A simple and practical 5 step plan to getting what you want out of life…
STEP 1: KNOW what you want
Not every woman knows how to clearly define what it is they want… let alone how to go about getting it. Setting goals is a lot like going on holiday — if you don’t know your specific destination you won’t know whether to pack a bikini or snow shoes, let alone finding the right plane, train or boat to travel on.
Many women I coach THINK they know what they want — but when pushed can only articulate generalities like “I want a better work life balance” or “I want to be promoted”. These aren’t goals… they’re generic wishes.
My advice is to start BIG (I want to be CEO of a large company) and then break it down into smaller steps (I need get management experience so will aim for a promotion to team leader). That way you can keep your eyes on the horizon and stay on the right track, even when life forces you to make a pit stop. I call life’s BIG goals… BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious goals) and once you can truly grasp them in every aspect (what they “look, feel and smell” like) they can become a potent source of ongoing power and motivation.
STEP 2: Understand what’s holding you back
Once you know what you want you might think the next step is to take action. You CAN do that — but your path will be a lot smoother if you take the time to clear the rubble away first.
Although you might have genuine “Life Problem” obstacles, these are usually much less of an impediment to your success than the biggest obstacle of all. Ourselves and our voice of self-doubt.
Arianna Huffington calls it the ‘obnoxious roommate’ and although most people have one it seems to be louder and more powerful in women. Your ORM will whisper the most damaging evil nonsense inside your brain — stuff that sounds ridiculous when said out loud, but we listen to it because it’s an inner voice.
Like all bully’s the trick to silencing your ORM is to unmask them — identify and confront your ORM and it will lose its power over you.
STEP 3: Invest in yourself
Generally speaking women aren’t very good at investing in themselves. We seem to be much more content to spend time and money on other people and making sure THEIR needs are met, yet are uncomfortable treating ourselves with the same respect. I think it’s because we don’t want to be seen as selfish.
Lao Tzu famously said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”… but we won’t take that step if it means putting ourselves first.
Whatever resources you are lacking you need to STOP waiting for someone to provide them for you and STOP waiting for permission to provide them for yourself. Find a way to invest in yourself, regardless of whether it’s time, tools, skills or coaching. Even if you can only manage a little at a time it’s the one investment in life that’s guaranteed to provide rich returns.
STEP 4: Make a plan… then just do ONE thing
When you’re working towards a goal it’s easy to get overwhelmed with EVERYTHING that needs to happen. We overthink the process and are then paralysed into inaction.
Ladies, if we’re going to KICK ASS then we need to be stronger than our excuses! Trust me when I say I know how hectic life gets these days and very few people have hours of idle time each day just waiting to be filled. Whenever I’m coaching, whether corporate or personal clients, the one thing I hear from EVERYONE is that ‘they don’t have time’…
“I don’t have time” is the grown-up version of “the dog ate my homework”
The trick is to fool yourself into getting stuff done. Instead of worrying about your entire to-do list… ignore it and just do ONE thing. Then stop. Then just do ONE MORE thing. Then stop.
Those ‘one thing’ actions mount up remarkably quickly and you will unwittingly build momentum and create productive habits all at the same time. Easy peasy.
STEP 5: Ask for feedback — and mean it!
If you’ve followed steps 1–4 you may be wondering why there is a 5th. We know where we’re going (step 1), we’ve cleared the path to get there (step 2), we’re devoted resources to the journey (step 3) and we’re getting stuff done (step 4).
Step 5 is about keeping perspective. Getting an impartial opinion is priceless and can stop you making some horrendous mistakes… but because it’s almost impossible for anyone to be impartial about their own life asking for feedback can be incredibly valuable.
But asking for honest feedback is difficult. REALLY MEANING IT is truly hard. Most people will want to be kind so won’t be brutally honest with you… but that’s when you need to push them for a critical appraisal of you/the situation/your actions. Asking people to specifically criticise you may seem a weird approach to achieving your goals, but the wisdom and insight you gain will prevent you from taking the wrong path.
…Of course the catch is that you actually have to listen to and digest the feedback for it to be valuable (Alas I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life!)
Kate Taylor is a leading Mentor and Coach based in New Zealand. Passionate about helping women achieve success Kate has developed and launched a practical coaching programme called “KILLING IT (A girl’s guide to KICKING ASS in her career and life)”.
When asked what prompted her to develop the programme she responded “Yes there are life coaches, development retreats and about a gazillion articles on the internet (I’ve read most of them)… but try as I might I couldn’t find a practical and cohesive programme that women could (literally) carry around in their handbag and apply to their everyday life… so I decided to fix that.”
Available from www.thatabstractcat.com and sporting a ninja motif, the programme arrives as a dual pack of an e-book (provided on a USB stick) and a practical workbook (available in hard copy only).
Originally published at medium.com