Reading time: 2 min.
When you have a big goal, the distance from where you are to where you want to be can seem huge. It may be so huge that you won’t know how to start or worry that it can’t be done.
The trick is to follow a natural plan. A natural plan adds useful detail to the adage, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” A natural plan contains
- A qualitative description of your overall goal. How will you know that you are done? How will it feel?
- A set of high-level milestones. From what you can tell right now, what are the major steps you’ll use to get to your goal?
- At least one immediate next doable step. Given the goal and milestones, what is the first thing you can do? There will always be something you can do. Can you see anything else you might do? What would you do after that?
Describe your goal, set some high-level objectives, then get started with whatever makes the most sense. Notice what’s missing? Instead of taking time to build (or worry over) detailed plans, get started with a general direction and first steps. Then iterate: act, learn, adjust as you go, and repeat.
With a minimum amount of organization and very little stress, a natural plan will help you reach any size goal.
In your corner,
PS: As you proceed, you may stumble across fear, uncertainty, doubt, worry, anger, regret, or guilt (fudwarg) that derails your progress. If so, remember to use tools like the Dirt-Simple Way Past Obstacles to get you back on track.
Reading time: 2 min.
Think for a moment about that project you would love to do, you have been wanting to do for quite a while, and you have not yet started. (Everyone has at least one of these. 🙂 )
Why haven’t you started it?
Is it lack of time or funding? Do you fear what others will think? Is it that you don’t know how? Or that you are somehow not ready? Does it seem too risky? What if you fail? Have you come to think that perhaps you don’t really want this goal after all?
Recognize that compared to the joy, growth, and freedom your project represents, your reasons for not starting are inaccurate, inadequate, and insignificant. And recognize there is a simple way to get started regardless.
- Write down and commit to achieve your goal despite any “yeah, buts” you may have. This is not about willing or forcing yourself. It is a gentle and clear acknowledgement of what you intend. “Even though I had thought I needed more money to start this project, I am excited to get started and look forward to realizing the goal.”
- Feel good then take the very next small step towards your goal. Then take another. And another. “I don’t know all the steps yet. But I can see the first one or two. I’ll figure out the subsequent steps when I get there.”
- Watch as the people, money, situations, and plain old good luck line up to help you make your project come true.
- Keep going until you meet your goal.
If the project is at all compelling to you, then start it. You have everything you need.
In your corner,
Reading time: 3 min.
When you set a goal for yourself or your business, set two goals. The first is a quantitative goal. The second is qualitative. Together they are much better at guiding you to your desired ends than a quantitative goal alone.
If you only specify a quantity–“10 new clients by the end of this year ” or “1 chapter per month on my book,” for example–you unwittingly introduce four limits to your success.
- You put an upper limit on what you might achieve. What if, after landing 10 new clients, you could have landed 10 more with minimal extra effort?
- You expose that goal number to “attack from below,” that is, the tendency to justify and back away from a goal because it seems too difficult. Example: “Golly. A chapter a month is awfully aggressive. Every other writer I know says a chapter a month is impossible.”
- You may preclude investment. It may make sense to set a lower goal now so that you can make a strong investment for the future. What if getting just 3 new clients would let you not only generate the revenue you need but also give you time and energy to work on your processes. Maybe you need to invest and scale to meet the new volumes of business.
- You may blind yourself to legitimate adjustment of the goal along the way. What if, after a few months, you hear that existing clients have a new, pressing need that you can help with? Would your “10 new clients” goal prevent you from changing course and helping your (presumed more profitable) existing clients? Or what if your “1 chapter per month” goal was draining you. Would you adjust the goal to avoid hurting the quality of your writing?
It’s the apparent arbitrary nature of quantitative goals that cause these limits. Why 10 new clients? Why not 8 or 80? Why 1 chapter per month? What about 2? Or 1 per week?
Here is where qualitative goals help. They guide you much better than a qualitative goal alone can. They keep you honest and help you adjust, invest, and balance your approach as you proceed. They make explicit the reasons for the quantitative goals. Even if you knew the reasons when you set your goal, it is way too easy to lose track.
|10 new clients by the end of this year
||“We will end this year with enough revenue to pay full bonuses and fund the new product launch. 10 new clients will do the trick.”
|“1 chapter per month on my book,”
||“I will work consistently on my new book so that it is ready when my editor says she will have time to work on it. And, I want to avoid any mad rush to meet the deadline. I can meet these quantitative goals by writing 1 chapter per month.”
Simple and effective, eh?
In your corner,
Reading time: 1
In career, business, relationships, and health–in areas large and small–we sometimes struggle to get what we want.
When we struggle, there is often–oddly–one major and overlooked cause: we have not satisfactorily defined what we actually want.
Instead, we act out of habit chasing, at worst, whatever will temporarily relieve the tension or, at best, vague notions of what we really want.
Try this: next time you notice yourself struggling–a little or a lot, at work or at home–take the time and answer the question, ” What do I really want here?” And be willing to be surprised by your answer.
To your continued success,