Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

By Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy (Baker Books, 2016)

Living Forward A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy have written Living Forward that is an excellent step-by-step guide that shares simple but proven principles to help you begin along your path for designing a Life Plan. This book can be read on a short flight or several commutes to the office, and it can prove to be very useful for busy lawyers starting on the transition journey towards retirement.

This book shares many of the proven principles that can help readers create a simple but effective life plan so that you can get from where you are now to where you really want to be–in every area of life. Many of these principles are not new. I consider Richard Bolles and John E. Nelson’s 2007, What Color is Your Parachute? Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future – For Retirement a classic in this area.

Creating a Life Plan is the foundation of Living Forward. And at the heart of your Life Plan are accounts, those areas that you’ve identified as priorities for you. While each Life Plan will be unique, author’s Hyatt & Harkavy have identified several key areas, they referred to as Life Accounts that are common to many people. The book does a good job to explain how these life accounts can be used. Additionally, there is an online, Life Assessment Profile tool designed to help you assess each of these accounts, so you can see where you are doing well and identify areas where you may want to invest more time and focus.  You can find this assessment at

The nine basic Life Accounts are separated into three useful areas three in each categorie:

  1. The first three categories represent “Being,” and this includes our Physical, Spiritual and Intellectual accounts. The authors build on taking care of ourselves first before we can care for others. This is a good place for lawyers to start, because many lawyers have always taken care of clients first as part of your nature. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, then we have nothing available to give to the other accounts.
  2. The second three categories represent “Relating,” and the three accounts are Marital, Parental, Social. These are our relationships with significant other, parents, kids, family, friends.
  3. The last three categories represent “Doing,” and the accounts include: Vocational, Avocational, and Financial. Everything that we do such as job, managing finances, hobbies, household fit into these accounts.

I frequently use Living Forward as a framework as a tool with a transition coaching relationship. The authors recommend developing a life plan over a 24-hour period of time, but I have found it exceedingly difficult for lawyers to set aside such a large block of time.  However, over an extended period of coaching time or as a supplement to CLE programs, this book can be an excellent resource.