Four Steps to Living Well

After graduate school, I worked as a therapist with people in recovery after acquiring  traumatic brain injuries.

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While I learned a lot during this season, one thing remains the most salient.

Everything in my life could change in the flash of a moment.

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Things that I consider part of my identity–being able to think, talk, and write–as well as things I take for granted–being able to walk, navigate my own home, or use both sides of my body–could all be gone in an instant.  Brain injuries, like death, do not discriminate on the basis of education, social status, wealth, or character.  They are sudden, and at times, irreversible.

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This unique season of walking alongside people after their injuries, helped me to grow to appreciate that today is all that I really have.  Though I had heard it all of my life, I began to truly understand that I really need to seize the day.  I started to ask the hard questions. If tomorrow never comes, would I look back from today with satisfaction on who I have been and what I have accomplished?

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We all want to look back on our lives without regret. It is innate within us to want to look back and to say, “This is good.”

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Yet somehow in the midst of our busy lives, we know that if today were the last of our days, many of us would not look back with that sort of whole-hearted satisfaction.

BUT…how do we get there?

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In this blog, we will preview the Four P’s. These P’s will point us toward a life well lived no matter where we find ourselves today.

Proactivity.

The first P is Proactivity. To be proactive in just two words is to “own it.” It is a mindset about your life that states that no matter what has, is, or will happen to you, your life is yours to live.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl shared his journey to discover this realization. A Jewish prisoner of war, he discovered that no one could take away his ability to choose–no matter what they did to him. The world will give you every excuse, And since the beginning of time it has been our nature to shift blame.

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To live well, however, we must resist this temptation. We must constantly ask, “What choices are within my responsibility?” and choose to act.

Purpose.

The second P is Purpose. Your story is irreplaceable. What makes you unique? For what purpose do you believe you are on Earth?

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What are your dreams? What are your goals? What are your values? What is your personality? What are your strengths? What are your resources and connections?

Gaining a clear picture on where you are heading is critical.

Productivity

The third P is productivity. To be productive is to produce effective results with your actions. The opposite of being productive is working really hard but getting nowhere–“spinning your wheels.”

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If you have decided to own your life and you have a clear vision on where you want to head but you have not clarified which actions produce the results that will get you there, you are unlikely to fulfill your desires.

People

The final P is people. When everything is boiled down, our design reflects a deep need for both results and relationships.

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When people are interviewed near the end of their lives, they usually speak most about the relationships in their lives. What relationships in your life do you want to cultivate so that you look back with satisfaction and not regret? What type of person do you want to be for those in a relationship with you?

The Four Ps

How do we live well?  Be proactive.  Start with the choice to own your life. Then, move toward your purpose.  What do you want to see when you look back on your life?  Next, be productive.  Choose actions that will support your vision and bear strong results toward it.  Lastly, stay connected to the people in your life.  Leave a trail of touched lives behind you as you live your irreplaceable story.

Think Time’s Life Leadership process seamlessly guides you through living these four P’s as you dream, decide, do, and review.  Check out our thinking tools at think-time.com.

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

Co-founder, Think Time

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Blog Highlights

Everything in my life could change in the flash of a moment. @thinktimetweets

We all want to look back on our lives without regret.  @thinktimetweets

It is innate within us to want to look back and to say, “This is good.”  @thinktimetweets

“Own it.”  @thinktimetweets

Your life is yours to live.   @thinktimetweets

What choices are within my responsibility?   @thinktimetweets

Choose to act.   @thinktimetweets

Your story is irreplaceable.   @thinktimetweets

What makes you unique?  @thinktimetweets

For what purpose do you believe you are on Earth?   @thinktimetweets

Gain clear picture on where you want to go.  @thinktimetweets

Produce effective results with your actions.  @thinktimetweets

The opposite of being productive is working really hard but getting nowhere.  @thinktimetweets

Clarify which actions produce the results that will get you to your destination.  @thinktimetweets

Our design reflects a deep need for both results and relationships.  @thinktimetweets

What relationships in your life do you want to cultivate?  @thinktimetweets

What type of person do you want to be?  @thinktimetweets

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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.

Shoot for the Moon, Graduate!

I love graduation season!  It is a season of leaving what has been and looking forward to what is ahead.   All options seem open and possible.  It is time to dream!

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At seventeen, I stood in front of my high school graduating class at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas, and delivered our school’s commencement address.  I remember two parts of this speech–and not much else.

The following quote was my starting line: “Success, what is it?”

And, somewhere mixed into the lofty talk was a quote that I just loved.  (I found it in a 1990s coffee table book of inspirational quotes.)

Here it is.

“Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.”

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I don’t remember what my 17-year old conclusion was to my initial question, “What is success?”  (I hope I find that speech someday!)  But, today, I do believe that success has something very much to do with shooting for the moon and being okay if you miss it and land somewhere else truly wonderful.

We must act.  We must try.  Otherwise, we will never know what could have been.

In the dream phase of Think Time, we encourage you to Dream Big.  Envision what your end goals would be if there were no obstacles.  What would they look like if you experienced “wild success?”  Build into your dreams.  Nurture their growth.  Let your dreams become larger than the obstacles.

Marcia Wieder, founder of Dream University (how fun is that?), emphasizes that too many people skip the dreaming and go straight to planning.  She says, “You have to identify what you really love and really want before you can go out to get it.”  We could not agree more and have created the Think Time Life Leadership System to facilitate this ideal.

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Have you taken time to consider your dreams lately?  If you had all of the resources in the world, what would “wild success” look like to you?  If you were not held back by fear or doubts, what would be your aim?   If you had more time, how would you spend it?

Do you know a graduate whose dreams you want to support?  Go to think-time.com and surprise them with an early graduation gift.  Now, before graduation, is the time for them to dream big, stay focused and get results as they make their plans for what comes next.

These are my thoughts, what are yours?

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

Creative Director, Think Time

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Graduation season is a season of leaving what has been and looking forward to what is ahead.  @thinktimetweets

It is time to dream! @thinktimetweets

We must act.  We must try.  Otherwise, we will never know what could have been.@thinktimetweets think-time.com

Have you taken time to consider your dreams lately?  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

If you had all of the resources in the world, what would “wild success” look like to you?  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

If you were not held back by fear or doubts, what would be your aim?  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

If you had more time, how would you spend it? @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“You have to identify what you really love and really want before you can go out to get it.”  Marcia Wieder @marciawieder

 

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

Soulish Living

This afternoon, I enjoyed a moment of sitting in the spring sun at the Dallas Arboretum.  I have found a special spot away from the crowds that tucks me away in plush grass surrounded by colorful flowers.  This is the spot that I find when I just want to “be.”

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Today, I just wanted to be.  No agenda.  Just time to be a human in the world soaking in the warmth of the sun and feeling the cushion of the other-worldly carpet of thick green grass.  Nearby was my glistening Think Time in case I wanted to jot down a thought, insight or idea before I forgot it.  But, my phone was on airplane mode, the girls were having a blast with their awesome babysitter, and my laptop was in the car.

This moment was a result–a beautiful result– of my yearly Think Time.  This year, my yearly Think Time themes revealed a deep desire to revive and to cultivate my soul.

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When I was younger, I sat long, thought much, and enjoyed deeply.  I played.  I connected. I said “Yes!” spontaneously to those I loved.  I spent too much time on the details, and I listened infinitely to others share their innermost hearts.  I had infinite time, it seemed.  And, I lived like it.

 

These days, the responsibilities of life seem to squeeze out those aspects of life that make me feel so full and so human.   I mean, who knew that I would grow up to be responsible for inventorying groceries and preparing or otherwise planning for 21 meals and 7 snacks a week–52 weeks a year?!?  What a surprise!

Who knew that my oldest child would need a new wardrobe every season?  Who knew that someone would need to create and maintain a system for storing and retrieving sizes and seasons of clothes for all of my kids?  Who knew that play dates, date nights, and any other activity I had in mind required an orchestral alignment of the stars to ensure that a sitter was in line, no one would be sick, traffic would not impede, blood sugar and water bottle levels were high, and potty accidents would not occur on the way.  (And, guess who was also responsible to ensure that back up clothes were readily available when things did not go as planned?)

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Some of you are amazing at organization and planning and actually enjoy these challenges.  Unfortunately, I am not like you.  I actually love losing track of time, following a deep intellectual thought to the end of where it travels, and detailing projects until they…are…PERFECT.

So, I am moving these moments back into my life.

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Today, it was a simple hour and a half of just “being” in the world, soaking up the sun and feeling the plush grass while I watched the trees bud.

Yesterday, it was restoring my hair to blonde while reading a deeply intellectual and spiritual book instead of being on my phone.

Last month, it was re-introducing distressed jeans into my wardrobe.

Looking forward, I also have some plans in my Think Time for some soulish moments throughout the coming year

This spring, I have set aside months to connect with my sweet new baby.

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This summer, we are planning to attend a family reunion in Tennessee.  I am most looking forward to “listening long” as my kids’ great uncles and aunts tell us the stories of our family.

Later, we are planning to go hiking in the Colorado mountains in celebration of our 10th anniversary.  I have a sketch in my Think Time of me with with my new baby in my baby carrier soaking in the surrounding beauty.  I can’t wait!

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This fall, I am planning to visit a fun-loving former roommate.  I am so looking forward to to laughing and to listening…to reminiscing and to playing.

 

These are simple moves, but they are bold moves.

These are the changes in ones life that restore light to the eyes and breath to the soul.

These are the soulish moments of life.

 

What are the moments in life that would restore your soul?

Are you making time and space for them?

If not now, when?

 

These are my thoughts.  What are yours?

The best blogs are dialogues.  Please comment below!

 

Christine Wilson

Co-founder and Creative Director of 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 with as little as one hour a week.  Click here to choose your Think Time tools today.

 

Blog Highlights:

Revive and cultivate your soul. @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Live like you have the time.  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Soak in the surrounding beauty.  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Laugh, listen, reminisce, and play.  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

What are the moments in life that would restore your soul?  Are you making time and space for them? @thinktimetweets think-time.com

If not now, when?  @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.

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.

Creative Thinking Skills You Need

Creative thinking skills are currently considered as important as literacy for the rising generation.  Why is this?

At first glance, creative thinking techniques seem silly or even absurd.  You want me to do what?  Draw?  I haven’t drawn in 30 years!  You want me to do what?  Mind map?  That looks messy!  My orderly list has worked fine for decades.  Why would I take time to learn a new method?  I know what my goals are.  You want me to keep going and to keep thinking about them?  Why?

Have an idea

However skeptical you may be about the process of creative thinking, much research supports the benefits of going through the creative thinking process–even if it feels a bit foreign or odd at the beginning.  Try to keep an open mind, and you may find yourself surprised at the results.

Let’s look at some basic creative thinking skills.Neurons in the brain

Brainstorming

To brainstorm means to generate a lot of ideas.  The more ideas you have, the more likely it is you will have a GOOD IDEA.

One crazy statistic stood out to me above the others in my graduate Creativity course.  Here it is.  Are you ready?  Only 8 out of 100 ideas are good ideas.  That’s right.  This is why you want to sit in the creative thinking phase a little longer.  To get to your best ideas, creativity experts encourage you to keep the ideas flowing.  That way, you can actually get to the good ones.  Often one idea leads to the next, which leads, in turn, to another one–which happens to be the good one!

In this phase of thinking, don’t edit yourself.  Often one idea leads to another, so at this point value all ideas–even the ridiculous ones.*

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Engage your right brain.

The left brain is associated with logic and order while the right brain is known for its ability to handle the messiness of life.  Much innovation and divergent thinking originates in the right brain.  The left brain is awesome when you know exactly where you are going and how to get there.  Engaging the right brain, however, may help you to access some needed energy to get over a hurdle or find a solution to a difficult problem.

Here are some ways to engage your right brain.

  • Mind Mapping.  Use words and lines to visually organize a large amount of interconnected information. A mind map is often created around a central concept drawn in the center.  Hierarchical relationships are visually represented as images, words, and lines branch outward from this central concept.  
  • Drawing Rich Pictures.  Visually draw the pictures in your mind connected with your goals or ideas.  The right brain, which is more thoroughly connected to your deeper desires and values than the left brain, cannot be accessed through words.  What are the most ideal outcomes you can imagine? Use words sparingly while you draw what “wild success” looks like to you.
  • Envisioning the future.  Use the above concepts to picture a bridge from your current state to your new, desired reality.  Sketch things as they currently are on the left of a page.  Then, sketch images of things as you desire them to be on the right.  Envisage a “bridge” between the two and draw pictures of how to get from here to there.
  • Imagineering/Role Playing.  Use objects in an individual setting or actual people in a group setting to represent people and tasks as they are.  Then, explore new ways of being through these interrelationships by role playing.  What are some new ways these people and tasks can interact with each other?  What would happen if there were no barriers and perfection could be achieved?  Ask yourself why things are not that way and seek to dismantle these actual or perceived hurdles.

Keep Going

Even when you believe you have gotten to a good point, don’t stop there!  Keep going to explore more possibilities, and you will be surprised at the results.   Walt Disney coined the term “plussing” to describe this process of bringing your best ideas even further.  When his imagineers would come to him with their best work, he would observe their work and then say, “Plus it.”  This meant that they were to ask themselves, “How can this be even better?”  His brilliant imagineers would go back to the drawing board, literally.  Then, they would return with even better work.  Then, Walt would say, “Plus it again!”

You only need to watch a two minute clip of one of his amazing videos to appreciate the value of plussing.  Here is one of my favorites.

A friend of mine used this idea recently as she visited a friend with her newborn baby.  She asked herself the question, “How can I make this even better?”  The thought entered her mind to offer to stop by the grocery store on her way and deliver some necessities to her door.  She then remembered to “plus it again.”  Into her mind popped the idea of purchasing a sweet little outfit for the baby while she was shopping.  Not only did the new mom have a visit from a dear friend, but she also had a practical need met with the addition of a special gift.  This particular mom was very moved by her friend’s surprising efforts.

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Not Sold?

For some of you, this process of sitting with ideas and not judging them may feel uncomfortable.  You are envisioning a wasteful allocation of budget to fund pink paint for a pet project in underwater basket weaving–on Mars.

If this is you, it may be helpful to keep in mind the different types of thinking.  Two type of thinking that are very important in uncovering the solutions to your biggest problems are divergent and convergent thinking.  Usually, our brains prefer one or the other, but both are necessary for good problem solving.

Divergent thinking involves generating creative ideas and exploring possible solutions.

Convergent thinking focuses on finding a single best, most correct answer to a question.

It is best to start with divergent idea generation and then move to convergent decision making after a robust session of idea generation.  This is why the Think Time Life Leadership System includes both divergent and convergent thinking in our Dream, Decide, Do, and Review process.

The important thing to remember is to do the right type of thinking at the right time for the right results.  

These are my thoughts.  What are yours?  Please comment below!

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

Airplane Mode!

Two days ago, a friend offered to watch my kids for a couple of hours.  Four weeks from my due date and in the middle of a renovation, I needed some down time to rejuvenate.

When I arrived, I decided my best use of that time was to exercise first then run an easy errand in her neighborhood.  As I went on a walk, I brought my phone to keep track of the time.

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Then, I noticed something.

I noticed for the first half of the walk that even though I was by myself–with no kids, no to dos, and no agenda– I kept interrupting myself!!

I wanted to let my mind wander but every time I glanced at my phone to check the time, I was distracted by a text or a notification.  Even when there wasn’t a text or a notification, I recognized that I was bracing myself to resist being distracted and to prepare to refocus.

Then, I remembered.

Airplane Mode!

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Halfway through my walk, I decide those I was texting could wait half an hour to hear from me, and I clicked the “Settings” button and moved the little slider next to Airplane Mode from Off to On.

Aaah…

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I immediately felt the expanse in my being.  My mind cleared.  My shoulders relaxed.  I immediately knew I was alone and had uninterrupted time to just “be.”

This is why I love Airplane Mode.

 

Let’s talk about three more ways that you can use Airplane Mode to clear some space in your time and your life.

 

Give your phone a bedtime.  Choose a time at night to set your phone aside and to be alone in solitude or to connect with those you love.  What would you do with the extra time?  Sleep?  Read?  Think?  Be?  Talk?

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I just heard yesterday that a guy gave his wife a Valentine that said, “I could not have picked a better person to lay beside at night checking our social feeds.”  Ugh!!!

 

Give your phone a wake time.  

One of my favorite professional organizers, Julie Morgenstern, wrote a book entitled, “Never Check E-mail in the Morning.”  She wrote her book before the rise of social craziness.  Today, I would need my title to be, “Never Check E-mail, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook Feed and Local Sale Posts, Messenger, and the Rest of My Notifications in the Morning.”  She suggests this because what we do first thing in the morning truly sets the tone for the entire day.

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Instead of checking notifications in the morning and living responding to everyone else’s priorities, let’s live from the inside out proactively–beginning in the earliest moments of the day.  I am actually considering purchasing an “old fashioned” alarm clock this month so I am completely removed from my phone when I wake in the morning.

 

Give your phone some break time.

Not only is it unhealthy for our brains to constantly be “on call” 24/7, it is also extremely unproductive.  When we are working in our best state of “flow,” allowing ourselves to be interrupted and to provide a quick response to something unrelated can cause us to lose up to twenty minutes of productivity…per interruption.

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When you really need to be productive–which is hopefully very often–try putting your phone on Airplane Mode and note the changes you experience in your results.

Time management guru, Kevin Kruse, has formulated a 3-2-1-0 method for responding to message requests.  3 times a day, he sets aside 21 minutes to get his inbox down to 0.  Perhaps this method or another one will work for you.  The important thing to remember is that you will be most productive when you schedule and protect your time to focus.

Unplugged is the New Connected.

Because of all of the brain science behind taking time to think time, we at Think Time like to say that “unplugged is the new connected.”  But even plugged in but on Airplane Mode can be a major transformation!

Try these Airplane Mode accommodations and let me know how it goes!

 

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

 

When Life Throws You a Curveball…Hit a Homerun!

We are in the age of planners.  Planners are great when you know where you are going, you are where you want to be, and you understand what needs to be done.

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But, what do you need when life throws you a curveball?

Do you need to better organize your overflowing list of to dos?  To put everything in little boxes on your planner so that you can see them better?

No!

You need to clarify what’s most important to you and get rid of the rest!

You need to make space in your life for where you’re going and what matters most to you…now.

You need to evaluate where you put your limited energy and time.

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When life throws you a curveball, don’t throw in the towel.

These are the times that drive your focus toward what matters most and toward where you can have the most impact.  Embrace these days and get ready for positive change!

How do we go about doing these things? 

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First, identify what you really want.  No one really lets go of anything until they have a clear view of where they’re headed. No one lets go in a vacuum.  Clarify your vision.  And, when you clarify your vision, dream big!  Ask yourself what “wild success” looks like.  As the cheesy cliche [that I love] says, “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars!”  Dream big and don’t edit yourself.  Purpose and productivity guru, Michael Hyatt, says, “Build your dreams to be bigger than the obstacles.”  The obstacles will certainly be there, but your dreams can definitely be bigger than them with some thoughtful preparation.

Second, let go of what is obsolete, irrelevant, or good but not the best.  So often, the best is is squeezed out by things that used to be important to us, by things that are trivial or by things that are good but not the best.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Take time to evaluate what matters most to you and actively create space in your life for these few things.

Third, clarify what is within your control and what is not within your control.  When life throws us curveballs, it is easy to spend a lot of energy spinning our wheels on the “what ifs” and “if onlys.”  We can get caught up in unproductive thinking about what other people could or should do.  Instead, let’s focus on what is within our power to change.  My thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and choices are in my circle of influence while an endless other things are outside.  Tell yourself, “This is my new reality.  Now, what true impact can I make with the steps that I take?”

When it is time to grow, the best thing to do is clarify your vision and let go of things that are obsolete, irrelevant, or good but no longer the best.  Focusing on what you can control will give you the most result for every action you take.  Use these three steps to identify what matters most to you and to clear space in your calendar and in your life to focus on what matters most.

But, wait.  There is one more thing.

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Fourth, expect change.  Life is fluid.  It is always changing.  The clouds are always moving.  The earth is always rotating.  The universe is ever expanding.  Nothing stays the same.   So, be poised as you move forward to continuously reevaluate your vision, your priorities, and what is within and not within your control.

Then, the next time life throws you a curveball, you’ll be ready for it.  Hit a homerun!

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The best blogs are dialogues.  Please comment below.  Are you in a season of personal change?  Do you have a personal vision for what could be next?

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

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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.

Choosing Purpose over Perfection

I write from a peaceful, quiet hotel room 15 stories above the Fort Worth skyline.  Keith and I are on a little getaway weekend.  It is part birthday celebration, part babymoon, and part taking time to think time and discuss our lives together on a deep level without interruption.  (Thanks, Mom!)

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I just hung out with the “personal” Think Zone concept cloud for a while.

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As I brainstormed, I was struck with how much I need to grow this year!

What was I thinking starting Think Time when I was so imperfect!?!  I easily could have taken a year to focus on learning in each major area of growth to refine myself before launching.  Maybe in five—or twenty—years, I would be ready!

But.

I didn’t.

And.

I didn’t.

On purpose.

In this move of choosing to launch Think Time, I chose purpose over perfection.

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I asked myself, “What can only I do in this world?

 

Then, I brainstormed.  I acted.  I gained feedback.  I acted again.  I refined.  I acted again.  I kept learning and growing.  I acted again.

 

Out of this milieu was born a collaboration of my personal and professional experience, my personal and professional research, and my unique personality design as an innovator.  It seemed at the time that only I could launch Think Time.  I mean, who else was going to bring together such a diverse compilation of creative thinking exercises, a passion that each life has an irreplaceable purpose, and the refinement that productivity practices bring?  It was a sort of odd and strange combination, but it seemed essential to me.  Any of these pieces without the others left something major wanting.

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I did not have a background in marketing.  It turns out that would have been helpful.

I did not have a lot of time.  It turns out that would have been helpful.

I did not have a lot of money.  It turns out that would have been helpful.

I did not have a sales personality.  It turns out that would have been helpful.

I did not have…well, quite a lot…

But, I did offer what I had, and I did launch.

And, I do not regret it.

I am so thankful that today, only one year after an initial launch, sales teams who want to excel even during trying times, CEOs who want to envision the next decades of their company, newly released prisoners who want to move forward toward their goals and not backward to repeat the past, parents who want to make the most of the time with their kids while they are still young, high schoolers and college students who want to pursue their goals amidst a plethora of pressures, young entrepreneurs who want to build their businesses while maintaining life balance, managers who want to better envision the future and lead their teams, and my family and I are able to dream big for the coming year—with the hope of actually bringing our dreams to reality.

Each of us is able to better envision the future.  Each of us is confronted with the choices that we must make if we are to live with a focus on what is important.  Each of us has the tool to empower us to “do” our dream in the most effective way possible, and each of us can constantly grow through reflection and daily gratitude.

I will admit, it is a more humbling way to go.

…to launch a dream before it is perfect.

However, if I can just get over myself and my “need” to be perfect, I can grow and people can be truly served.  In this way, I can live in such a way that I can be most in touch with reality.  Real life gives feedback—both positive and negative—in a way that preparation and thinking without action never can.

When I take time to Think Time, I am actively taking my ideals and constantly rubbing them against the sandpaper of reality.  Here, they are tested.  Here, they are refined.  Here, and only here, will they become truly beautiful.

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What are your dreams today?  Is your fear of imperfection holding you back, or are you ready to dive into the refining fire of life’s real time feedback.

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Do you choose purpose over perfection?

 

I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below!  What are your thoughts?

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Christine Wilson, LPC

Co-founder of 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.

What If We Could?

One of my favorite things is listening to people describe their dreams, wishes, and goals.  As I listen, the light shines in their eyes as they explain how things could really be.  They have a unique perspective on the changes that need to occur, and they have formulated a custom solution that has for some reason has not yet been discovered by others.  If it would be implemented, true change, restoration, or progress could take place.

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As they speak, their creative energies are fully intact, their life passions and hearts are engaged, and I, as the listener, am completely inspired.

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Then, all too often, as if on cue, their eyes shift from looking upwards as they speak and imagine their idea to looking at the ground.  Then, comes the seemingly inevitable comment, “But, ‘I could never do that’ or ‘it could never work’ because of…”  And, follows the “reason” that it would not, could not ever occur.

From my perspective as the listener, what has been mentioned seems to me only a hurdle to be overcome or an obstacle to be deconstructed.  But, to the speaker, what has been mentioned seems to be insurmountable and final.  All of the energy that had been exerted into the development of the dream is dissipated with one mention of this opposition or an obstacle.

 

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When dreams are tossed aside, my heart sinks.  Something inside me intuitively believes that these dreams are meant to come to fruition, but they are nonetheless all of the sudden off of the table.  They are no longer a consideration.  This has happened so many times; I feel like it is epidemic.

My questions are the following.

  • How can we hold onto our dreams even while we acknowledge the realities that oppose them–big or little? 
  • How can we face reality without giving up on our dreams entirely?  
  • Should we stop dreaming when opposition exists?

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I would assert that dreams should still be nourished–even in the midst of opposition.  Michael Hyatt captures this idea simply, yet profoundly when he states, “Our dreams should be bigger than our obstacles.”  When we grow our dreams, they can gain momentum to move into existence in spite of obstacles.

How do we build into our dreams, even while acknowledging the obstacles?  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Clarify your vision.  As a starting point, as an individual or as a group, visualize how things would be if there were no barriers and if perfection could be achieved.  This is clearly not the only step to take, but it is a great way to start.  As novel ideas are brought to reality, they need to be nurtured for what they are.  Later, you will introduce other realities into them and negotiate paths around them.  They must, however, be fully formed to have the best chance of braving the odds.
  2. Acknowledge the opposition.  Creative thinking is useless if it cannot be applied in real life.  What real life obstacles will work against your ideas?  Take some time to identify these.  Then, evaluate the true impact each could have.  Will they completely inhibit your vision, change your vision, or just impact your vision?
  3. Dismantle the obstacles.  Brainstorm paths over, under, through or around the obstacles you have identified.  Can these obstacles be removed, changed, or impacted?  Often, we view things that are as though they always will be.  This is not necessarily the case.  Often, things can be changed.  Aim to dismantle actual or perceived obstacles that keep you from your goals.

Your unique perspective on life is so important.  In fact, it is irreplaceable.  If you do not make the changes in the world that you see, who will?  If you do not touch the people in your life, who will?  Don’t give up when you recognize opposition to your dreams.  Grow them and nurture them instead.

Take some time today to dream big, acknowledge the real life opposition, and envision paths around the obstacles and to your goals.

If you could bring a dream to reality this year, what would it be?

Christine Wilson, co-founder of Think Time

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Highlights:

“Hold onto your dreams.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Acknowledge the obstacles.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Our dreams should be bigger than our obstacles.”  Michael Hyatt @michaelhyatt

“Clarify your vision.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Creative thinking is useless if it cannot be applied in real life.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Aim to dismantle actual or perceived obstacles that keep you from your goals.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

 

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.