Designing An Extraordinary Year Begins with RESPECT

“I don’t want to waste the holiday. I want to make it count to set me up for a better year. Not just a bunch of resolutions, but a real life change! Can you help me?“ 

The young executive had received my name and number from one of his colleagues who had been sharing how he had used my course: “How to Design an Extraordinary Year” to create a year that he called “stellar.”

Here we were just a few days before the holiday, and he wanted to seize the last few days of the year to design a powerful transformation in his life, in his marriage, and in his career. I must admit that his insatiable determination inspired me.

We had time for one session before he left town, but he asked if we could get started with something powerful to think about on his long drive. (His wife and children had already flown to their destination, and his SUV was going to be loaded up like Santa’s sleigh for a 14 hour drive).

I told him that I definitely wanted to equip him with the information he could use the time productively. He looked at me with some confusion and great curiosity when I told him: “It’s all about RESPECT!”

“What does respect have to do with designing an extraordinary life and year?” You probably have that same question!

I told him that in order to understand what the assignment was, I wanted him to truly think about and understand the definition of respect.

It has been defined as:

  • A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something; elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements
  • A high regard for something or someone
  • The condition of being honored
  • Treating people in a positive manner that acknowledges them for who they are and/or what they are doing

I continued my conversation with my client by telling him I wanted him to spend time thinking about respect. Respect for himself, his family, his life.

I told him that once he had completed that task, I wanted him to do an inventory of his respect. I wanted him to do that by using the word RESPECT as an acronym to identify the seven core areas of each of our lives.

I provided him with the following information and suggested that he spend a minimum of an hour contemplating each of the seven core areas of his life to assess how he respected (or did not respect) his current condition in each of the areas. 

I would encourage you to do the same over this holiday week. Use the inventory guide below, and consider designing an extraordinary year for yourself. 

Why is this issue of respect so important? These two quotes should confirm the significance of respect:

“I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.” Confucius 

Let’s get started on your inventory:


The “R” in RESPECT stands for relationships. 

Your relationship with your spouse, your partner, your boyfriend/girlfriend. Your relationship with your children if you have any. Your relationship with your family, your parents, your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. Your relationship with your friends. Your relationship with your neighbors, coworkers, etc. 

Then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you respect where you are (have been) in this arena of your life this past year?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning very poor, and 10 meaning excellent, where would you rate yourself on your relationships?
  • What could you do in the next year to improve that score?
  • If you asked the important people in your life to score you on your relationship with them, what kinds of scores would they give you?
  • What great things have you accomplished in your relationships this year?
  • What things could you have done better to improve and enrich those relationships?
  • If you could ask the important people in your life what they think would improve your relationship with them, what do you think they would say?
  • If you only had one week left to live in the new year, what would you want to do, improve, or make a right in those relationships?
  • Do you have respect for how you have shown up in your relationships this year?
  • What would you say to yourself to inspire yourself to do even better in your relationships in the coming year? 

Be careful not to “beat yourself up” in the inventory process. Just be honest with yourself. When you identify your true condition in all of these arenas, you can truly design an extraordinary life.

But just as you enter an address into your GPS navigational system, the first thing it wants to know before it maps your step-by-step guide is: “What is your current location?”

What is your “current respect level” for yourself when you honestly inventory your relationships?


The “E“ in RESPECT stands for energy and health.

Energy and health is about how vibrant you feel, how healthy you are, and how you are honoring your body to be it’s best to serve you well.

Immediately, people typically think of their weight. And although weight is certainly important, the real measures that we need to be examining are our BMI levels, body fat levels, and overall energy vs. fatigue.

The one thing I stress to everyone as they evaluate and assess this area of their life is … What are your excuses? What in your “GENES“ is a factor, but what is it in your “JEANS“ is the real question. Greater than 85% of genetics can be overcome with lifestyle management.

To assess this area of your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your level of respect for your current energy levels and overall health?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself?
  • If you asked your spouse, or one of your good friends to rate you on a scale of 1 to 10, what score with they likely give you?
  • What improvements could you make in your health by implementing lifestyle changes?
  • What improvements could you make in your energy levels with lifestyle changes?
  • What improvements have you made in the past year and this arena of your life?
  • What changes would you like to make in the coming year?
  • What beliefs would you need to address in order to make these changes? (Examples: I just can’t live without carbs; I just have big bones; everyone in my family has low energy after age 40, I’m too old to go to the gym).
  • What have you missed out on in this past year due to health and/or energy level challenges?
  • If your Health were improved and your energy levels were increased, what would you want to do that you have not been able to do? (Examples: Play on the floor with my kids or grandkids; spend less money on medication; feel more energetic daily).

You CAN change your health and your energy levels! I just watched a fascinating video of a woman who started strength training in her 70’s. She’s in her 80’s now and she’s going strong! (Click her to watch a brief video of her!)

Now get started! You’re not TOO OLD or TOO YOUNG! Today is your day!


The “S” in RESPECT stands for spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is not about religion, but about growing into all that we were created to be.

Many research projects now connect spiritual growth with thriving. I don’t know about you, but I no longer wish to live in survival mode. Thriving mode sounds much more appealing!

To assess this area of your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • What level of respect do you have for yourself in where you are in this this arena of your life?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself in your spiritual growth for the past year?
  • If you were to ask your spouse, or someone close to you, to rate you in this area of your life, what score would they give you?
  • What do you believe hindered or prevented your lack of growth in this arena this past year? (And the answer is normally inside of us more than external things).
  • What things do you think you might consider in order to enhance this area of your life and step into thriving this year?
  • What personal and professional benefits do you believe you would realize with improving this area of your life?
  • How do you think that enriching this arena might affect you personally? Professionally?

I can assure you that your potential is limitless. There are great things planted inside of you. The question is … are you nurturing them to come into full blossom?


The “P” in RESPECT stands for purposeful living with priority.

Purposeful living with priority is about so much more than time management. As a matter of fact, research, along with my personal and professional experience, validates that living purposefully with priority causes time management to take care of itself.

To inventory yourself in this arena, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much do you respect your purposeful living with priority over the past year?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your self in this area.
  • If you asked your spouse, or someone close to you, to evaluate you, what score on a scale of 1 to 10 do you think they would give you?
  • Do you know your purpose?
  • Do you think discovering your purpose might be valuable in this area of your life?
  • Have you lived this past year by setting your priorities, or have priorities (many which may not have been purposeful) drug you through your days?
  • What do you think might be different in the coming year if you were to improve this area of your life?
  • Do you know what you value in life?
  • Do you think that could be a valuable understanding in order to make enhancements to living purposefully with priority?

I know that as parents, professionals, volunteers, etc. that it seems that our lives are directed by our kids, our boss, our church or charitable organization, by sports, by our TV shows, by Netflix or YouTube.

Imagine if you took charge and designed priorities that were fulfilling? The difference that makes is PRICELESS!


The second “E” IN RESPECT stands for emotional mastery.

Emotional Mastery is the ability to access, feel and examine emotions, deal with them appropriately, and make healthy decisions about how to, or whether to, express them; all while noting their impact on others. Emotional Mastery is the ability to maintain your values of who you want to be, regardless of emotions.

Many people mistake emotional mastery for having no emotions. Being out of touch with your feelings is every bit as dysfunctional as is exploding your feelings everywhere.

To harness the power and gifts in our emotions and feelings, we must excel in emotional mastery.

In order to assess yourself in this arena, ask yourself these questions:

  • Reviewing the past year, how much respect do you have for your emotional mastery?
  • Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 regarding your emotional mastery.
  • If you asked your spouse, or a trusted friend, to score you on a scale of 1 to 10, what number would they likely assign? 
  • What emotions or feelings did you struggle with the most this past year?
  • What areas need to be addressed and improved?
  • How has your lack of emotional mastery negatively impacted your spouse? Your children? Your professional life?
  • If you were to make improvements, how do you think it would positively affect your relationship with your spouse? With your children? In your professional life?
  • If you are “out of touch“ with your feelings or emotions, how do you think accessing them, and expressing them appropriately would enhance your personal life? Your relationships? Your professional life?
  • Do you know the gift that comes with each of your emotions? Do you think knowing those gifts could inspire you to work diligently on improvements in this area of your life? 

When I am training and certifying Life Coaches, I always reveal a newsflash: “Emotional mastery is not for sissies. But it is so worth mastering them!”


The “C” in respect stands for career and finances. 

This applies all the way from kids who have an allowance, to people who have retired. 

It’s been said that everything is not about money, and money cannot buy happiness. I certainly am in agreement with parts of that. But it is also true that we can be more generous, and facilitate more things when finances are available.

In assessing this area of your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much respect do you have for yourself in this arena of your life?
  • If I were to score myself on a scale of 1 to 10, what number would I assign to the condition of my career and finances?
  • What things on your bucket list are going unchecked from the list due to the condition of your career and finances?
  • Have you landed in a career that is meaningful to you?
  • If not, is considering a career change in order?
  • Are you one of the 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck? If so, what difference would it make if you were to move into the 12%?
  • How stressful is this area of your life?
  • Are there ways you could reduce that stress?

We spend so much time in this arena of our lives, it’s really important that we discover a way to enjoy it and its benefits! Hopefully you will find your way into the 12% as you design an extraordinary life and year!


The “T” in RESPECT stands for touching others and making a difference.

This means helping others, reaching out to others, mentoring others, modeling an extraordinary life to your family, friends and coworkers.

So many of us are running at breakneck speed on a daily basis, and therefore, we miss opportunities to tap into this arena of our lives that brings great fulfillment.

Ask yourself these questions about your teaching/teaching others to make note of desired changes:

  • How much respect do you have for yourself as you reflect back upon the last year?
  • If you rated yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in this area of your life, what score would you assign?
  • If you were to asked your spouse, or a close friend, to do the same, what score would they likely give you?
  • What have you done this past year that you believe has made a difference? (It’s important to assess this, because it helps us tap into the fulfillment of it).
  • If you had lived more purposefully with priority, what other ways would you have liked to have made a difference, or touched others?
  • What legacy do you desire to leave? For your family? For your friends? For you place of worship? For your community? For the world? (Remember it’s never too early and never too late to begin!)

Although this assessment is sobering to me year after year, I know that making this assessment gives me the ability to set my goals, cast my vision, launch my dreams… And see them all come to fruition.

Remind yourself that this is just a step toward designing an extraordinary life and year.

Next week I will pop in with the seven ways to actually design that life and year. I hope you will block out some time to complete them. I assure you it will make a major difference in your year, your life, your family, your professional life (or job)!

Above all else, if you’re not pleased with your scores, you have a few more days left in the year to bring that score up! Don’t wait for the new year. Get started this very day.

For many years now, I’ve been following this process. And sharing it with hundreds of others. I received this text over this past weekend:

“Dr. Neecie, I took your course “Designing an Extraordinary Year” last year. My wife and I just reviewed our notes, and we are working on designing another extraordinary year. Looking back, we both agree that it’s been our best year in every single area of our lives. This year we’re going to dream even bigger! With love and gratitude from both of us!”

I wish the same for you. An extraordinary year! An extraordinary life! Take this step over this week, and join me next week for the seven ways to actually design it!

Happy holidays!