Martin Short has always had a knack for seeing and working to make even low points a positive experience. In 1975, while between acting jobs, he devised a self-evaluation framework known as “The Nine Categories”. In essence, by working through these categories, he could weigh the good with the bad in his life at the moment.

Category 1: Self. 
What is my current state of physical and mental well-being?

Category 2: Immediate Family. 
How are my spouse, children, and pets doing?

Category 3: Original Family. 
How well am I getting along with the people I grew up with?

Category 4: Friends. 
What is the state of my friendships and the level of connection?

Category 5: Money. 
Am I financially secure?

Category 6: Career. 
How fulfilling and satisfying is my professional life?

Category 7: Creativity. 
How does my innate creativity manifest outside of work?

Category 8: Discipline. 
Do I possess the self-control and willpower to pursue and achieve my goals?

Category 9: Lifestyle. 
Am I making a positive impact and enjoying my life?

An ongoing evaluation of one, some, or all of these is a great exercise in self-examination and improvement.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.