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Design Your Life 

In the sections below you’ll find ways I’ve designed my daily life, habits and routines that “flow” well for me so that I can live playfully, purposefully and passionately. As you design your day and align your life around the things that matter most, may you find ideas and insights that will make your life more meaningful, memorable, and impactful on others.

Jim LaDoux  


Take your every day, ordinary life – you’re sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering. Read and reflect on Romans 12. Consider what it means to be “transformed” rather than to be conformed to this world.

Creating a rule of life allows one to clarify their deepest values, most important relationships, greatest hopes and highest priorities. It allows one to live with intention and lead purpose in the present moment as well as the future.

Leading others begins with managing oneself in ways that are life-giving for the individual and transformative for others. Transformational leaders infuse purpose, passionate and playfulness into everyday.  They choose to be fully present and are prepared to make choices that are in their best interests as well as those they seek to serve.

The rhythms and rituals of one’s daily life provide ample opportunities to deepen friendships, experience abundance, and bring out God’s best in others. 

Explore ways that your daily life and living spaces can serve as learning laboratories that bring joy, purpose and creativity to your life. Reflect on what’s working in your life, and what’s not.  Consider what’s present and what’s missing. Rethink and reimagine ways you could design each day so that it improves the quality of your life as well as its overall impact on the people you encounter every day.

Live and lead on purpose. Americans spend more time planning their vacations than they do their lives. If you want live a remarkable life, then start designing remarkable days!

Our spiritual lives are forged in daily life and tempered in the ordinariness of the moment. It’s a slow, steady and deliberate process that involves a keen awareness of  God, ourself and others.

Seeking to mirror our life after Jesus, or to walk in the way of Jesus, involves embracing attitudes, assumptions and actions that are counter cultural. Are you willing to swim upstream against the norms and ideals of American culture? We must remind ourselves, frequently, that “only dead fish go with the flow!”

Design your life and living spaces to be learning laboratories that bring joy, purpose and passion into your life. Reflect on what’s working in your life and what’s not.  Consider what’s present and what’s missing. How might you design each day in ways that improve your quality of life and positively impact more people?

Create a personal rule of life that’s infused with Spirit – empowered rhythms and relationships designed to increase awareness of God’s presence in your life, increase a sense of belonging and increase your capacity to contribute to the wellbeing of others.

STEPS TO LIVE LIVE INTENTIONALLY

1 | Write Your Autobiography

1 | BEGINNINGS

  1. What is the first family holiday you remember?
  2. Who are the first friends that you remember?
  3. What are your happiest moments when growing up?
  4. What was your favorite food to eat? Games to play?
  5. What did your family do together?
  6. What did your parents do for a living?
  7. What were your fondest memories growing up?
  8. If you had siblings, what did you fight about?
  9. Did you and your siblings have any nicknames?
  10. How were your grandparents in involved in your life?

3 | ADOLESCENCE

  1. What’s the legacy you wish to leave behind?
  2. What do you want people to remember you for?
  3. What causes do you wish to invest in?
  4. How do you wish to spend your free time?
  5. If money weren’t an issue, what would you do?
  6. What’s on your bucket list?
  7. What is God’s intentions for your life?
  8. What do you do well?
  9. What are your primary strengths?
  10. Do past experiences equip you for new callings?

5 | COMING INTO YOUR OWN

  1. Will my plan help me do what matters most?
  2. Will my plan give me permission to say “no?”
  3. Will my plan help me do what’s life-giving?
  4. Will my plan help me eliminate what’s life-draining?
  5. What will I learn about myself as I create a plan?
  6. What will I learn about others/life by having a plan?
  7. Will a plan help me align my assets and actions?
  8. Will a plan help me serve and bless others?
  9. Will a plan deepen my awareness of God?
  10. Will a plan help me feel more centered?

2 | CHILDHOOD

  1. What places energize you?  Renew you?
  2. Where do you go on vacation?  Why?
  3. If you had to move, where would you go?
  4. Do you prefer urban, suburban or rural settings?
  5. What type of climate suits you best?
  6. How close do you want to live to your “family?”
  7. What type of climate do you seek?
  8. Is there an area that best fits your vocation?
  9. Is there a setting that best fits your chapter in life?
  10. Is living abroad an option you’ve considered?

4 | YOUNG ADULTHOOD

  1. What does success look like as a professional?
  2. What does success look like as a life partner?
  3. What does success look like as a parent?
  4. What does success look like as a Christ follower?
  5. What does success look like concerning health?
  6. What does success look like concerning wealth?
  7. How would you describe a life well-lived?
  8. What do you want to “be?”
  9. What do you want to “do?”
  10. What do you want to “have?”

6 | RETIREMENT/REFIREMENT

  1. How important is this plan to me?
  2. What’s the level of urgency around this plan?
  3. Who will serve as dialogue partners?
  4. When will I connect with them?
  5. Once I’ve completed a plan, how often will I review it?
  6. Is it a “working plan?” How often will I update it?
  7. What assumptions are reflected in this plan?
  8. What platform will I use (journal, Evernote, Word)?
  9. Who will give me feedback on the plan?
  10. Who will hold me accountable for fulfilling my plan?

2 | Write responses to Life-shaping Questions

PURPOSE & PASSIONS

  1. What the very first family holiday you remember?
  2. Who are the first people outside of your family that you remember?
  3. What are your happiest moments when you were very young?
  4. What was your favorite food to eat? Games to play?
  5. What did your family do together?
  6. What do you remember about your parents’ occupation?
  7. What were y0ur fondest memories growing up?
  8. If you had siblings, what did you fight about?
  9. Did you and your family members have any nicknames?
  10. How involved were your grand and god parents in your life?

3 | BUCKET LISTS & LEGACIES

  1. What’s the legacy you wish to leave behind?
  2. What do you want people to remember you for?
  3. What causes do you wish to invest in?
  4. How do you wish to spend your free time?
  5. If money weren’t an issue, what would you do?
  6. What’s on your bucket list?
  7. What is God’s intentions for your life?
  8. What do you do well?
  9. What are your primary strengths?
  10. Do past experiences equip you for new callings?

5 | REASONS FOR A PLAN

  1. Will my plan help me do what matters most?
  2. Will my plan give me permission to say “no?”
  3. Will my plan help me do what’s life-giving?
  4. Will my plan help me eliminate what’s life-draining?
  5. What will I learn about myself as I create a plan?
  6. What will I learn about others/life by having a plan?
  7. Will a plan help me align my assets and actions?
  8. Will a plan help me serve and bless others?
  9. Will a plan deepen my awareness of God?
  10. Will a plan help me feel more centered?

2 | SETTINGS & WELLSPRINGS

  1. What places energize you?  Renew you?
  2. Where do you go on vacation?  Why?
  3. If you had to move, where would you go?
  4. Do you prefer urban, suburban or rural settings?
  5. What type of climate suits you best?
  6. How close do you want to live to your “family?”
  7. What type of climate do you seek?
  8. Is there an area that best fits your vocation?
  9. Is there a setting that best fits your chapter in life?
  10. Is living abroad an option you’ve considered?

4 | DEFINING "SUCCESS"

  1. What does success look like as a professional?
  2. What does success look like as a life partner?
  3. What does success look like as a parent?
  4. What does success look like as a Christ follower?
  5. What does success look like concerning health?
  6. What does success look like concerning wealth?
  7. How would you describe a life well-lived?
  8. What do you want to “be?”
  9. What do you want to “do?”
  10. What do you want to “have?”

6 | LIVING INTO YOUR PLAN

  1. How important is this plan to me?
  2. What’s the level of urgency around this plan?
  3. Who will serve as dialogue partners?
  4. When will I connect with them?
  5. Once I’ve completed a plan, how often will I review it?
  6. Is it a “working plan?” How often will I update it?
  7. What assumptions are reflected in this plan?
  8. What platform will I use (journal, notebook, Evernote, Word)?
  9. Who will give me feedback on the plan?
  10. Who will hold me accountable for fulfilling my plan?

3 | IDENTIFY YOUR “TOP 5” VALUES

Review the list of values below.  For each, indicate how important each item is by check in the box Very Important (VI), Important (I) or Less Important (LI). After you have marked each item, review the the values that you indicated were Very Important to you and then identify your “top five.” Finally, consider ways theses “core” values will inform the decisions you make each and every day.

VI     I    LI
__   __   __   Acceptance
__   __   __   Accountability
__   __   __   Achievement
__   __   __   Adventure
__   __   __   Attractiveness
__   __   __   Authority
__   __   __   Beauty
__   __   __   Care of creation
__   __   __   Comfort
__   __   __   Commitment
__   __   __   Compassion
__   __   __   Change/variety
__   __   __   Purpose/contribution
__   __   __   Creativity
__   __   __   Dependability
__   __   __   Duty

VI     I    LI
__   __   __   Duty
__   __   __   Ecology
__   __   __   Fairness/Justice
__   __   __   Faithfulness/Loyalty
__   __   __   Fame/popularity
__   __   __   Family
__   __   __   Flexibility
__   __   __   Forgiveness
__   __   __   Friendships
__   __   __   Independence
__   __   __   Fun/pleasure
__   __   __   Generosity
__   __   __   Growth/learning
__   __   __   Harmony/peace
__   __   __   Health
__   __   __   Honesty/truthfulness

VI     I    LI
__   __   __   Hope
__   __   __   Humility
__   __   __   Humor
__   __   __   Industry/hard work
__   __   __   Inner peace
__   __   __   Integrity/authenticity
__   __   __   Intimacy
__   __   __   Joy
__   __   __   Justice
__   __   __   Leisure/relaxation
__   __   __   Love
__   __   __   Mastery/competence
__   __   __   Moderation
__   __   __   Order
__   __   __   Risk-taking
__   __   __   Romance

VF    I    LI
__   __   __   Safety/security
__   __   __   Self-control
__   __   __   Self-acceptance
__   __   __   Self-awareness
__   __   __   Serving others
__   __   __   Seeking God’s will
__   __   __   Simplicity
__   __   __   Spirituality
__   __   __   Stability
__   __   __   Tolerance
__   __   __   Tradition
__   __   __   Trust
__   __   __   Truth
__   __   __   Virtue
__   __   __   Wealth
__   __   __   Wisdom

4 | LIST “NORMS” THAT DEFINE YOUR IDEAL WAY OF LIFE

  THINGS I WILL DO TO REMAIN MINDFUL OF GOD’S ENGAGEMENT IN MY LIFE

  • Write ‘morning pages” in Day One Journal.
  • Listen to Taize music while waiting for coffee to brew.
  • Read and reflect on Daily Text and/or upcoming Gospel lesson.
  • Write 3 items in my Gratitude Journal .
  • Highlight a word for the day to frame my thoughts.
  • Worship as a family Saturday evenings.
  • Review daily, weekly monthly, quarterly, annual and 10-year goals.

 THINGS I WILL DO TO CREATE SPECIAL MOMENTS AND MEMORIES WITH LOVED ONES

  • Eat breakfast and dinner as a family most days.
  • Enjoy walking, biking, cards or a board game with one or more family members.
  • Offer prayers for one another at meals and bedtime.

  THINGS I WILL DO TO DEVELOP LIFE-GIVING, LONG LASTING FRIENDSHIPS

  • Follow Facebook newsfeeds; send 5 messages daily.
  • Call key friends once a month.
  • Maintain a prayer wall in office to pray for friends and loved ones daily.

 THINGS I WILL DO TO REMAIN FIT AND PHYSICALLY ACTIVE 

  • Weigh self upon waking up.
  • Drink 2 cups of water 4 times a day.
  • Walk or rebound for 30 minutes a day.
  • Morning plank exercises.
  • Evening Powerblock exercises.

  THINGS I WILL DO FOR FUN, ENJOYMENT AND RECREATION

  • Read or listen to a chapter of a novel daily.
  • Find something that makes me laugh at least once a day.
  • Listen to favorite sound track at least once a day.
  • Text a loved one with a comment that makes their day.
  • Write in my gratitude journal.

  THINGS I WILL DO TO BE A BETTER STEWARD OF FINANCES

  • Create and regularly review an income/spending plan.
  • Give 10% to church, charity and causes I’ passionate about.
  • Save at least 10% for retirement.
  • Maintain an emergency fund covering 4-6 month’s expenses.
  • Maintain “projects” fund for international trips and house projects.
  • Meet with my financial planner at least once a year to review financial goals.
  • Set quarterly, annual and 5 year investment goals.

 THINGS I WILL DO NOW TO PREPARE FOR A BETTER FUTURE

  • Update my social media skills and knowledge.
  • Continue reading a book a week, listing my “takeaways” from each book.
  • Utilize annual Summit to review the past year and make plans for the upcoming year.

6 | LIST RITUALS

 FOCUS | EXERCISE & PLAN THE DAY

  • Wake up at 5am; weigh self, brew coffee and listen to Taize music.
  • Read and reflect on scripture (usually this week’s Gospel lesson).
  • Open new page in Day One Journal; list hopes for the day.
  • Highlight a word for the day to frame my thoughts.
  • Review monthly and quarterly goals.
  • Organize daily tasks via Things app.
  • Go for a walk or use rebounder.
  • Complete planking and PowerBlock routine.
  • Have breakfast with son; take him to school.
  • Catchup on the new via Flipboard app.

 

FOCUS | COACH & CORRESPOND

  • Make scheduled and planned phone calls.
  • Sort inbox emails.
  • Prepare for coaching calls.
  • Facilitate coaching sessions.

 FOCUS | MEET OR PLAN PROJECTS

  • Write enews, blog or Facebook article.
  • Create a handouts to post on the surfacetosoul.org site.
  • Check email at the end of the day.

 FOCUS | RELAX & RE-ENERGIZE

  • Enjoy a salad.
  • Call a friend.
  • Read a chapter in a book.
  • Text a loved one.
  • Write in my gratitude journal.
  • Go for a short walk

 FOCUS | READ, PLAY & RELAX

  • Enjoy leisurely dinner.
  • Play cribbage or a card game with son while playing favorite music.
  • Read a chapter in a novel or watch a TV episode via Netflix or Amazon Prime.
  • Read 1-2 chapters in a work-related book, capturing ideas and insights.
  • Write highlights of the day in my Day One journal.

 FOCUS | RENEW & RECREATE

  • Watch a movie with family members.
  • Get exercise with family – walk, bike, swim or golf.
  • Identify priorities for the upcoming week.
  • Call, text or Facebook at least one friend.
  • Finish reading work-related book.
  • Worship Saturday night as a family.

 

 FOCUS | INVEST IN BIG ROCKS

  • Participant in a family service project.
  • Complete a home project.
  • learn a new skill.
  • Write a chapter in a new book.
  • “Try out” a new routine or practice.
  • Clean out a designated room in the house.

 FOCUS | Fulfill my Bucket List; Leave a Legacy

  • Family reunion
  • Family vacation over the 4th of July.
  • Schedule at least 1 international trip.
  • Complete reading my entire annual book list

5 | LIST NORMS FOR THE 7F’S

  AS A RULE . . .

  • I’m present, curious and seek to learn from whatever environment I’m in.
  • I am open to most everything yet attached few things.
  • I view life as my sparing partner that seeks to expand your capacities.
  • I tend to ask, “Why not?” more than “Why?”
  • I’m naturally curious about life and other people.
  • I believe that every person and situation has something to teach me.
  • I understand that life is difficult; requiring me to swim upstream.
  • I rarely raise my voice.
  • I listen within as much as I listen to others.
  • I am aware of your fears but usually choose not to be immobilized by them.
  • I’m okay to quitting if a better alternative or pathway exists.
  • I pay attention to what I can change rather that what I cannot.
  • I’m okay with failing as long as I’ve learned something in the process or gave it my best shot.
  • If I’m going to jump off a bridge, I want to know how deep the water is.
  • I view everyday as a fresh start –  a chance to be, think and do things differently.
  • I tend to leave too little space for yourself everyday.
  • I like to have a plan and dive my plan.
  • I try to be a better husband rather than seeking a better wife.
  • I’m willing to step outside my comfort zones.
  • I try to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
  • I frequently use questions to challenge my own beliefs and behaviors.
  • I have little tolerance for gossip, negativity and bemoaning what I can’t change in life.
  •   AS A RULE . . .

    • I hug my kids at least once a day.
    • I tell my kids that I love them and am proud of them daily.
    • I avoid doing things for my kids that they can do themselves.
    • I allow my kids to experience the consequences of their choices so that they may learn from them.
    • I help them find ways to fix their own problems.

  AS A RULE . . .

  • I begin my work day at 6am.
  • I work in 1o minute increments to remain focused.
  • I sort inbox emails in the morning; placing them in the appropriate folders.
  • I respond to voice messages by the end of the day.
  • I update my coaching logs at least once a week.
  • I have a plan for developing my skills and talents.
  • I pay attention to what’s working and not working in my life.
  • I’m aware of the choices I make every day about my time, talents and treasures

  AS A RULE . . .

  • I am listening to a book/novel each day via Audible.
  • I play cribbage with my oldest son at least once a week.
  • I go biking or golfing with my youngest son a few times each month.
  • I check out a new restaurant at least once a month.

  AS A RULE . . .

  • I allow my partner space to persue her activities and passions.
  • I recognize the difference between shared goals and shared dreams.
  • I treat my partner better than my best friend.
  • I try to learn something new about my partner every day.

  AS A RULE . . .

  • I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
  • I average over 5,000 steps a day (seeking to average 10,000).
  • I chew my food slowly, seeking to savor what I’m eating.
  • I drink one swallow at a time, allowing the taste of the beverage to linger.
  • I avoid eating on the run and I’ll I’m doing other tasks.

  AS A RULE . . .

  • I am present for my friends in good times and bad.
  • I rarely lend money unless I’m prepared to write it off.
  • I seek to be a life giving presence in the lives of others.
  • I hang out with positive, hopeful people.

STEP 6 | Review Examples of “10 Point” A Leadership Formation Plans

Listed below is sampling of 1-year leadership plans developed by pastors/church leaders in the last two year. They began with discerning what were the pressing issues or challenges related to their ministry setting.  Then they developed an action plan to address the challenges in ways that increased their capacity to live and lead well. The samples below are abbreviated versions of what they created and lived into.  Please note that plans can show up in many formats such as Word documents, Google Docs, Evernote, notebook, paper and digital journals, websites, mind mapping software, etc. They are have some form of a written/drawn plan that can be share with others or reviewed individually at a later date.

FOCUS | Creating Ministry Boundaries

  1. Who serves as your “family?”
  2. Who are the most nutritious people in your life?
  3. Who brings out God’s best in you?
  4. Who makes you laugh? Who brings you joy?
  5. Who makes you think and dream bigger?
  6. Who accepts you “as is?”
  7. Who will always be there for you?
  8. Who are your mentors/guides?
  9. Who are your role models?
  10. Who speaks truth to you when needed?

FOCUS | Engage Members in Ministry

  1. What does success look like as a professional?
  2. What does success look like as a life partner?
  3. What does success look like as a parent?
  4. What does success look like as a Christ follower?
  5. What does success look like concerning health?
  6. What does success look like concerning wealth?
  7. How would you describe a life well-lived?
  8. What do you want to “be?”
  9. What do you want to “do?”
  10. What do you want to “have?”

FOCUS | Create New Morning Routine

  1. What places energize you?  Renew you?
  2. Where do you go on vacation?  Why?
  3. If you had to move, where would you go?
  4. Do you prefer urban, suburban or rural settings?
  5. What type of climate suits you best?
  6. How close do you want to live to your “family?”
  7. What type of climate do you seek?
  8. Is there an area that best fits your vocation?
  9. Is there a setting that best fits your chapter in life?
  10. Is living abroad an option you’ve considered?

FOCUS | Clarify Staff/Board Roles

  1. Will my plan help me do what matters most?
  2. Will my plan give me permission to say “no?”
  3. Will my plan help me do what’s life-giving?
  4. Will my plan help me eliminate what’s life-draining?
  5. What will I learn about myself as I create a plan?
  6. What will I learn about others/life by having a plan?
  7. Will a plan help me align my assets and actions?
  8. Will a plan help me serve and bless others?
  9. Will a plan deepen my awareness of God?
  10. Will a plan help me feel more centered?

FOCUS | Being a Coach to Staff/Council

  1. What’s the legacy you wish to leave behind?
  2. What do you want people to remember you for?
  3. What causes do you wish to invest in?
  4. How do you wish to spend your free time?
  5. If money weren’t an issue, what would you do?
  6. What’s on your bucket list?
  7. What is God’s intentions for your life?
  8. What do you do well?
  9. What are your primary strengths?
  10. Do past experiences equip you for new callings?

FOCUS | Develop 2 Leadership Practices

  1. How important is this plan to me?
  2. What’s the level of urgency around this plan?
  3. Who will serve as dialogue partners?
  4. When will I connect with them?
  5. Once I’ve completed a plan, how often will I review it?
  6. Is it a “working plan?” How often will I update it?
  7. What assumptions are reflected in this plan?
  8. What platform will I use (journal, notebook, Evernote, Word)?
  9. Who will give me feedback on the plan?
  10. Who will hold me accountable for fulfilling my plan?