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