How to clarify your goals in 1 minute

The Jerk Store

Setting goals can be harder than it sounds. Here’s a simple way to do it. Write down the answer to these 3 questions:

What am I trying to to Achieve, Avoid and Preserve.

They are much easier to answer because they provide a value set and a guiding philosophy. The answers will come as soon as your start writing…. try it.

Here are my three answers for my work:

  1. I am trying to achieve a reputation for thinking, writing and speaking on technology & business.
  2. I am trying to avoid working with jerks.
  3. I am trying to preserve my independence with my work at all costs.

These answers inform what I should do with my time and opportunities. To do number 1 I need to write and think everyday. I need to undertake projects and startups to gain the knowledge to write and speak about. To do number 2 I need to be focused more on people than the size of opportunity. I need to sample people I work with before I engage in a long term projects with them. To do number 3 I need to create value for others so I can work as a freelancer, which then funds my projects. I need to think twice about accepting offers for venture capital (say with Sneaky Surf) or highly paid projects which take up too much time.

Oh, and when it comes to questions about goals and what it is that we want to do with our life, it’s important to remember that we can change our mind without notice. Just because your wrote a script, it doesn’t mean it can’t be revised. After all, it’s your script.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Design and destination

future man

Five years from now you will arrive at your destination. This destination can either be well designed, or undesigned. Regardless of what you choose, five years from now you will arrive. Undesigned destinations though, can be kinda sub-optimal. You might end up working where you don’t want to work, living where you don’t want to live, driving what you don’t want to drive and doing things you don’t want to do.

If you need proof of what any five years can create, have a look back at what you designed five years ago. You’ll see that where you are is mostly a function of what you designed.

While we can’t re-design our destination to arrive at a five year place overnight, we can change our direction today. We go the way we face, so it’s best we design our direction.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Don't get too excited

I was in a business pitch which I thought went particularly well. My colleague and I were both quietly seeing this thing come to fruition after many months of development. After the meeting I was clearly excited and pointed out that I thought we’d nailed it and the deal would get done… He then pulled me up and said.

“Over my entrepreneurial and corporate career I’ve been in at least 150 of these meetings when it’s easy to think that it’s a done deal, and until it’s signed or the money is in the bank I don’t get too excited.”

This got me thinking. Of course, he was right. In most cases, the large majority in fact, the deal just doesn’t happen. That’s life in the pitching game. But if we don’t get excited by the possibility, and live in the moment, we are robbing ourselves of the journey. We are taking away 50% of the joy that goes with the unknown. Not just the result of winning, but the joy of anticipating the win before it happens. And if we fail, then it was all for nothing, and we miss out on all the pre-decision positive emotion.

The feeling that goes with a future which looks bright, is just as valuable as the reality of making it so. We ought embrace it.


Mid Year Shame

At the end of 2011 I sat down diligently to plan my goals for the coming year. I had a list of around 10. Some of which were big, and some small but important. We are now more than half way through 2012 and I am ashamed to admit that I have only completed 1 of these tasks.

While I have done some things which were not on the list. I sent a Lego Space Shuttle into Space and got global news coverage, and started the Super Awesome Micro Project which is a new crowd funded world first project that raised $20k via twitter alone… I’m pretty down that I have achieved so little this year. The ironic thing is the only thing on the list that I have actually completed was fixing my Galaga Arcade machine as seen below….

Maybe the lesson from the only thing I have done in 2012 is this – start having more fun?