“Don’t go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote has been a favorite of mine for many years. Up until now, though, I always pictured it as me venturing forth into some great unknown, some grand mission outside of my little “realm.” It wasn’t until the past month that I’ve begun to see that the place where there is no path is actually many parts of my own life. I am in a time of transition right now, with work, with family, and above all else, in my personal life. I have entered into a coaching relationship with a brother named Mark Sturgell, and for the past month, have been learning that the dreams in the back of my head MATTER, that goals I might want to achieve CAN BE DONE, and that it’s not MAGIC. It is requiring a lot of hard work, but I’m already seeing the benefits in my confidence in who I am, who I was made to be, and what I was made to do.

One thing I’ve found over the years, and it’s rung true this past month, is that writing things down really crystallizes them for me. So I’m thinking of using my blog here to share, mainly with myself, some of the things I’m learning. Writing them down with a pen on a sheet of paper gets me started, but putting those thoughts into complete sentances, clean tables, and even before the public eye pushes me a little bit more.

Today I finished up a self evaluation on Mental Development. The mission here was to examine myself, to find strengths, potential strengths, and even weaknesses, in my mind, and in the way I think. I enjoyed this section, and will jot a few things down here that originally found their way to pen and paper.

Where I Stand Now

After completing a short survey and looking back on some past achievements / mental strengths, I was instructed to write a narrative form of “where I a stand now” as far as mental development. I was to use my imagination and enjoy my time. It was actually quite fun. Here’s the result:

It is apparent to me that I love to learn. Whether it problem solving at the office, developing a solution to a problem not fully identified, or finding better/best ways to get from one place to another, I love not just the solution, but what I experience and learn in the process of discovering that solution.

I seem to not necessarily be an idea man when it comes to original ideas and big dreams, but I can wade through the muddle of a project or even another life and find nuggets that both crystallize the concept and also make it seemingly doable. I enjoy and am good at getting to the heart of a matter, whether that means wading through personal opinions at a meeting or finding quotes that capture an idea in a book or conversation.

I enjoy being taught. Not just in the traditional lecture or discussion form, but in any way that brings me new knowledge and understanding. I can manage a lot in my head, but I do let it get a little too crowded at times.

I truly enjoy sharing these learning experiences with others, be it in a “eureka” moment or simply taking a big concept and finding where it hits close to home. I love seeing others come to realize that they too have what it takes to make their dreams become reality.

Mental Development Goal-Setting

The next step of the Mental Development process was to develop some goal categories, and after that, some goals to fit into those categories, and after that, to prioritize them. This got kind of tough, but in the end, it was extremely practical, doable, and encouraging.

Getting from Start to Finish Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life 5
Proactive Self-Improvement
Spend one hour a day, Monday – Friday, on my Sales Action Plan, and listen/read to my sales / self-improvement audio files at least 6 times per week. 1
Intentional and Purposeful Reading Plan
Spend time every day (30 minutes?) reading. Develop a place to keep 2-3 different books on different subjects so they are accessible to the points of time in my day when I have time to read. Schedule time to read as well. 2
Quality Family Time Make time each week to have adult conversations with my wife and talk about what is important to us, and learn how to set goals together, accordingly. Read to my children each day. 1
Develop and Exercise Writing Skills
Create a blog or journal entry each day on something relevant to my day. 4
Develop and Exercise Speaking / Teaching Skills
Find an opportunity to teach a group on a regular basis. 3
Seek Opportunities to Teach / Mentor / Train Individuals
Develop relationships with 1-2 specific men in my life, and seek out 2-3 specific youth as well. Make a point to add something to their life each week. 6
Develop Methods to Retain what I’ve Learned
Blog or Journal a small summary or tidbit from each day, before the day is gone forever. 4

I’m not sure if those are “good goals.” In fact, I have already have times that I have doubted they are. They seem too vague, or not related to mental development, or this, or that. But as I’m learning… If they are meaningful to me, that is what matters. And these are meaningful, stimulating, and enjoyable activities for me that would add to my life. I don’t have a clue how they’re going to “fit in” to everything else that is already going on and all the other areas I’ll be setting goals, but I think looking at these as things I can choose from down the road, or even right now, makes it all a little more doable and exciting.