Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Concordia University. As an alumni myself, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to graduates and share my REAL goal methodology to help them set goals for the upcoming year. I studied applied human sciences and graduated with a degree in human relations. I often refer to the program as Life 101. Not only did it help to shape me as a leader and a true agent for change, it gave me the tools I needed to fulfil my potential and help others to do the same.
Once I got through my slides and delivered my 45 minute monologue, I crossed my fingers and hoped that at least ONE person would ask a question. If one person was listening and wanted to learn more, I felt I would have done my job. As it turned out, I had an incredibly engaged audience with tons of thought-provoking questions. You can imagine how happy I was to realize that I had I ran out of time before I could answer all of them.
Since many of the questions are ones that I’m asked often, I thought it would make an interesting blog post so you too can benefit as you set your goals for the year ahead. The questions were as follows:
How can one gain more clarity on figuring out what we want?
I love this question. I believe that many of us are pursuing imposed success. Meaning, we think we know what we want, when really we are chasing someone else’s dream. It’s easy to get caught up in a romanticised version of success, Hollywood’s portrayal of happiness or the projections of our loved ones. Some soul searching is necessary in order to gain clarity on what you really want. One of my favorite exercises to cut through the clutter is creating a word cloud. In this case think about things, feelings and thoughts that come to mind when you envision success. Don’t overthink the process, let the words flow and write them as they come to you. Once your words are out of your head and onto paper, walk away. Take at least 10 minutes and clear your head. Revisit the words with a fresh perspective and see which ones resonate most with you. Identify your top ten “non negotiables” and use those for the foundation of what you will work towards. There’s rarely ever one path to success but acknowledging what you want out of life will give you more clarity on how to get it.
How can we shift our mindset to focus more on progress rather than perfection?
Celebrate the wins. Perfection is unattainable and quite frankly, it keeps you thinking small. When you’re so laser focused on getting something just right, you lose sight of the big picture. When you celebrate your wins, from small victories to breakthrough moments, you train your brain to see every step forward as success. And as you begin to feel successful, the idea of perfection becomes less of a concern.
How can I not be afraid to ask for what I want?
Go in prepared. Not only with what you’re asking for, but with an honest self-evaluation. Can you justify the request for a raise/increase in your rate, the promotion or the extra time off? If so, I recommend to gauge the person you’ll be asking and try to get an understanding of what you think that person can, and will, do for you. Be confident in knowing the value you bring to the table and keep your pitch short and sweet. We often feel that if we ask for what we want and don't get it, that we have to walk away with our tail between our legs. The truth is, it shows that you know your worth and that step will either spark something in the person you've asked and encourage them to take action in the coming weeks or months, or it will be the confirmation you need to start confidently thinking about your next move. You don't know if you don't ask.
What do you recommend for master procrastinators?
Take a good look at what you’re putting off and why. If it’s because your goal is too big, break it down into actionable chunks. If it’s because it doesn’t excite you, identify how the task at hand feeds into your big vision. Understand that without that piece, you can’t get to the next step which will ultimately lead you to success. And if it’s because it adds no real value, release yourself from the pressure of getting it done.
What happens when the effort needed to accomplish a goal is too big to really enjoy it and it feels like it just has to be done?
This is where REAL goals outshine other goal setting methods. By identifying how your goal resonates with you, how it empowers you, what actions you need to take to accomplish it and what’s lucrative about it, there is rarely an effort that feels too big. REAL goals encourage big-picture thinking. With emotion at the core, it is designed to tie your vision and actions to your “why”, transforming the traditional to-do list to a roadmap to fulfillment.
How do you keep yourself motivated, do you have any tips to share, when it seems nothing is working out in your favor?
When it comes to motivation, I like to follow 5 simple rules:
Remember your why. A checklist is easy to put aside because there is no emotional anchor to keep you accountable. When you have identified why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll be more inclined to keep at it.
See the opportunity in everything. No matter what the situation, there is always an opportunity waiting for you. Whether it’s an opportunity to try something new, learn a life lesson, inspire others, or anything in between. If you look, you will find motivation in every corner.
Be grateful. Motivation and misery are like oil and water. The more you appreciate what you have, the more motivated you’ll be to have and be more.
Ask for help. Sometimes you need to put your pride aside and accept that you don’t have all the answers. It’s easy to lose motivation when we feel stuck, like we’re up against a brick wall. The solution? Ask for help getting unstuck. We are stronger together.
What is your opinion about using social media to promote our goal/vision?
It’s a matter of personal preference but I think that if you’re someone who would benefit from being held accountable, it could be a good way to keep you on track. In this case, don’t just promote it, find an accountability partner (or a group) who genuinely has your best interest at heart, and let them help you as you work toward your goal.
Do you have any tips on how to apply the REAL goal method when setting group goals or shared goals with a partner?
The same principles apply at a group level. Start by identifying and agreeing upon the common goal. Discuss how the goal resonates with everyone involved, how it empowers all parties and/or how the shared work will empower others, discuss which actions need to be taken and who is responsible, and finally - identify what everyone stands to gain from working together.
What do you do when you know what you want to do in life but you can't find the job that best fuels your passion?
Don’t wait for it to magically appear. Create your own opportunities. Knowing what you want is half the battle. Working for it is the other half. Think about what would fuel your fire daily, what need you’re able to address and work toward creating that role within your company, moving to a company that would appreciate what you have to offer, or starting your own business.
When going from one career to another, how do you quiete that constant nagging feeling that it may be the wrong move?
Get “REAL” with yourself. If it resonates with you at your core, if the opportunity empowers you, if it inspires you to take action, and if it is lucrative, it’s a good indication that it’s the right move to make. Even if it’s not your “forever” move, it may be the right move for right now. It’s important to note that “lucrative” is not only to be considered from a monetary perspective. More knowledge, more time with your family, more support, etc. all constitutes as being a lucrative decision - so long as it is tied to your “why”.
Have you always known you wanted to start your own company, when did you progress in that direction?
No. While I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, having my own company wasn’t always a goal of mine. I started out as an addictions counselor. I went on to plan weddings and then ended up in marketing. My “direction” has been unconventional to say the least. I looked at the common denominator among all my career choices and came to a game-changing realization: I help people get from where they are today to where they want to be. That’s my value proposition, that’s what I bring to the table and that was the catalyst for starting my own business. Once I realized that’s my thing, I made it my mission to make a living out of it.
When did you know it was the right time to leave a stable job and make that jump/take that risk?
When the excitement of seeing my full potential outweighed the comfort of my corporate role.
What did you do that got you promoted 5 times in 5 years?
You’ll have to buy the book :)
What questions do you have about goal setting? I’d love to read them in the comments below.
Keep bossing up,