Innovation, Leadership, Personal Growth, Self Esteem, Self Improvement

Creating Your Goal Blueprint Part 1: Tips From a Life Architect

Have you ever watched people looking at a blueprint? Done it yourself? It always looks like such a wonderful experience – pouring over the details, moving from large view to the most minute details and back again.

In the past, I’ve written about goal mapping, and now I’m shifting my language around goals to creating a blueprint. Why? A map will show you how to get from one place to another, and that’s a good thing, but it strikes me that a blueprint could be even better. A blueprint shows you what the end-point will look like – the shape, size, and relative position of each room. A blueprint can be readjusted. It’s both personal and tangible. It situates your goal within the rest of your life rather than simply giving you directions to reach a destination.

Any GPS or mapping device will ask you a few questions about your journey – Where are you now? Where are you going? How are you traveling (walking, taking public transportation, driving)? Do you want the fast route or the scenic one? There are questions involved in creating a blueprint as well. How big will this structure be? Each room? How many rooms do I want? How do the rooms interrelate?

In this article, let’s concentrate on the overall structure. What do you see as the overall size and shape of whatever you are building? This is generally called an overarching goal. It’s an end point. Think of this overarching goal as your mental picture of your completed building (project). How big is it? How many stories? Why is it there? How will you use it? Perhaps the simplest way to answer these questions is to use a proven goal-setting formula: S-M-A-R-T goals.

Write down the biggest goal you can think of – a real stretch goal – something that will definitely expand your comfort zone. Now, check it against the SMART criteria and tweak away until it’s as clear and strong as possible. If you don’t have a really good sense of what the completed building looks like, it will be hard to plan the individual rooms.

Here are the criteria:

S – specific – Have you been as specific as possible? Can you clearly picture this structure? Is this a ranch house, a beach shack, a chateau in Switzerland? Perhaps you want to create the perfect apartment in Manhattan with views of a park and of water, complete concierge services, three bedrooms, an office, a library, a formal dining room, a breakfast nook, a laundry room, a balcony area large enough to entertain at least 6 people, three and a half bathrooms and a state-of-the-art kitchen within four blocks of major public transportation. That’s pretty specific. As a business goal, it might be: Within the next 24 months, I want to build a coaching and consulting business working with high-potential, high-performing affluent women who want to put in the time and energy to create their ideal lives and/or businesses and I want to have a consistent income of $1 million from direct services and $1 million from passive income while working no more than 20 hours per week, no more than 30 weeks per year.

M – measurable – can you build actual measurable criteria into your goal? The examples above have measures – number of rooms, type of rooms, dollar figures for earnings, time figures for how much work, standards for clients.

A – Achievable – is this something you can actually do? Don’t get into the details here – you’ll be developing sub-goals and action plans later. Is this something that you feel comfortable creating an action plan around? Is this a blueprint for something you can build?

R – Realistic – can this actually happen? Can you find examples of what you want to build? I’ve been in apartments very similar to the one I’ve described; I know entrepreneurs who have the business I’ve described. I know that these are things that can – and do – exist.

T – Timely and Time-framed – is this the right time for me to work on this goal? Do I have a realistic idea of how long it will take?

If you’ve been paying careful attention to the examples, you’ll notice that the first example is not time-framed, although it may be timely. Supporting goals – rooms on the blueprint – will need to be created before a time frame can be determined for this goal. The second example, though, is both timely and time-framed. This is driven by desire and research. Supporting goals will all have time frames, so it will be possible to see how quickly this can be built. That’s a great start. You now have the overall shape and can begin to complete your blueprint. In the next article, we’ll flesh out your subgoals – the number of rooms on your blueprint.

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