1: Gallup researchers have calculated a national stress index based on a survey of more than 125,000 people from 121 countries. The analysts ask participants whether they had experienced a significant amount of stress the previous day, Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in his brilliant book Leading Well from Within.

The results? The higher the nation’s stress index, the higher the nation’s well-being.

“Further, individuals who were stressed but not depressed—i.e., aroused and positively activated by their stress—experienced higher life satisfaction,” Danny writes. “This study suggests that stress, when leveraged as an asset to engage with what you most care about, goes hand in hand with well-being, meaning, and fulfillment.”

2: Danny believes there are two ways of showing up in life. We can live with a reactive mindset where we “feel threatened with fear, stress, self-doubt, ego, and conflict,” which activates “similar experiences in others that can instantly drain energy and fragment teams as well as families;” and the creative mindset, where we “take responsibility for [our] lives rather than reacting to outside circumstances or other people.”

Danny outlines a powerful, circular framework to help us live with a creative mindset: VSIR – Vision, Strategy, Implementation, and Results.  

There are four parts of the process:  

o Vision: Creating a blueprint for our ideal life vision

o Strategy: Formulating strategies for each of the specific elements of our overall vision

o Implementation: Taking action to implement our strategies

o Results: Clarifying the specific results we will achieve when our strategy is successfully implemented

Each of these elements requires a different perspective and time frame.

Our vision is our “big, bold picture of [our] life well lived, viewed from 30,000 feet and projecting about five or ten years out,” Danny writes.

“Strategy takes the 10,000-foot view and looks out about one, two, or three years.

“Implementation and results bring it down to ground level, focusing on the action [we’re] taking today, tomorrow, next week, and/or next month,” writes Danny.

3: Danny’s VSIR process is iterative. We are “continually reflecting upon and refining each component,” he notes. For example, if we don’t achieve the results we want within the targeted time frame, we ask: Do we need to adjust our vision? Were our strategies effective? Did we focus enough on implementation? Or, are the results we seek not realistic to begin with?

We reflect on the experience and then take the next action based on our reflection. Danny calls this cycle “the Infinite Curriculum” or “Active Learning Cycle” because it never stops.

More tomorrow!


Reflection: Am I investing enough time outlining what is important to me?

Action: Block out an hour this week to work through Danny’s VSIR process for one major goal in my life.

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