanate from you. They include the spiritual, physical, and intellectual accounts
  • The Circle of Relating. These are things that are centered on you in relation to others. They include your marital, parental, and social accounts
  • The Circle of Doing. These are activities that deal with you in relation to your output. They include what you do for work, what you do as a hobby, and your finances

Living forward - circles of life

Review each account and determine where you are. Just like bank accounts, your life accounts could either be growing, stagnating, or declining. The goal is to have a positive balance in each of your accounts.

Chart The Course

To Chart the Course, break your life account into five sections:

  1. Purpose statement. Determine your purpose for each account. For example, the purpose of your health account could be “to get healthy”
  2. Envisioned future. Imagine how your account would look like if you had a positive net worth
  3. Inspiring quote.  Find a quote that resonates with your future purpose
  4. Current reality. Be honest about where you are with your envisioned future
  5. Specific commitments. Make specific commitments that move you from your current reality to your envisioned reality. Make them measurable

Dedicate One Day

One day can change everything.  By creating a Life Plan, you will unleash a set of decisions that will affect future generations.

“A Life Plan needs pull power. It has to be done in such a way that impacts your heart, not just your head. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a glorified to-do list. And who needs one more of those? Pull power requires that you get caught up in the full scope of the plan. You can’t do that piecemeal.”

You need to be decisive when it comes to dedicating one day every week to review your plan.

Steps you could take include blocking your calendar, deciding where to go, taking the necessary supplies, determining to be offline, and enrolling your family and colleagues.

Cultivate a positive attitude throughout the process, and stay focused.

Implement The Plan

Living forward - implement the plan

To get the benefit of your Life Plan, you have to implement it. Incorporate your action plans into your day-to-day routines.

Include your action plans in your day-to-day activities by:

  1. Protecting the basics. Review your current appointments and see how they relate to your Life Accounts. If they are not essential consider canceling them
  2. Eliminating the nonessentials. Ask yourself, “What can I eliminate from my life and not suffer too many consequences”?
  3. Rescheduling some of what remains. While some things are important, they are not important now. They can be rescheduled without significant consequences

Without regular review, a plan becomes worthless.  Keep it Alive by reviewing it daily, weekly, and yearly.

Join A Revolution

“Here’s the reality: Your personal life is a myth. There is no such thing as a compartmentalized life. Every area, space, category, and set of relationships is interrelated. You are a seamless whole.”

Once you figured out your Life Plan and you are executing on it, expand your influence and help others develop their own Life Plan. This will not only enrich your life spiritually but can also bring a lot of value to your business.

The business benefits of helping your employees and coworkers develop their Life Plans:

  1. Shows you care about their well-being. In a competitive job market, the best talent has the final say on where they want to work. Retain better talent by showing you care about their development
  2. Helps them be more productive at work. A big part of their Life Plan will be dedicated to the development of their careers and interests. If your company’s interest is aligned with them, your employees will be more productive
  3. Empowers them to be engaged on the job. By knowing what they want out of life, they will be more inclined to take the lead in projects