January 5, 2015

Voice, Center, Path, Toolbox: Four Frameworks to Guide 2015

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Most people do some kind of life reflection during the holidays. But all too often, any enlightenment or resolution fades away as soon as the ball drops in Times Square and life reverts to a newer version of last year.


In my 1Day Strategy Labs, I will often help an executive map out a different trajectory. To accomplish that, we usually have to do some deconstructing then new constructing regarding four primary frameworks.

If you don’t already have something guiding your route in 2015, or if you are looking to alter that trajectory, here are four things to work on—voice, center, path, and toolbox.

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Voice—My Unique Sound


In life, my voice is that unique sound of me operating in my created and discovered giftedness. It is my signature on life and work. It is me finding my unique wiring. It resonates powerfully within us and around us.

When we operate out of our voice, others straighten up and pay attention.  Like the audience who hears Susan Boyle in this masterful moment.


Your Creator has hardwired you uniquely; no one has your exact DNA, no one has your exact set of experiences and passions.  And certainly no one has the blending of all these things the way it shows up in you. It is the unique “you,” but unless what is created is discovered, it will stay buried under weeds and rubble. Find your voice in 2015 regardless of how young you are, how old you are, where you sit on the org chart, what your title is, or where you derive your income.

Center—The Footing of My Life

When, as the old hymn says, “all around my soul gives way,” what do you fall back on?

Options abound:

  • Family
  • Achievements
  • Religion
  • Money
  • Education
  • Natural Talents
  • Hard Work
  • Friendships
  • Adventure
  • Service


Where are your security, significance, and success anchored?  Your center is your bedrock, the core foundation that your personal operating system is built upon. It is the thing we default to over and over again.

Without a firm center, my point of view will always be moving around, my morals will always be shifting, and my goals will jump from one target to the next like Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes.  I will be destroyed by indecision on the one hand and foolish hastiness on the other.

But with a strong center, there is true peace, genuine deep confidence, and astounding contentment. When we understand our center, we don’t try to do everything and we don’t simply respond to crises. Like a fisherman jumping from rock to rock across a stream, it is hard to advance our life forward without a sure footing. Get your footing stabilized in 2015.

Path—Journey and Destination

Where is your life headed? Are you truly making progress or just spinning in place for months or years at a time? Do you have a compelling vision for the future pulling you forward or are you sidelined from progress and growth?

Life’s path is never as straight as we envision. Traffic, potholes, and car trouble always change our plans.

The mature traveler has both the doggedness to keep an eye firmly on the destination and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

I believe we have a true path and a false path. They look and feel like this:


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What does this mean? It means you can’t get distracted by every nearby shiny object. That will often send you down the wrong path. It means you can’t stand paralyzed, waiting for someone else to fix your world. It means you might have to step into an intersection and commit to a new direction. It might require a new level of risk or energy.

Find clarity on your path in 2015 and get on it.  If you are on the wrong path, get off it and get on the right path in 2015.

Toolbox—The Things We Carry

We need tools (resources) to accomplish our life and work. The better the instruments, the better our performance.

My toolbox contains the instruments that I pick up along my path that move my competence upward. These instruments might be a knowledge pocket, a skill, a relationship, a business model, a business sector, a style of work, a rhythm of work, a set of guidelines or truths, etc.

Of course, no two toolboxes are exactly the same. Your toolbox has to fit your learning style, personality, temperament, and calling.

Here’s why a growing toolbox matters: When you identify a need (anything from “I need to grow my customer base” to “I need to teach my son to be a man”), you have two options: 1. Repurpose an existing tool; or 2. Go acquire the new tool and learn to use it.

The option you don’t have is to toss your hands up and say, “Well, I guess it can’t be done!”

In 2015, take inventory of your toolbox. Sharpen tools if necessary. Acquire new tools if needed.



In my work as an executive coach, I offer 1Day Strategy Labs. Sometimes the conversations are really more personal than professional. When that happens, I use this V/C/P/T construct to help executives streamline their lives around aims and activities that matter and resonate personally.  Time and again, these conversations are enlightening.

I’d like to challenge you to work on these four things in 2015. If you will, your life will be richer and more fulfilling with greater impact.

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