“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
To identify one’s calling not only provides greater clarity on purpose but also gives us a greater sense of calling, which means better inspiration, direction, action, and, more likely, results. Planning should be more than to do lists and long-range plans. The process of planning can help us identify our purposes.
Plans help us improve “definiteness of purpose” and “knowledge of what one wants” plus adds fuel to our “burning desire.” Once we understand our purposes and possible results while creating the vision, we will be more likely to persevere and less likely to let disappointments hold us back.
Investing 1% of our time in planning adds significance to the other 99%. The 1% can help us focus on better priorities and feel more inspiration to take action.
Napoleon Hill, as a young journalist interviewing Andrew Carnegie, learned common denominators of doing our best exist, make a difference when learned and implemented, and should be taught at home and school, as well as places of work and worship. Often they were not taught or used (in many schools and other key places, still not taught, which we can fix). Plan for School and Life Initiative
Carnegie saw Hill was inspired and offered to introduce him to scores of the world’s most prolific people, including U.S. presidents, business leaders, and scientists such as Thomas Edison. Hill studied and compiled their common denominators into a list of principles and practices published in essays and books.
If you read more of Hill’s work, you will see his emphasis on writing your “definite purpose” and internalizing it as a key to building desire and action. This process and plan can become a great source of motivation, habits, accountability, and results.
My research and coaching affirms, people with an “A” awareness of calling and choices are much more likely to demonstrate “A” level of “courage” and “commitment.” Without a plan, courage, commitment, and confidence average “C” level, which holds people and their organizations back. In most cases,”A” or “B” is attainable and should be developed.
I first read Hill’s books as a college student in a summer job selling Bibles door-to-door. The ideas plus the summer experience planted the seeds of my calling to help people learn and use best-self leadership. Hill’s work influenced mine and is a reason why I emphasize so much to students, professionals, and families alike that we should write plans to help us discover purpose, focus, and internalize what’s most important.
May you Plan and Lead your Life,
Dr. David Dyson serves as director of Life Leaders Institute, including publicatons and program services. For more of his writings: DrDavid.blog
Melvin Carrington Smith and I created the Financial Fitness Planbook to provide a brief, easy-to-use, and high impact tool you can print from the web site to use on your own or, better, learn to use at a seminar and/or in coaching. We looked at a few national resources and asked a few financial coaches what questions they ask and advice they give, considered the best we found, and edited our work to provide you and others with a compressed tool you can use and share with others.
Melvin has a calling to help people plan, assess, and improve their financial lives. Life Leaders is helping him with his “voice” and more people to get tools to use. David
- Melvin’s Top 25 question “checkup” he has used for years with financial planning clients has been improved and a page of intro has been added
- Plan sheet I outlined to provide you with a template to answer key questions that should improve your insight, plan, and action.
- Title Page
- Notes page for the Seminar
- Coaching for your Financial Fitness Check up
- Your Financial Fitness Check up
- Coaching for improving your Financial Fitness Plan
- Your Financial Fitness and Freedom Plan
- About the Authors and Life Leaders Institute
The Financial Fitness Checkup takes less than seven minutes to complete, but if it helps you identify just one gap in your financial well-being AND you can TAKE ACTION to correct that gap, it may be a valuable, even crucial, 7 minutes. I hope you complete the checkup and correct gaps to enrich your finances and your overall well-being. When helping people as a financial consultant, I generally find most individuals are in one of three stages of financial fitness.
The first stage is the Survival Stage in which an individual is still getting his or her financial life in order. Many in this stage have too much debt, little or no savings, and have not taken action to protect the assets they do have.
The second stage is the Fitness Stage. By actions they have taken, they have control of their debts, are making significant investment in retirement and other savings, and have taken many of the steps to get their financial house in order. This stage is critical because it allows an individual to move toward the most important stage of financial well-being, which is the Financial Freedom Stage.
Financial Freedom not only allows you to take control of your finances, but also allows you more time freedom to take actions on what is most important to your family, community, and you. This could mean you could take your career in a different direction including getting a more satisfying job, go into a completely new field, become an entrepreneur, or work from home. – Melvin
- Link to the Financial Fitness PlanBook on the website to read or print to use.
- Attend the Alabama Money Expo in Birmingham, May 20, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. to hear Melvin present Financial Planning Workshops and more free events. If you plan to attend or have questions, Melvin.Smith@me.com
- Subscribe to DrDavid Blog for articles, quotations, best practices for 7 callings
- Subscribe to Life Leaders Blog
- See Life Leaders web: www.LifeLeadersInstitute.org
- Find something new or faster or give us feedback and ideas: Info@LifeLeadersInstitute.org
- Read or Print Publications below and more for Use by You and Groups
“The first and best victory
is to conquer self.”
7 Best Practices for Life Leadership Continuum and 7 Areas of Life
Best-Self Leadership is the first best practice to plan and lead in life.
Joan Dunn donated to Life Leaders a box of books on leadership and professional development Stretch valued. A few folders enclosed included workbooks and handouts that he or we had presented for Life Leaders or other organizations over 25 years.
One of the sheets was from a presentation I invited Stretch to give on Best-Self Leadership, which he gave in 2015. He was trained in it at West Point and committed to it all the years I knew him. The sheet outlined his philosophy and plans to guide his life and to coach others. He listed motivational quotations, including Plato above, and a summary of concepts and covenants to which he was committed.
I thought you would want to know this as well as appreciate the wisdom of ancient Greek philosopher Plato. –David
Callings can be discovered through significant experience. Most people seem to want this approach to have an “aha” experience and know your callings.
Callings can be discovered through proactive effort. They often come into focus through prayers and plans. Pray and Listen, then write what you hear. Review your plan daily, and over time you will add and edit until you see more focus and feel more inspiration. This is often the most effective approach though for some the least popular. It takes mental energy and action.
Whether you “just know” your purpose and priorities or you work on your plan like a sculpture that increasingly takes shape, the plan for your calling must be written to describe your mission and vision, what you intend to do, and how you will develop your capacity to “Be, Know, and Do” well enough to succeed–if you want to do your best.
The article following may be part of the process for you to discover and develop your callings. I found it insightful.
You don’t “find your calling,” you fight for it.
writes Kate Torgovnick May
Whether it was during a career aptitude test or in a heart-to-heart chat, chances are someone has talked to you about how to “find your calling.” It’s one of those phrases people toss about.
But StoryCorps founder Dave Isay takes issue with it … specifically, the verb. “Finding your calling — it’s not passive,” he says. “When people have found their calling, they’ve made tough decisions and sacrifices in order to do the work they were meant to do.” In other words, you don’t just “find” your calling — you have to fight for it.
And it’s worth the fight. “People who’ve found their calling have a fire about them,” says Isay, the winner of the 2015 TED Prize. “They’re the people who are dying to get up in the morning and go do their work.”
Over a decade of listening to StoryCorps interviews, Isay noticed that people often share the story of how they discovered their calling — and now, he’s collected dozens of great stories on the subject into a new book, Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work. Below, he shares 7 takeaways from the hard-won fight to find the work you love.
by Dr. David Dyson and Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Ret)
When people set resolutions at New Years or other times of inspiration or decision, the solutions usually require action though often we overlook the requirement to address our beliefs that either support or sabotage our success. “Moral injury” is one of the sources of setback for many people, perhaps most, especially for veterans of war.
When people seek to “be, know, or do” better we often have to face barriers that hold us back. If you have been setting the same New Year Resolution for years, you likely have a barrier holding you back from following through or even starting. Sometimes, between us and our goal stands a “Goliath” threatening us and those influenced by us. Some Goliaths we created and some happened to us, though in either case we can achieve breakthroughs by facing our barriers and deciding how our best-selves can make the best of situations and grow from challenges.
An example of a big barrier is when a veteran of combat faces feelings and beliefs from “moral injury” created having to kill another human being. Many veterans who return home face challenges to re-enter society. Some feel sad. Some feel guilty. Some feel they do not deserve better than their despair. They have been morally injured and need healing.
Some stay in their despair. Some “hold it in” and “others talk about it” with their buddies. Time might help to process and heal, though this often is a slow approach and there is no guarantee of recovery.
Those who act with intentionality are more likely to achieve not only recovery to a state prior to the trauma or injury but also “post traumatic growth.” For more on PTG, read Dr.Seligman’s work.
I asked Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Retired), West Point graduate, combat leader in Vietnam, founder of the Veterans Leadership Ministry, and co-author with me of Professionalism Under Stress, to provide his answer to the question from veterans struggling with psychological wounds of warfare.
Question: What can I do if I feel shame from killing that holds me back?
I was asked recently by a vet suffering the pain of “moral injury” a question tied to his feeling of shame. He still struggled with the commandment to “not kill” and his having to do so back in Vietnam. My response was one that has worked for me since I faced that dilemma in 1968.
Captain Dunn 1968, Vietnam
I never forget the capacity of our minds to rationalize anything. The treasure of being able to think is truly amazing.
That said, I live with my past by listening to the intent of the heart. Matthew 15:19 reminds me, murder comes from “evil in the heart.” While there is a moral imperative to not kill unlawfully, there is also the soldier’s duty to protect. The noble warrior punishes in proportion to the gravity of the offense.
So I told him I sought to “put on the whole armor of God” and do what had to be done to protect the innocent or my buddies in keeping with the oath I took in 1966 and the heart of a Noble Warrior.
Col. C.H. “Stretch” Dunn (USA Retired)
When writing the book, Professionalism Under Stress, with Col. Dunn, he introduced me to the meaning of a “least-worst option.” As the name suggests, all the options seem bad; the best option is the “least-worst.”
Killing the enemy is bad; the enemy killing your buddies or U.S. civilians is worse. Choices like these, tough choices, can stay with you for years in a negative way unless you process them in to your “best possible” way.
Callings and Choices are a key to a best-self leader.
Asking, God, what would you have me do? following by asking myself, Now, what would my best-self do? helps me move from thinking of bad memories to thinking of potential good solutions. The thoughts and actions that must follow can heal, inspire, and make you stronger than before your moral injury. May your thoughts carry you upward, David`
U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Day
The founding fathers believed in writing The Constitution of the United States to inspire and guide the country.
They took action to draft this forward-thinking document.
The same principles call on us to write constitutions to lead our lives, families, and organizations.
The Constitution of You: Draft Your Constitution
Thursday, September 17
5:30-6:30 pm Refreshment & Workshop to draft Your Constitution
optional supper follows for those interesting in more information or discussion
Birmingham Area / 201 Office Park, 3rd Floor, 1st Financial Group Conference Room, Hosted by Melvin Carrington Smith, 205.276.2333, & David Dyson, 205.422.6484
No charge to you or your guest.
RSVP: event posted on Eventbrite or write to David@LifeLeadersInstitute.org
To subscribe to Life Leaders: http://www.LifeLeaders.us (Subscribe Page)
Constitution Day and Your Constitution
This is the first workshop Life Leaders has offered on Constitution Day. We are beginning by inviting members and a few friends who want to take advanced steps on their plans for life. We will offer you water and coffee, a sip of wine donated if you wish, provide a few minutes on concepts and tools, then allow most of the time for writing your constitution, plus coaching if you want it. The template provided will offer modern-day language to prompt your thinking about mission, vision, values, beliefs, and strategies, which are also embedded in the Constitution. Use our template or adapt your own.
Students will understand the Constitution better if they write one for themselves. Families can live better together if they identify shared vision and values. Individuals live better if they internalize their Constitution just as the U.S. Constitution guides laws, plans, and budgets.
You probably will receive bonus ideas for your desired legacy, lifestyle, and goals to fulfill those. The “Big 3” parts of a plan that can add to goals: Constitution, Legacy Vision, Lifestyle Vision. College students who have written these with us have improved college and career decisions plus motivation due to having more purpose. Mission for Marriage statements have helped couples, engaged and married.
Empowerment Week connects to Constitution Day
We presented a seminar last week on “Earning Empowerment” to support you and Empowerment Week in Birmingham, which focuses on commemorative and service events. If you also want to receive lessons and tools as well as take action on how to earn empowerment, you can visit and/or join Life Leaders. You can learn “Levels of Earning and Delegating Empowerment” and how to prepare better in professional and other areas of life. Writing your Constitution with a draft mission, vision, values, and strategies provides inspiration and guidance toward your goals. For those who want more empowerment, this is a valuable step.
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is a combined event that is annually observed in the United States on September 17. This event commemorates the formation and signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787. It also recognizes all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become US citizens.
Life Leaders America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Alabama that presents events monthly plus provides public service programs supported by volunteers, staff, and budgets funded by membership donations, grants, and sponsorships.
Freedom to Flourish: Earning Empowerment
in support of YOU and Empowerment Week in Birmingham
This program offers tangible concepts and best practices for how to earn empowerment. Starting September 11, events of service and commemoration are sponsored by the City of Birmingham.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
5:30 Refreshments & Networking; 6-7 Seminar & Announcements
5:30-6 p.m. Refreshments, Networking, Seating
6-7 p.m. Seminar plus Announcements
7-7:30 Social and/or Discussion (Optional)
Birmingham Area / 201 Office Park
3rd Floor, 1st Financial Group Seminar Room
Use outside stairs or elevator to entrance, left after Life Leaders Sign
Hosted by Melvin Carrington Smith, Sr. / 205.276.2333
No charge for tickets thanks to membership donations, grants, sponsorships.
Life Leaders America is a 501 (c)(3) based in Alabama.
Donations optional for refreshments, materials, public programs.
Get Tickets for You and Guests Reserved and Sent by Email
Concepts, Benefits, and Contents of the Seminar
Earning Empowerment is key to taking action as a true patriot and true professional to act on our freedom to flourish.
In this seminar, we will provide a handout and instruction to provide you a tool to know better how to earn and delegate empowerment based on level of trust in attitude and ability.
Emerging leaders may benefit most. For mature leaders, they likely understand the concept, though this model will provide a tool to state intent with others for you choose when to delegate and when to direct. Intent and instincts should improve. Cooperation can increase and conflict decrease.
We will summarize the empowerment model that has 7 levels. We will provide an updated workbook with improved content and a new cover. The full seminar is core professional and leadership training highly recommended for organizations.
The event is free thanks to support of members and grants we receive from foundations and other sponsors. If you wish, you have the option to donate for your consumption of refreshments, for membership if you wish to join, or for a a project you value. No pressure. It is mission over money. We seek to serve and look forward to your attendance.
5-5:30 Team Meeting: Events updates and decisions October – December, other chairs can host meetings
5:30-6 Refreshments and Networking
6-7 Seminarby Dr. David Dyson
with open and call to action by Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Ret)
- True Professional definition
- Earn empowerment rather than wait for it (Professionalism Under Stress)
- 7 Levels of Empowerment
- 7 Components of Attitude and Ability
- How to state intent for earning empowerment with a leader/decision-maker
- Call to action summary
7-7:30 optional social, team meetings, discussion
Thanks to our Members and these Principal Partners providing Grants this Year
Daniel Foundation of Alabama – Protective Life Foundation
Learn more of additional events and services
October 1: Freedom to Flourish
November 5: Personal Leadership for Patriots
November 10: Patriotism in Action Tribute to the Founder of Veterans Day
December 15: Year-End Celebration of Purpose, Progress, People with performance by Roman Street
You can follow Life Leaders and invite others to attend with you