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goal

Why you’re afraid of setting a goal

Choosing is hard. But to move your business foward, you need to set goals and work towards them. But what if you don't have a goal? What if you can't seem to narrow it down and pick one? Last week Lynn asked me, on Periscope, "What if you're afraid of setting a goal?" I know Lynn's not alone, because last week I worked through the Map-Making Guide with The Starship. The first step (spoiler alert!) is setting an endpoint for the map – the specific, measurable goal you want to reach in the next 3-6 months. It was this step, the most obvious starting place, that caused the most distress. In this episode, we'll discuss why it's hard to choose a goal, and how to do it anyhow. More at TaraSwiger.com

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Choosing is hard. But to move your business forward, you need to set goals and work towards them. 

But what if you don't have a goal? What if you can't seem to narrow it down and pick one?

Last week Lynn asked me, on Periscope, “What if you're afraid of setting a goal?”

I know Lynn's not alone, because last week I worked through the Map-Making Guide with The Starship. The first step (spoiler alert!) is setting an endpoint for the map – the specific, measurable goal you want to reach in the next 3-6 months.

It was this step, the most obvious starting place, that caused the most distress. In this episode, we'll discuss why it's hard to choose a goal, and how to do it anyhow.

 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

4 steps to make your dream more do-able

(If you're reading via email, click through to watch the video)

Whenever I talk to makers about their goals, I hear the same frustration over and over:

I'm great at setting goals…but never seem to succeed with STICKING with them.”

In my CreativeLIVE class, we spent the whole third day translating your marketing and your dreams into a do-able plan, that will take you towards your true goals (and not just what you think you should do.

In the above video snippet, I share 4 actionable tips for making your goals more do-able. 
1. Get Super Specific
2. Recognize the support you have + the support you need
3. Keep it in line with your North Star
4. Be Flexible


If you want to get clear on your marketing and how they shape your dreams, you can buy the entire class (and watch a few more sneak peeks), right here: http://cr8.lv/taraswigerclyt

My big crazy goal…results

I've got a lot of help hand-quilting.
This year I set a huge crazy goal: I would make 6 quilts in the remaining 9 months of 2013. That might not be a lot for some people, but considering I had only made a total of 3 quilts in my whole life, it was just big enough to be inspiring.

Today I've written about the power and magic of setting big crafty goals, over at Sew Mama Sew. You can read it here.

Since I think it's a safe bet that I'm not going to finish another quilt in the last few days of the year, I wanted to update you on my goal (and show you my newest quilt, which has been an internet-secret.)

This year, I finished:

  • Emerald Isle (pictures and full story here).
  • Red Kaffe (more below).
  • Candy Christmas (more below).

I started

  • A baby quilt.
  • Crystal Coast, another collaborative quilt with my mom.

No, I didn't reach my crazy goal of 6 finished quilts. But I DID finish (and start) more quilts than I have in any other year. And I know how 2 handmade quilts in my house and gave my mom another fabulous gift. I've also had more quilt ideas than I do what to do with. (Next up: something like this and this.)

Red Kaffe

This quilt started as a fabric bundle my mom bought. Last December she passed it on to me, because she just wasn't into the colors anymore. I got obsessed with following #scrappytripalong quilts on Instagram. Even though this fabric bundle was nothing like you'd usually use in a quilt like that, I decided cutting up all those big prints would make an interesting, fractured quilt. (You can read more about the details here.)
Bound and washed and perfect. Beau approves.

I finished it around the beginning of August, but it still hasn't had an official photo shoot.
Inappropriately obsessed with my adorable hand stitches.
Final verdict: SUPER HAPPY.

Candy Christmas.

After writing this post on holiday gift-crafting, I had an epiphany: My mom really appreciates a handmade gift. She cried when she opened last year's quilt. So if I'm going to craft for anyone (I hadn't planned to), it's gotta be a quilt for her.

I had this epiphany late in the afternoon on November 14th.

I went right to Fabric.com and started to click around for fabric ideas, then found Stitched in Color's Penny Patch QAL and knew it was the perfect pattern. I hit the fabric shop on November 15th and bought everything I'd need + found a few pieces that would work, left over from quilts mom + I have made together:
After looking through my scraps, I have everything I need! #quiltsbyChristmas

I starting cutting on November 19th…
Onto the neutrals! #quiltsbychristmas

And kept working…
Today's to do list.

All squares finished, back to the design wall. See any weird spots? #pennypatchqal

I pieced the top in two nights, the week of Thanksgiving.
Off the wall and ready to sew. Tomorrow. #pennypatchqal

I sandwhiched it late Wendesday night, so that I could be handquilting during the Thanksgiving drive.
Sandwiching the quilt top. #pennypatchqal

And then I spent every spare second, for 3 weeks, handquilting with cream thread, inside the big squares.
My weekend plans. I must finish hand quilting this weekend so I can sew on binding this week.

On December 18th I trimmed it…
Trimming before binding! #pennypatchqal #yay
and machine stitched the binding to the front:
Sewing on binding while watching Charlie Brown. Perfect.

and handstitched the binding to the back:
Hand stitching the very last bit of binding...in the car on the way to the gift recipient. #stitchfaster

I finished it in the car on the way to Mom's house on December 20th and wrapped it on the trunk of my car, in a parking lot.
Finished! Wrapped it on my trunk, in a parking lot.

And I gave it to Mom the morning of December 21st!
The finished quilt reveal. #yay #pennypatchqal

Moms new Christmas quilt, on top of last year's Christmas quilt. #nofilter #pennypatchqal

Final Verdict: TRUE LOVE.

How about you?

What goals did you set in 2013? Which do you reach?

We're reviewing our year inside the Starship this week, and finding our own North Stars to guide in 2014. Boarding closes next week, so beam up before then!

 

 

 

6 Thoughts on Before Happiness

6 thoughts on Before Happiness
This month I've been reading Shawn Achor‘s second book, Before Happiness, and HOLY COW. I can not get over how very applicable it all is to what we do here, in exploring and crafting a business (and life) we actually love. I took copious notes all through reading it and wanted to share just a few with you. (I highly recommend reading the book for yourself!)

Love this book! Talking about it tomorrow on the blog. #holidaysanity
Here are a few of my thoughts as I read:
1. This book isn't so much about Happiness, as it is about having the life (and business) you really want, by paying attention to how you perceive the world around you. As a positive psychologist researcher (“positive psychology” is the branch of psychology that studies successful people as opposed to other areas of psychology which study the ways we can be unwell), Anchor is reporting on experiments (both his own and others') on how perception shapes reality.

2. When we talk about perception vs. reality it sounds a little woo-woo (but the science shows it's a measurable fact!), so you can think of it like this: In the middle of winter, after days and days of sub-freezing weather, a sunny day in the mid-50s causes you to exclaim that it is SUCH a nice, warm day! But a sunny in the mid-50s during the heat of the summer, will having you commenting on how cold it is. This is an example of how your perception changes the reality. The same temperature warms you up or has you shivering. The temperature (reality) is the same, but the perception of the temperature changes.

This same perception/reality thing comes into play in your business: Is a month with a $1000 in sales a “good” month or a “slow” month? Neither answer is objectively right or wrong, it depends on your situation.
So this book is about that,  and about whether you are choosing a positive (and true) reality or a negative reality (which might also be true, but closes you to finding more opportunities and paths to success).

3. I love reading about studies about this, because it reflects exactly what I hear from YOU. Many of you have amazingly brilliant ideas and you did have lots of enthusiasm…until you started to focus on the competition, on all the hard work, and how very many things could go wrong. The enthusiasm and energy drains out of you, until you can't see any of the opportunities in front of you, and you can't spot any path that would lead you to success.

I was delighted to read that it's not just you, it's how our brains our wired (watch out for danger, in order to stay alive!). But I'm even more delighted to have learned ways of getting around the Inner Eyeore, to help you find the light + enthusiasm again.

4. As I suspected based on experience, celebrating successes (and being reminded of them) really is a proven path to success. Yay!

5. Your map needs to be centered around your very own meaning markers (Yep, Shawn uses the same language I've used in the Map Making Guide). It's not enough to just set goals or have dreams – they need to be centered on what really matters to you, and how you are going to most enjoy getting there. I talk more about this in this video+ I'm editing the Chart The Stars guide (available only to Starship + Solo Mission captains) to not just  discover what matters to you, but to remember it over and over during your normal everyday planning.

6. I  could very easily list every point in the book that lines up perfectly to what we already do inside the Starship + Solo Missions. (In fact, I started a big list for myself.) But I think it's sufficient to point out that all this science and knowledge is useless unless you apply it to your business – not just once when you read it, but again and again as you reassess and reorient as you move forward (which, by the way, is one of the best ways to make sure you end up where you want to be).

In order to make it truly useful, I've baked the book's “success accelerants” right into the experience of being on a Solo Mission or in the Starship. You don't just learn about them, you'll act  on them, simply by opening the emails and filling out the worksheets.

 

My goal is to make your success, towards your very own dreams, completely unavoidable.

For more thoughts on books, check out the discussion around the New Domesticity

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!