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Goals Exercise

What if you really took the time to write out your goals? Try this exercise:

  1. Take 15 minutes and write out 25 things that you want to do this year. Write whatever comes to mind, don’t spend a lot of time on any item.
  2. Now, look over the list and select 10 of the items that would really make a difference in your life. Select the items that are most important.
  3. Take the list of 10 and select 3 items that you want to BEGIN with. Make these the things that you most want to happen right now.
  4. For each of the 3 items, commit to creating a SMART Goal Action Plan; Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timebound
  5. Break down each goal into action steps and put a date on each action step. Think about what barriers might get in your way and how you can overcome them. List the resources that you’ll need- this can be people, places, or things.
  6. Now get to work! Review your plan daily. Work your plan often. Celebrate along the way; don’t wait until the end. Enjoy the process!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

"An Exercise in Choice"

There is tremendous power in knowing what results you want to achieve. When you make a conscious choice, you generate energy that supports effective action. Take a few minutes for the following:

  1. Make a list of everything that you want, including personal and professional wants. Be honest and ignore whether it is possible or probable.
  2. Reread you list to make sure it includes all of the major components you want in your life.
  3. For each item on the list ask yourself "If I could have that would I take it?" If the answer is no, cross out the item. If yes, then formally choose the item by saying to yourself "I choose this result (fill in the blank)"
  4. Continue the process until you have chosen every item you truly want from the list.
    Congratulations! You have taken the first step in the creative process by making these choices. As you choose what you want, you release energy that enables you to move in the direction you want to go.

Adapted from The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz

"An Exercise in Asking Questions"

The way to develop the skill of asking questions is to be prepared with the right question for the right situation. Take 15 minutes and jot down your thoughts about the following:

  1. What are the 3 best questions to ask myself each day? Example: What will make this a great day?
  2. What question can I ask my customer/client/employee/boss to strengthen our relationship? Example: What can I do to help you reach one of your goals?
  3. When I'm meeting someone for the first time, what questions can I ask to open the conversation? Example: What do you enjoy the most about your job/business/company/family?

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

"Do You Know Your G.A.P.S. - Goals Abilities Perceptions Standards?"

A basic step in personal development is getting to know yourself more fully. Here's a revealing exercise; write down the responses to each item and reflect on the meaning;

  1. What are your GOALS? Think about what is important for you to achieve both professionally and personally. Write down a maximum of 10 items.
  2. What are your ABILITIES? Think about the situations where you've been successful and what you have done to make it so. List those skills and general qualities that define you.
  3. What are the PERCEPTIONS of you? How others see you may be different from the way you see yourself. Select 3 to 5 individuals that have regular exposure to you. Ask them for feedback with questions like "What are my strengths?" and "What can I do differently?"
  4. What are the STANDARDS for me? Standards are what others expect from you. In order to be successful, you need to know exactly what is expected. Select 3 to 5 individuals that are involved in your professional and/or personal situation. Ask them what expectations they have of you and be clear about their definition of success.

Knowing your G.A.P.S. is an accomplishment. Revisit your learning periodically and update as needed. You're already successful when you begin this process. Congratulations!

Adapted from Development First by Peterson and Hicks

"Planning Your Next Success"

Think of a project or goal that you are currently working on. Take a few minutes to review your progress to date. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What has worked well so far? Identify the elements that made it work.
  2. What has not worked? Identify the elements of the process that need to change.
  3. Select 2 or 3 people that are involved in the project or goal. Arrange to speak with them and ask for feedback about how the project is going. Describe what isn't working and ask for suggestions.
  4. Take notes from your conversations and thank your contributor. Try out the suggestions that you have and stay with it. Success is yours with this feedback habit built into your plans.


By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

"Do I Have What It Takes- A Self-Assessment"

The following skills have been identified as important to leadership. Use the scale to rate your skill level. You may wish to ask a trusted colleague or friend to complete the same assessment on you. A comparison of the two should yield insight on where to concentrate skill development.

Rating Guide (5 point scale)
- 1-Feel awkward when I do this 2-Somewhat awkward 3-Usually practice this skill 4-Most often practice this skill 5 Comfortable and competent

  1. I listen actively to colleagues and those with whom I work; I hear their words and their feelings.______
  2. I maintain an open, warm relationship with others, encouraging them with praise and genuine respect of their views and feelings.______
  3. I provide others with clear feedback, reinforcing positive contributions, clarifying and confronting, as is helpful.______
  4. I elicit information and ideas by asking open-ended questions.______
  5. I mediate for others, helping them find and reinforce the common ground on which solutions can be built.______
  6. I facilitate interpersonal and group relationships, teaching by example and by making these relationships visible I provide both knowledge and skills about productive behavior.______
  7. I help groups maintain discipline and direction toward achievement, while suggesting ways in which all members of a group can participate.______

If you have asked a colleague of friend to complete an assessment, first compare the score for each question for discrepancies between what you feel is your skill level and the assessment offered by your colleague. What was most surprising to you? Review these and underline two or three areas on which you would like to focus. Use these as a basis for writing a personal development plan and track your progress.

Adapted from University of Vermont- New England Regional Leadership Program

"Making a Great Day"

What if we had control over the outcome of each day? This exercise will convince you that the mind is our most powerful tool. (In case you need convincing)

  1. Pick one morning and stop every hour on the hour and notice what went wrong in that time period. Write down every single thing that you noticed.
  2. On the same day in the afternoon, stop every hour on the hour and only notice what went right. Take a minute and write down every single thing that you noticed.
  3. In a quiet moment, compare the lists. Give an honest answer to the following question: Did you feel better about the morning or the afternoon?

Adapted form Attitudes of Gratitude by M.J.Ryan

“Is it Time for a Change?”

Take just a few minutes and answer these questions to determine how ready you are for change. A scoring guide is also included.

  1. Are you drawn to articles about people who successfully changed their lives for the better? YES NO
  2. Have you ever read a “great book” about changing something in your life and never took any actions recommended in the book? YES NO
  3. Are you frustrated by the imbalance between your work life and your personal life? YES NO
  4. Do friends tell you that you have talents in areas you are not using in your job? YES NO
  5. Did you get up this morning feeling too tired to get any work done? YES NO
  6. Are you convinced that if you were choosing careers today you would choose something very different? YES NO
  7. Does making a career or life change sound exciting to you? YES NO
  8. Did something happen recently in your life that was a real wake-up call? YES NO
  9. Do you think you need a mentor but don’t know how to find one? YES NO
  10. Do you feel that your professional potential is not being maximized at work? YES NO

SCORING- If you answered “YES” to:

0 – 4 You are relatively satisfied with your life choices at this moment. Continue to periodically reassess to be sure you stay on track.
5 - 7 You have several issues that may need a closer look. Removing them from your daily life or resolving them will bring great benefits. What’s keeping you from taking a step forward?
8 –10 You have a GREAT need to change several aspects of your personal and/or professional life. Don’t wait any longer to make the necessary changes. Your life is at stake!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

Moving From Comparison to Contribution

We live in a culture of comparisons, where much of what we say and do is subject to being rated or evaluated on some type of scale. As a result, we often think in terms of success or failure, better or worse, strong or weak. This practice may be useful when organizational feedback is needed to support an area of development. However, this tends to block individual creativity and energy needed for change.

What if you made the shift from comparison to contribution? The definition of contribution is the traditional one: to give jointly with others. So if we reframe our perspective to focus on what we give, something dramatic happens:


  1. Each day for 5 days, BEGIN the day with this question: “How will I be a contribution today?” Then see what comes to mind.
  2. Each day for 5 days, END each day with this question: “What did I contribute today?” Include any items that come to mind, big or small. Record your answer and review at the end of 5 days.
  3. After 5 days ask yourself: “What is different about my level of awareness?” Then see what comes to mind.

Adapted from The Art of Possibility by R. Zander and B. Zander

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