Book Club

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy

Thoughts about Living Forward...

Once in a long while a book comes along that is both practical and life-changing. Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy is one of those books.

From the inspiring stories to the tough questions, this book will inspire readers to look with honesty at their lives and aspire to arrive somewhere amazing in the future, not by continuing to drift along but on purpose. Below are the posts from our 2016 series on Living Forward. I pray they will bless you and inspire you to pick up a copy of Living Forward. To help you put the principles of the book into practice, head over to our GIVE page for a free printable.

Stop the Drift

originally posted May 25, 2016

 SSM Book Club is excited to announce our next life-changing book selection: Living Forward, by Michale Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy!

     In our last book club read, Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, one of the truths we explored was that, although our past is a testimony to God’s redeeming grace, it no longer controls or defines our future. We are to live with our eyes on what God is doing now and where He is leading us for the days, months, and years ahead. Living Forward is the perfect resource to help us all do just that.

     Lysa Terkeurst (Made to Crave, The Best Yes) calls it “a brilliant and motivating resource that will equip you to stop sleepwalking through life and intentionally pursue the plan God has for you.” From authors to financial gurus to legendary business leaders, everyone is raving about the wealth of content in this book. You should see the foreword; it is filled with over fifty endorsements from people like John C. Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Max Lucado, Andy Andrews, Dan Cathy, and Tony Robbins, just to name a few!

     I first heard about this book from fellow blogger Crystal Paine (MoneySavingMom.com), an inspiring woman whose opinion I treasure. Every resource she’s tossed my way has been stellar and worth the investment. This book is certainly no exception.

     After learning about Living Forward, my husband and I were blessed with tickets to the book launch party in Nashville. It was So. Much. Fun!! Besides the typical pictures with the authors, a special guidebook, and the opportunity to meet a few of the people around us, we also had the privilege of having Hyatt and Harkavy take us through the basic process of intentional living as it is laid out in the book. I walked away with amazing insight and a determination to bring this concept of Life Planning to as many of our book club members as possible! 

     Follow the link below to pick up your copy today (You’ll be helping support this site, and it won’t cost a penny more than usual!), or drop by your favorite book store to get started.

     Keep checking this site in the next couple of weeks and sign up for our book club emails using the form at the top right of this page. I’ll have some great resources soon to help you in your journey through this fantastic book!

 

Affiliate disclosure.

 

Get Your Free Living Forward Printable!

originally published June 27, 2016

     It’s ready and waiting for you- our FREE printable companion to Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy! Request your digital copy today and be ready with a beautifully coordinated place to capture your Life Plan!

     The authors of Living Forward have already created amazing resources for their bestselling book. Inside the quick and compelling read are links to numerous helps such as sample life plans, a study guide, and a stellar template for your “one day” life planning session. 

     It was with this template in mind that we developed our printable. The official Living Forward life planning day template takes readers step by step through the process of crafting a working life plan that will be ready to both serve as a framework for life’s choices and as an adaptable target for reaching their highest aspirations. 

     Our printable provides a place to gather thoughts, collect responses to the template’s prompts, and craft your rough draft. Yes, this could be done on a yellow legal pad, but using a dedicated, task-specific booklet will leave you inspired and will provide a finished product at the end of your day rather than one you may feel the need to type and rework before implementing. Remember, a life plan is only good if it is put into practice.

 

Who is our printable for?

     Of course, anyone reading Living Forward and preparing to develop their life plan will benefit from our printable, but the following individuals will be especially drawn to its benefits:

•Those planning completely off grid  

•Those who think best on paper

•Those who want a dedicated space to collect their life planning work

•Those who like to keep an aesthetically pleasing finished product ready to access at all times

 

How to get your copy:

     Requesting a copy is super easy! Just follow TWO simple steps:

     1. Navigate to the GIVE page where you'll find our free resources

     2. Sign up to receive your free printable 

That’s it! Your free resource will be on its way, along with occasional emails with links to the latest book club picks, events, and freebies!

 

Affiliate disclosure.

 

Which Mitty Will You Be?

originally published June 27. 2016

“You left a lot of this stuff, like the been there, done that section…You left it blank.”

“Yeah, I think I skipped it.”

(Awkward pause)

“I haven’t really been anywhere noteworthy or mentionable.”

“Have you ever done anything noteworthy or mentionable?”

(Crickets.)  

 

    One of my all-time favorite short stories is James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” You may be familiar with the story. Poor Walter Mitty is trapped in a life he finds dull and, at times, unbearable. To escape his less than stellar reality, he daydreams in vivid moving pictures of adventures and daring feats of courage, often staring off into space in the middle of conversations.

     In 2013, Ben Stiller brought the Thurber character to life on the silver screen. In the film, we meet Walter, daydreaming through life, missing his train to work, zoning out during important conversations, and trapped in a reality he wishes he had the courage to do something about. The conversation above is between Mitty and a customer service rep for an online dating service Mitty is trying to join. It is this conversation, woven throughout the film, that reflects the changes in the main character. Unlike the original character, who remains in his dream world, never really living out any of his fanciful adventures, the Mitty has an epiphany that leads him to make decisions that just days earlier would have been unthinkable for the middle-aged man.

     As the story unfolds, we journey with Mitty through amazing scenery, cheering him on as he makes irrational decisions, that somehow, based on his new-found insight and purpose, make perfect sense. Each choice gives him increasing courage to take quite literal leaps that change the trajectory of his life. The conversation between Mitty and the CSR, Todd, finally resolves when the two meet face to face. Todd had held a mental picture of Mitty as they had developed their long-distance friendship. The picture was of a hesitant, lonely, rather passive man. “I pictured you as a little gray piece of paper,” Todd tells Mitty. But now, with the adventure of a lifetime packed into the span of two weeks, Mitty is anything but that thin, gray sheet. He is fearless, confident, and filled with determination.

     After this encounter with Todd, there are a few more twists and turns. I won’t ruin the movie by sharing those here. You’ll have to grab a copy and watch for yourself. (It really is worth the couple of hours some evening!)

     So which Walter Mitty will you be? Will you let life drift along, ending up wherever the current takes you? Or will you live with intention, letting your core values and priorities steer you life with purpose? 

     Join the SSM Book Club as we read Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. It’s a quick, powerful read with actionable advice and timeless wisdom. Sign up for our email list, then request our free resources for this book using the contact form. Already a member? Reply to any email from us or use the contact form at the top of this page. 

     For your convenience, below is a link to Amazon, where you can pick up a copy of the book. It’s available in stores everywhere, but by purchasing through this link, you’ll get the same great price while supporting our book club at the same time. It’s a double win!

 

Affiliate disclosure.

 

So What Is a Life Plan, and Why Do I Need One?

originally published June 27. 2016

What is it?

     When people first hear the term “life plan” they often assume it is about creating a plan for your finances, specifically the details of one’s estate. From this assumption, they will often nod in agreement that creating a life plan is a good idea while admitting they haven’t gotten around to it just yet.

     Although that type of planning is important, a true life plan has little to do with money or possessions and far more to do with the intangibles that create a fulfilled existence and a lasting legacy.

Why it’s important

     Think back to those closing days of high school for a minute. Do remember what it felt like to dream about the future without limits or pressures or responsibilities? The world was waiting for you to go forth and conquer. What were your dreams? Your hopes? How did you think your life would look in twenty or thirty years? Or even five?

     Now look at life today. No doubt there are many amazing things your younger self would never have foreseen. Likely, there are also many things left undone or unattempted. Did you end up where you are on purpose or has your current reality been crafted by what Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy, authors of Living Forward, call “the drift”?

     Having a life plan gives us the framework from which to make decisions both big and small that will steer us through life’s waters and bring us somewhere we have chosen to go. It is a tool, changeable as you grow, that can serve as an anchor, reminding you of your priorities, dreams, and goals.

How to get started on yours

     The first step to building a life plan is to gain insight into the process of crafting one. This is best done by reading (or listening to) Living Forward, the manual Hyatt and Harkavy have written to help people in every stage of life to create a life plan with ease and clarity. After reading all the way through the book, set aside one whole day to create your plan. Gather any materials you will need, clear your calendar, and find a quiet place with no interruptions. This may seem like a daunting task, but with a little creative thinking, it can be done. In Chapter 7, “Dedicate One Day,” there are numerous ideas for preparing and for opening up the space you will need both in terms of time and mental room. As you read, take these ideas to heart and apply the ones that best fit your circumstances.

     So when will your day be? A Saturday? A weekday? An overnight at a hotel or a friend’s house while he or she is on vacation? As I write this, it is summer. Routines are shifted and friends and family are traveling. What better time to take your own time to rest, focus, and return filled with purpose?

Next Steps

     Time to take action! If you are ready, jump into life planning by following the steps below:

1. Choose a day

2. Buy the book

3. Download and print the Living Forward Action Plan Guide (available at LivingForwardBook.com) This is a fantastic way to collect your thoughts as you read!

4. Read the book (or listen to it)

5. Download and print the Living Forward Life Plan Template (available at LivingForwardBook.com) This template will walk you through the process step by step with prompts and suggestions

6. Request, download and print our book club’s free Life Planning Day Printable (available on our Freebies & Prizes page in the GIVE area). This printable has been designed to capture your life plan and works beautifully alongside the template from step 5.

7. Get to it! 

 

Affiliate disclosure.

 

My Life Planning Day

originally published July 28. 2016

A peak into the process through one person’s experience

     June 30 was fast approaching. I had taken every precaution, checked every family member’s calendar, set aside an eight hour block that was to be all mine. I have to admit, with only a few days to go, I was getting nervous. Even though I had recognized the drift authors Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy so eloquently describe in their best-seller Living Forward, even though I had read through the entire book and felt a strong pull to make a change, doubts swirled through my mind, challenging whether or not the process would work. Would I really emerge at the end of the day with a plan capable of providing clarity, guiding decisions, and catapulting my toward the destiny God had designed from the very beginning, a destiny only delayed by my own lack of vision and knowledge?

     With all the resolve I could muster, I decided to leave nothing to chance. Carefully, I envisioned the flow of the day, picturing each step moving me closer to the end goal. As the images passed by my mind’s eye, I realized there were several things I could do to prepare that would provide insurance that not a moment would be wasted. With an eager heart, I began.

 

Preparing for the Big Day

     Before I even set the date to begin the life planning process, I read the book Living Forward. Not just a quick skimming, but a careful, thoughtful read of every page. Granted I did not answer questions or take notes, but I truly soaked it in.  This laid the foundation of what was to be a life-changing process.

     Next, I completed the following steps in preparation for my life planning day:

1. Printing 

     * Our book club’s free Life Planning One Day Printable

     * LivingFowardBook.com’s Action Plan Guide

     * Annual Time Block form

     * Living Forward Life Plan Template

     * Your Ideal Week form

2. Gathering

     * Notepad

     * Pens and Pencils

     * Eraser

     * Book

3. Visioning

     * Skim Living Forward parts 1 and 2

     * Fill out the Action Plan Guide for the first section (chapters 1-7)

4. Creating

     * Binder for my Life Plan

     * Cover and spine art

5. Planning

     * Plan a flow for the day

     * Plan to be unavailable to everyone and everything for a solid 8 hours

     Having everything printed and ready was a crucial step for me. Sure, I could have completed the whole process digitally, but I really wanted the experience of being totally unplugged and removed from the constant reach and interference of gadgets and devices. Steps 1, 2, 4, and 5 above were quick and easy to complete. Step 3 took a bit of time. I procrastinated right up until the morning of, finally forcing myself to complete the task. I’m so thankful now that I did. This time of detailed reflection massively impacted my ability to create a life plan in only one day. Had I not taken that step, there is no way I could have finished before family and work life began anew. My only regret is not finishing the action plan guide sooner.

 

Completing my Life Plan

     The morning of the big day (after finishing my preparation step 3), I spread out all of my resources and began at the first suggested exercise: writing your own eulogy. This was the part I had dreaded. It was the big, scary challenge that nearly kept me away from the entire process. Now, I’m a pretty adventurous and optimistic person, and I love to put my thoughts on paper (obviously since you’re reading this blog, you’ve already figured that one out!), but thinking honestly about how I want to be remembered and even more candidly about how I would be recalled if today was it, was a daunting concept. Thankfully, Hyatt and Harkavy provided a lot of support in their three-step framework as well as in the many examples in the back of the book. Add in the beautifully inspirational prompts for chapter four in the action plan guide, and this step was actually my favorite part of the experience….after it was finished, that is!

     Next I deliberately took a break. No tv. No Facebook. Just a fifteen minute stroll around the block, clearing my mind of clutter and thinking over what I had just completed. Okay, so my planned fifteen minutes turned into forty-five because I picked blueberries, sat in the sun, and took that walk. But it was totally worth it. I came back feeling renewed and ready to tackle the rest of the project.

     Using the Life Plan Template from LivingForwardBook.com, I brainstormed the different aspects for each life account. From this initial pass through, I was able to complete and record a final draft using our SSM Book Club printable. Life plan complete! Total time invested at this point was 7 hours and 59  minutes (including my time in the sunshine).

 

What I Would Have Done Differently

     Unfortunately, I had planned to go all the way through the writing and implementation process, complete with time-blocking and creating an ideal week. This didn’t happen. There just wasn’t enough time. Perhaps if I had completed the action plan guide before my life planning day (as noted above) time would not have been an issue. I’ll never really know for sure. However, in a way, I am glad that things worked out the way they did. Not long after completing the plan, my family and I did quite a bit of traveling and disruption of normal life. Had I finished the implementation portion of the process before all of those challenges arose, I would have likely been frustrated at being unable to begin. Instead, I was able to schedule a two-hour block to finish up loose ends in late July. This knowledge let me “procrastinate on purpose” (a wonderful concept discussed by Rory Vaden in the book of the same name).

     One other thing I would have done differently is to change locations. Although I had the house to myself, I was still at home. Convenient for meals and certainly comfortable, but also hard to shut out other things that screamed to be done (read: laundry, dishes, dusting, and general everyday tasks). Being at home also allowed others to see this as just another time of writing in solitude, totally interruptible. Not that anyone did, at least not more than four or five times ;) Finding a place away from the everyday would have been much more productive. This is something I hope to do for my annual life plan review days. Which, by the way, are already on the calendar on annual repeat. Yay!

 

What’s Next?

     Now that I have my life plan written, specific and actionable goals for each life account, and the “big rocks” time-blocked for the rest of the year, the challenge is to live daily with the ultimate goals in mind. Not an easy task, at least not at first, but a critical one. Already there have been difficult decisions made easier by the framework my life plan provides. Another benefit is a change in perspective. This process has helped me to move forward on one of my biggest goals, to live with intention. I see each moment as an investment. How I will invest it will determine the days, months, and years of my life. 

     

Ready to Begin?

     Maybe you are ready to begin, to stop the drift and end up somewhere on purpose. If so, I highly recommend this book. Our goal at the SSM Book Club is to bring you books that are truly life-changing, books that are worth every moment. This is definitely one of those books. Pick up a copy today through the link below or at your favorite book retailer!

 

Affiliate disclosure.

 

Join Me for a Tour of LivingForwardBook.com

originally published July 28. 2016

Life Planning Tools and a Tour of LivingFowardBook.com

     One of the great things about Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy as a writing team is their ability to deliver resources that create a deeper, more meaningful experience for readers. LivingForwardBook.com is such as resource. Easy to use, inviting, and filled to the brim with helpful information, templates, links, and more, the website is a perfect match to the acclaimed best-seller.

A Quick Tour

     Upon opening the home page, one is greeted with a beautifully laid out advertisement for the book, Living Forward, along with links to several book stores. Above the eye-catching book cover is a small clock, reminding us no doubt of the time we often waste but will soon be using to the fullest. Beside to clock, to the left, is a link for the “Life Planning Assessment.” This tool is free to anyone visiting the site. It provides a very insightful analysis of where one currently stands in each of the most common life accounts (priority areas). From here, it is easy to see the benefits of implementing a life plan, or at least making some adjustments to move your accounts from drift, life, and shift to gift.

     Lining the top of the screen are tabs for information about the authors, how to claim your bonus material (be sure to do this once you purchase the book!), a special package for teams, and free resources, alongside another buy button. 

     So what is available for free, and what comes only with purchase? Under the “free resources” tab, life plan templates, a link to samples of completed life plans, an “ideal week” planner, and a template for time-blocking are provided at no cost or obligation. For those who purchase the book (at any retailer or through the authors’ website), a digital copy of the Action Plan Guide will be sent via email. Early purchasers (pre-launch) and those buying leadership packages receive additional bonuses such as a coloring book, quick start audio training, and/or an audio copy of the book.

A Review of the Resources

     The free resources that accompany Living Forward are quite useful. First up is the “Life Plan Template” which is provided in common formats such as Word, Pages, Evernote, and Workflowy. Having this key document already formatted for multiple programs saves time and creates a convenient starting point for those planning to use the tools alongside the book. 

     Prompts and suggestions tying this and other resources to specific sections of the book are helpful as are the sample life plans. Within the book, Hyatt and Harkavy provided several samples. Additionally several more are provided as downloads using the link midway down the free resources page.

     Rounding out the free tools are two time-budgeting spreadsheets. One is designed to help reader craft their ideal week. A customizable template and a sample filled by one of the authors is included. The other is an annual time block form. Set up to span the next several years, and easily modified to continue into the future, this tool allows users to place those major life events into their calendars first. Birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, special events, and more can be allowed for years in advance, guarding the necessary time for important milestones and memory making.

     Probably the most useful tool is the one that comes only with purchase, the Action Plan Guide. This tool, at first glance, seems like just a note taking device. In fact, I nearly skipped printing it out. Don’t skip this one! It truly is a great implementation tool. Although it is designed to be a companion to the book, it is also designed to draw from the reader a deeper level of thought and self-reflection, very important precursors to your life planning day.

     Team package bonuses are solid and useful, just like the other offerings, but they are definitely extras rather than essentials. Research shows that some people concentrate better, especially in a group setting, if their hands are engage. Thus, the coloring book, filled with relevant yet artful pages. For those in the group who are fans of audio books or who want to jump first, look later, the quick start audio files will be a perfect fit. In less than thirty-five minutes listeners can absorb the list of the program and be on their way to a successful life planning day.

Our Resource

     One of the goals I have for every book we feature is to add value to our readers with a free complementary resource. With all of the great tools already developed to partner with Living Forward, it was a challenge to come up with something truly special. However, our free Living Forward Printable is just that. Many of our members still value that pen to paper, book in hand, traditional feel. With this in mind, I created a printable that beautifully captures your finished life plan in your own hand writing, ready to be conveniently pulled from the shelf or posted and displayed in your home or workspace. In Living Forward, Hyatt and Harkavy urge readers to keep their life plans out where they can be regularly read and reviewed, especially in the first thirty days after crafting the plan and following the implementation steps in chapter 8. What better way to do this than to have it in writing, free from the bounds of the digital world where power outages, computer viruses, and software updates cannot interrupt your progress? If you haven’t already grabbed your free copy, use the contact form at the top of this page to request one today!

 

Affiliate disclosure.

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