But the Sky Is WAY Up There!
When I introduced this series with the overview The 5 Step Strategy that Saved a Company Can Also Get You to Your Dream, Chris and Hendry Lee pointed out in the comments a mistake that is easy to fall into — setting an unbelievable goal.
After all, we’ve decided. We want to get going, make things happen, put our strategy in place. So let’s choose a goal that’s mighty, powerful, and going to get us there now. Friends and family, thinking the problem is self-estem, often advise and encourage us to do just that.
Soon enough we end up with a goal like this one.
“Find Your Bliss and the Money Will Follow.” That’s a dream — too nebulous to be a strategic goal. I can imagine bliss, sort of, but I can’t define it. I can’t put my arms around it or draw a map to show me or anyone how to get there.
The irony is that when we face an impossible goal, we become overwhelmed, lose that self-same self-esteem, and talk ourselves out of our quest, knowing we’d fail. After all, I can’t ahieve or become what I can’t define or see — I’m not foolish enough to try that.
End of quest, end of strategy to improve,.we’re left without the goal, somehow feeling less for even thinking about trying. We might even be thinking that strategy is something that other folks do . . .
Pfft! balderdash, piffle, and keruffle. All four apply to that response. Add to that . . .
We’re not what’s wrong in this picture. The goal is.
5 + 1 Whole Brain Steps to Believable Strategic Goals
Folks who talk strategy make it sound mysterious, sort of like rocket science mixed with ancient tarot readings. It seems to come with a “Do not try this at home” label, subtitled “not for the uninitiated.”
Strategy is not rocket science. It’s a simple, logical process.
Strategy is using what you know and what you can find out to get where you want to be. A strategic plan starts with that first strategic goal. Make your first goal believable and attainable by following these whole brain steps — why whole brain? So that the strategy is solid and all bases are covered.
The steps work for a person, an organization, or a product in the very same way. I’m going to talk about a person.
1. Left brain rear hemisphere: Know where you are. Know your value in skill sets, resources, abilities, and talents. These are the baseline for today’s reality — where you stand. Keep an inventory . . . Add to it as you gain new resources, skills, and abilities.
2. Right brain rear hemisphere: Have ideas, invent possibilities, for where you want to go. You have three channels — talking/listening, seeing/imagining, feeling/experiencing. Use all three channels to interact with the world, to explore opportunities. Imagine your baseline as seeds in a garden. Which of your skills ablities, resources, and talents is suited to the ideas you’ve gathered? List ideas without judgment. They may look wildly off base, but twisted thinking might bring them to a definition that wasn’t there at first glance — absurd ideas drive innovation.
3. Right brain rear hemisphere: Visualize the future possibilities. Compare the ideas you found to your baseline, Don’t stick with ideas that are obvious. Look for ones that spark your passion. Imagine yourself doing some form of each of the possibilities. Pay closest attention to those you can visualize yourself doing. Also pay attention to those you want to visualize, but can’t quite see yet.
4. Left brain front hemisphere:Choose one or two possibilities and find the gaps. Compare what you see in the future with your current skills, abilities, resources, and talents. What’s missing that you need to make the future happen? This will be the basis for your strategy and tactics.
5. Left brain front hemisphere: Take action by choosing that first goal upon which to begin building a strategy — more on this to come. It makes sense to start slowly to succeed. Choose a goal first by your level of passion for it; then by how closely it matches the skills, abilities, talents, and resources, you already have. Passion should drive the goal, because passion is the seed that will fuel your action.
PLUS ONE: Use Your Head: Now you have a believable goal that you’re passionate about, you have what you need to do or learn to get yourself where you want to go. Don’t walk away too easily from the path you’re building.
Strategy is a flight plan to reach a goal, which when you get there, leaves room for extending that goal to further strategic growth, based on new information about yourself and the circumstances around you. The fun part is that we can use strategy to find and set that first goal and each goal that follow. We just did.
Chris and Hendry Lee, does that make more sense now?
Next we’ll layout the strategy and tactics for reaching that first goal . . .
Now Find Your Bliss has become defined, tangible, and achievable. Now I can do that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
The 5 Step Strategy that Saved a Company Can Also Get You to Your Dream
Finding Your Frequency in Business and in Life
5 + 1 Habits that Make Good Things Happen for You
Chris Cree says
I think I got bogged down in the middle of one of the hemispheres somewhere. But then you started talking about flight plans and I got back on track. Those are something I actually know something about and understand.! 🙂
ME Strauss says
Sorry, Chris. Didn’t mean to bog you down. I’m working on lighten up a bit. 🙂
We’ll see if I can’t get better at that. 😛
One thing I point out: it often helps to have one or two people with whom to talk over your ideas. The right people, of course. Someone who is sympathetic and willing to help out. We can’t always do everything ourselves. An outside view can be of great assistance.
ME Strauss says
The more you talk, the more I want you to talk. I really like the way you think.
A friend I know proposes that in matters of strategy to always invited “a friend, an enemy, and someone who someone who doesn’t know your idea” to the table and then challenges you to persuade all three.
I like that method quite a bit.
Hendry Lee says
Liz, I like the idea that we can systematically come up with a believable goal.
I’ll try to get my point across. Please pardon me because English is my third language.
I think part of my comment in the last post is about:
This is exactly the problem i am facing. There is a kind of negative feeling that suddenly appears as I have the goal written down. I guess this is part of the past conditioning or some kind.
For example, even if I set a goal to write 10 blog posts in the next month, I have a voice which chimes in oppositely: “Well, there is no way I can write 10 posts in a month because I am too ineffective in managing my time.”
Although I know quite well that I can do it. But the resistance exist. It is not that it is unbelievable.
The problem is more about how to neglect the resistance and will myself forward instead of setting a more “believable” goal like 5 posts in a month.
I do it quite well with the method Byron Katie teaches, but I am eager to know if anyone has the same problem everytime they create their goals.
ME Strauss says
I hear you Hendry Lee. Very clearly you need a different post than this one. I call what’s happening to you a situation where you are being visited by one of the “bad boys of writing.”
This may not be your solution, but it’s at least an explanation of what’s happening. Don’t let that internal editor tell you what you can and can’t do.
Hendry Lee says
🙂 You didn’t think that post would be of help to anyone? It did and still do.
The evil in me is glad that I am not alone with this “imposter syndrome” — I kind of like that phrase. LOL..
ME Strauss says
I often don’t know whether what I write will be of help . . . that is the hard part of having a large, faraway audience. I only know what they tell me about such things.
Thank you for letting me know exactly what you needed. It was nice to be able to go get it for you. 🙂
To Scorpia’s excellent comment above, I would add that people — or at least some people — should avoid including family members in aspects of their self-exploration and brainstorming. You may not be able to exclude them completely — especially if said member is a spouse — but there are certain stages at which it may be best to leave them out and talk to a friend, mentor, etc.
Family members — with all their expectations of you (and what/who you should be) and all their own baggage (of what/who they thought they should have been but never became) — can contaminate or stifle one’s self-exploration, imagination, and brainstorming with limiting, judging, criticizing comments that they invariably think they’re just passing along as helpful advice.
I’ve seen too many friends’ attempts to “move to the next level” in their lives be shut down because of the noise — the contamination — that came when they included parents and siblings (and even boyfriends or girlfriends) in the process…too much or at all.
Parents, siblings, and long-time friends are usually sympathetic and willing to lend a hand (to borrow Scorpia’s words). But sometimes that willingness to help goes awry: parents may want to protect you from disappointment, siblings may get jealous, and long-time friends may fear you’ll leave them behind if you start reaching your goals. So be very selective about who you include in your process.
ME Strauss says
It’s so interesting . . . If you’re only moving a step from your skill set, folks in your life should hardly notice that you’ve moved at all. I guess that’s my over-riding point.
BIG strategy should move in what is expected steps that people see as natural and fitting to whom you are now — just a slight stretch in a new direction that gets you a bit closer to where you want to be.
In my mind people should be supportive of that, unless they deal from scarity and deprivation.
Are you and Scorpia worried that someone is going off trying things that they’re not suited for? That’s just what I’m hoping these little steps would avoid.
I’m not writing well. Am I?
Liz — I think this ties into to “finding and listening to your frequency”, which we discussed a couple of days back. What you’ve given readers here are considerations and questions that will help them do that WHILE they’re working on their strategy and goals. You’ve managed to do in a few hundred words what I’ve seen book authors struggle to and fail to accomplish in 200-page books.
I was also intrigued by how others were interpreting your sentence: DonÃ¢â¬â¢t walk away from the path youÃ¢â¬â¢re building too easily.
It’s a line that carries two valuable points — depending on whether you perceive “too easily” as modifying “walk away” or “path you’re building”.
Another reader appears to have interpreted your sentence as: Don’t walk away too easily from the path you’re building. That’s probably how you intended it.
I read: Don’t walk away from the path you’re too easily building (or, if the path is coming together easily, don’t walk away). Sometimes, things come together so effortlessly that it flies over our radar…we don’t consciously see how well things are coming together. And for whatever reason, we miss the cues that The Universe sends us.
I had a friend who got so caught up in the details in her goal planning that she didn’t see her progress, her small successes, the signs that The Universe was sending that she was on Her Right Path. I had to whack her over the head (figuratively speaking) to get her to see it before she made a big mistake and missed an opportunity.
ME Strauss says
What great feedback . . . yes that was an ambiguous misplaced modifier . . . (how we always know what we mean! 🙂 )
I understand now what you were speaking of and it makes complete sense to me. It just hadn’t dawned that such would apply in this situation . . . I see that happen when folks are working on projects but never realized it might happen when they are overtly working on their personal goals.
Liz– There’s nothing wrong with your writing. It’s getting people to react, think, and discuss.
Regarding your comment: Are you and Scorpia worried that someone is going off trying things that theyÃ¢â¬â¢re not suited for?
I can’t speak for Scorpia. “Someone going off trying things that they’re not suited for” was the furthest thing from my mind when I wrote my first comment. I was thinking more of other people holding someone back from exploring whatever they want/need to explore. When you’re out stretching your skills so you can reach a goal, you’re still exploring and learning. And in that process, you may find that something isn’t a right fit for you. Okay. So you stop, re-evaluate, and adjust the path you’re taking to a goal.
Someone else, being well-intended (hopefully), might think they know enough about you and what makes you tick to know what you will or won’t like. If they think you won’t like something, they might try to dissuade you, redirect you to something else prematurely, denying you the opportunity to explore and make your own mistakes and course adjustments (unless you HAVE effectively blocked out their input).
Several years ago, I wanted to expand my skill set and my versatility as a writer. I had a chance at work to do multimedia sales demos in Flash. I found out that I liked managing the project and the people on it, and loved writing the script for the voice-overs, but absolutely hated doing the detail work in Flash. Someone could have pointed out that since I didn’t enjoy doing graphics work in Photoshop and Illustrator, the odds were high that I wouldn’t like working in Flash. But they gave me room to knock around (especially since I was more enthusiastic and charged up about the project than anyone else). I learned it fit as badly as a coat that’s too big. But what I did learn was that I like scriptwriting (and can hold my own with it), and that I work with and manage creative types pretty well.
At the end of the project, I stopped, re-evaluated, adjusted my path and then continued on toward my original goal (versatility as a writer, expanded skill set). I liked where I wound up, am happy here, and am able to sell my skills fairly well. I don’t over-promise because I know my skills, I know my frequency. But back then, if someone else’s comments had been strong enough to deter me, I would have missed out on this. If I’d chosen to talk to the negative ninnies that I worked with at the time, instead of people who were as ambitious and entrepreneurial as I was, the outcome would/could have been different.
ME Strauss says
Ah, I understand now, what you’re saying and that we’re in agreement. I have a bit of a problem with two things going one
1. the venue is limiting . . . can’t talk about adjusting until we talk about it .
2. I had a bit of the “what’s obvious to me isn’t obvious to everyone” illness
I read what you write here and I so wholeheartedly agree that I hit my head in wonder.
Of course some is new then too, because when you walk to a different drummer, the idea that naysayers could tell me what’s right for me is a little foreign . . . believable. I’ve coached folks who were finding their feet, but my own ??? lie in the opposite places.