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Create Your Future: A Plan Based on Meaning & Purpose

As a performance coach, I help clients condition their mind and behaviors to achieve high levels of performance. At the start of many engagements, I often get the question…

“Dr. G, I really want {my life; my team; my bad habits} to change. How do I create a fail proof plan?”


I respond with…


“Replace “fail proof” with meaningful”

The look on the client’s face is priceless - you can literally see something change inside. Getting to see that makes my field extremely rewarding. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to study and work with many people around the world. This level of exposure has expanded my mind to quickly see patterns that I use to co-create solutions with clients to ignite meaningful transformations in their lives.


I am constantly researching, reading, and studying different ways to create value for clients. Part of my process is to self-experiment with ideas and solutions before I ask anyone to try them. My philosophy is simple – Don’t ask someone to do something that you would never do yourself.


With this in mind, I recently studied my notes on past clients to compare and contrast behaviors and outcomes of engagements that were successful to those that were not - I found some interesting differences between clients who reached their goals and those who gave up along the way.


The following outline provides steps taken by successful top-tier performers.


Step 1 – Establish Clarity

The clients I work with who get the outcomes they want are VERY clear with what they want. I find that clarity drives purpose, and purpose drives actions, and those actions generate the results they are looking for. Trust me when I say this – YOU DO NOT NEED a fancy complicated process or algorithm to hack your brain into giving you the performance you want. Keep it simple – base your plan on a clear purpose.

Step 2 – Remove the Thinking


Yes, being clear on what you want is important, but you also need to create a decision-making framework to automate your thinking and your behaviors, so that you don’t have to actively think about doing them. I know, I am telling you to think about not thinking. Stay with me, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Your brain thrives on automation - it is an efficient machine, so when you ask it to “think” it slows down because it is learning and processing what you are feeding it, so that it can find a way to automate that task. Invest time to create a decision-making framework to reduce the amount of thinking you have to do when you run into a situation. The less you time you have to spend thinking about options the more time you get to spend on making progress on your goals.

Step 3 – Set Your Coordinates and Minimize the Noise


The less thinking you have to do (by automating your behaviors) the more results you will see. Just make sure that the things you automate actually take you to the destination you want to reach (or yield the results you want). I’ve noticed that high performing clients set a goal, they automate their behaviors to narrow-in on the desired outcomes (i.e., they set their coordinates to the planned destination), and then they “tune-out” all the other noise around them. One client described it to me as “lowering the volume on distractions” another said they “I trust my plan, I trust my intent, I trust my behaviors – I just focus on tiny progress to get me to where I want to go. I filter out all the other noise.”

Step 4 – PDCAA (Experiment)


Even the most carefully crafted “fail-proof” plans can fail. It’s okay, just incorporate the elements of frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment, happiness, and neutral thinking into your plan. This piece was added to my process when I was coaching a high performing Data Scientist. When I asked her what or how she would respond when her plans did not go as planned during the course of our engagement, she brilliantly said: “I will CAA it!” It caught me off, so I asked her to elaborate. She explained…

” It comes from PDCA – you see, we already planned what I have to do, I am taking action. As we continue, I need to check that I am on track if not, then I adjust where needed and take action again.”

I loved how she was able to Think Differently about her situation. Your takeaway is to experiment with your plans and if things are not working out, that’s okay, just adjust and take action until you find what works for you.

Step 5 – Progress is progress

Almost everyone I’ve worked with and met has big goals – and almost all of them get discouraged when they don’t see equally big results. My role in these situations, is to reframe their mind. To remind them that forward is a pace and progress (even tiny increments) is cumulative. As you battle with this insecurity, just image me sitting next to you saying, there will be times when you feel like you are making huge leaps with your progress, then there are times when it feels like you are moving one inch at a time (or standing still). Let me remind you. Progress is progress. Keep going!

Step 6 – Self Talk is the Best Talk (condition your mind)


You can work with the best – but, it all crumbles if you can’t control the negative things you say to yourself. Pay attention to this last tip – if you only takeaway one thing, let it be this. Top performers have a neutral mindset. That’s right, they do not overindulge negative thinking or positive thinking – they focus on what they control, which is the moment right in front of them. They realize that the only way they can perform at their best is if their mind is free of clutter. They do this through self-talk. You are the best conditioning coach for your mind, you play three roles (1) what you say to yourself, (2) what you decide to pay attention to, and (3) what you take action on. Pay attention to the things you say to yourself. Start by neutralizing your thinking, then you can move in the direction you set your mind to.

Try these out. Send me a message on how it worked for you.


Yours truly,

Dr. G

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Abraham Gutsioglou, Ph.D.

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