Choosing a Goal - January 27, 2020

Where should I invest my time? Where should I put my energy?

“I want to accomplish so much. How do I do it all?”

Success is just as much about what we DON’T do as it is about what we DO. So, the short answer to the question of “how do I do it all?” is that you don’t. At least not all at once.

Here at FourLeaf Leadership, we like resources. How about one like Warren Buffett? However you feel personally about the man aside, he definitely reaches any goal he puts his mind to. How does he do it?

Grab a pen and paper, open the notes app on your phone, a document on your computer – whichever works! Let’s get started with Warren Buffett’s 5/25 strategy.

The Strategy

  • Step 1 – write down 25 things you want to accomplish in your lifetime, your TOP goals.
  • Step 2 – Circle your top FIVE.
  • Step 3 – Cross out the rest. That’s right. Cross them RIGHT out and ANYTHING related to those goals get a big old NO from you.

Does that scare you? Does that make you want to change your top 5? Are you SURE those are the top 5 goals you want to reach before any of the other twenty?

Not sure? In true FourLeaf fashion, here are some questions to ask yourself that will help narrow it down.

Rule #1 to questions – you MUST be honest with yourself. It’s not about what you THINK you should answer or wondering what kind of person it makes you to answer a certain way. This is YOUR identity and you get to own it.

  • Question #1 – If you were to reach this goal, would you still be talking about it in 5, 10, 25 years?
  • Question #2 – Which of these goals would you want people to REMEMBER about you?
  • Question #3 – Imagine your future self and you’ve met this goal, does that make you smile uncontrollably?
  • Question #4 – Are you prepared for the NEGATIVE consequences that come from meeting this goal?

Now, as you look ahead and strategize, which goals will you start with and which goals will you pay ZERO attention to until there is space on y our Top 5?

Share with us what goals you’ll be actively pursuing! We look forward to watching your journey and celebrating your success!

Don't Leave Success to Luck! January 20, 2020

Many of my clients ask me: “How do I know I’m doing the right things?” or “There is just so much to get done, where do I find the time for all of it?”

Can you relate? I’d put money on it, GOOD money on it, that most people have asked these questions at some point in their life. Maybe it’s at work, raising kids (or pets!), new year’s resolutions, or just adulting in general – we’ve all been there.

So how do we know where to spend our precious time, energy, and resources?

Here at FourLeaf Leadership, we don’t leave success to luck. We specialize in helping businesses and individuals identify which skills, resources, and tools they need to invest in to be successful. Every week, we’ll be sharing our insight on what could help make you more successful in whatever your goals are.

[Want a more effective, personalized approach? Schedule a meeting with me! We can help you and your team get the results you deserve!]

A lot of people ask about our process. If you’re thinking about investing in your success, you’re probably wondering the same thing. What do we do and how do we know it works? Two reasons: Science and Experience.

The Science of Human Performance Technology

Identifying how to close gaps and achieve goals is all about Human Performance Technology. HPT emerged in the 1950s and is considered an “empirical” process – this means it is tried and true, not something we “think” will work. It’s also comprehensive. Instead of only relying on the areas we have experience with or connections to, we are looking at every aspect of the gap. Together, we’ll narrow down the goal that needs to be accomplished, the root cause that needs to be addressed, and the best strategy to address it.

Experience Coach AJ

I’ve been coaching professionally for almost a decade. Coaching sessions include a mix of Human Performance Technology and Emotional Intelligence Coaching. I’ve guided business owners, sales makers, leaders, and C-level executives to make key decisions that lead them and their teams to success in positive environments. HPT and EI Coaching works. I’ve worked with new leaders, leaders with decades of experience, and aspiring leaders. We always leave our sessions with a strategy they can use to get the results they deserve.

So, where are you now and where do you want to be? The space between, that’s more than a GREAT Dave Matthews song, that’s your gap. There are six reasons that gap exists: accountability, resources & tools, training, the Why, capacity, and motivation. Which one requires your attention? Where do you need to start? Once you know the answer, how can you be sure it’s working?

So, my friends, share with me! If you (or your team) could accomplish anything in 2020, what would it be?

How can we help?

Let’s make 2020 the year we all get our you-know-what together and get the results we deserve!

Happy Learning!

Introduction to the Problem Solving Framework, August 21, 2019

01- Introduction to Problem-Solving Framework.pdf

Download August 21, 2019 Post

Introducing: The Problem-Solving Framework

For Personal and Team-Related, Professional Problems

You’ve just been promoted! However, your team isn’t exactly making history with their productivity…

Your high school senior is getting C’s. You know they could get A’s if they just did their homework…

You know you should be more active, but you’re having a hard time finding the time…

Fast food has become a time savior, but it is also a money sucker... and about getting active…

We all have problems that hound us. Even if we aren’t actively doing anything related to those problems in the moment, they still hang over our heads and can aggravate more serious problems like depression and anxiety.

Whether your problem lies in your professional world or your personal world, there is a process that can be applied to create action in nearly every situation. This framework will allow you a new perspective on the problem and help you choose the solution that will actually solve the problem.

You’ve tried everything your boss told you to do (well, not everything – “fire them all” isn’t exactly a real solution here), you’ve tried bribing your kid with money and screen time, and how can you be active more often if you can’t even find time to cook a healthy meal at home?


The Problem-Solving Framework, based on human performance technology, starts with an analysis of your reality. Sometimes you’ll already know the answers, but most of the time you’ll learn something new about yourself, your life, or your team.

Once you complete this deeper look, you’ll be able to see some actions you can take. Actions that aren’t huge or super scary, they are manageable.

You implement one or two of those actions for at least two weeks.

If you see great progress, you keep going. If you see some progress, you add another action from your list. If you see NO progress, we go back and see whether we need to stick with it for another two weeks or change course somehow.


My goal is to help you apply this framework to every improvement you want to make from personal growth, to growing a team, to the growth of your children. I’ve never met a problem that this framework can’t solve, only people that get in their own way. Together, we can help you get your brain out of the way and help you find the time to be the YOU that you deserve to be, the team that you deserve to lead, the children that you deserve to raise.

I will tell you; I don’t have all the answers to life, the universe, and everything (42). I can guarantee that you have more answers than you realize, the Problem-Solving Framework will help you ask the right questions. (My fellow Douglas Adams fans will get that reference!)

Check out the Problem-Solving Worksheet. There is one for when the problem is yours (Problem Solving Worksheet – Personal) and one for when the problem is something you’d like to solve for a team (Problem-Solving Worksheet – Professional). If you start one and feel like the questions don’t apply, try the other.


The instructions are simple (notice I didn’t say EASY, but simple).

1) Answer Yes, No, or Not Sure to each question in each section.

· Only answer “yes” when you are 100% sure the answer is yes.

· If you are completing the worksheet for your team, it is a good idea to fill it out yourself and then have team members also answer the questions and compare answers. This could also work if you’re a parent working on a problem with your child!

2) When you come to a question that you either can’t answer, or the answer is inconsistent (sometimes yes, sometimes no), or you just aren’t sure – skip it for now.

· If you come back and you are still hesitant, that’s where “not sure” comes in handy! We’ll get into more detail on how to handle those answers, but for now, treat it like a test. Answer the easy questions first.

· If you aren’t sure about what the question is asking – reach out to me! Your first consultation with me is free and we can walk through the worksheet together.

3) Once you’ve completed the worksheet, you’re likely to see some of the reasons the problem exists.

· Sometimes it’s a lack of quality information, sometimes training is needed, and sometimes we just needed to understand the WHY. Whatever reason jumps out at you, our next step is solving.

4) Implement a solution for at LEAST two weeks before giving up on it. We’ll have more guidance and resources for you – so keep coming back and visiting!

As always, if you need guidance at all during the worksheet process or after in the solution process, it’s my favorite thing in the world to help people find solutions through this framework. I hope I get the chance to talk with you!

Best of luck and happy problem-solving!

-AJ Emery

Six Reasons You Aren’t Successful, August 28, 2019

You’ve been trying to lose weight.

You desperately want more time for yourself.

You’re struggling to get others to work as hard as you are.

We all have goals like these. We may not know where to start or there are times we feel like we’ve already tried everything.

The Problem-Solving Framework will help to take the guesswork out of moving forward and being successful.

There are six reasons we aren’t successful. These six reasons stand between where we are and where we want to be. The Problem-Solving Framework uses Human Performance Technology to narrow down which solutions will actually help solve your problem.

You can finally stop the endless loop of trying and take real action!

6 Reasons We Aren't Successful (Yet).

1) We believe we can’t (Capacity)

The phrase “we believe” is important here. We tend to say things like “I want to lose weight, but I can’t give up sweets” or “I want to be more active, but I can’t move around very well, so exercising is out of the question.

This belief limits us. We can look at Reasons 3, 4, 5, & 6 and find a solution that improves our capacity. We may start small and then expand our comfort zone. We may take a class or practice a skill. Either way, the REAL reason you aren’t successful probably isn’t Capacity.

2) We don’t want to (Motivation)

Your mental health is suffering. You know you need some personal time, but when? There’s too much to do! But when it comes down to doing what needs to get done (i.e. ask for help, let go of having a super clean house, quit something), we don’t want to.

That’s OK! There are four others reasons we aren’t hitting our goals. If you’re finding it hard to get motivated to get up a little earlier or finish just one more thing before bed, you aren’t alone. We know you WANT that free time, though you may not WANT to do something uncomfortable to get there.

3) Our information game is weak (Information, Data, and Feedback)

This. This is the place to start.

  • Are you armed with the RIGHT information about what you are doing?
  • Have you set expectations and defined what success looks like? (actions to take, when to take them, how to do it, for how long, and what results look like)
  • Are you keeping a journal of actions take (or not taken) and the results?
  • Are you receiving constructive feedback when you aren’t taking action? Are you congratulating yourself when you do?

If you haven’t checked these boxes, you likely won’t be successful.

Knowing what success looks like can drive that motivation through the roof! Keeping track of your actions and their results takes the guesswork out of why you’re getting anywhere.

Finally, feedback is crucial. Some people don’t give themselves enough grace, others give themselves too much. Learn which one you are and find a friend, teammate, or coach that can balance you out.

4) We aren’t using the right resources and tools (Resources and Tools)

The information you get to reach your goal is important (see above). That means the resources you are using to get that information are just as important! You wouldn’t take advice from someone who had never done what you’re doing, right? Check that your resources are reliable.

Have you ever tried to boil water for pasta in a toaster oven? It might be possible, but it sure would be easier with a pot on a stove! Not only would it be easier, but you’d likely have a better outcome. The tools you are using are just as important as the quality of your resources. If you’re trying to get active, but you can’t stand that old bike, it might be time to either switch up the routine or get a new bike! It doesn’t have to be a Peloton right away, but improving the quality of your tools for what you are doing can help you get motivated to do more of it!

5) We have more to learn (Knowledge and Skills)

Learn and practice. The more we learn and the more we practice; the more we grow and the more success we enjoy! Find ways to learn about your goal from people who have been successful before. Practice the skills needed to be successful. Skills like holding yourself accountable and managing your time are often forgotten!

For example, I can practice being more mindful by wearing a wristband device that reminds me of my goal. Then, when I go to take an action that doesn’t help me, I see the wristband and make a conscious decision to stop that action or do it anyway take a step back away from my goal. When I make this decision, I’m practicing accountability for myself. The more I make the right decision, the better I am at this skill!

6) There’s a “why” in our way (Incentive and Consequences)

Can you answer these questions?

  • What are the benefits of taking this action and meeting this goal?
  • What are the negative consequences of NOT taking action and NOT meeting this goal?
  • What are the negative consequences of meeting this goal? (Think long and hard on this one!) Are you prepared to overcome those obstacles?

Once you have the answers, it will be much easier to get motivated and stay motivated. The third question is especially important. If we don’t prepare for what’s to come, it will derail us. There can be side effects to meeting our goals. Loss of time, loss of “friends,” and loss of identity are among the most severe. How will you prepare?

7) BONUS: We aren’t ready to lose that part of our identity.

  • I’m the friend that works out a ton, but doesn’t say no to pizza and beer. My body reflects that.
  • I’m the friend who is constantly busy and doesn’t have time for anyone else.
  • I’m the friend who hates her job and is always looking for something new.

These are a part of me. This is who I am. I don’t like these parts of my identity and I want to change them. The question is, am I ready? How will my relationships change if I start saying no to pizza and beer? What if I quit my job and don’t find something else right away, then I’m the friend who is unemployed. Is that better or worse?

Some steps to take:

  • Write down statements about who you are now: Things you love, neutral things, and things you don’t like and want to change.
  • Write down statements about who you want to be when you change.
  • Craft neutral statements as placeholders between what you want to change and where you want to be.
  • Focus on the things you love about yourself and your neutral statements. Work your way towards where you want to be!

These statements will become your thoughts. These thoughts will determine how you feel and how you act. It’s called Cognitive Therapy (I highly recommend Brooke Castillo’s model, it simplifies the whole process) and it’s a skill to be practiced during any change in life – voluntary or involuntary!

Which of these reasons jumped out at you? If it was only one, take it and RUN with it! If it was more than one, it would be a great idea to fill out one of our problem-solving worksheets.

The Personal worksheet is for problems like:

· Finding time to exercise and meal prep

· Improving your career with a new position or new job

· Changing your spending habits to save money.

The Professional worksheet is for problems that involve a team, such as:

· Improving productivity with your team at work

· Getting your child to do his or her homework consistently

· Motivating your team to take their good performance to GREAT

If you have any questions on the worksheets or need any guidance – reach out! You can send an email with your question to, you can post or message us on Facebook or LinkedIn, or you can go straight to the scheduling site and set up a coaching session.