How to Build Your Roadmap of Success
In the previous post, we spent some time gazing in the rear view mirror. If you missed the post, you can read it HERE. You gathered your facts and figures and noted everything you accomplished (both personally and professionally) in 2018 and then you whooped it up in honor of all your hard work. (Nice job, by the way…)
The second part of reflecting on the past might have been a little bit tougher but hopefully my resource helped you evaluate the full story. I’m hopeful you gained an awareness of what worked, what didn’t, and key learnings you can bring forward into 2019.
On to steps three and four!
Let me warn you that this will be a long post but I urge you to stay with it. If you want to jump to working the resource, you can download it here.
Step 3: Vision
Think about the last time you planned a vacation. What was the first question you asked yourself or your family?
Where do we want to go?
We don’t start with the activities we’re going to do or line up flights to get there. Before we do anything, we need to figure out where we’re going! We need to set a destination… a vision of the future.
There are two ways to think about where you’re headed in the coming year as it relates to vision:
1. Mental Picture – My favorite definition of vision comes from Andy Stanley who says that ‘Vision is a mental picture of what could be, fueled by a passion that it should be.’
When you think about what 2019 holds for you, what do you see? If you were to close your eyes and visualize what you accomplished by the end of the year, what are you doing? What does it sound like? Feel like? Where are you? Who is there?
Let’s think about a few examples… maybe you envision yourself:
- riding the roller coaster Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- reading a thank you note from one of your clients
- crossing the finish line of your first half-marathon
- accepting an award from the CEO of your organization
- walking across the stage in a cap and gown
- seeing your book on a shelf at Barnes and Noble
The mental picture that fuels me is riding a motorcycle onto a large national stage where see myself deliver a life-changing message to thousands of people. (Spoiler alert! My vision is changing!)
What we see in the future, through intentional dreaming, becomes the fuel that throttles us forward and helps us gain (and keep) momentum throughout the year. The mental picture of the future you want to create acts as a magnet, pulling you toward your destination. It must be compelling. You must be passionate about it because when you get knocked down in the pursuit of it, this mental picture will inspire you to rise strong.
What do you envision when you look to your future? Take a moment to close your eyes and have a look… then write it down.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
2. Specific Outcome – So just as you have a visual picture of what you want to accomplish in the next year, you need to have something tangible as well. How about a goal? I like to use the word outcome. Your vision needs to translate into a goal (however SMART you want to make it.)
Typically, people set goals in three areas:
- something they want to DO
- something they want to HAVE
- somehow they want to BE
In our examples above, the correlating outcomes would be:
- taking your family on an amazing vacation
- being known for your exceptional customer experience
- competing in a half-marathon
- closing $90M in sales
- getting your Master’s Degree
- writing a book
In my line of work, the outcomes I want to achieve during the year include a specific number of speaking opportunities, creation and launching of certain programs, number of coaching clients, desired income for the year, number of people on my email list… you get the idea.
I’m a big fan of setting big, hairy, audacious goals. You know… aspirations that cause an uneasy feeling in your stomach… that make you stop and say ‘am I out of my mind for thinking this?’
Most people think too small. Most people set comfortable goals. Most people don’t put the time into step three. (You’re not most people, are you?)
But here’s the problem with setting big, hairy, audacious goals… we aren’t the people we need to be yet to reach those goals. When our goals are bigger than we are capable of achieving right now, the road ahead will require something of us.
It may require us to develop a part of our character (courage, determination, resiliency), learn a new skill, master an existing skill, create a new habit, or change a belief about ourselves. (This is a whole other topic we’ll dive into in a later post…)
Wouldn’t it be easier if you just had something to follow for step 3? I got you covered! You can download my resource right here.
Here’s what we’ve done so far… We figured out where we are (steps 1 and 2). We figured out where we’re going (step 3). We now need to figure out how we’re going to get there. Let’s move into step 4…
Step 4: Plan
You’ve probably heard the saying that a vision without a plan is wishful thinking. The saying I like better came from Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Oh yeah… seems a bit more urgent doesn’t it?
Having a big, hairy, audacious goal is intimidating (scary, daunting, exhilarating) so step 4 demands that we ‘chunk it down’ (a term I learned from my friend, Jay Morton). The objective in ‘chunking it down’ is to get your goal to a manageable level.
The key is breaking it down into two types of actions: disciplines and projects.
A discipline is a single task you do on a consistent basis that moves you closer to your goal. Let’s revisit our mental pictures and outcomes for discipline examples:
- Family vacation – depositing $200 every month into your vacation savings account
- Customer experience – on Fridays, send a thank you note and personalized gift to every client you work with that week
- Half-marathon – running X miles 4 times a week at 6 am
- Production goal – having coffee with current or potential strategic partners 3 times a week
- Master’s Degree – blocking from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to work on your course
- Writing a book – scheduling time from 8 am to 11 am every Saturday to write
We make progress on our goals one day at a time. Small habits build up to big results. Consistent action leads to success. Our goal is the destination we’re striving for and our actions and behaviors are the miles we travel getting us closer to where we want to be.
Big, hairy, audacious goals aren’t so scary when we chunk them down.
Unlike disciplines, projects have a beginning date and an end date, and don’t necessarily need to be completed by you. (Yeah!) Let’s look at our goals with an example again…
- Family vacation – Research where we want to go, how we’ll get there, what activities we’d like to do, where we’ll stay, and how much it’ll cost
- Customer experience – Create our share-worthy customer experience and automate it
- Half-marathon – Organize a running group and design our training plan
- Production goal – Add associate to team
- Master’s Degree – Complete final master’s project
- Writing a book – Develop book outline and retention system for research
You may have several projects under each goal and each project will have several steps. Who can you delegate to? How will you measure your progress? When will you focus on these projects?
This last question is important to ask and much more important to answer. One of the reasons we don’t achieve a goal is because we’re overwhelmed. There are so many things to do to get ‘er done and frankly, we don’t know where to start (or burnout in the middle of all the to-dos).
Might I suggest 90-Day Sprints.
There are seasons in your life and your business where you’re busier and don’t have the capacity to take on anything new, and there are seasons where the load lightens allowing for new ideas or practices. Maybe it follows a quarterly schedule or maybe it literally follows the seasons of winter, spring, summer, fall.
To make the most of 90-day sprints, we need to know the ebb and flow of our life and business and schedule our projects in the right season.
So how do we do this?
1. Spend time thinking about the cycle of your life and business. Are you busier in the summer or winter? When do you normally experience down time? What are your clients, children, even the industry you work in, doing during a particular time of the year? Are there natural starting and stopping points?
2. As you review your list of projects, where do they best fit according to your business or life cycle? For instance, if you’re in sales and one of your projects is to redesign the experience your clients have with you, you’ll want to schedule that outside your busy season.
3. Take a long view at your annual calendar and start dropping your projects into a 90-day timeframe. If something takes place during a certain month, drop it there. If a project will take several months to complete, add it to as many months as needed. Don’t forget about scheduling your family vacations, conferences, and leaving a bit of white space if something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
90-days is important for a couple of reasons:
- Your focus is on a shorter time frame allowing you to make course corrections as needed.
- You can celebrate your successes more often. (Who doesn’t want to do that?)
- 90-days is more sustainable than the pressure of an annual goal. (You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.)
- You get in the habit of reviewing your progress more often so you can recommit to your goal or make shifts if necessary.
If you haven’t downloaded the resource I’ve created to help you do this, you can get it here.
By breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal into smaller bites (projects and disciplines), you’ve gained clarity around what it’s going to take to make it happen but it won’t happen unless you schedule it. Yep… I went there…
Your final commitment to what you want to accomplish in 2019 is getting these things on your calendar. If you’re like me (and I’m guessing you are), if something isn’t on your calendar, it simply doesn’t exist.
Once you’re confident about how you’ve mapped out your year, transfer everything into your digital calendar, paper planner, or whatever method you use to keep track of yourself and your priorities.
The tool I’ve been using to help me with this is my Daily Greatness Business Planner. I like it because it reminds me to review where I’m at and where I’m going on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.
Remember how I started this series? Experience isn’t the best teacher. Evaluated experience is. You’ve got to keep your finger on the pulse of your business and life so you don’t get to the end of the year and ask “How did I end up here? This isn’t where I wanted to go.”
It's up to you to figure out where you're going and how you'll get there. Let the adventure begin!
You want some help creating your roadmap? Email me at Lisa@FullThrottleLiving.com and we'll jump on the phone.