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Filtering by Tag: values

What’s Your Personal Foundation?

Alan Andersen

Who doesn’t want to accomplish more in life? Don’t most of us want more time? More money? More love? More satisfaction? Yet, isn’t our tendency to go for it rather than simply having it all come to us?

A strong personal foundation includes 10 distinct stepping stones which, when linked together, provide a solid yet personalized base on which to build one’s life. And, in a world which sometimes appears to be built on quicksand, we all need a personal foundation on which to depend.

These 10 stepping stones of a Personal Foundation are:

  1. A past which you have fully completed.
  2. A life which is based fully on integrity.
  3. Needs which have been identified and fully met.
  4. Boundaries which are ample and automatic.
  5. Standards which bring out your best.
  6. An absence of tolerations.
  7. Choosing to come from a positive place.
  8. A family which nurtures you.
  9. A community which develops you.
  10. A life fully oriented around your true values.

Anyone who is living a meaningful life must have a strong personal foundation so they can afford to look up at the stars instead of down at their feet. Having a strong personal foundation allows a person to fully use their skills and resources, because instead of constantly worrying about the fundamentals of their life, they are free to focus on the task at hand. The process of building a personal foundation also teaches a person how to eliminate and prevent many common problems that are usually thought of as an expected part of life.

A skyscraper doesn’t start at street level. In fact, the taller the building, the deeper the foundation. This holds true for people, too.

What is YOUR personal foundation? If you need help defining your values and purpose, we are here to help! Visit us at

Your Coach,

The article What's Your Personal Foundation? previously appeared at True Life Coaching, a subsidiary of Shandel Group. If you enjoyed this post, read Shandel's book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.

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Is your TO-DO list value-based? If not ditch it now! Clarity #15

Alan Andersen

Why are you letting that one annoying task, errand or habit hinder your success? If you're like me, it just seems easier to tolerate it and let it hang there than do something about it.

The problem occurs when you let too many of these “little” tolerations pile up. It will get in the way of you living by your values and with purpose. I guarantee it!

This week's Clarity challenge is to take care of one thing that has been nagging you.  One thing you have been allowing to steal your precious mind space and energy.

Is your TO-DO list value based?

Consider your top personal core values. Next, take your ongoing “To-Do” checklist and alongside each item list what core value of yours it supports. The process of aligning the to-do with one of your core values or top priorities will help you see if you are focusing on what matters most. This should either help you want to get the task done or leave you more drained and unmotivated than ever. To read more about the benefits of defining your values check out Clarity Week 5 here.

Ditch It

A dear friend of mine was in my Life 301 class in 2005. We were working on this exercise and she said one of the main drainers of energy for her was the fact that she didn't want to reconcile her checking account but it had been on her “to do” list for years. Hearing her reason, knowing how ultra organized and conservative she is, and having knowledge of her financial situation I said, “don't do it”. Ditch it, cross it off the list, and don't think about it again. You are free.

Six years later she is still telling the story and still has freedom..and an unreconciled account.

Prioritize it

When you do find items that align to your values it is time to prioritize. Find the one that you have been avoiding the most and do a cost / reward analysis. What will it cost you – financially, emotionally, etc? What is the cost of not getting it done? What will you gain by getting it done? What are the long-term rewards? Now do it! Seriously, one step right now.

I was babysitting my niece this weekend and as we were working on saying “please and thank you”, I suddenly remembered my “to-do.”  I have two thank you notes that I have carried in my backpack for 2 weeks, 4 states and 6 flights! They are still not done. 

Convicted as I write, I promise they will be in the mail in the next 24 hours. Why? Because I highly value my relationships and I desire them to know how much I appreciate them in return.

Envision It

What will be the outcome if you just get the thing off your plate? DONE! What will it allow you to accomplish? It is now time to change the language of the “to-do” into a WANT. Right now, put a date on the calendar, find someone to hold you accountable, and say out loud what it is you intend on doing and how you will feel when you have accomplished it.

In fact, shout it out loud below – I'd love to hear and support you.

Your Coach For Clarity

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching


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11 Years of Truth-telling, Life-giving Coaching: Reflections on our Anniversary

Alan Andersen

On this exact day in 2000, I started True Life Coaching in the heart of Time Square in NYC.

Today, I am in the heart of San Francisco reflecting on 11 years and investigating our biggest opportunity to date.

Here is what I am celebrating today:

Transformed Lives

Starting with mine. It has been such an honor to serve amazing clients and see lives changed on a consistent basis.  This day is about being so thankful for a purpose filled life and all those who make it possible.  Oh how my cup overflows with…


Publicly, I'd like to draw attention to my faithful executive assistant, friend and cousin – Jennifer Bookamer.  Jenny has been with me for a majority of that time and without her partnership and patience I would have gotten a real “job” years ago.  Thank you Jenny!

Over 11 years, what has changed?

Everything and nothing. We have revamped and challenged how we go about doing business each year.  We add and delete product and services every 18 months.  We never stop learning and always keep growing.  Our ideal client grows and evolves with us. I'm not afraid to grow, but who we are will not change.

The coolest part of True Life Coaching is that our vision, purpose, and values have remained focused, consistent, and intact since day one.  Here is who we are:

We desire that every leader wisely and profoundly impact their sphere of influence.

We exist to inspire leadership and life at the next level. Whatever that might mean for the individual, team or organization in front of us.

We do very serious result oriented work in a very WITTY manner –  Wisdom, Integrity, Truth-telling, Totally FUN (key!), You-centered.

Celebrate True Life with me by living your true life!

What great memory do you have of when you knew you were living your true life?

Thank you for your support!

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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Leadership and Unmet Needs – They Could be Taking you Off Course

Alan Andersen

Last week, I was meeting with a client who was desperately trying to find himself in the midst of impressive business growth.  As we dug deep into what he believed was his values, we found half of his seeming “values” were actually unmet needs.  No wonder he was terribly crazy successful yet felt lost and wondering.

What happens when you do not honor your values?  Then you are ruled by needs, stress, addictions, past regrets and the shoulds” in life. No wonder we quickly feel the drain of joy out of life.  Life is too short to leave vitality, purpose and legacy on the table, while you strive for that proverbial carrot – stop – and start living!

What is draining your best?  Could it be things that do not matter in the long run?  Challenge yourself.

Invest the time and energy to discover your core values.  If you are not living your values, you are living someone else's!  There are huge benefits to discovering and living your values and if you aren't doing it today you will have regret tonight.

Your Coach for Clarity!

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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Alan Andersen

Every summer, our family camps at Bucks Lake, where I enjoy a week of watching the eagles perch, fly, and hunt. I love the way their beady little eyes go back and forth, searching, scanning until they see it, then the eyes become intensely focused. (No doubt where the term “eagle eye” came from!)

Leaders need clarity on who they are (values), where they are going (vision) and how they will get there (mission).  There are folks who search for meaning with great energy but don’t allow for moments of silence to reflect and focus. Without that clarity, they never really see what truly matters.

How this has anything to do with jellyfish, well, you need to read this excerpt from my new book and figure it out.

Week 1 from Clarity

Have you ever been frustrated by people whose lives seem so smooth and easy, while you are working diligently only to encounter trial after trial?

When I was fresh out of college, I posed that question to my wise mentor. Answering my jealousy over the easy life of my peers, he explained that there are two types of people: jellyfish and eagles. Building upon his words, I have used this analogy throughout the years to encourage greatness in others.

Consider the jellyfish. Sure, it gets blown and tossed by the tide of the sea, but basically it just floats along. It lives on what comes its way. There’s not too much conflict, and no need for adventure. Just enough movement to stay with the current until it dies.

There may be a few exceptional jellyfish that stand out, but a jellyfish is a jellyfish – content blobs existing in the sea. For a jellyfish, there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing else is expected of a jellyfish.

Now consider the eagle. Food doesn’t just come bobbing by for the eagle – it has to go get it. Have you ever watched how many times an eagle will dive for its dinner? Relentless! For goodness sakes, on the first day of flight school, the baby eagle gets dropped out of the nest!

While they have an incredible view from the top of the world, they often perch alone because of their choice for higher living. The trials and difficulties of the eagle are what breed the character we admire: courage, vigor, and freedom. Nothing is abnormal about the challenging adventure they live – that’s an eagle’s life. Nothing less should be expected.

Unlike the animal kingdom, humans have a choice in how they want to live and who they want to be. You choose your attitude and your behavior. It doesn’t matter if jellyfish parents raised you; you can learn to be an eagle. I’ve seen organizations with jellyfish CEOs and eagle janitors. It’s not your position; it’s your attitude.

The challenge is when you naively see yourself soaring like an eagle, but you are blind to your jellyfish lifestyle. Anyone can be an eagle, but you must commit to pay the personal cost of higher living and consistent integrity. Choose today to find higher ground and learn the way of an eagle.

Your Coach,

This article Are You an Eagle or a Jellyfish? previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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It's Simple--It's Just Not Easy

Alan Andersen

Recently, I asked a client who was juggling a busy life with a million moving parts what his payoff was. His answer was insightful, "I guess because not many people can handle the level of complexity I face daily."My next question was what was the COST for this lifestyle? His response was brilliant: "Busy-ness," at the cost of working toward the things that matter most to him and his long-term vision.

Yes, he was getting his emotional need of accomplishment fulfilled. But at an expensive long-term cost.

My role was to help him begin the process of simplifying everything. To work smarter, not harder, toward what really matters. So we started by identifying the "have to's" in his schedule. It wasn't long that I heard him say, "Hey, this simplifying is hard."

Yes! It is! Simple make look easy in the dictionary, but in reality what is simple to do is not necessary easy to do. Especially at first. Think about any difficulty you have and picture the solution. Chances are, the answer is not difficult or complicated and it is not the easy thing to do.

Hard to Break Old Habits

Take the concept of losing weight. More whole foods, less processed foods, more exercise, less calories, more sleep, less stress-that should take care of it. Simple, right? Yet we see by USA obesity rates that losing weight must not be easy or more people would do it! Easy is drive-thru on the way home and a movie on the couch after a long day at the computer. Yet in the end, the cost is high, is it not? So, then we swing to the other extreme and read a hundred books on dieting and follow crazy methods and caloric measurements so restrictive and complicated we eventually give up and go back to... easy. We don't stop to consider the simple method. Why? Because it's hard to break old habits. The amount of discipline to do what's simple can be crushing!

Leaders, consider the lack of productivity and the low morale in your work culture. What's the simple answer? Invest in the lives of your people, empower and equip the team, and let go of controlling every detail (in other words, trust!). Oh, but that is not easy, is it, my friends? Instead what do we do? We complicate our processes, procedures, systems, and emails -- so we don't have to deal with the humans. We tell ourselves the lie that all this nonsense helps solve the overwhelm.

It's okay to LOL at yourself. I do!

What Is the Reward?

What is the cost you are paying to live a highly complicated, difficult life? How about the cost when the pendulum swings and you give up into the path of least resistance?

What if you could simplify everything? More importantly, what if you could simplify everything for the team you lead, and be able to trust that what needs to get done will get done? What would the reward be now and in the future?

Seriously, what if you did not get your worth from how "busy" and complex your life is, and instead made the choice to intentionally delete everything that does not align with your values?

This is what would happen: You would probably be more fulfilled, more focused, and a heck of a lot more fun to be around!

Lining Up with Your Values

Values help you make better decisions faster. Unfortunately, they are the first thing we compromise in a complicated life!

When our expectation is that life is supposed to be easy, we get off course. The challenge is to not confuse simple living with an easy life. Doing the right thing takes risk, a change of belief systems, and indeed includes some suffering. It takes discipline and vision.

Trained leaders are like trained athletes: they invest in their training. Training takes having a teachable mind and a disciplined nature. The most arrogant leaders I know are not trained well because they think they are Olympians by nature (aka the smartest person in the room.) The truth is, the more talented the athlete, the more they invest in their life to bring out their very best and offer it to the game. They push themselves through trials, which in the end breeds the character required of a leader.

How complicated is your life? How fulfilling is your life? What can you simplify today and what is the reward for you and those you lead? Those you love? Those who matter most?

Your Coach,


The article It's Simple--It's Just Not Easy previously appeared at True Life Coaching.

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