At our Hatch Social Club last week, Goal Practitioner Anne Burniston ran a workshop on Goal Setting. In this piece she explains the value of goal setting and how it has impacted her personal journey.
Here’s the thing about starting a business. When you begin, it doesn’t exist. At least, it doesn’t exist in the real world. But it does exist in your imagination. In your dreams. You have a yearning, a need, an itch that needs to be scratched. A wrong needs to be righted, a frustration needs to be gone, an ambition needs to be realised.
Your job, as an entrepreneur, is to take that dream and make it come true. To create the vision you have in your mind, to build the future you hold so dear in your imagination.
It’s the thing that sets us apart from the animals. The ability to dream a new future and make it happen. We don’t just respond to our environment, we create it from the future we dream.
And that dream is important because it will lead to a better life. For you, for others. It will bring you more love, more satisfaction, more freedom, more money. Whatever it is, you believe that bringing this vision into existence will bring you benefits. And the drive to receive those benefits is what makes you act.
So it makes sense that the clearer your vision, the closer and more real it feels, smells, tastes, the easier it becomes to articulate it, to yourself and others. And the more likely it is to come true.
The firmer you can hold your purpose, the deeper you understand it, the more driven you will be to make it happen.
And essentially, that’s what a goal is. It’s a dream, with a deadline. The deadline represents your commitment to bring it into reality. Without that, it remains a dream.
The work I do helps with that process. Goal Mapping is a technique that uses your whole brain to dream your goals, to imagine the future you want, to tap deep into your reason why you want it, and then helps you figure out what steps you need to take to make it happen.
Goal Mapping plants your vision firmly in your sub-conscious – your internal sat-nav. From then on everything that you see is filtered by your goal. So everything that happens is a possible way to help you move towards your goal, rather than something that is in the way.
I found Goal Mapping, or rather Goal Mapping found me just over 10 years ago. I was at a particularly low point in my life, which can be summed up by saying I lived an outwardly successful corporate lifestyle, big house, sexy car, great income, yada yada, but I was slowly dying from a lack of meaning or purpose. I was losing the will to get up in the morning.
Then through many twists and turns, I ended up in a hotel conference room in Austria with about 15 colleagues, listening to some guy telling me to draw my dreams on paper and commit to making them come true.
Well, 10 years on, I can’t actually remember what was on that first Goal Map I drew. What I do remember is that I walked away from that meeting with something I hadn’t felt for a very long time – hope. I still didn’t know what my goal was, I didn’t know what my life was about, but I did believe, for the first time, that I could find it. And that was a powerful feeling.
Scoot on two years from that day, and I went home to my partner and told her I was about to be made redundant. Which meant I would walk away with one month’s salary and no job to go to. We sat on the sofa, held hands, and remembered our dreams we had dreamt on that sunny Austrian afternoon. We allowed ourselves to feel the call of the mountains drawn in my partner’s map. And in that moment we made a decision. To go and pursue another life.
We had already found the house we wanted to live in. It was in a tiny village on the edge of a large valley in the foothills of the Pyrenees. We’d tried to move there once already. We found it when we were on holiday. We were sure. So we came home, put the house on the market, drew an enormous project plan which we put up on our kitchen wall and off we set.
The week after we put the house on the market the financial crash happened. The Estate Agent phoned me up to tell me that the value of my house had dropped by £100,000. So we took the house off the market, I got a new job and we carried on.
One year later we looked up at the kitchen wall to see that we hadn’t completed a single action that was on our project plan. So we took it down and forgot about our dreams.
This time, we decided to make it real. We drew a goal map. We drew what we wanted to happen, why we wanted it and what we were going to do about it. And we put that on the wall.
Once we had committed to that map, everything changed. We started talking about it differently – like it was happening, not like it was something that was going to happen in the unspecified and distant future. The people we spoke to believed us which reinforced our own belief. And because they believed us, they helped us.
We identified that we needed a shedload of cash. We needed to find someone to rent our house in Brighton and we needed to arrange a mortgage for our new house in France. We spoke to a colleague about it and she was looking for somewhere to move with her husband and baby. So she rented our house. Another colleague had just completed on a property in Spain and willingly handed over the details of her mortgage advisor.
Our families, initially dead set against us giving up on “Jobs for life” and heading off into the unknown, started showing more interest and even came to visit the place with us. Our friends had encouraging conversations with us about France, and started looking at dates to come and visit us.
And somehow, the cash came. Redundancies with technical errors and sympathetic Directors can result in unexpected outcomes and grateful beneficiaries. Friends offered to invest in us because they believed in our story. Family gave us somewhere to stay in between leaving our Brighton home and taking residence in our French one so we could save our cash. Oh, and they gave us a car too. And a rabbit hutch to transport the cats.
This April we celebrated our 7th year of living in Fosse.
That experience taught me to believe in the power of Goal Mapping. So I became a practitioner. I use it in my life and I help others use it in theirs. The power in it changes depending upon what I need from it, but here’s what I’ve learned over the last 10 years.
Sometimes it’s about clarifying the goal, which may be something material, it may be an intention or it may be a soul contract. Being focused on what you want allows you to see opportunity and bounce forward from external events, rather than falling at the first hurdle.
Other times it’s about the purpose: knowing why you want something and the benefits it will bring gives you the motivation to move. It helps you find the energy to keep going when things get tough.
Sometimes it’s about the actions. Knowing what you can do and who you can bring into your life to help you. Seeing life as a series of opportunities waiting to happen rather than a list to be ticked off.
You see, it’s not really about the goal. Being attached to the goal once we have set it can be damaging and potentially obsessional. Because goals change. As our lives change, so do our goals change. And that’s ok. What’s important is that we keep moving. And going through the process of Goal Mapping helps us move.
And sometimes, all we need to do is move.
Our next Hatch Social Club will take place on January 25th.
Join our Meetup Group for more details.
The Goal Work: