I’m coming up to week 3 of the Lifebook course at the moment, and looking back is interesting. The Lifebook journey started off with the “Health and Fitness” and “Intellectual Life” categories.
Two categories, which Jon Butcher emphasises are the cornerstone of a great life. Listening to his reasoning, and looking back at my own life, I would have to say I agree.
Week 1 is a simple combination of two videos (approx. 90 mins each) and two Lifebook chapter templates.
If you like, you can also download some ready made stock-photos, quotes, and sample Lifebook pages by Jon Butcher, to help fill out and decorate your own Lifebook too.
The videos are presented by Jon from his and Missy’s family home in St. Charles, Illinois. A truly stunning location, with beautiful gardens, water-features and luxurious, but minimalist interior decor.
In order to be eligible for the refund at the end of the course, it is these two videos and the exercises in the chapter templates that need to be completed.
In addition to the core content, there is also almost 3 hours worth of bonus content available too. These are recorded live-calls with Jon and Missy Butcher answering Lifebook questions.
However, this final section does not need to be completed to be eligible for the refund.
First impressions on the format
Personally, I quite liked the way the lessons are formatted.
The core videos are each split into four sections, and in these Jon walks you through creating your Premise, Vision, Purpose and Strategy (PVPS) for each Lifebook category.
Creating your own PVPS is the expected output for each lesson.
He starts each video by explaining why the category is important. Then he explores how it might benefit your life and also provides relevant examples on how he sees each category.
To close off each section, he then presents Premise, Vision, Purpose and Strategy statements from past Lifebook participants, which makes it super easy to see how to start shaping your own.
After each section, you are given time to create your own PVPS statements to the sound of soothing music. This was something I really appreciated, as it meant you could actually complete your first draft within the 90 minutes.
However, I would say that if you take the course seriously, you will likely find yourself coming back to each statement throughout the week to refine it. I definitely did this a number of times.
In the optional FAQs section, with the recorded live calls, Jon and Missy generally sit wrapped up on a couch together whilst a presenter feeds them questions from the audience.
The thing I found most useful, in the FAQs section, was the time-stamps feature.
Before each recorded call, there is a transcript showing which questions are being asked at different points in the call. That way, it is super easy to use the time-stamps feature to click and view the question you want to watch in each video.
My experience with: Health and Fitness
As this was the first lesson, and I had no idea what to expect, I was totally mesmerised by the video. The music had a soothing and hypnotic quality to it, the video was in high definition, and the content was concise and to the point. I liked that!
I completed this chapter around mid-day, which meant I was wide awake. A very good thing when you’re feeding your brain new information.
There were a couple of things that I found quite interesting, after completing this chapter. The most surprising being, how much doing the Lifebook exercises affected the rest of my week.
For one, I found myself consistently thinking about health and fitness every day.
It’s an area of my life I have really tried to gain control over for many years. I have been an avid swimmer for at least a decade, however, it’s not something you can just do anywhere. That means when I’m travelling, not feeling too well, or on Coronavirus lockdown, it’s one of the first things out the window.
My diet is also something I know I need to change up. I very rarely ate vegetables as a child, so I never learned how to cook them or integrate them into my diet. I am pretty sure my weak immune system is the result of that too. No matter how trim I may look.
The unexpected book supplement
I found this Lifebook chapter good, but in and of itself it was a “thinking” chapter. It is my understanding that the Lifebook course is intentionally designed that way.
The 6 weeks you are working on your Lifebook are intended to get your mind consistently thinking about what you want. That way you are preparing your mind and body to make bigger shifts further down the line.
However, the Lifebook course itself, is not necessarily designed to get you where you want to be. Or not yet anyways. I believe that’s what “Lifebook Mastery” is for.
That’s the follow on course to Lifebook, that is built to show you how to transform all that thinking energy into actual results. (It’s only $1 extra too, if you decide not to request a refund for your $500+ accountability deposit.)
Fortunately, I came across a resource that had the potential to make an upgrade completely redundant. I stumbled across Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”.
This was a book that I had had lying around for a little while already. I had started it several times, but never finished it, as I got distracted by other things. However, this time I realised it could actually make a great complement to the Lifebook course.
After all, if it helped me understand, master and change my current habits independently, I might even see great results before the 6 weeks were up!
The next thing you know, I created a printable Lifebook habit tracker and populated it with my first five goals!
My new health and fitness goals
- 50 jumping jacks per day (for 365 days)
- HIIT workout by Sergio Peinado (until I can complete the full workout – 10 sets)
- Blogilates stretching for splits (for 30 days)
- Drink 8 glasses of water (every day)
- Eat 1 fruit and 1 vegetable (every day)
My experience with: Intellectual Life
I started the intellectual life module the day after my health and fitness module. However, the difference is that I did it in the evening. I was tired, a little irritated and, therefore, not in the best mood for completing the exercises.
I still made my way through the module though, as I wanted to stay on track. However, I felt like my outputs were just not as significant as in the first chapter. I felt my writing was uninspiring. Not quite as motivated as before.
That is… until I hit the strategy portion!
All of a sudden, I found my words flying across the page with ideas on how to enrich my intellectual life. This was interesting, as it really shows that a) your mood can really influence your output, and b) some areas may just resonate better than others.
It seems to me, that since I already had quite a clear image of how I wanted my intellectual life to look like, the Premise, Vision and Purpose felt routine. However, since I got a lower score in this area for my assessment I also knew I wanted and needed to make some changes.
As such, it’s a bit like my brain kicked into high gear when it found the portion relevant to my circumstances. It was evidently a little more on auto-pilot before then. Something I’ll make sure to keep in mind for future chapters.
With a page full of actions, I decided to prioritise my near term goals in the end. As such, I ended up putting two goals into my habit tracker.
My new intellectual life goals
- Read 1 chapter per day (Target a minimum of 12 books per year)
- Complete Lifebook chapters
I chose the first goal since I really love reading. Unfortunately, reading does tend to fall by the wayside at times, so I felt this an important habit to focus on.
After all, they say CEOs read around 60 books a year and I’m on roughly 9 to 14. I know I’ve still got quite a way to go to reach such heights, but then again… I do love a challenge!
For my second goal, I chose completing the Lifebook chapters. I think that in and of itself, that activity is already quite a big exercise. Especially after seeing the sample pages from Jon Butcher’s Lifebook.
I had actually completely forgotten about the sample pages until I stumbled across them reviewing chapter 1 again.
I had mainly been writing down one simple statement for my chapters’ Premise, Vision, Purpose and Strategy statements. Occasionally more if I felt inspired.
However, once I took a closer look at Jon’s sample pages, I realised there was so much more I could add. However, it would take quite a lot more research for me to get to the level of detail Jon uses.
For example, for the Health and Fitness section, I had no idea what my ideal plate looks like (which Jon lists in detail).
Nor do I know what my ideal weight and measurements should be. Or which exercises I should do to specifically target my goals. That’s all stuff I could find out and then strategically plan for one day.
For now, I have decided to just keep that in mind. I have put in my base habit changes and I will make it an exercise to come back to.
Once my basic activity habits kick in, I believe it will be easier to make more strategic changes to my exercises diet etc. As Yoda said… “Patience you must have my young Padawan”
Overall, I would say I was pleasantly surprised by the first week of Lifebook. As a person who thinks a lot in general, it was really interesting to see the results this specific framework could provide.
It’s not so much that I don’t normally think about how to create my best life, or add changes into my life. In fact, you could probably say I do that way more than the average person.
However, I would say that Lifebook really makes you think of the nitty gritty details of each life category. It also puts a lot of emphasis on this being YOUR journey, YOUR Lifebook, and it being YOUR responsibility to create YOUR amazing life.
That being the case, I found myself thinking about the areas a lot throughout the week. I would go back to my Lifebook and update it. Then, I would research topics on the internet related to the topics too. Update it again.
Eventually, I started talking to my friends about the changes I was making in my health and fitness routine. They then sent me lots of workout routines and ideas… I would then remembered I needed to work out. I would then go work out… and so the habit changes are starting.
However, I realise that they are specifically starting now, because I planned them, I then chose to follow them and I am now keeping myself accountable to do them.
That really makes a big difference, as the driving factors are now internal, instead of external.
Tips for new starters
One observation I would make on this program is that, when you really commit to it, it is quite time intensive.
I am very fortunate to be able to organise my time as and how I like at the moment. I don’t work at an office, and since there is a government mandated Coronavirus lockdown, I have very little in the way of outside commitments to distract me.
However, I think if I were to do this program alongside a normal work routine, it would be different. Especially, if there are kids running around or relatives to look after, time can get quite tight.
As such, my main recommendation would be to really make sure to schedule uninterrupted time for the two 90 minute videos. Those videos are the foundation of the program, which will get your mind ticking.
I think if you can make the most of that time, your mind will likely keep revving over the topics outside the lessons too. That way, as you do your day to day, you will find yourself thinking back on the lessons and thinking of smaller changes to implement throughout the week.
By committing to those changes, and converting them into habits, I also believe it’s very likely you will see changes in your life quite rapidly.
However, I do think the key is really making new habits your own, and then finding motivations within to help you stick to them. I really do believe the Lifebook statements can help with that.
Let’s see what next week brings though, shall we?
Explore the rest of the Lifebook journey!
- How I found Lifebook
- Lifebook Warm Up
- Lifebook 2020 – Week 1: Health and Fitness & Intellectual Life
- Lifebook 2020 – Week 2: Emotional Life & Character
- Lifebook 2020 – Week 3: Spiritual Life & Love Relationship
- Lifebook 2020 – Week 4: Parenting & Social Life
- Lifebook 2020 – Week 5: Financial Life & Career
- Lifebook 2020 – Week 6: Quality of Life & Life Vision