At age 4, my oldest daughter, Arianna, developed a love for drawing pictures. I didn’t always know who the characters were but if coaching has taught me nothing else, it’s schooled me in asking probing questions!
When she turned 5, I started asking her to add more detail and color to her drawings. By doing this, she began to show her personality and uniqueness in the drawings. I began to get a sense of her hopes, dreams and her personality.
When translating your dreams into goals and action steps, you engage in a similar process.
Check out these goals:
I want to own my own business.
I want to start a consulting practice that replaces my current annual salary of $40,000 within the sight of 3 years. I will target established businesses in the Raleigh, NC area with 10 to 50 employees and annual revenues of $5-10 million. This business will allow me to travel, spend more time with my family and enjoy life to the fullest.
Which description sounds more colorful and detailed?
Ding, ding, ding. The second example. Excellent.
I remember when I set my first goal. It looked like the first example. (I actually had 100 goals that looked like the first example…but that’s a different story and I’ll tell you more about it in a different tip.) But over time, my big goal evolved to look more like the second example.
Fleshing out your goal with color and detail engages both the right (creative) and left (logical) side of the brain. Color connects with the creative side of your brain. Vivid descriptions of the future you want can motivate you by appealing to your emotions. Your passion, life purpose, unique dreams and personal values also add color. On the other hand, details add structure that increases the chances of hitting your goals with accuracy. Details make it easy for you to move into “how” questions that you can use to measure and monitor your progress.
In coaching I usually give action steps. So I’m going to challenge you to flesh out your big goal. Ask yourself:
- Who do I want to help?
- What type of impact do I want to make?
- If I had unlimited money and time, what would I produce?
- What will it feel like when I accomplish my goal?
- What will my day-to-day life look like then?
I’m not sure what stage of goal achievement your goals fall in. Different goals are in different stages at different times. And the goal itself can change from one season to the next. Just remember that fleshing out your goals is an ongoing process that needs to be reengaged when life changes.
P.S. Here’s a word of caution for adding detail and color. You’ll want to avoid asking too many “how” questions to soon. Sticking with the “what” questions helps you to get really clear on what you want your future to look like. Creating a clear picture will inspire other questions in due time.
Thomas E. Anderson, II is a vision development coach who enjoys motivating and equipping individuals to pursue personal, professional and organizational goals that lead to a more fulfilling life. He specializes in life focus, vision development and goal acceleration.