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A romantic dinner… with pen and paper

If you are game, try this: organise a lovely romantic dinner with your other half. Then at the start of the dinner take out a pen and paper; and announce that you will do some planning together.

Well this is what I do to my wife every year…

Bonjour, this is Cyril. In this video I want to share with you something I do at the start of every year which makes a big difference for me.

At the moment I am in Atlanta in the US. You can see the city of Atlanta behind me.  Today I have just started a four month journey with a leadership team of a large corporate.  I will begin challenging many of their ways of working and many of their work habits. We will be focusing primarily on their work habits, however, at the end of the journey, we will also be discussing how to apply wha they have learnt to their personal lives.

All through these years, working with many companies, I have been asked many times how to use these principles on the personal side. I believe applying the principles of efficiency and effectiveness to our personal lives are just as important as applying them to our professional lives. Yes, it is very important to be clear on your business goals and to plan them. However I think it is equally important if not more important to do the same for your personal goals.

It is hardly surprising to see that Stephen Covey, who wrote the bestseller ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’, went on to write another book a few years after called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families’. Same principles.

So at the start of the year, my wife Toni Kim (TK) and I go out for a romantic dinner with a pen and paper. Why a romantic dinner with a pen and paper? Before the dinner I always prepare a document called ‘my life in’, for example ‘my life in 2019’. It is a draft document where I describe what a successful life looks like for us, with the kids, with our friends, on the business side, where we will go on holiday and so on.

I draft this document and organise the dinner with TK. She knows what it is and would say: “Here’s the time for our dinner with a pen and paper.” We go for the dinner and I share with her the first draft, listen to her ideas and suggestions,  and we do a final draft of what our life in 2019 is going to look like.

I think it’s really important. It’s a concept that I call life by design. Life by design in this case is to think about what a successful year is going to look like, writing it down and sharing with your loved ones. I find this really useful.

I hope you enjoyed this video. I think it is a very worthwhile process. If you’re watching this video and it’s not the start of the year, it doesn’t matter. I highly recommend you just do it. Write down what a successful year for you looks like and share it with your loved ones.

Take care,


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