Episode 241 – Mid Year Check-In

Rob Shallenberger: All right! Welcome back to all of our Becoming Your Best Podcast listeners, friends and family. This is your host, Rob Shallenberger. It’s a beautiful day in Utah. I’m looking out at a blue sky, a slight breeze, and pretty warm. So, I hope you’re having a great day and a wonderful week wherever you’re at in the world. You know what? If not, wonderful. You’re listening to this and hopefully, this will help boost your spirits a little bit and get us into a better place.  


Rob Shallenberger: First of all, I want to thank those who have written emails, you know, filled out a contact form. Several people have written just saying “thank you.” That means a lot. I want you to know that we appreciate that. Someone wrote this week and said they listened to all 230+ podcasts over the course of three or four months, and I thought, “Oh, wow! That’s a lot of podcast listening!” So, at any rate, I just want to say thank you. That means a lot, that you take the time to reach out and acknowledge that. You know, we’re all in this together. We want to be successful personally in our lives, our relationships, and so I just wanted to say thank you to those that reached out. It means a lot.  


Rob Shallenberger: So, this is what we’re going to consider our mid-year checkpoint. Regardless of when you’re listening to this, I invite you to consider this your mid-year check-in. See how things are going so far with your finances, your health, your relationships, your work. It doesn’t really matter if it’s November, December if somebody starts listening to this podcast down the road. It’s the same thing. This isn’t an evaluation, it’s a check-in point. It’s not one to beat ourselves up. It’s rather just a chance to make a slight course correction.  


Rob Shallenberger: In the F16, you know, back when I flew the F16, if you’re flying cross-country, it’s usually just a matter of slight course corrections. It’s one or two degrees. Those one or two degrees actually have a big impact when you multiply them over the course of thousands of miles. It’s a little bit like life. You know, sometimes there are some major course corrections. What we’re looking for, though, oftentimes, are just these small, little adjustments here and there. So that’s what this podcast is about: looking at your year and making a slight adjustment as necessary.  


Rob Shallenberger: So here’s my first thought or invitation for you. Number one, if you look at your different areas of your life right now – finances, health, relationships, work – how would you rate yourself so far this year on a scale of 1 to 10? 10 is fabulous; it’s been the best year ever. 1, man, things aren’t going so well at all. Where would you rate yourself on each of those areas? Finances, health, relationships, work, your personal life, emotional, mental stability. Things like that. Then, the question is, hopefully, internally, start thinking about, “Well, what can I do and what can you do to start moving the needle and increase and get better this year in some of those areas?” What could we do that would have an impact? I’m going to share five thing son this podcast, but internally you can come up with several more. These are five of probably hundreds of things that we could do to really refocus this year, to really make those course corrections, those pivots, or those adjustments. The reason that I feel that this is so important is, number one, I’ve been very introspective myself over the last three to four weeks. Obviously, it’s been quite the year for so many people in different ways. Just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked with people who were on every point of this scale. You know, this imaginary scale of people who are having their best year ever in business, and then there’s some who have lost their business or who are barely making it by, and they’re not sure how they’re going to make it to next month, and there’s a lot of people in the middle that are somewhere.  


Rob Shallenberger: You know, this is a tough time for a lot of people. Some of you know that we wrote a book called Conquer Anxiety with our friend Dr. John Skidmore. He said he’s never had more business than he’s had right now. There’s just been so many people come in with anxiety. This has just been a really busy time for him. So, I thought, you know, this is a great time for a mid-year check-in. That’s the point of this podcast. All I’m going to do is take a few minutes and offer a few thoughts that you can consider going into the rest of the year strong so that we can make a great few monthsI’ll go through these pretty quickly. So this will be one of our shorter podcasts. The hope is, though, it’ll get us thinking about some of the things we can do, and some of those pivots we can make.  


Rob Shallenberger: All right! So, here we go. Just a few random thoughts that I put down. Five things that you can do as you do a mid-year check-in and potentially make some course corrections.  


Rob Shallenberger: Number one is consider how you start the morning. This is a big deal. What I mean by that is, you know, oftentimes the way we start the morning will set the tone for the rest of the day. Some of you may have read the book or heard the talk given by an admiral at the University of Texas, where he focused on “make your bed.” In other words, he’s saying make your bed in the morning because it give you a victory. You know? No matter how the rest of the day goes, at least you have a victory first thing in the morning. So, make your bed. Then, other things would also be included in that: exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, reading. We’ve done a couple of podcasts on this through the years. One of them is titled the “Becoming Your Best Morning.” The point is that if you start the morning strong, the day is so much more likely to go better.  


Rob Shallenberger: In my opinion, one of the worst things to do first thing out of the shoots in the morning is to roll over and check our phone and email. Especially the news! You know, 16 out of 17 news stories on average are negative. I’ll get to this in a few minutes. That’s one of the worst things we could do is flip over, start checking email, because stress goes up. Now we’re putting into our brain things that aren’t really moving us toward our goals. There’s an old saying that says, “G-I-GO, Garbage-In-Garbage-Out.” Let’s not put garbage in our brain first thing in the morning. Let’s flip that around and instead call it, “G-I-G-O, Greatness-In-Greatness-Out.” So, I’m inviting us to put greatness into our brain first thing in the morning.  


Rob Shallenberger: This is why number two, pre-week planning, becomes so important. When we’re actively and consistently doing pre-week planning, we’re much more likely to be able to make time for exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, and all of these things. Now, let me be clear. I’m not saying that we need to do that every single morning. You know, exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling. That requires an extremely high level of discipline, and most of us will probably miss a morning here or there, or even a week or two. That’s okay. We can’t beat ourselves up. None of us are perfect. The point is, scheduling those things proactively into our week so that they do become a priority. You know, when I say “Consider how you start the morning,” the other part of this is I would say no social media. I would lump that right up there with the news and the email. Stay off of Facebook, Instagram, all of these different social media sites first thing in the morning. Really focus on getting the mind and the body right to start the day. So, that’s number one.  


Rob Shallenberger: Look back. How have you been doing throughout the year in your morning routine? What does that look like? How do you make that better going into the rest of the year?  


Rob Shallenberger: Number two, I just started to allude to it, and that is pre-week planning. Now, if you’ve listened to our podcast for any amount of time, you know how powerful pre-week planning is. Now, when I say “pre-week planning,” I’m talking about sitting down on the weekend, reviewing your vision, your goals, identifying your different roles, what matters most in your role or roles this week, and when will you do them? As a parent, as a spouse, you know, whatever your current job title is, personally. A person consistently doing pre-week planning will accomplish huge numbers, and I want to share some of those with you because we’ve just gotten new research on this. I mentioned it on one other podcast. I’ll mention it again here.  


Rob Shallenberger: Pre-week planning will help anyone increase their performance and productivity by at least 30-50% on average during the week. Now, let’s translate what that means in numbers. We finished a study of someone – well, people, not someone, people – doing pre-week planning over the course of about five weeks. On average, the first week there are 23 total activities planned and 13 accomplished. So, when we say “23 total activities planned across roles,” 23 total activities. You know, as a parent, maybe there’s 3. Personally, 6. As a manager, 4. Whatever. You add those up, they came up to 23. After 4 weeks, that number is about 43 to 44 activities planned – where that tends to be the average – with about 33 to 34 accomplished. So, if you just look at the number of activities accomplished, the average goes from 13 to 33-34. That means there are 20-30 more activities being accomplished per week when a person is doing pre-week planning that they otherwise wouldn’t have likely done.  


Rob Shallenberger: Now, let’s consider the math over the course of a month and a year. Four times 20-30 – we’ll just start with the lower numbers – that’s 120. That’s the high number. You’ll have anywhere from 80 to 120. 80 to 120 more activities in a month than you may have otherwise had. What about over the course of a year? Let’s just call it a round number of 1000. That’s a 1000 more activities by doing pre-week planning consistently than a person would have done otherwise. That’s fine when you look at these and say, “You know, those are just numbers.” The reality is, every one of those numbers represents a meaningful activity in your life: a note to your spouse, maybe it’s exercise, it’s reading, it’s meditation, yoga, it’s doing a continue-start-stop with one of your coworkers or teammates. It’s calling an important client. What’s the impact of pre-week planning over the course of a lifetime? I mean, that’s not even measurable, is it? It’s just huge!  


Rob Shallenberger: So, this is a good mid-year check-in. How’s pre-week planning going? If this is something that has fallen off of your radar or slipped out of your cross-check, I invite you to bring this back to the front. Really commit to pre-week planning. No doubt it takes discipline. Right? It takes effort to sit down and consistently do this. So, I invite you, if this has been something that’s slipped out of the radar, to come back and really commit to pre-week planning, week after week. If it helps, put an alarm or a reminder on your phone that repeats. That’s helped a lot of people. It really connections the intention to the habit.  


Robert Shallenberger: All right, number three. Since we’re talking about pre-week planning, are you reviewing your roles and goals each week as part of pre-week planning? I like to tell our coaching clients and others that a good end of your target is about 70%+ accomplishment of our goals. You know, COVID. When we came up with our goals, if you did this at the beginning of the year – December – that wasn’t even on the radar. So many things have changed, and that happens throughout a year. You know, maybe there’s a health challenge that comes up that you had no idea was going to happen. So, pivots will come up during the year. Things will change. That’s why I say that 70% is a good target accomplishment rate, which means: don’t beat yourself up! If you’re not on track for your goals, if we’re accomplishing some and not others, that’s not a beat yourself up session. It’s to say, “Hey, how do I refocus on what matters most?” So, consider adding or tweaking a goal of necessary. But the intention – the whole point – of having roles and goals is to stay focused on what matters most.  


Rob Shallenberger: So, this is just my invitation to just go back, look at them, tweak them if necessary, and make sure you’re reviewing them every week as part of pre-week planning. Again, it’s just about each one of us has a limitation of time and resources. How to use that time and resources to really do what matters most? That’s the power of pre-week planning, combined with roles and goals.  


Rob Shallenberger: Okay. Part of this mid-year check-in, four out of five. Here’s number four. Listen to and read things that uplift. Now, why would I say this? You know, just from a personal aspect, a couple of weeks ago – I’ll share something a little vulnerable. I just felt inundated by all the negativity that was shown on mainstream media. It was just like, “Man!” You couldn’t go to a site – whether it was a news website, whether it was flipping on TV, whatever – without being bombarded by negativity. It was really impacting me. Internally, I was thinking, “Man! This is a real downer.” Country seemed divided. There’s just all this stuff going on in the world. I know there’s other people that can relate to this because I’ve heard it said so many times by so many different people. So, I know a lot of people can relate to that. You know, in the Bible, whether you believe it or not, there’s a powerful Scripture there in Matthew talking about looking toward the last days. There’s something there that caught my attention recently. It said, “In the last days, men’s hearts will fail them.” I’ve heard people say, you know, “You could call that heart disease,” and other things like that. That’s fine. There’s probably multiple ways to interpret that. But one that has really stuck out to me recently is that another way to interpret that is to insert the word “hope” right there. You know?  


Rob Shallenberger: As we move into this craziness in the world, with all the negativity, it’s very easy to lose hope. Hope is a very powerful emotion. You know, you think about what happens when there’s hope versus when there’s no hope. The truth is, there is always hope. The sun will always rise the next day. It always has, and we can count on that in our lifetime that it always will. The point is, we need to be wary of that. We need to be paying attention to what we’re putting into our brains. So, I, personally – this is something I made a decision to do over the last week and a half – no news sites, no social media. I’ll tell you, it’s amazing how many times instinctively I would want to open my phone and go to one of those places. You know, Fox News or open up Facebook or Instagram. I realized I just needed to close it. I actually took the app off my phone. That was helpful. It’s been awesome not having that as part of my daily life! I’m able to focus on so many other things. I’m consciously listening to different talks, inspiring little tidbits that are 10-15 minutes long. It’s been just an awesome change. So, when I do go back to the news and things like that, I’m going to make it much more limited and only allow myself certain windows throughout the day where I’m going to invite that in and stay plugged in.  


Rob Shallenberger: So, I would just invite you to be very careful about what you listen to and read and what we’re putting into our brains. The second half of this here, maybe consider limiting social media. Maybe consider limiting how much you look at the news and other things. Instead, focus on uplifting books, like this podcast and many others out there that are awesome, that are lifting and inspiring and make us want to feel and do better.  


Rob Shallenberger: All right! Number five, last one. That is to serve. I just want you to think about that. How do you feel when you serve other people? Wouldn’t you agree with me that that is one of the greatest mood boosters in the world? There’s just something about service. You know, I’m so inspired by just countless numbers of people out there who find amazing ways to serve. This is not a comparison; we don’t compare ourselves. That’s just a rabbit hole that none of us should be going down. It’s easy to do that. You know? You look at some people and you think, “Wow, they serve so much!” or “Wow, they do this and that!” That’s kind of like social media. That’s the rabbit hole we don’t want to go down.  


Rob Shallenberger: I’m just inviting you to consider ways to serve that work for you. You know, sometimes that might be taking cookies to someone in your area that would benefit from them. For others, it could be a much bigger, philanthropic effort – creating a charity or something like that. There’s just so many ways to do it. I believe that if we’re willing and we pray and we put our thoughts into this and we turn part of this over to God, that he will direct us for good. That we will find opportunities to lift and serve in our stewardships, in our areas, where we can have an impact and make a difference.  


Rob Shallenberger: It’s ironic that when I say that, sometimes the biggest impact and difference happens within our own hearts and minds. You know? Very, very small: we fill the jar with some treats and took them to someone in our area last week as a family. She wrote a nice thank-you note, and I really think we benefited more than she did from that. It was a great boost of just goodness. It felt so good to go out and do something like that for someone else. I realize, with COVID, this creates different challenges. You know, if you’re a person that is immunocompromised and this is a big concern for you, find ways to serve in other ways. Maybe it’s a phone call. The point is, there are ways we can lift others, and we tend to benefit the most when we find those ways to serve. So, that’s it. Do something positive for someone. Focus the second half of the year – this mid-year check-in – on finding more opportunities to lift and serve others.  


Rob Shallenberger: So, that’s it! You know, I just wanted to share a few ideas, thoughts, mid-year check-in. How are things going? How’s the year going? Finances, health, relationships.  


Rob Shallenberger: Just a brief summary: number one, consider how you start the morning. Really be conscious of the way you start your day. Number two, this is a great “get back on the horse” moment for pre-week planning. If it’s something that’s slipped out of our cross-check, great. We learned from that. Now let’s get back on it. Number three, reviewing your roles and goals and making adjustments if necessary so that you can look at those every week as part of your pre-week planning. Number four: listen to and read things that uplift. Be very conscious of what we’re putting into our minds. For me, that was getting rid of news and social media for the last week and a half. Then, number five is to serve.  


Rob Shallenberger: So I hope this has been helpful, provided you some thoughts, some insights, and maybe allowed you to look introspectively into your own life, your own relationships, and think about how we can make this remainder of the year a great year. No matter what may come our way, because so much of this is in our court. You know, how we respond. So, we appreciate you. We’re inspired by the stories that you share. What would be awesome – not possible, but awesome. Wouldn’t it be great to see what each person is actually doing, just internally in their lives, and the goodness that’s still happening all over the world? Because, unfortunately, in the mainstream media, so much of it is a bombardment of negative news. Yet, boy, when you start to get into people’s personal lives, there’s so much good happening. I wish we could recognize that somehow and see all of the goodness that is happening because that is inspiring. That’s what brings hope, is that we know the outcome of this story.  


Rob Shallenberger: So, again, we thank you. We hope you have a great day and a wonderful rest of the week. Take care.  

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