If there is one thing I learned this year, it’s that we have a certain amount of control over our lives, but there’s an awful lot in the category of what we don’t control. I’m often reminded of the serenity prayer: God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Stephen Covey, in his groundbreaking book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, called this approach to life the proactive approach. People who focus on what they have power over get more done and enjoy life more. They don’t get caught up in blaming others—their parents, the government, their boss, and general unfairness in the world.

What do we have power over? Mostly ourselves. Not changing other people, not the weather, the economy or politics. Actually the list of what we don’t control is enormous, and it’s bound to be depressing if I were to keep adding to the list.

Fortunately, the list of what we do control is also long and can potentially lead to an upward spiral of thinking, feeling, and ultimately behaving! I can take time to envision my imagined future. I can set goals, one bite at a time to realize my future dreams. I can creatively and systematically address the obstacles I perceive, such as an unsatisfying job, relationship, body issue, or destructive habits and tendencies. I can find the right resources to help me overcome the negatives in my life. I realize I cannot do it alone.

Living in community

I was raised to work on myself alone, as many of us independent, American people were. I discovered the power of community in the 1980s. Although my first experience with a bunch of people in a growth type culture was not perfect—after all we humans are a messy bunch—my growth curve soared. I found my passion—coaching people and in a zig-zaggy way—I found lots of help to realize my evolving vision.

While living in close connection with people I trusted, being accepted as well as challenged helped me mature. The most important tool I learned was how to create a vision and then live into it. I went through about 5 types of time management, life planning, and goal implementation courses through those years and found that they all had the same elements in common: Start with your vision, plot a strategy, and then plan the steps. The component that so many leave out is the follow through, developing a faithful ritual of planning weekly, and daily. It’s a discipline. It became a part of my life. As I started realizing my goals, I coached people who also needed to go beyond head knowledge of how to envision, plan, and execute their own goals.

So, I designed Life As Art as a tool to help structure the process.

Life As Art: Free e-book


Life As Art is a fairly easy process: Simply fill in your answers and save them in a document. It starts with a short reflection of your year, which is always a point for realizing a deeper perspective. Other elements I’ve added relate to your values and purpose, which gives you important context before you set goals. If you allow yourself an hour to sit with this process over the next week, you may find yourself in a place of more clarity, joy, and energy.

If you’re a skeptic, I can tell you that I’ve done this process for the past 20 years, and with it I’ve achieved the most important goals in my life. And just as importantly, I have a sense of deep joy and peace. This discipline has helped me be still, take time for myself, balance my spiritual and physical parts of my life, and nurture my relationships because it helped me build self-awareness.

Like meditation and other mindfulness practices, taking time to reflect, journal, plan, and execute your goals builds your sense of confidence, positivity, and agency. Many clients have used it and have found the process and experience very helpful, and many have gone on to develop their own systems or found other systems that worked even better!

I offer this Life As Art process to get you started in living your life as creator rather than victim, as proactive rather than reactive, and owning what you can own to live out your fullest potential.

We all need one another, and we need you to be your best version of yourself! Make yourself a great year, no matter what’s going on in this wild and constantly changing world!

Elaine Morris
Executive coach and positive intelligence expert

Meet Elaine and get started.

Elaine Morris is a master-level emotional intelligence and executive coach who brings more than 30 years of experience to upper level executives and their teams.

Elaine Morris