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How to pick your goal

Set your goals for the rest of 2014 with the Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast, on TaraSwiger.com

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Happy Middle of the Year!

How's your 2014 going? Have you come closer to your goals for the year? Or have you forgotten all about them?
Either way, this is a great time to reset your intentions for the rest of the year and make a new map.

But where are you going?

In this episode you'll hear my favorite ways to set a good, clear goal that will bring you to a business you really want. I also share an embarrassing story about getting lost, and the importance of not just setting your destination, but paying attention the entire way there (with regular review!)

Links mentioned:

 

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Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

 

 

The magic of Mile Markers

This drive never fails to thrill. #avl #ilovemountains

 

Imagine, for a moment, that the path in your business – your to-dos and goals and plans – are a roadtrip. If I wanna drive from here to LA, I have choices. I could drive up to Minnesota (hi, Vanessa!) or down through Alabama (hi, Mercedes!), or I could just drive due West. If I fly, I'm going to end up going East first, through Charlotte.

What matters, as much as where I end up, is what I go through. That is going to determine how long it takes me, the experiences I have, and how satisfied I am overall with the trip.

Sure, I don't know all the tiny towns I'm going to drive through. I don't know all the sites I'm going to see. I don't even know if I'll change destinations halfway through. But picking the right Mile Markers (some of the in-between stops) will determine all that.

 

In Map Making, one of the first things we do is to make a list of Mile Markers. These are the things in between Where You Are and Where You Want to Go. These are the road signs you are going to pass on your way. To many map-makers, they seem like something extra. Not all that important.  But, after 2 years of watching map-makers reach (or not reach) their destinations (and learn lessons either way), I've come to learn that the Mile Markers are the map.
Mile Markers set your course, they pave the path between Here and There.

They help you:

  • Determine the direction you're going to go (through Alabama or Alaska?)
  • Focus in on what matters – and ignore all the distractions
  • Build confidence – each Mile Marker is a point of celebration!
  • Keep momentum – you only have to focus on the little bit of road between you and the next Mile Marker.

 

A lot of us get tangled up in is tasks that are unrelated to the destination.
We make To Do lists that are full of “extras”. (ex, I want to get press coverage…so I'll post on Facebook. I want to sell more blankets, so I'll post a tutorial.) Mile Markers can help you narrow down your to dos into the tasks that will move you in the right direction.

Setting appropriate, helpful Mile Markers is a process that takes time, trial + error, and lots of paying attention to what has worked (and what hasn't). But you learn all of this by doing it, again and again (and reviewing!)

 

What's your next mile marker?

DIY: Destination-setting

DIY: Destination setting
During a conversation about map-making last week, someone asked: I know all of the milemarkers (stuff I want to accomplish), but I don't have one BIG goal in mind. This is just a bunch of stuff that's not exactly tied together. Why do we have to pick a destination?

I love that question, because it perfectly expresses how most of us think about our business. We know what we want to do (release that new product, write that book, do that craft show), but they don't seem big enough to focus all of our focus on. And halfway there (especially when it looks like it's done deal), we move on to thinking about the next thing. Now that you released that product you want to redo your photography. Now that you wrote the book, you've got to edit it. Or you get sidetracked by the other (smaller) 5,000 things you want to do and forget all about your goal until next January.

Setting a destination is both a discipline and a celebration.

It's a discipline to focus in on reaching one goal, to keep on one path. It forces you to organize everything rolling around in your head  into a cohesive plan. It's easy to get sidetracked just chasing all these tiny-dos around our days and weeks, which leads to stumbling towards our goals.

It's a celebration because you acknowledge where you're going. It's easy to skip over what's happening now and start planning for the next thing, but when you know your destination you can take a minute to party when you get there. Yay! This is what I had planned for and now I'm here! I'm awesome!

No one else is going to do it.

When you work for yourself, you don't get raises based on employee evaluations.  You don't have a boss to give you a project or to grant you permission. No one will give you a pat on the back when you do a good job.

This is an adjustment. Up until now, someone else has set the parameters of success. Parents told you what they wanted. Teachers gave you tests. Bosses assigned work.

But now…not only do you have set your own projects (and systems for doing them…and measuring their success), you've also got to assign an end point. Otherwise, you'll never find one. There's no big moment (that I've found) when you think: Ok, I've done everything and am perfectly happy with what I've created here! You're always changing your goals and moving the definition of success. Without parameters and feedback, the work can become a grind. A never-ending list of things to do, with no sign of completion.

You've got to give it to yourself. You've got to assign the goalposts and then do a touchdown dance when you get to them. (And that's the only sports analogy you'll see around here!). You've got to decide what counts as a success and then celebrate it in order to enjoy the work.

What's your next destination?*

What do you want to accomplish by the end of March? And how will you know you're there? How will celebrate reaching it?

*Need help picking a destination? Try the Map Making Guide, or leave a comment and I'll help you brainstorm!