It’s dinner time

I don’t know any leaders who would argue that doing a business plan is a waste of time. At the start of every year, they meet with their team, review the achievements of the previous year and decide the focus for the year to come.

But when it comes to planning our personal life, this is a different story. 

Bonjour. In this video, I want to share with you one simple process that can have a big impact for you and your loved ones. 

I’m currently on a Spanish island called Lanzarote, which is part of the Canary Islands just off the coast of Africa.  We wanted to spend Christmas with our son Cameron who lives in England, but we also wanted to get away and find some sunshine. Despite being Winter in the Canary Islands, the weather is beautiful and warm. Lanzarote is a volcanic island and we have just visited an incredible national park. You might be able to see behind me the craters of some of these stunning volcanoes.

At the beginning of 2022, TK and I have our annual planning session about what we wanted to do during the year. Where did we want to travel to and roughly what time of year we wanted to do this? We look at the big picture and pencil in a few dates. 

The reason why I mention this is because when I talk about planning at a business level, I see a lot of leaders allocating their time to planning and thinking about their business strategy. However, most leaders are not so rigorous when it comes to their personal lives. Most of them say they don’t have the time or it’s too hard so consequently don’t ever get round doing it. It becomes a ‘should’, not a ‘must’.

My suggestion is this: take the time to do it. Make it simple, and enjoyable. 

At the start of every year, you have a bit of a planning session with your loved one, and this is what I call ‘the dinner with a pen and paper.’  

At the start of every year, TK and I book a nice restaurant and enjoy a lovely dinner together. Before we go out to dinner both of us will have prepared separately how we think 2023 is going to look like. 

Personally, I do a mind map on a blank piece of paper and divide my life in about 8 different areas. I put my life in 2023 in the middle, and then a mind map all the different areas of my life. I think about what a great 2023 looks like in terms of my relationship with TK, my family, my health, my friends, my business and so on. I I dream, I think about what a successful 2023 would look like and I write down my ideas.

It doesn’t have to take long, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to get done. 

TK does it a bit differently. She stars with a blank sheet of paper and write down as it comes what a great year would look like for her. She also comes up a with a couple of words that we would like to focus on for the year. For example last year TK came up with ‘give back’ and ‘settle’ to help TK focus on picking up some voluntary work and getting our children settled in their new lives living away from home. 

During the dinner, the first thing we do is reflect on our previous year and re read our previous year’s piece of paper. Were we successful at achieving our dream year etc.? Were there areas in our lives we neglected? Did we follow through on our focus words? 

Then we move on to the forthcoming year. My rule is to firstly listen to what TK has to say without criticizing or interrupting her. The only thing I can do is ask for clarification, and whilst listening I really try and think how I can support TK in achieving her ideal 2023. 

The same goes for when it’s my turn to share my ideas. It’s enjoyable and very simple to do.

When we have finished the dinner, we can then go away and put our ideas into a neater format to review throughout the year. 

My question to you is this. Is it worth spending the time with your loved one going out to dinner with a pen and paper? And if the answer is yes, then go and enjoy this special time together sharing your ideas for 2023. 

Thanks to our 2022 dinner with a pen and paper, the idea of meeting my French family and son somewhere hot for Christmas was hatched. So here we are 12 months on, having spent a magical time all together. These moments are priceless. 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and look forward to hearing how you intend to spend your 2023.

Enjoy that dinner with a pen and paper. 

Bon appétit and à bientôt,

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