Guest Column | February 17, 2016

Leveraging The Power Of Perspective

By Arlin Sorensen, O and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups

Perspective.  What exactly does that mean today and why is it important?  Over the last year I’ve come to truly appreciate the importance of perspective when it comes to planning.  It is a core element to the Paterson Center tools – StratOp and LifePlan – where about 2/3 of the focus is actually taking a look backward to determine how we got to the place we are today. 

In most planning systems, the tendency is to start where you are today and then attack the future from that vantage point.  The benefit of the StratOp and LifePlan systems use of perspective is that you learn from the lessons of the past, and examine the underlying reasons for the current status of life or business.  This simple insight – the power of perspective – is what makes planning with LifePlan a very different experience from other strategic planning systems.

I’ll speak to the LifePlan system in this post as I am spending a significant amount of time facilitating LifePlans for HTG’ers and others.  Perspective is all about looking back to inform the future.  LifePlan participants use the facts of the past to help us understand how and where we should go in the future.  The simple reality is that we were created as individuals and have a unique personality, thinking wavelength, internal wiring and other qualities and characteristics.  These things are part of who we are, and the best way to identify them is to look in the mirror and over our shoulder at the past and really dig deep into how we have lived to this point.

That’s what perspective is.  Looking at the past to inform the future.  I’ve learned it is one of the most powerful tools in life planning as it is extremely rare that people make 180 degree turns in how they live from their past.  The talents and heart we’ve used to guide our past life is the same that we’ll be working with as we live the future.  I find that some people have never considered their unique makeup and how it’s impacted them.  The LifePlan process really unlocks potential, and the lens of perspective is a powerful component to do so.

Here’s a few questions you might ponder that provide some perspective:

  1. What have I been successful doing in the past?
  2. What has brought you the most joy in life?
  3. What do you dream about when you are in the shower?
  4. How would others describe your talents based on your life to date?
  5. If you had no limitation from time or money, what would you do? 

Perspective is an asset when it comes to planning.  We need to understand the life we’ve lived and use that to be a foundation for the life we intend to live in the future.  If we do life planning without that foundation, it is like building a house on shifting sand.  It won’t stand the test of time and we’ll find our efforts needing to be done again and again.  Perspective provides a strong foundation that allows us to move confidently into the future.

LifePlan is a service that HTG offers to anyone who is serious about planning the future.  It’s a two day kickoff event built up a planning system that becomes the methodology for ongoing direction and accountability.  If you are interested, reach out to Dennis O’Connell ( for more information or to schedule your LifePlan with one of our certified facilitators.