This is post #2 in a 9-part series. To start with the first post, click here.

When I left my sales and marketing career after 18 years to put all of my energy into our family, the only thing I wanted was to be the best mom ever.

How about you? Do you dream of…

  • Creating a family that is less rushed, better fed, more healthy, organized and on time to every appointment?
  • Finishing photo books of your growing, adorable children?
  • Eating healthy dinners together?
  • Having time for your own self-care?
  • Savoring a deeper, more connected relationship with your partner?
  • Saving enough money for a comfortable retirement?
  • Losing those final ten or twenty pounds for good?

I never would have believed it then, but it’s been more than 20 years after leaving the corporate world and the life I imagined is real.

How is that possible? Well, it didn’t happen overnight.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of energy required to take care of a family full-time after leaving daycare behind.

  • The house is messier and more chaotic with everyone at home.
  • To Do Lists get longer and longer.
  • Demands from outside activities grow along with our children.

We are so busy doing it makes sense to feel overwhelmed and uptight.

  • Where does all the doing fit together?
  • Where are the structure, deadlines, budgets, measurable things to strive we had at work?
  • Where is the annual performance appraisal and raise?

As moms, our performance appraisal is 30 years out. When all our children become self-reliant.

At least that’s what my parents told me.

But that’s not what I wanted. It’s probably not what you want either.

All you need is the plan, the road map,

and the courage to press on to your destination.

~ Earl Nightingale

One day, it occurred to me.

  • Why not adapt the business planning process to my life?
  • Why not organize my To Do List by categories, like departments in a business?
  • Why not write down what I want in each category?
  • Why not commit to projects and tiny habits that create gains each year?

I did that.

In the Legacy | Parenting Category (one of the 9 Categories), I want to teach our children how to create their best life.

Then I answered a set of four questions.

  • Why? Because we love them, with all our heart.
  • What will it take? They need to learn healthy, wealthy, wise habits, surrounded with positivity, love and laughter.
  • Which projects and habits support this category?
    • To understand deeply that they have one mind and body for life and they need to take care of both.
      • Define and create the emotions they want to experience regularly.
      • Assess both success and failure, then learn and move on.
    • To teach them that they possess the competence to cope when we’re not around.
      • They are the author of their own life.
      • We are here for them, but believe they can cope with this challenge.
    • To enjoy their family and each other.
      • Praise effort, focusing on the gain rather than the gap.
      • Surround them with positivity, love and laughter.
      • Have fun and be kids.
      • Resolve disagreements in a mutually satisfactory manner through civil discussion.
      • Take family vacations together to see what we can learn in this big, beautiful world.
    • We want to raise courageous children.
      • Be safe and cautious.
      • Manage fear so we learn from it.
  • What’s next? We keep teaching them to create small wins, committing to themselves and practicing doing what they say they will do.

I asked these questions for each of the 9 categories. I wrote the answers down. I shared them with my beloved.

Wow. This work really paid off.

For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.

~ African Proverb

Life regularly throws challenges at all of us.

But having a framework, a road map, a Life GPS guiding us, keeping us from getting too distracted, really helps. More than you can imagine.

Would you like to start creating Your Life GPS? Click here for the first (tiny) step.

Here’s a haiku summarizing the message of this post:

[Click here to go to the next post in this 9-part series.]