CAP Today

Strategic planner to help optimize life

"About seven percent of people truly plan their lives," says author Bernhoff A. Dahl, M.D. "They have a written form of strategic planning and they review it on a regular basis. These people tend to do better in life." With his new book, Optimize Your Life! The One-page Strategic Planner, he's hoping to reach "the next seven percent." Dr. Dahl, former chief of pathology at Eastern Maine Medical Center and former president of Dahl-Chase Pathology Associates, both in Bangor, Maine, drew on the principles laid out in his book during his recent keynote address at the CAP's Pathology Practice Management conference in Chicago.

Optimize Your Life! Interactive Worksheets CD Edition outlines Dr. Dahl's "self-development system" for readers who want to achieve personal and professional goals through written exercises. The book stemmed from the disillusionment Dr. Dahl suffered while working as a consultant after he retired from pathology in 1995. "People would ask for strategic planning, would pay for strategic planning, and then would use very little of it," he says. He discovered that while his clients were good at defining goals, they usually neglected to divide the goals into specific individual projects and then into tasks that would help them reach their goals. Once he had t hem do that, he says, "within three weeks, something would get done. People would turn around and say, "Aha! Strategic planning worked for me!"

Using the worksheets in the book, readers define their personal values, mission statements, and vision statements for the future. They identify their SWOTs--strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats--then set goals and use the one-page strategic planning sheet to break the goals down into concrete tasks. In turn, individuals' strategic planning benefits organizations, Dr. Dahl says: "Organizations don't have strategic planning; they have merged strategic planning of the individuals that make up their organization. If you know who you are and what your values are, you can function on a higher level in any organization."

Optimize Your Life! Interactive Worksheets CD Edition is available for purchase at www.TrionicsUSA.com along with an e-book edition and a CD containing interactive worksheets.


Writer's Digest has this to say about Optimize Your Life!:

"This is a practical and helpful book, very nicely produced in all respects, from the interior art work and charts to the fine editing. The author's voice is a helpful one and the material is very thoughtfully organized in a way that invites readers into the book. Many, many people are interested in better ways of reaching their goals and will appreciate this addition to the literature of achievement. The book will be an easy means for them to educate themselves as to a more viable way of living successfully.

The engaging format will also keep a reader who is interested in self-help focused on what is available here so that he or she can benefit from the message the author intends. Anyone who sticks with the book and follows its instructions will certainly end up with some improvements to his or her ability to meet life's many demands.

The written self-evaluations are an excellent adjunct, as many of those committed to following a self-improvement path will likely analyze their current state and future hopes. Numerous approaches to both are given here, which provides the readers with good ideas for avenues to examine.

The author has worked very hard to provide a full experience for readers with this book. His inclusion of references to other works (from Alice in Wonderland to Star Wars) will broaden the impact of the material by reminding readers of the positive things they already know about our world.

The author, who is also a public speaker, can perhaps charge more for these public talks and then include the book as a "free" extra. This way the books would not have to be sold additionally."

G. Miki Hayden, Writer's Digest Book Awards


BookWire review

Apellicon-Pearson Press, Winterport, ME
$19.95, paperback (190p), ISBN: 0-936232-06-4

Bernhoff A. Dahl's Optimize Your Life! Interactive Worksheets CD Edition is a self-help book with a crucial difference. Without descending to preaching, this interactive book enables readers to optimize their lives. It attempts to help them realize their worth in the world by stating that every individual is the center of their own universe, and that being self-centered is no crime. It actually encourages such an attitude. Dahl suggests that to make life more meaningful, joyful, and interesting, readers should understand themselves and analyze their strengths and weaknesses, learning to use them to their advantage.

Divided into three parts"Strategic Planning Overview," "The Strategy of Personal Planning," and "The Tactics of Personal Planning"this book prompts readers to question themselves to achieve better self-understanding. The first part, "Strategic Planning Overview," defines strategic planning and the necessity for having such a plan. Using suitable quotes and anecdotes, the author explains how seemingly simple things like planning, strategy, setting goals, and implementing them can make a huge difference in one's life.

Dahl asks pointed questions in the second part, "The Strategy of Personal Planning," by answering which readers can change themselves. In this section, readers realize who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, who their friends and who their enemies are, and learn to recognize an opportunity when it arises and seize it. The author gives examples of how this can be done, and leads readers to discover if they are doing whatever is required to achieve their goals.

The third part, "The Tactics of Personal Planning," shows methods for implementing the plans that readers have made in the earlier parts. In the epilogue, Dahl underlines the importance and the need for interactive self-help books, by pointing out that readers are the ones who actually have to make the journey to better themselves, while the author or the book can only point out the way.

Finally, in the satisfying and at the same time entertaining Appendix, Dahl gives one more reason for reading this book, as he cheekily decimates his critics in his witty and charming style. The interesting and highly useful exercises provided in most chapters perfectly supplement the content of this book.

BookWire Review