Create a Life Map: How to Make 2013 A Great Year

A Guest Post by Steve Van Remortel, Author of Stop Selling Vanilla Icecream 

How to Make 2013 A Great Year: Start Today!

As we approach 2013 I challenge you to make it a great year. I want to give you one simple tool to help you become better in all the areas of your life: as a spouse, businessperson, leader, employee, father, mother, son, daughter, and friend.

That simple tool is a “Life Map.” It’s a one page personal plan that helps you achieve success in all aspects of your life. I am consistently working with clients and friends with their life map and I strongly recommend you start creating yours today.

Creating Your Life Map

The life map contains three columns, working from right to left, beginning with your legacy.

Define Your Legacy

Starting with the right column you begin your life map by defining your legacy. How do you want to be remembered when you leave this life?

Long-Term Objectives

Next, in the center column of your life map you write down your long-term objectives that will achieve your legacy.

Annual Objectives

Then in the far left column of your life map you write down your annual objectives for the next 12 months that will help you accomplish your long-term objectives. Simple, but very effective!

The Process

It is best to complete your life map by going away each year for a couple of days to a quiet place where you can think and sort out your future. Then, each month, you review your annual objectives and develop action plans for the coming month to achieve them.

I developed my first life map about six years ago. It has changed my life forever.

In my legacy, I want my kids to view their dad as a mentor and adult friend they can talk to about anything. That starts by spending individual time with them now. So my annual objectives include going with them to concerts, events and just being together.

One of my business objectives is to be a respected author and speaker. That plan became reality with my first book called Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream was published October 16 ,2012.

As with any plan, discipline and accountability are necessary. If you need to find someone to hold you accountable to your life map, share it with a close friend or mentor.

It’s a new year. How do you want to be remembered? What will you do in 2013 to build that legacy? You can do it. You just have to get started today.

Go to Stop Selling Vanilla Icecream to download the free Life Map template and create your personal plan to make 2013 a great year for you.

Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!

Steve Van Remortel is a consultant, speaker, certified behavioral analyst and president of SM Advisors Inc., a strategic planning and talent management consulting firm. Contact him at by email, or on his website or go to or

How To Differentiate Your Strategy Through Competence and Talent

Why would a customer choose you over a competitor? Many companies have trouble articulating that answer, says Steve Van Remortel, author of the new book Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream: The Scoop on Differentiating Your Company Through Strategy and Talent. After helping hundreds of companies build successful strategies, Steve asserts:

“There is no difficulty any viable enterprise cannot overcome confront by improving its strategy and optimizing its talent.”

In talking with Steve last week, his passion for strategy was palpable:

“The number one reason companies don’t have a strong strategic plan is that they don’t exactly know how to do it. This book eliminates that obstacle.”

What struck me most about the approach was the team-based planning. He provides a step-by-step process for building a talent team from across the organization. Although the executives are at the helm, much of the creative work is left to the team. Team members engage in an in-depth internal a
nalysis to identify their differentiable core competence and tangible value.
I asked if executives were ever struggled with the letting go involved in these scenarios. He shared:

“The leaders most attracted to this process, understand the bottom line value a collaborative process can bring in optimizing their strategy and talent.”

The book contains many tools and resources for companies to use, and more that can be downloaded for free on his website. I asked if he felt companies could implement the process on their own, just by following the steps in the book, or if they needed him or another consultant. He reinforced that he wrote the book to “bite size pieces” that teams could work through methodologically.

“If they need me to implement the process, I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do.”

This book is about leaving a legacy. Improving the economy one strategic scoop at a time.

Van Remortel’s 5 Fundamentals of Strategy and Talent

1.  Differentiation: Delivering a clear competitive advantage

2. Tangible Value: Proving your worth

3 Talent Management: Optimizing talent through a clear and deliberate approach

4. Tactical/Departmental Plans: Integrating key actions within and arose departments

5. Plan Execution: Implement an execution program to ensure a culture of discipline

Are you selling vanilla ice-cream? What truly differentiates your strategy and talent? Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream can help.