Win Harper | Life and Leadership Coach

Give Yourself an A for 2013

For the past 4 years I have been doing the Give Yourself an A exercise from the book, “The Art of Possibility”  by Ben Zander.  This is a very well written and easy to read book with important information for all of us. I highly recommend the book for coaches, leaders, and anyone who is on a journey of self-reflection and growth.  I have had great results with the exercise.  My previous blog compared what I wrote in December 2011, and what I accomplished during 2012.  The reflecting and writing involved in the process helped me to set goals and intentions that I would have not thought of otherwise.

Below is the exercise.  At the end of it I have added my 2013 writeup as an example. 

Exercise: Give Yourself An A

I want you to think about 2013 and what you want to do and achieve. Now, I want you to give yourself an A for the whole year.  The A is based upon your effort and your accomplishments.  Now I ask that you write me a letter telling me why you deserved an A.  I want the letter to start with “Dear Win, I got my A because…” and then describe in as much detail as possible, how you came to achieve this extraordinary grade. 

I want you to go to this time next year, and look back, and write about all the insights you acquired, milestones you attained during the year as if these accomplishments were already in the past.  Everything must be written in the past tense.  Phrases such as, “I hope,” “I intend,” or “I will” must not appear. If you wish you may mention specific goals you reached, but I am more interested in the person you will have become by January 2014.  I am interested in the attitude, feelings, and worldview of the person who will have done all he wished to do or become everything he wanted to be.  And I want you to fall passionately in love with the person you are describing in the letter.

I earned my A in 2013 because I focused on my physical, mental, and spiritual development.

In April, I ran a 1 ½ miles in 12 ½ minutes, did 60 crunches in two minutes, and completed 3 pull ups.

I also continued to improve my golf game, and I was able to play in the mid-80s.  My teams were league champions, and I won a trophy in the Associate Division of the Annual EAGA tournament.

I took classes in water coloring and memoir writing.  In addition, I continued my singing lessons, and sang in public for the first time in my life.

I taught my class on Fulfillment at Omega, and several other venues.  In addition, I taught with Elizabeth at several locations. I continued my private coaching practice.

I volunteered at the Middlesex Heritage Group, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Ontario/Yates County Literacy Program.  I finally got connected with the Veterans’ Club at the Finger Lakes Community College, and worked with young men and women who had recently been discharged from the military.

I was the guest speaker at several events including a local Memorial Day Parade.

I reflected upon my life, looked for lessons learned, and discovered who I am.  I started my memoirs.  This process allowed me to heal some family and personal relationships. 

In 2013, I became more confident and creative. I learned to take a breath and choose my responses.  I expanded and celebrated the impact I have as a leader, change agent, and contributor to other’s lives. I was at peace with who I am and what I have accomplished; I was glad to be me.



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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/19/12 at 09:09 PM

How I earned my A in 2012

For the last several years, I have been doing the “Give Yourself An A” exercise from the book, “The Art of Possibility.”  As this year ends, I looked back at what I did to earn my A.  I am proud of what I accomplished this past year.  The exercise allowed me to think about what was important to me, and what I wanted to do in 2012.  I also took time to think about who I want to be.  Next week I will post the exercise and why I got an A in 2013.

I got my A…

because I finally became the person I was born to be.  I let go of many limiting beliefs I had held on to since childhood.  I let go of the last vestiges of my “learned helplessness.”  I let go of my fears, aligned my behaviors with my values, and became more powerful. I gave myself permission to be wrong and to fail, and I took the time to learn from those experiences. I allowed myself to be dynamic, forceful, kind, and helpful.

I maintained good health through my eating habits and regular exercise. I reduced my consumption of meats, and I was very careful about what I put into my body.

I had a daily regimen of meditation and stretching exercises.  I also went to Yoga at least once a week.

During 2012 I kept my weight around 183, and have watched my diet.  The past two months I have been exercising more.  I have challenged myself to be able to run 1 ½ miles in 12 ½ minutes, do 60 crunches in 2 minutes, and complete 3 pull-ups by the time I am 69!  I am now able to run 1 mile in 12:45 minutes.

In the summer I played golf three times a week.  I consistently shot in the middle 80s and got my handicap down to 14.


During 2012 I played golf at least twice a week in the past summer, and while I did not lower my handicap I did hit the ball better and enjoyed playing more.

I let go of my 3rd grade teachers comment about my singing, and my fears of looking foolish. I gave myself permission to sing and dance.

During 2012 I started singing lessons with Maria Gillard, and practiced almost daily.  Next year I am going to sing in public!!!!

Elizabeth and I took dance classes at the local community college.

I started water coloring, and made my own Christmas, thank you, and patriotic cards.  I allowed creativity to flow through my body. 


During 2012, I took water coloring classes here in Canandaigua, and I took two classes at The Lodge at Woodloch with John Leone.  This is my most recent painting.  I have used them on thank you notes and gift cards.

I gave more public speeches, and took on more leadership roles in my community.


During 2012 I gave speeches at the Phelps NY Memorial Day Parade, the local Marine Corps Recruiter’s Family Day, and at the annual Marine Corps Birthday Dinner.

I continued to volunteer with the Middlesex Heritage Group.  There I submitted a grant proposal for the Conservation Assessment Program, and started compiling a list of local Military Veterans and their gravesites.

I am now a volunteer at the Ontario and Yates County Literacy Program.  And, I have made several attempts to do volunteer work with the Vets Club at the Finger Lakes Community College.

In 2012, I owned what I did. I took responsibility for who I am, and what I do.  In that process, I became more authentic, and all of my relationships flourished.  I was healthier and happier than I have ever been.  I worked hard this year, and I am proud to have earned my A.

During 2012 I also took time to look back over my life and discover the lessons learned.  I was especially interested in the ones that I had not yet acknowledged. 

Through my teaching and coaching, I contributed to the well being of many individuals, and I learned more about myself and what is important now! 

Today I am a kinder, more loving, and understanding person.  Focusing on my creativity this year freed me from some of my limiting beliefs, and inspired me to be even more creative and open.


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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/15/12 at 04:01 PM

Marine Corps Birthday Speech 2012

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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/06/12 at 04:09 PM

Copyright 2009 by Win Harper.