The Life Plan Review in a Pandemic

By Marshall Goldsmith

The Life Plan Review (LPR) was lifesaving for me. 

The LPR is designed to close the gap between what you plan to do in your life and what you actually get done. 

There are four steps: 

  1. You and each member of the weekly meeting take turns to report your answers to a fixed set of six questions that have been documented to improve your life. 
  2. In the days between the weekly LPR meetings, you build the habit of self-monitoring by tracking these questions daily. 
  3. Review your plan weekly for relevance and personal need. 
  4. Don’t do this alone. 

This last is essential. Community saved me. 
Marshall Goldsmith Meme

On March 5, 2020, my wife, Lyda, and I began the process of selling our home of 32 years in the San Diego suburbs and moved into a one-bedroom rental ten miles away in La Jolla overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was a major but not unexpected lifestyle change for us. The immediate plan was to look for a home in Nashville so we could see our 5-year-old twin grandkids grow up. 

We figured we would camp out in our new one-bedroom rental for a few weeks as we made trips to Nashville, found a place near our daughter Kelly and her children, filled the new home with the furniture we’d placed in storage, and settled down to enjoy our grandparenting years. 

Professionally, the move wasn’t a disruption, just a change of venue. I was still booked out two years into the future with classes and speaking dates, the majority of them overseas. I was more committed than ever to the 100 Coaches community. I had a book to write. 

Six days later all our plans went poof! Like many Americans, I can pinpoint the moment: Wednesday evening, March 11, when I heard that the NBA had suspended the remainder of its 2020 season, including the playoffs and finals, because of the emerging coronavirus pandemic. 

For some reason, the sudden disappearance of a major professional sport from the national calendar was the tipping point when American leaders and citizens realized, “This is serious.” 

A week later, California was in lockdown, air travel ceased, my speaking dates were canceled, and I stared out the window at the Pacific Ocean. Lyda and I would be okay. She lives in the present even more comfortably than I do. We didn’t look back and kick ourselves for vacating our much larger home a week too soon. Life was still good. Plus we had an ocean view. 

I was more concerned about the 100 Coaches community. 

A mere six weeks earlier, the former Ford CEO, Alan Mulally, and I had spent four hours teaching the LPR concept to 160 members of our 100 Coaches group at the Hyatt Regency near La Jolla. The first COVID-19 case in California would be confirmed a few days later. But we were oblivious. The future was wide open. Now I was worried. If my speaking business could vanish in an instant, what about the younger, less established coaches and teachers and consultants in our community who didn’t have the same cushion as the rest of us? They must be in agony.

Marshall Goldsmith Meme

The academics and C-suite executives in 100 Coaches could fend for themselves. But what about the group’s many entrepreneurs, like the restaurateur David Chang, my coaching client and dear friend, whose Momofuku empire would surely be imperiled by a viral pandemic? If we were bees, I thought, we would be in the early but rapidly worsening stage of colony collapse. 

I felt as if Buddha was testing me, saying, “Okay, dude. You wanted a legacy project? This is your family now. You’re going to have to earn your legacy every day by protecting it.” 

For the first time in my adult life, I had time on my hands, no flight to catch, no meeting to attend, no crowded days on my schedule. Lyda and I were locked down, trying to stay safe. All I had was a sense of responsibility to 100 Coaches and a renewed sense of purpose to protect it. 

So I made the LPR meetings virtual. And what a success it turned out to be! People adapted, people responded, people built communities virtually. 

It all illustrated how much we need each other.

Marshall Goldsmith Meme
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