Your Goals, Your Passions Pt 4

Find Your “Why” to Achieve Your Goals

By Alvalyn Lundgren

You need to identify what’s at stake.
I often reflect on how blessed I am to work the way I’ve always wanted to — independently, and why I do what I do as a creative entrepreneur. I confess, I think about the why a lot.

Notice I said think instead of wonder why. I’ve moved way past the question, “Why am I doing this?” I know why, and rather than trying to figure that out, I simply need to remind myself of it!

When we feel validated in what we’re doing: a client praises our work, a project turns out successfully, a good client recommends use to another, we see the good results of what we’re doing. In those cases, the Why appears obvious.

It’s in the other times – we lose a client, we don’t see hoped-for results, we’re given a poor evaluation, we’re just not having fun – that knowing Why becomes vital. In spite of setbacks, we need to return to that in order to keep going.

What is the Why?
Your Why is that deep-down, personal motivation for what you do.

The thing I’ve learned and will pass on to you is this: Until you identify your Whys, you won’t be able to get clear about your Whats and Hows.

For example, my Whys include freedom. Freedom is one of my primary motivators, both professionally and personally. Freedom – the ability to do the work I want to do and choose who I work with, to set my own schedules, to go where I want to when I want to, to integrate and balance work and family life — is a big reason I chose to be self-employed. I was a salaried employee several times during my school years, but it just didn’t fit. There were times since launching my freelance business when I seriously considered returning to a salaried position, but I kept coming back to the freedom issue. That Why, among others, has kept me moving forward and on track.

Until you identify your Whys, you won’t be able to get clear
about your Whats and Hows.

Why is finding your Why important?
If you don’t discover your Why, your chances of success are slim. Any worthy goal will meet with resistance. If you have lofty goals for your life (hopefully you do), you will go against the tide along the way. You’ll experience engine trouble, flat tires, detours and traffic jams (using the Road Trip vernacular). You might even crash. The only motivator you will have for pushing through the roadblocks is your Why.

What is that destination you need to get to? Why does it matter?

What is at stake – for you and those connected to you – if you do not accomplish your goals?  Many who set solid, realistic goals don’t achieve them. Why? They are not motivated by their Why.

The secret of the Why is that it is personal to you. It’s not about being helpful to others, although that should be a result. Your Why is all about what’s in it for you. If you don’t have a stake in it, it’s not your Why.

For each of your goals and destinations, there exists a Why. You don’t need to fabricate it because it already exists. You simply need to discover it.

How to find your Why: 3 Action Steps You Can Do This Week

Set aside the better part of an hour in the next week to do the following. Be sure you’re writing, doodling or drawing in some form and not just thinking.

1. Write down 3 specific goals you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Be specific, so that they’re measurable (you will know when you’ve accomplished them), and include a due date. For example:
Over the next 12 months, I will read 12 books about business and marketing.
I will send one marketing email per month to 25 prospective clients for the next 12 months.
In the next 60 days, I will invite 5 entrepreneurs to join me for coffee so that I can pick their brains.
Be sure you make your goals relevant to you.
2. For each goal, identify and list 3-5 personal motivations.(Why does this matter? Why is it important to me? What is at stake?”
You’re not listing tasks here. Your focus is on the Whys. For example:

Goal: In the next 60 days, I will invite 5 entrepreneurs to join me for coffee so that I can pick their brains.
– Because I need to get to know people who have successful businesses because I want to learn how to build a successful business so that I can quit my job.
– Because I need to make professional connections who will be good resources for new business referrals, because I want to expand my client base and get better clients so that I don’t have to chase payments.
– Because I want to brainstorm my ideas with people I trust who are not in my field, because I don’t know on my own if there’s a market for my ideas, and I want my ideas to create success for me because I need to earn money to pay down my student loan debt.

If you cannot think of at least 3 personal motivations for each of your specific goals, carefully consider if it is indeed the right goal. Your reasons should be both emotionally and intellectually compelling.
You can do this exercise for any goal, personal or business.

3. Prioritize the motivations from most to least important.

Now, put your list in an easily accessible place so that you can review it weekly.
That’s it. It’s pretty simple.

There is much at stake if you don’t plan your steps and set your goals. You will not take those steps without being motivated to do so. As you take those steps, you will experience resistance. Remembering your motivations – your Whys – will propel you forward in spite of opposition.

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and design director at Alvalyn Creative, an independent practice near Thousand Oaks, California. She creates visual branding, publications and books for business, entrepreneurs and authors. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business roadmap program for creative freelancers. Contact her for your visual branding, graphic and digital design needs. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.


Your Goals, Your Passions Pt 3

Understand your values in life to then determine your goals.


How to Find Your Goals by Melinda Elliott 


find your goals


There’s a lot of information out there about how to achieve your goals. About how to stay motivated, how to focus on your dreams and not be distracted by failure and set backs. But that all assumes that you know what you want out of life, that you already have goals you’re eager to achieve. Recently, in response to a comment I made about pursuing one’s goals on The Change Blog, I got a poignant reply that asked “But what if you haven’t found anything worth doing, any goal worth pursuing?”

Great question – focus is wonderful, but if we aren’t looking at the right things how useful is it? Sure we can learn from failure, but what do we do with those lessons if we’re not really doing anything? How can we find out where we should be looking for our satisfaction in life?

Step 1 – Make a list of what’s important to you.
Do it quickly and without censoring – it’s ok if your list includes your cat or your new shoes. Your choices reflect a snapshot of your life right now and don’t need to be lofty or impressive. Here’s my quick list (in no particular order): my daughter, my friends, writing, coaching, my house, my central heating, my cat, my favorite TV shows (blush), learning, my blog.

Step 2 – Ask “Why is this important?” for each item on your list.
Here are my answers:
My daughter because she is my contribution to the world at the most basic level and because she’s fun, loving and makes me happy.
My friends because they support me, teach me, and make me laugh.
Writing and my blog because they ignite my passion and I feel like I’m able to help people with them. And they’re fun!
Coaching because I’m helping my clients live better and clearer lives.
My house because it provides me with a beautiful and safe place to be.
My central heating because it keeps me warm and comfortable.
My favorite TV shows because they take me to places where life is silly and adventurous and because they often provide me with a fascinating glimpse into human nature.
Learning because it makes me a better person and helps me grow.

Step 3 – Use your answers to identify your values.
Look for themes in your answers. When you read over your list, what pops out at you? What shows up more than once? Are there items that have something in common? I see the following themes in my list: contribution, fun & laughter, learning, helping people, comfort.
The themes we identify reflect our values and what’s most important to us in our lives. And this is where goal setting should begin.

Step 4 – Use your values to set your goals.
The goals that inspire you most will be based on your values, on what’s really important to you. You might already be working on some of them – I’ve set clear goals around my writing and am beginning to revamp my coaching practice. But when I look at my list I realize that I’m not putting much effort to making sure that I have enough fun and laughter in my life right now, so I might want to set a goal to find more ways to play.

When you set your goals:
Make your goals bite-sized – A goal of “Learn the skills I need for my next promotion” sounds achievable, while a goal of “Become CEO by the time I’m 30” is probably going to set you up for failure.

Make your goals positive – You should work toward what you want, not away from what you don’t want. “I want to find a loving partner” inspires while “I don’t want to be lonely anymore” already feels defeated.

Realize that as you work toward your goals they’ll probably change – As we learn and grow from the work we do to move toward our goals we often connect with new, more resonant goals. After I set up my coaching practice I started writing newsletters to attract more clients. But I found that I loved writing as much as I loved coaching, and my goal shifted from attracting clients to creating a blog.

The bottom line is that when our goals tap into the beauty and energy of our values they make our hearts sing. They feed our hungers, we can’t wait to get started working on them. So my answer to the reader who asked about finding a goal worth pursuing is that the answer is in your heart, it’s in your longings, it’s in the things you want more of.