How to Live From the Inside Out: Four Simple Tweaks

So often, when we make our daily plans, we think from the outside-in, not the inside-out.

 

We think of what we “have” to do.

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We allow other people’s priorities to become our plans.

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We bounce from activity to activity—exhausted but not really accomplishing much.

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How can we reverse this?

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How can we live from the inside out?

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How can we live a life full of what we truly want to do?

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How can we live a life that is full of our own priorities—driven by a deep sense of purpose?

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The answer may surprise you!

 

Are you ready?

 

Can you handle the truth?

You can’t handle the truth.

“I can handle the truth!!” you say?

 

Okay, here it is.

 

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

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That’s it.

It’s that simple.

It’s that revolutionary.

For decades we have been literally using half of our brain to make our plans.  Starting with convergent, left-brain thinking, we incessantly begin with the plan rather than the dream.

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Think Time’s Life Leadership system is structured to reverse this.

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Here’s why:

Everything you have ever experienced—real or imagined—is stored deep within your brain.  Over time, you have developed ways of making decisions, and you have formed compelling images of what you really want.

That means, when you are desiring to discover your life’s purpose, you must get in touch with these deep parts of your brain.  And, when you want to discover how to get unstuck from lifelong habits and hangups—you guessed it—many of the answers lie hidden deep within your brain.

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There’s a catch.

This deep part of your brain is literally not accessible through words.

That’s right.

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Words are a left-brained thing, and the left-brain is not connected to the whole brain like the right brain is.

The right-brain is more thoroughly connected to the deeper parts of the brain.  So, to get in touch with these deep parts of the brain, we need to somehow engage the right brain.

How can we engage the right brain?

Have an idea

I am glad you asked!  Following are four steps to engage the right brain.  Doing these simple things will help you gain access to what you really want and allow you to get unstuck as you move toward what matters most.

1.  Think big picture.  The right brain is all about thinking big picture.  Ask yourself what wild success looks like.  Literally “see” into the future through visualizing the best case scenario.

2.  Draw.  Draw a picture what you have envisioned.  Yes. Really. Draw! Stick figures are welcomed!  Images move us.

3.  Use all five senses.  Create clarity around your goals by visualizing further using all of your five senses.

4.  Add color.  Color creates clarity around our images and helps to engage the right brain even more.

Once you have engaged your right brain and allowed yourself to “dream big,” you can then move toward engaging your left brain in making strategic plans, evaluating the parts, and communicating in words.

These simple tweaks to your life planning will prove transformative to living from the inside out—not the outside in.

The Woman who is Breathing Fresh Air

Don’t live another day with regret!

Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

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Christine Wilson

Think Time Co-Founder

 Blog Highlights:

We think of what we “have” to do.  @thinktimetweets

We allow other people’s priorities to become our plans.  @thinktimetweets

We bounce from activity to activity—exhausted but not really accomplishing much.  @thinktimetweets

How can we live from the inside out?  @thinktimetweets

How can we live a life full of what we truly want to do?  @thinktimetweets

How can we live a life that is full of our own priorities—driven by a deep sense of purpose?  @thinktimetweets

For decades we have been literally using half of our brain to make our plans.  @thinktimetweets

Begin with the dream.  @thinktimetweets

Engaging the right brain will help you discover what you really want.  @thinktimetweets

Engaging the right brain will allow you to get unstuck as you move toward what matters most.  @thinktimetweets

Don’t live another day with regret.  @thinktimetweets

Use your whole brain to live your whole life.  @thinktimetweets

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Visit us at think-time.com.

Maximize your thinking, uncover what matters most, and drive sustainable life change and results by using your whole brain to plan (and live) your whole life with Think Time’s Dream, Decide, Do, and Review Process.  Shop our Purpose Planners and more at think-time.com.

What is Essential?

Recently I asked myself a simple question: “What is essential?”  

If you have traveled with a baby or have seen anyone travel with a baby with piles of belongings in tow, you may appreciate the unique challenge implicit between the lines of this blog.

My two and a half month old daughter was my traveling companion for this weekend visit to my hometown.  We were returning for a very special wedding.  

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The trip only lasted a day and a half, so I thought I could do it.  I thought I could live on the bare minimum.

To pack for two in a backpack, I asked myself, “What is absolutely essential?”  

Of course, I packed my Think Time, a pen, my phone, and a charger. Then, I added my most essential makeup items, our clothes for the wedding, my baby sling, diapers, wipes, and a few more things.  I evaluated what items I need not duplicate as I stayed with my family.  I wore layers, and I chose one–yes, just one–pair of shoes for the weekend.

It was shocking how little I was able to pack to successfully travel-even with a baby!  

Oddly enough, the book I was going to bring with me did not make the cut. 

Can you guess the title?

That’s right!  How did you know?

Greg McKeown’s new New York Times Best Seller–Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

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This refreshing book is full of solutions that involve saying a careful “yes” to only that which is essential.   

While many of us feel frazzled, directionless, and overwhelmed as a way of life, McKeown refreshingly encourages us to pursue only what is essential.  Like my backpack (plus car seat) vacation, what is essential is much less than we think. 

In this blog, I will walk you through some of the tools of Think Time that guide you through evaluating what is essential.  

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The Envision Box: 

When you create a clear vision of where you are going, you can immediately see what actions align with your vision.  High results activities that support your vision are essential.  

The Rosebush: 

When you identify your priorities and actively decide what you will prune to maintain energy and resources for those, you can immediately identify what is essential.

The Serenity Circle: 

When you sketch or write on the inside of the Serenity Circle what is within your responsibility, you can further clarify what is essential.

The Decidere Grid / Decision Columns:

When you filter your actions according to those that give you the most return on your investment, you can immediately see what is essential.  

Calendar Tool:

When you live off your calendar and not only from your to do list, the limited space in your real life again clarifies what is most essential.

Identifying what is essential is “essential” to living a life focused on what matters most.  To do this, allow Think Time’s Dream, Decide, Do, & Review process to guide you through selecting what is essential in your life.  To go deeper on this aspect of taking time to think time, we recommend to you McKeown’s excellent book, Essentialism.

What are some things that are essential in your life?

What is absolutely essential? @thinktimetweets

Many of us feel frazzled, directionless, and overwhelmed as a way of life. @thinktimetweets

The tools of Think Time guide you through evaluating what is essential.  @thinktimetweets 

Use the Envision Box to visualize where you are going.  High results activities that support this vision are essential.

Use The Rosebush to identify your essential priorities. @thinktimetweets 

Actively decide what you will prune to maintain energy and resources for what matters most.  @thinktimetweets 

Use the Serenity Circle to sketch or write what is within your responsibility to clarify what is essential.  @thinktimetweets 

Use the Decide Phase of Think Time to find which actions give you the most return on your investment.  These are essential.  @thinktimetweets

When you live off your calendar and not only from your to do list, the limited space in your real life clarifies what is most essential.  @thinktimetweets

Identifying what is essential is “essential” to living a life focused on what matters most. @thinktimetweets

 

Christine Wilson, LPC

Co-Founder, Think Time

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Think Time Life Leadership System

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Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

Achieve Your Goals and Feel Good About It!

Did you know that you are designed to feel good while you achieve your goals?

 

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It’s true!

Wired in your biology is a feedback system that allows you to feel “good” while you pursue what matters to you.

In this blog we will discuss how taking time to Think Time can utilize the dopamine feedback system to boost your energy and improve your motivation as you pursue your goals.

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Dopamine is a biologically based chemical that provides energy and motivation.  Stated simply, when the dopamine reward system is activated, you are biologically encouraged to repeat what you just did.  At the same time, the memory centers of the brain are activated.  They seem to be saying, “Pay close attention to what just happened!  We want this to happen again!”

One of the healthy ways in which you can engage the dopamine reward system is by moving toward clear goals.

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When you take tangible steps toward a goal you clearly have in your mind, you get a shot of dopamine.

This is why setting a clear goal and accomplishing it feels so good.

This is why crossing things off your to do list feels so good.

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This is also why we write things down just to cross them off when we forgot to put it on our to do list.  Crossing it off gives us a shot of dopamine!

This seems too easy.

What’s the catch?

The catch is that you must see your goal clearly.

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None of us pursues vague accomplishments.

Can you imagine it?

“On your mark, get set, go!  Run for a long time!”

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No!

We train to run exactly 13.1 or 26.2 miles!

…and as each mile marker reinforces that we are closer to our goal, we get a shot of dopamine!  This boost enhances our performance by providing energy and motivation toward our clear goal.

We pursue goals that are clear and we feel happy about our accomplishments.

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What do we do with this information?

Now that you know that your brain is giving automatic feedback and energy boosts to areas with clear goals, take some Think Time to assess the clarity that you have created around different areas of your life.

Most of us have clear goals at the gym and at work but we have no clear goals when it comes to marriage, parenting, personal growth, spirituality, money, service, and relationships.

Build clarity in these areas of your life with Think Time’s Think Zones, and notice the difference in how you feel as you pursue your goals.

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Think Zones are included in the Yearly and Quarterly Think Times in Think Time Journal Planners.

Chances are, you are going to feel really good and…

you are going to want to do it again!!

Christine Wilson

Think Time Co-Founder

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

 

Blog Highlights

You are designed to feel good while you achieve your goals.  @thinktimetweets 

Boost your energy and improve your motivation as you pursue your goals with Think Time.  @thinktimetweets

When you take tangible steps toward a goal you clearly have in your mind, you get a shot of dopamine. @thinktimetweets

We pursue goals that are clear and we feel happy about our accomplishments.  @thinktimetweets

Your brain is giving automatic feedback and energy boosts to areas with clear goals. @thinktimetweets

Most of us have clear goals at the gym and at work but we have no clear goals when it comes to other important areas of our lives. @thinktimetweets

Assess the clarity that you have created around different areas of your life. @thinktimetweets

Build clarity in more areas of your life with Think Time’s Think Zones. @thinktimetweets

You must see your goal clearly. @thinktimetweets

Just Say…Yes!

Every once in a while in the Wilson household you may hear us all break out into song.

One of our favorites is an old 80s ballad that goes a little something like this:

“You can’t always get what you want.

You can’t always get what you want.

You can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes,

You might just find…

You get what you need.

You get what you need.”

I want to be thin and to eat all of those cookies.

I want to sleep in and accomplish my most important task.

I want to be financially independent and I also want that really cute outfit…now!

One of our favorite self management gurus, Rory Vaden, eloquently says, “A ‘yes’ to one thing is a ‘no’ to an infinite number of other things.”

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Not one of us likes to say “no.” However, once we wrap our minds around the fact that a simple “yes” to just one thing equals “no” to a whole host of other things, we can begin to choose our yeses more carefully.

Then, we can get more of what we really, really want.

Christine Wilson

Co-Founder, Think Time

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

I Hope I Can Get Everything Done!

Have you started your day with this feeling?

You have learned all of the tricks.  You have used your “productivity planner” to write down your three most important tasks; however, you are still not sure you will be able to get everything done.

At Think Time, we say, “Don’t stop there!”  If you only identify your top priorities, and stop there, you may unintentionally have your opportunities for success stripped from your hands.  Keep reading to find out how to avoid this time trap.

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This is where Think Time diverges from the typical “productivity” day planner.  Most day planners ask you to identify your top three items and wish you well.  Think Time’s comprehensive system takes you QUITE a bit further.

In this blog, we will introduce you to just one of the ways the Think Time system boosts your chances of accomplishing what is most important to you.  Whether you own a Think Time yet or don’t, you won’t forget this practice once you’ve learned about it.  It is truly a game-changer!

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In the dream phase of Think Time, you will notice a tool with a lot of circles of various sizes.  If you look more closely, you will notice three large circles and several smaller ones.

This is the Rosebush Tool.

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With the Rosebush Tool, you will not only identify your top three priorities, but you will also actively identify the lesser priorities that threaten to steal your limited time, focus, and resources.

How does it work?

When a master gardener grows prize-winning roses, she first identifies the roses that are the most robust–that carry the most potential to thrive.  She then carefully prunes branches from the rest of the rosebush to funnel the limited resources of the bush to her chosen roses.  Making tough calls, the gardener prunes dead branches, old branches, weak branches, and even good branches that simply are not the best.  By pruning, she protects what is most valuable to her.

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As you #taketimetothinktime, you also take time to identify those things that can get in the way of accomplishing your high priority goals.  Here you make the tough decisions and the hard calls.  Here, you actively take things out of your life to make room for what matters most.

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Here is how it works.

First, identify your top priorities for the time period you are think-timing.  Second, identify what could distract you from your goals.  For instance, some things are on your calendar because they were important two years ago but they really are no longer relevant today.  Some other activities are good activities, but when you look more closely, they simply don’t generate results.  Some are simply bad habits that steal your time while others may actually be other people’s responsibilities.  Do a quick assessment of your activities to see what you need to prune to protect what matters most to you.

Take a look at this example from a day in the life of a manager.

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This manager had three top priorities: completing a set of revisions for the owner, finishing the “who’s on what” plan for the next stage, and finalizing a presentation.  Using the Rosebush tool, he is proactively anticipating interruptions, distractions, and time-stealers that could come his way.  By actively pruning these before beginning the day, he prevents countless hours of frenzied activity focused on the wrong things and proactively protects what matters most.

Here is a sample Rosebush tool from a stay-at-home mom who is trying to finish a painting, maintain an orderly and clean home, and preserve family time at night.

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Now, take a moment and try it yourself.

What are your top priorities for today or this week?  How much do you really want to accomplish them?  Identify your prize roses.  Tools Pictures The RosebushWhat could potentially get in the way of accomplishing what matters most to you?  Now make the tough calls.  Label the “other roses.”   What do you need to “prune?”

How did it go?

When you take time to prune, you prevent lost opportunity and protect what matters most to you.  Without taking this critical step, your top priorities may suffer from unintentional lack of focus and attention.  Don’t let this happen to you and your priorities.

Take Time to Think Time.

Christine Wilson

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Blog Highlights

Identify your top three priorities.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Actively identify the lesser priorities that threaten to steal your limited time, focus, and resources.  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Some things on your calendar are no longer relevant today. #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Some bad habits steal our time.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Some activities simply do not generate results.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

What could potentially get in the way of accomplishing what matters most to you?  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Make the tough calls.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

*To delve more deeply into “letting go” to make room for what is most important we recommend two resources for further study.

  1. Necessary Endings by author and psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud.  The chapter on “pruning” was the inspiration for Think Time’s rosebush metaphor.
  2. From the perspective of a seasoned professional organizer, we recommend SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

A Boy with a Question. A Man with a Vision.

When Eric was a little boy, he rode through downtown Indianapolis with his father.  As he looked out the window, he noticed the homeless people on the street.  Specifically, he noticed the children.  Out of his mouth came the most profound words.  He asked his Dad, “Who is taking care of the children?”

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Today, Eric Gilmore is leading thousands of people across the state of Arkansas with a clear mission and vision to serve some of the neediest children in our society: those children with no one to care for them–children without families.  His vision?  “No more waiting.”  Instead of living in a world in which children wait to be adopted by families, he envisions a world in which families wait to provide loving homes for these children.

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Five years ago, Eric–along with others sharing the same vision–started a new initiative called Walk for the Waiting to provide funding for organizations that are on the front lines serving these children.  Currently, there are 5,000 children in the state foster care system.  1,200 of these children are waiting for foster families.  A full 500 of these children are waiting to be adopted!  Each year 220 children age out of the system–never having a Forever Family.

Eric says simply, “This is not okay.”

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Each person who participates in the upcoming walk in May will wear a number as they walk or run.   Instead of wearing numbers to differentiate themselves, all walkers wear the same number to represent unity toward the same goal.  In this walk everyone wears the the number “0.”  The zero stands for the end goal of the walk–zero kids waiting for families.

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Eric and his wife Kara (full disclosure: my sister) live intentionally in one of the neediest neighborhoods in Little Rock, to communicate value and incarnational love to those around them.  He has also founded Immerse Arkansas, an organization that “immerses” youth who have aged out of the foster care system in a rich community of support as they emerge into adulthood.

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From the time Eric was a little boy, this dream has been on his heart.   Since I have known him, he has worked diligently to gain educational degrees and supportive experience to craft a life that supports the end goal he clearly sees.

What I love about his story is that the next generation is picking up his vision and running with it.

Watch Ross and Addison’s excitement as they raise money for children without families on our Facebook Page here.

Each person’s life is meant to impact others and to leave a wake behind them of change.

I share his story on this blog to prompt you to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I notice about the world when I was young?
  • Who did I want to be?
  • What did I want to do?
  • Am I who I wanted to be?
  • Am I doing what I wanted to do?

Let’s start together today to live our lives intentionally.  Let’s not allow ourselves to be pulled away from our unique purpose by the many distractions of life.  Let’s live our irreplaceable story.

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

Co-founder and Creative Director, Think Time Life Leadership System.

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Think Time Life Leadership system is designed to empower you to become the person you want to be when you grow up starting with as little as one hour a week.  Click here to choose your Think Time tools today.

 

Blog highlights:

“What did I notice about the world when I was young?”  @thinktimetweets

“Who did I want to be when I was young?” @thinktimetweets

“What did I want to do when I was young?”  @thinktimetweets

“Am I who I want to be?” @thinktimetweets

“Am I doing what I want to do?” @thinktimetweets

“Let’s start together today to live our lives intentionally.” @thinktimetweets

“Let’s not allow ourselves to be pulled away from our unique purpose by the many distractions of life.” @thinktimetweets

“Let’s live our irreplaceable stories.” @thinktimetweets

 

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

How Do You Want to be Remembered?

How do you want to be remembered?

By your kids.

By your family members.

By your team members at work.

By the customers you serve.

By your neighbors.

By the stranger passing you on the street.

By the people of the next generation.

Think through the lenses of anyone you choose:  How do you want to be remembered by the people in your life? 

Instead of looking at your to-dos head on this morning, begin with the end you seek in mind.

Allow this simple question to shape your day today and see what a difference it makes in the small choices throughout the day.

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What shifted?

What suddenly looks important that didn’t seem so important five minutes ago?

What suddenly seems unimportant that seemed important five minutes ago?

By this simple exercise, you will be experiencing a small sampling of the shift in decision making that occurs when you take even just a moment to envision, to dream, and to begin with the end you seek in mind.

You really are what you think.

Christine Wilson

Licensed Professional Counselor, Co-founder of Think Time

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How do you want to be remembered?

How do you want to be remembered by the people in your life? 

Before diving into your to-dos, pause and ask yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?”

Think forward then reflect backward.

Decisions shift when you take a moment to envision.

Decisions shift when you take a moment to dream.

Decisions shift when you take a moment to begin with the end in mind.

You really are what you think.

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For people who want more time to focus on what matters most.

Free e-book “How to Live Your Purpose” http://ow.ly/AHrg30figwg

Shop Think Time Purpose Planners at think-time.com