Core Values. These are the underlying principles that safeguard your decisions. My core values, borrowed from the first company I started, are: create remarkable experiences, pursue excellence, not perfection, be effectively human, and go boldly forward.
Purpose Statement. When presented with two great options, how will you choose between them? A purpose statement is a clarifying phrase that summarizes your life’s purpose. My personal purpose statement is to “Pioneer a more beautiful future for others.”
Mantra. Throughout history, armies carried a chant into battle. This unified them and steeled their resolve when things inevitably got tiring. My rally cry is, “Show them.” Instead of expecting people to believe me, or trust me, I should be prepared to show them what’s possible.
Venn Diagram. Imagine the contexts with which you specialize, enjoy, or excel. Given the world’s endless professions and choices, there is probably a profession or industry where all of those overlap.
Super Power. What is your unique competitive advantage? If going head to head with competition, where do you shine? My super power is rapid prototyping and experimentation. My creativity, passion, and interest are unlocked trying to problem solve during the early stages of an idea, business, or project.
Lifelines. A lifelines exercise involves mapping the high and low points throughout your entire life. Every significant moment you can remember. Afterward, reviewing and evaluating those key events can illuminate patterns, beliefs, and experiences which might be shaping your choices.
Annual Reflection. Time is our most valuable resource. It’s the only truly scarce resource. Every year, over 8,000 hours come and go. Most adults move from year to year with little regard for how that time was spent. Since 2016, I’ve spent a few hours each year reflecting on the previous year and planning adjustments for the coming one. It’s more than New Year’s resolutions. It is an application of engineering principles within the life I want to live.
My Precious Moment. Thinking about the future can be overwhelming. I’ve tried to simplify the discipline by imagining a single future moment instead. For almost a decade, it’s been the same moment. I imagine as much desirable detail about that moment. The goal is to paint a clear picture, then work backwards to figure out what must be true for that moment to exist.
Ikigai. This Japanese concept is a variation of the Venn Diagram mentioned above. Instead of choosing what the circles represent, Ikigai uses four overlapping circles: 1) What I love, 2) What I’m good at, 3) What I can get paid for, and 4) What the world needs. As you fill in each circle for yourself, it’s believed your sweet spot exists where all those overlap.