Archive for ‘The Opening Five’

March 17, 2011

Part 5 of “The Opening Five”

Let’s get Started!

We are now clear on our values, and have given ourselves some direction and motivation in the form of a personal mission statement. What’s next? Well, in reality, from here on it’s pretty simple, we just have to remind ourselves daily of what our mission is. I have mine posted up on my bulletin board. I can’t miss seeing it before I walk out of my bedroom every morning. The values come into play when you have decisions to make. When choices are put in your path, you only have to look at them in reference to what your values are and usually your decision becomes incredibly obvious.

So now we know what direction we must head in order to bring great satisfaction into our lives. We also know how to make decisions. We just need some means of balancing the various areas of our life, so that we are not missing out on critical components in our fulfillment. Really what we are talking about here is knowing what action to actually take next. I am guessing that I have read over 100 books on self improvement, time management, goal setting, to do lists and action logs. My belief on the subject after assimilating all of that information is that there is no wrong way to do these things except not do them at all.  I  am a very visual person and have decided (again keeping my values in mind) that I will create a simple bucket type system on my PC. Then, to have something more tangible I will also make this into a little project for the desk in my office as well. I will share that project with you in a future post.

What Action Should I Take Next?

Here is what I came up with as a simple diagram. I have broken the larger actionable areas into seven main groups I call MEbuckets. In order to ensure that the actions I am taking are balanced, I will rotate through each of these groups picking an action for one, then moving onto the next.

Ready, Set,  GO!

Now we’ve come full circle. This is what MEfurbish is all about. This blog will chronicle the actions that I am taking daily to bring my personal mission into existence in my life. I will take my first action step right now with all of you. Join me! Let’s make this a fun and interactive community. Share our ideas, encourage each other and have a few laughs along the way. Read MEfurbish daily. Make suggestions. Share comments and we can grow this thing together and start living our MEfurbishment TODAY!



March 16, 2011

Part 4 of “The Opening Five”

What’s a personal Mission Statement? 


With our list of values in hand we are one step closer to a vision of the things we might want to manifest in our lives. I say might because it is very possible that we have already placed a great deal of focus on certain values that are important to us and we are already manifesting these things in our lives.  For example, I feel I can say that I do a pretty good job already with loyalty. I have always been very loyal to employers and consider myself fiercely loyal to my friends and family. Does this mean that I have no room for improvement in this area? Of course not. It just means that when I am taking action towards my vision for myself, this can fall lower on the “to do” list so to speak.

In order to be crystal clear about what I want to bring into our life, I believe it will be helpful to have a personal mission statement. defines a mission statement as the following: “A mission statement defines what an organization is, why it exists, its reason for being.” Using this guideline then we could say that a personal mission statement defines what we are, why we exist, and our reason for being.” Oh, just that. It sounds so simple when you put it that way, right? Not at all.

Perhaps an example would be helpful.  I started to research a variety of large companies just to see what the framework of an acceptable mission statement might be. The end result was that, in reality, any mission statement is an acceptable mission statement.  I read ones that ranged from one sentence of five words to eight paragraphs! Remembering that one of my values is simplicity, I decided that for me one sentence would be a better beacon of where I was going. One sentence is something I could pin up on my bulletin board, or turn into a little mantra.

Trying to encapsulate at least the spirit of most, if not all, of my values I came up with the statement below. It resonates with me. Yours should resonate with YOU, and only you. We’re almost ready to start kicking butt and taking names! Stay with me for the ride of your dreams.



March 14, 2011

Part 3 of “The Opening Five”

By now you have a sense of what MEfurbish is all about. Next we are going to move into defining more specifically what MEfurbishment will take place. If you think it helpful, I encourage you to follow along with the same process.  I have a history in business and I feel it would be really helpful to look at my life as a business in some ways. Believe it or not, I even contemplated putting together a ‘Project Plan’ for my life at one point. While I think my intentions are good here, I believe that this is just me exercising my perfectionism.

“If I am going to create a new life for myself, I need to do it perfectly!”

In fact this is something that I am trying to let go of – my desire to do things perfectly. I am consistently setting myself up for failure if I approach each project in this way. Instead, I decided to just plug away, set some goals, hold myself accountable in some way and be gentle with myself as much as possible.  The exercise that I thought I would go through is to identify my values with some clarity, and then create a personal mission statement. These ideas aren’t new to business or to personal development. There are enumerable sites dedicated to improving one’s life. I just may have visited every one of them over the years! A funny thing about knowledge is that it only really matters if you actually DO something with it – take action of some kind. MEfurbish is about action and inspiration – my own, and hopefully yours too.

What are my values?

If you were to “Google” personal values (about 16,200,000 results) and mission statement (about 22,700,000 results) you would get results similar to mine. Probably many more have been added since the moment I performed my search! Since I did not have time to read 38,900,000 pages of text I decided to just sit and think for a moment. What a concept! Let’s start with values – what do values mean to me? I would define values simply as things that are important to me in this life. Easy enough right? Well at first draft I think I had a full page with two columns of things that were important to me. I had to boil these things down to something more manageable so I crossed off things that could fall under generalized categories. I also removed values that were less tangible, like freedom and safety. While these things are extremely important to me I have left them out for the sake of this exercise. What I was left with was the following list in NO particular order people!

So now we know what we are trying to accomplish. In my case, I am going to look for opportunities to bring more of these things into my life. It goes without saying that I will also try to find things that are taking away from these values and diminish or remove them altogether.

I’m getting excited! In fact I’m even Optimistic, that you and I are headed in the right direction.



March 13, 2011

Part 2 of “The Opening Five”

What Are We Doing Here?

So the obvious question is what things am I actually going to work on during this MEfurbishment? In order to answer that question, I must ask another first. Why am I in a position where I need to put a considerable amount of effort into turning my life around?  I am glad you asked. Let me take a moment to set the stage.

Life is a lot like a hot air balloon. You know, one of those rainbow colored ones all broken up in a bunch of little segments. Think about all of the various elements that contribute to quality of life. When these things are in good order, life moves along pretty smoothly with some happiness, some tears, some laughs and a sense that you are contributing to something good in some way. These variables can be different for each person but many are similar. Essentials like good health, good relationships, good financial management, and a spiritual connection of some kind are things that many of us can relate to when it comes to a life that brings us contentment.

When missing or damaged in some way it’s like there is a hole in one of the panels of your balloon of life and you start to lose altitude and speed. If this happens in multiple areas of concern, there are too many holes and you are rapidly heading towards a crash landing. Some of us are able to see the issues as they come up and stop for repairs along the way. Many of us, though, have to feel impact before we see what is happening and this was the case with me.

One moment my journey was moving in the direction I had plotted out, with a few close calls but plenty of great stops and beautiful views. The next moment I was cleaning up the debris from a pretty serious crash landing. Now I can see the gaping holes that were in the canvas of my balloon.  Physical, spiritual and mental health were all nonexistent. Career, finances and sleep habits were not far behind. Fun and relaxation were high on the agenda, but in ways that contributed negatively to these other areas instead of strengthening them.

You know what they say about hindsight being 20/20? Well let’s just say that I have great clarity about what I need to work on now and that’s why I’m here. I’m hoping that’s why you’re here, too. Perhaps we can help each other along the way.



March 12, 2011

Part 1 of “The Opening Five”


I know what you’re thinking. If you are a student of the English language I am sure your first reaction is “That header is spelled wrong!” It isn’t.  OK, if it’s not spelled wrong then what does it mean? Where does it come from? It’s a word that just popped into my head on March 10, 2011 when I was reflecting on what to call this blog. I was going through all of the questions one might ask him/herself in this endeavor.

  • What is the blog about?
  • What experience am I planning to share here?
  • Can I name a blog “things that I am working on to get my life to a place that I (I think we all know the answer to that one)
  • What am I trying to do to my life? Refurbish it! No, that’s too common. I guess it’s not for ME
  • Hey that’s it! MEfurbish! I am refurbishing ME.

Let’s go ahead and define it for the record. According to, refurbish is defined as the following:

[ree-fur-bish] –Verb (used with object)

  1. to furbish again; renovate; brighten: to refurbish the lobby.
  2. to make neat, clean, or complete, as by renovating, re-equipping, or restoring

If I was to define MEfurbish with formality then we could say:

[mee-fur-bish] –Verb (used with object)

  1. to furbish a person again; a quest for self improvement; to brighten one’s life: to MEfurbish the being.
  2. to make body and mind joyful, clean, or complete, as by renovating, re-equipping, or restoring by any means necessary

So that’s it! This blog is about my own MEfurbishment. For a multitude of reasons, I am a 40 year-old single dad who is starting over. For a long time I looked at this as the bane of my existence. Today, I choose to look at it as an opportunity; an opportunity to do some things differently, to change my priorities and to “make my body and mind joyful, clean and complete…by any means necessary.”

The other thing that comes to mind is that I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to try to be perfect, and I don’t need to strive to achieve what other peoples version of a great life is. This is where the ME comes from in MEfurbish. I only need to do what’s right for ME.

It’s quite a concept; I hope you will join ME on the journey.