This is the third article in a series. The first was about finding your Walden – where do you go for renewal? The second article was about having a personal advance and why it was important. This article is about what do and how to make an advance productive.

Questions to ponder during an advance:

  • What can I do to develop and promote my uniqueness in my career?
  • How can I continue to grow as a leader, salesperson, team member, or business owner?
  • What questions can I provide answers to for my clients or my organization?
  • Am I doing what I’ve been called to do?
  • How do my family, friends, and non-work responsibilities factor into my work?
  • Am I being challenged and fulfilled in my work?
  • How am I going to stay energized and motivated?


What to do with your day:

  • Carpe diem – start early and work hard in the morning
  • Exercise early to get your brain activated and your body moving
  • Eat foods to help you stay energized during your advance
  • Make sure you are well rested before you leave
  • Take an afternoon nap or a short walk after lunch and ponder one single idea or action
  • Review and share what you created with your spouse or friend, a business partner, or an accountability group


What to bring:

  • Four to six colors of index cards, 15 to 20 of each color
  • A recording device for your thoughts and ideas (ideally NOT your phone!)
  • Some motivational material to read
  • Your favorite inspirational music
  • Your planner and calendar
  • A legal pad and colored pens


How to do it:

Write a title card for the area you are brainstorming. Write one idea per card as quickly as they come, not evaluating the ideas or coming up with action plans. If you are familiar with Mind Mapping, create maps of each of your main ideas. Use different colors for different categories. After you have written several ideas, spread the cards out and prioritize them. When you return to your office, post all your ideas on a bulletin board in priority order to help you stay focused. Put them where you can see them every day. Don’t be frustrated when interruptions or delays occur as they inevitably will. Find some way each day to work on the high-priority goals.

Purpose of the Advance:

  • Set big-picture goals
  • Develop an outline of a major project
  • Brainstorm new ideas and products
  • Plan educational opportunities to grow your career
  • Write or revise your personal mission (you might want to read or reread Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People before you advance).
  • Increase your professional productivity. You might also want to read or reread Cal Newport’s Deep Work).


There is wisdom in the phrase, “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.”  

Early in 2023 or before, schedule some time for a professional advance. Commit now to a time of focused strategy and goal-setting and you will make 2023 your best year yet.

#businessgrowth #leadershipdevelopment #pausitivity #retreat

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