In writing the Core Leadership Series, I had a keen eye on one particular exercise that I so desperately wanted to try but just didn't have the time to do.  Today I decided, after finishing the edit on the file (for the third time and there's another, rather large error in this one as well - more on that below), I decided to finally do it. 

One thing I'll also add to the copy is that the Get Real exercise is crushingly personal.  If you take the proper amount of time to complete the exercise it can be a real eye-waterer.  I'll explain the exercise below and I'll even give you insight into how I finished.  It has since encouraged me to two great ideas, but again I'll add them in below.

I'll immediately point out that Get Real is not an idea of my own but one I grabbed off the internet (from a fantastic site called SlideShare - the link to a number of awesome exercises can be found HERE).  Here's how it works; you take five sheets of colored paper - blue, pink, purple, green, and orange.  The color doesn't really matter, but that's how it's spelled out in the Series.  You cut these five sheets into four 3x3 squares so you'll now have 20 sheets of paper, four of each color.

You are given time to write the following, one category at a time, on each color of paper.

Blue - Think about 4 items / personal possessions that you value the most.

Pink - Think about the 4 people in your life (living or dead) that matter the most to you.  Avoid writing "friends" or "family."  Singular persons only.

Green - Think about 4 memories that have affected you the most.  Good ones or bad ones that you learned valuable lessons from.  Be somewhat specific... "your childhood" shouldn't be an answer but "bowling on Tuesdays" could be.

Orange - Think about 4 goals you want to achieve or use to set your future.  Again, be fairly specific and avoid "be happy" or "make enough money to support my family."

Purple - Think about 4 places that are important to you and you'd like to have access to.

It is of vital importance that you take your time on each category and after you have finished to stop and reflect.  Give yourself time to think about each fully before you move on.  Again, this is exceptionally personal.

Now take six away.

These six are no longer a part of your life.  The memory is erased, the person is out of your life, you can no longer go to that place, have that thing, or complete that goal.  Again... take your time but finalize your decisions.  I personally decided that when I touched a card and flipped it over, I had made my decision.

Phew, that was tough.  Now take away five more.

For review's sake, I kept the discarded selections in piles by round so I knew what I was most willing to let go of (and what types of things were lingering on before being removed).

From this next stack of only 9 things you have to take away 4 more.

And finally, take away two more things until you're left with three.  I will say the original organizer of the game said to take away three more and you're left with three things.  That's fuzzy math.  Take away 2 in the final round and you're left with the three things that are the most important to you.

Before I reveal what those things were, I just want to talk about how agonizing each decision was and how I went through a careful thought process before moving on to the next.  You have to justify forgetting memories that shaped who you are all in the name of defining what you believe right now.  Its also worth noting that one of the questions that can be discussed as a group afterwards is "how different do you think this list will look in 5, 10, 20 years?"

I encourage everyone to do the same at some point to find out who you are and what makes you tick.

My final selections were 1) my dogs, 2) to finish a degree in Astrophysics, and 3) watching Cosmos w/ my dad and sister this past summer.

I won't go into drastic detail about the thought processes and outer monologue I had with myself afterward - but suffice to say I'm writing this over an hour after I finished the task.

So I encourage others to do it but have two ideas for the site that I want to see if anyone wants to take me up on.  I believe a flash-game version of "Get Real" can be created and people can sign on, fill out their cards, and get feedback from us or just put a generated JPG on their Facebook page.  Otherwise, I think it would be very cool to start an InstaGram hashtag #GetReal with a picture of someone's face (if they want) holding up their three cards.

I appreciate anyone taking the time to read my thoughts and participate!  Thanks for being a part of our community.  I hope you have time to find out what you're made of.