Do YOUR Best

“We’re all absolutely equal in having the opportunity to make the most of what we have.” –Coach John Wooden

Coach Wooden is considered by many to be one of the leading coaches of all time.


To do your best is part of the purpose of life. Plan for it and persevere. Focus on your capacities to serve more than comparing yourself to what others have or have not done.



Achievable Resolutions

To Plan, Decide, and Act to Achieve, Improve, Solve, Change, Transform

I developed this 7-Step Method to help my seminar students who often set the same “New Year Resolution” year after year. Both they and I have done better identifying priorities and taking action.

7 Steps to Set a Resolution that increase your chance of success:

If you answer these seven questions as an outline for your plan, you will boost likelihood of success. You will better internalize the results you seek and why you should follow through, plus have a plan that helps you invest enough time to give you a chance to succeed. Research—mine and others—suggests over 50% of people quit on resolutions, most within one month.

  1. Mission (Purpose)
  2. Vision & Goals (Desired Results)
  3. Solutions (Strategy that could work if implemented)
  4. Motivation (Results if you succeed, if you quit, why you should persevere)
  5. Choice (Decision on if the resolution results are worth the time and resources)
  6. Systems and Structures for Success (Create automatic actions for success)
  7. Assessment and Accountability (Integrity and feedback)

Main reasons for failing:

  1. Lose focus on the result, benefit, and commitment felt at the time of setting the resolution. There is science behind the benefit of writing your resolution result and plan plus reading regularly to remember and internalize.
  2. Never truly get started because they do not plan for the hours and times to invest, which includes appointments with self and others, plus identifying what to reduce to make time for the new priorities. If you need 5-10 hours per week to get something done and do not plan for or implement that time commitment, most fail and often never know why. This often requires new habits or at least re-defining balance for awhile. An Olympic athlete or a working professional going back to school at night for a few years usually chooses to invest more time in the bigger goal and less time in less important activities like excessive tv, social media, or hanging out (note: “excessive” because some of those can be good unless it gets excessive and shifts from good renewal to excessive escapism). The average person spends over 20 hours weekly watching tv—the dedicated Olympian or parent going to school to make a better life makes better choices—at least until the resolution is completed.

Stories of Succeeding using this Method:

Writing books. Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Retired, 1943-2017) and I wrote two books, Professionalism Under Stress and Patriotism in Action, on time and budget using my 7 Step Method. We used the plan template to outline what we wanted to do, why, and how, then decided together and signed the accountability partner agreement. If you want to keep a promise, ask a West Point graduate trained in doing “the harder right” to be your partner😊. If you have a big enough “why” and internalize the importance to you and others you value, plus outline a plan with potential to succeed, then persist, you can do most anything.

Graduating school. I finished my doctoral dissertation and graduated a year faster than most in my class mainly because I realized early on I needed to invest more hours in the main thing that final year–research and writing on my dissertation. Like most students, I felt motivated and busy though an honest assessment of how I was spending my time motivated me to make changes in time priorities that made the difference.

Stopping bad habits. A grandmother attended my weekend workshop. She confessed, she had tried to quit smoking for years. Question 4 helped her finally succeed: Motivation. She wanted to live to see her grandchildren graduate school. I suggested she post a photo of her grandchildren on her mirror and ask daily, which is most important: “my grandchildren or my cigarettes?” She grinned at the suggestion, paused, thought, agreed, then she quit smoking. She internalized her big “why” and that made the difference.

This and more content are provided for you in the planbook. To see or print a complimentary copy of the planbook you can use to outline your goals for the 7 Areas of Life, plus plan an achievable resolution:

7 Steps to Set Achievable Resolutions

Definite Purpose+Burning Desire

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

Napoleon Hill, author of The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich

To identify one’s calling not only provides greater clarity on purpose but also gives us a greater sense of calling, which means better inspiration, direction, action, and, more likely, results. Planning should be more than to do lists and long-range plans. The process of planning can help us identify our purposes.

Plans help us improve “definiteness of purpose” and “knowledge of what one wants” plus adds fuel to our “burning desire.” Once we understand our purposes and possible results while creating the vision, we will be more likely to persevere and less likely to let disappointments hold us back.

Investing 1% of our time in planning adds significance to the other 99%. The 1% can help us focus on better priorities and feel more inspiration to take action.

Napoleon Hill, as a young journalist interviewing Andrew Carnegie, learned common denominators of doing our best exist, make a difference when learned and implemented, and should be taught at home and school, as well as places of work and worship. Often they were not taught or used (in many schools and other key places, still not taught, which we can fix). Plan for School and Life Initiative

Carnegie saw Hill was inspired and offered to introduce him to scores of the world’s most prolific people, including U.S. presidents, business leaders, and scientists such as Thomas Edison.  Hill studied and compiled their common denominators into a list of principles and practices published in essays and books.

If you read more of Hill’s work, you will see his emphasis on writing your “definite purpose” and internalizing it as a key to building desire and action. This process and plan can become a great source of motivation, habits, accountability, and results.

My research and coaching affirms, people with an “A” awareness of calling and choices are much more likely to demonstrate “A” level of “courage” and “commitment.” Without a plan, courage, commitment, and confidence average “C” level, which holds people and their organizations back. In most cases,”A” or “B” is attainable and should be developed.

I first read Hill’s books as a college student in a summer job selling Bibles door-to-door. The ideas plus the summer experience planted the seeds of my calling to help people learn and use best-self leadership. Hill’s work influenced mine and is a reason why I emphasize so much to students, professionals, and families alike that we should write plans to help us discover purpose, focus, and internalize what’s most important.

May you Plan and Lead your Life, David

Cowboy Up + Hard Work + True Professionalism = GRIT

2017-01-27-11_03_47-photos2017-01-27-11_06_53-photosProfessionalism Front Cover

Lead your Life is the #1 best practice to Plan and Lead our Lives (1 of 7).

Is your Mindset optimistic and action-oriented or do you feel entitled or defeated?

Is your instinctive response to tough situations: complain or think solutions?

Most of the time, to change our results, we need to improve or even change the way we think. Those who envision, write plans, and mentally rehearse do better.

My resolutions include at least one for developing my capacities. How about you?

May you Plan and Lead in Life, David

100 Posts Milestone


WordPress sent us a report that this blog hit a milestone of 100 posts.

Thank you for reading and forwarding posts. And, thanks to Kyle Crider who has been advising and helping me design the layout and functions.

With your use and or recommendation of this material, I hope to provide you and others with another 100 posts and make this site better as one valued for information and inspiration that leads to learning, improvement, and action toward your callings.

This message, posted on the Dr. David Dyson (author) Facebook page, tells more of the “purpose” and “motivation” for this work:

Inspired friends,

You and others who care about developing our capacities to succeed and serve others are invited to subscribe to this site, which focuses on my writings intended to provide information and inspiration we can use.

Part of my callings and “bucket list” goals include doing better to write articles, workbooks, and books to help people identify and fulfill callings. I welcome your advice and advocacy to individuals, groups, schools, communities, and leaders in society so we can reach more of those looking for resources.

Thank you, David

May you Plan and Lead your Life

Expand Capacities to Increase Freedom

Einstein inspires these thoughts and actions about “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures”:

  1. In addition to doing daily activities and tasks, we can grow more by intentionally planning and preparing for expanding our capacities.

How would you like to change in the way you think or behave toward others?

What characteristic is holding you back?

Which one is good that could be even better if you focused on making it a strength?

Have you listed your important goals and resolutions to inspire your improvement?

You can add to your goals for the 7 Areas of Life at least one for the Personal Area to think of a way you would like to improve in the way you think or act and the Social Area to identify a way you could improve relationships. Visualize your better or best-self. Write a goal or result. List an action that could succeed. Ask and answer why this is important to you and others (what will happen if you take action and what will likely happen if you don’t?). You likely need all of these to focus on the end result and to keep you moving instead of stay on the path not leading you to your desired journey.

Consider the man who admitted he had “anger issues.” Three marriages. Three divorces. Distant relationships with ex-wives, the new one, even children. Improving this characteristic is more than daily living and wish lists. It almost always requires intentional action inspired by a big reason to choose a better self.

Let us remember, If nothing changes, nothing changes.

He had a choice to make: stay in a comfort zone of beliefs and acceptance, I am a “hot head though after the blow up I am over it and don’t mean to hurt anyone…they should know that and get over it.” Keep telling yourself that and keep getting the same results. Or, widen your “circle of compassion” and your capacities to think and behave differently. Is it worth 1% of your time, about 10-15 minutes daily to improve your plans, actions, and results?

2.  “Compassion to all living creatures” means treating dogs, cats, horses, and most others with respect and care. Enlightened people treat living creatures about the same–humans and animals deserve respect for their purposes. Those who hurt animals when no one is looking or for entertainment likely will hurt or cheat people when no one is looking. Just because what is “legal” has not caught up with what is “ethical” is not justification for people to behave badly.

Have you ever realized you were doing something you thought was okay because “everybody was doing it” and decided it was not okay? I have, too. When bad things are done to other people or to animals, sometimes it is done by people with bad intentions though some people of good intent do bad things because they have not been taught well or they have not yet figured out “right” on their own. Many children learn right and wrong as they mature though too many older adults still suffer–and cause suffering–because they are too lazy or too overwhelmed to include improvement in their daily lives.

A few minutes of daily reflection on plans, actions, and results can save us and others from excessive heartaches as well as increase joys and successes.

May you Plan and Lead your Life, David


I will do what I can

I cannot do everything;

I will…do the something I can do.

-Helen Keller-

The first of my seven best practices to PLAN and LEAD in LIFE is:

Lead Your Life.

Mindset matters. Discouragement when challenges come is a key reason why some of us quit or fall short on resolutions. That is, if you let discouragement disable you. Yet, we have the option when discouragement comes to show our determination to do our best to follow through, to make the best of the situation, to not quit–unless a better use of your time and energy has emerged to merit you changing priorities.

Part of Lead Your Life means honesty with yourself for what your callings are and consideration of if you are responding to your callings. In short, what do you want or need to do? Are you thinking and acting with commitment and confidence?

If a blind woman demonstrated better optimism and perseverance than you have, then count your blessing for having sight and consider if you are using your blessings fully. Do your resolutions get sidetracked at the first sign of disappointment or discomfort?

It may be time to “Cowboy Up.” Do less complaining and more improving–if you want different results.

Developing an instinctive reaction to disappointment that you do your best in spite of not being able to do everything or as well as you wish can serve you well to keep you moving to do what you can. Those who stop trying when results fall short of expectations usually hurt their chances of success by persisting through the early stages.

You will do better if you write a sentence or more on how you will apply the example of Helen Keller in your life. A vision statement or even a vision sentence can help you internalize your commitment and inspire action. Write it. Read it daily. Choose an action daily to implement. Internalize the vision and habits.

An example of a vision sentence you can use, remember, put in your vision statements or constitution: I do my best for that is all anyone can do. When faced with challenge or disappointing results, I remember why I resolved to complete this goal and press on, optimistic my perseverance will prevail. As I face challenges, I remember, my response can expand my capacities.

My research shows, if you have a written plan including your purposes or callings, you are more likely to develop and demonstrate commitment, courage, and confidence. Most people who assess themselves a “C” or worse on “Commitment” almost always assess themselves a “C” or worse on “Callings and Choices” identified and internalized in a plan. Positively, one key way to boost commitment and confidence is by writing a description of callings, vision, resolutions, desired results, or whatever you wish to call them.

May you Plan and Lead your Life, David

More on Maslow’s Hierarchy and Motivation

Motivation – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Dyson Hierarchy of 7 Motivating Values
Dyson Motivating Values Gold.
If you studied psychology, management, or leadership, you probably studied Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs published first in 1943. You may find the article by Nichol Bradford interesting. I like her video message as well.
Maslow’s work is a staple in teaching motivation. I had this content at undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level courses. When I taught Principles of Management at Birmingham-Southern College, the text and additional research helped me dig deeper.
I love his model, which has five levels, though found ways to expand (seven levels) and improve on it, which is what inspired development of the Dyson Hierarchy of 7 Motivating Values. I stand on his shoulders though expand and provide a way for people to choose desired levels and plan for them. You can see the 7 Levels in the model provided.
In the workshop I teach, we dig deeper into the ascending values within each of the 7 Core Values so you can choose that motivates you–and those you want to motivate you. Then, you can list them in your plan and write a vision statement plus goal and action. This approach helps you implement the principles of motivation instead of just hear them. We can adapt this model for use with students as well so they learn and write to improve internalization instead of just hear.