Today’s post is the feature article  from the May 2004 issue of  The Front Porch Newsletter.  If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

blumbergface1I recently attended an annual fundraising breakfast for the Naperville Education Foundation. The breakfast was a real education in itself as to how our Naperville School District has reshaped the meaning of Physical Education. A few dedicated teachers, with a dream, have taken a “second-thought” period out of a child’s school day and have transformed it into leading a revolution that will change the way our nation and the world looks at P.E. The national media and representatives from the US Department of Health are flocking to Naperville to learn the details of this successful endeavor. In a curriculum that pushes each student to be challenged and daring, it is no longer a period of “play” — but one of physical understanding, mental development, team work and leadership. Yes, leadership. This is not the P.E. you remember. Most importantly, it is a program that plants the seeds for a life-long commitment to taking ownership for your physical health and development. And it is a program about accountability — which may have had something to do with the “take-away” given to each person attending this Naperville Education Foundation breakfast. It was a pedometer. Talk about detailed accountability! It is the ultimate accountability device in that it measures the number of steps you take! It reminded me of two key principals of self-development — one is that great success is built on thousands of little steps, and the other is that you get what you measure. We talk a lot about dreams and visions. But how committed are we to the little steps. So goes the old saying, “it took me 10-years to become an overnight success!” How committed are you to the mundane little steps — the quiet “behind-the-scenes” steps.

I asked our Front Porch readers, last month, to weigh-in on their own “outside of work” professional development. Knowing that the average month provides about 720 hours, we learned that while 3% indicated they spent more than 20 hours a month in professional development, a full 86% indicated they spent less than 10. Nearly 70% indicated that this professional development came in the form of reading professional magazines and books, while another 50% indicated they used networking groups or professional associations as a platform for their growth.

But, on the survey, I failed to ask the most important question: “Do you have a strategic and specific plan for your development?” Not just a conceptual one, but one with detailed little steps. Are you genuinely committed to a plan for your own mental, intellectual, physical and spiritual development? Do you have a pedometer plan in place so you can measure the steps that will get you there? Although sometimes frustrating, it is easy to tell your children to do their homework. It is easy to get excited about the challenges a new P.E. platform can provide them. It is harder to be a living model of commitment.

The speakers at this Naperville breakfast did a great job of sending a message of their commitment to our children developing healthy habits. The pedometer did a great job of asking a question: “Are you a role model?” If so, start walking the talk and measure it one step at a time.

Action Idea: Get committed or recommitted to a personal plan of mental, intellectual, physical and spiritual development. Be sure each step is specific, measurable and actionable. Do you want a reminder that success is a step-by-step process? Order your own pedometer at www.walk4life.com!!