Book Review: Creating Your Personal Life Plan by Michael Hyatt

Quill pen, ink well and paperI just finished reading a complementary download (free for signing up to Michael Hyatt’s blog emails) of the book Creating Your Personal Life Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide for Designing the Life You’ve Always Wanted . I suppose I should preface this Review/Summary by saying that I am a long-time reader of Michael Hyatt’s blog, Intentional Leadership and really love his conversational style.  I always feel like I’m curled up in an easy chair just having a conversation with him when I read his blog.  I have a deep respect for his value system and faith (he is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing and author of the best-selling book, Platform). While all this had a great deal to do with me picking up his book, it doesn’t represent why I’m reviewing it today on our blog.

Creating Your Personal Life Plan is a book which hit me at just the right moment.  I recently had a friend ask me what my new set of major life goals were, and frankly, I was somewhat stymied.  My focus for the past two years has been so consumed with first getting our blog up and running, and now with keeping our Year of Productivity program going that I had not really looked past this year for most areas of my life. Hyatt’s book provided a helpful outline and structure toward exploring and taking stock of both where I am and where I want to be.

Creating Your Personal Life Plan is based on the Life Plan concept used by Daniel Harkavy, author of Becoming a Coaching Leader: The Proven Strategy for Building Your Own Team of Champions  and the CEO and Executive Coach of Building Champions.  This is also a great website offering bonus free podcasts each month as well as a newsletter and blogs from several of their motivational coaches.  Harkavy offers a great podcast here talking about this Personal Life Plan and why it is critical for balancing our life.  Like Hyatt, this is a site led by Christian coaches, but in both cases, I highly recommend both sites for the excellent coaching tips and leadership tips each offer regardless of your own faith persuasion.

The basic building blocks of your Personal Life Plan are called “accounts” Each account will take part of your time, your effort and your attention, and just like financial accounts, you can’t spend more than you have in the bank of your life.  These accounts will make up the major facets of your life.  A career is usually a major account for many of us, but there are also accounts for your spouse, family and friends.  Don’t forget to have yourself for an account too!  Each of us will have our own unique group of accounts because we are each made up of unique facets.  One major account might be an activity that you are passionate about: for me, Dance will be an account. It is not only something I do for entertainment, it is something I study as a student, and there are a unique series of goals that I see for myself in this arena.  Each of you will have your own mix of accounts.

Hyatt’s book then goes on to explain subsequent steps to identify and flesh out your life plan.  This is something that is reviewed and updated regularly, and specific action steps are identified for your progress toward your life goals. You will both define what each account will look like ideally, as well as what the reality of that account is today and some action steps to begin moving you closer to your ideal. Both Hyatt and Harkavy recommend carving out at least eight uninterrupted hours to think, focus and create your life plan.  Some may need even more time.

I recommend reading Michael Hyatt’s book and listening to David Harkavy’s podcast on Life Plans.  I found both to be motivational and feel better prepared to tackle the creation of my own life plan.

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