As a part two to my initial post, Goals, now let’s talk about getting those brainstorming ideas transformed into some realistic goals, along with a plan of action!
Determining what we want to do with this short life is challenging, to say it mildly. We are confronted by so many avenues and paths that can take us in so many different directions, depending upon where we want to go in this life. Family tells us we should do this or that, or we are really good at this. Friends sometimes agree with family, or they tell us we should never do what they recommend, and instead do this. Then we have our own heart, intuition, and mind. We have ideas on what we want to do, but feel some fear about stepping out to do it. We think we have skills and talents in certain areas, but maybe we also have them in other areas. It can be a confusing and challenging aspect of living, if we allow it to be. But we do not have to think about it this way.
So, you have brainstormed. You have some good ideas down on paper of what you want to do and achieve. Let’s revisit the questions discussed in the previous post:
- What do you like to do?
- What activities feel easy and effortless?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are some things that other positive people in your life have told you that you are good at?
- What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?
- Think back to your childhood…what did you want to be when you were grown up?
If you still did not answer the majority of these questions, I encourage you to try. These are just starter questions, because as you begin to answer them, you will find other questions and answers that pop up in your mind. Answer those too.
So, let’s say you have decided that you want to open a small consignment shop, because you like fashion and design, and also want to provide clothing at reasonable prices. Great! Next you might be thinking, now what?
Here are the steps I take when I have a goal in mind (still using the consignment shop as the example):
- Research. This is absolutely critical. Look at everything from websites, to taking a drive or walk around popular areas with known consignment shops. Talk to some of the current owners, hear their story about how they got this same goal off of paper. (Believe me, they won’t mind sharing their success story much at all.) Also check out vendors and pricing for both merchandise and store space. Anything that has to do with consignment shops must now become your favorite reading material.
- Write down your actual plan. Everyone needs a business plan, even if it’s only a rough draft. After all the research you complete, you should have quite a bit of information to build an enhanced plan. What do you want to accomplish with this consignment shop? What type of clothing/accessories will be available for purchase? Will you offer online services? How will you finance this goal? Will you have or need investors? What is your timeline to accomplish these things? Do you have a business partner or are you going at this independently?
- Move, move, move. This final step is the one that most of us pause and dance around with for far too long. You have this awesome goal in mind, you have done your research, and now even have a business plan, but you now face some fear. You are worried about the success of your goal, contemplating if you can really open up and run a consignment shop. You are questioning your personal ability to even do this. In reality, you are experiencing thoughts and feelings like you are back at square one, before you even narrowed down your brainstorming ideas into this particular goals. But this is not the time to stop, this is the time to keep moving forward!! Take those next steps, follow your business plan, and open up that consignment shop, step by step!
Yes, this example may not be one of your goals, or even a personal interest, but the same method applies to whichever goal you have on your paper. Do you want to start or go back to school? Do you want to get a new job, or start a whole new career? Do you want to experience more of a work-life-balance in your life? Are you ready to buy a house or car? See, these steps can be modified and will adapt to any goal you have in mind. You could have a goal as simple as wanting to get more sleep at night. Well, this may require some elaborate and deliberate planning, using a process like this! Try it out!
A small piece of advice though, if you start this process and lose interest or momentum before getting to step three, maybe you should head back to the drawing board of brainstorming to make sure that the goal you have arrived at stirs up passion for you. The last thing you want to do is to go through all of this brainstorming and planning to find out that you really weren’t all that into it anyway, and knew it when you were writing the business plan. This process should not feel forced, it should feel peaceful and intriguing. It’s ok though if you need to start over because you still learned a lot about yourself and goal-setting. Just circle back to your brainstorming questions and select or create another option. If anything, the re-routing will further help you to pinpoint your like, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses.
Most importantly, try to have fun with this process! If it is stressing you, put it all away and come back to it. Just don’t ignore the development and creation of your life goals for too long, because life is too short. Way too short.