I’ve been at this book coaching business for a year and a half now, and it’s interesting to reflect upon what I’ve learned about setting and achieving goals during this time. I’ve seen folks achieve big goals, and I’ve seen heartbreak and failure. More often than not, I’ve found that there are common themes for those who achieve their goals, and I want to share these with you here.
Get very clear on what you want to accomplish, and perhaps more importantly, WHY you want to accomplish that goal. Writing a book or any major undertaking can be a long and tenuous process. It is easy to say, “It’s not worth it,” or “I’m never going to get there.” Keeping a focus on the benefits of achieving your goal will help you cross the finish line. Do you hope to double your speaking, coaching, or consulting fees? Do you want to derive more revenue streams? Do you need to establish credibility with your clients and prospects? By focusing on WHY you’re working so darned hard you will stay motivated and engaged.
Also, ask yourself what will happen if you don’t achieve this goal. Will you be filled with self-loathing (OK, that might be a little strong, but won’t you have some real regrets?)? Will you be able to achieve other goals, like increasing your influence or moving to a new level in your business if you don’t get this book done?
Block time to work on your goal, and honor that time. Having “write my book” or “achieve my big goal” on your to-do list will likely mean that you never quite get around to it since it is not imperative nor urgent. The only way to achieve big goals is to schedule that time on your calendar. And, if you scheduled an appointment with a business colleague and had to cancel that appointment, wouldn’t you work hard to get that same appointment rescheduled? And so it is with your writing goal; put it on your calendar and reschedule if you must adjust your calendar.
Before you begin writing, get clear on your thesis statement: what is your book about?What is your point of view? What is the moral of your story? What action do you want your readers to take as a result of reading your book? I encourage my authors to wear their “magic” button (it reads, “Ask me about my book!”), to create a Facebook page for their books, or to add a signature line to emails (“Author of the forthcoming book . . .”) because it not only sets an intention, but gives you clarity on your message as you repeatedly share it with friends and colleagues.
Create small, specific, and focused goals that are stepping stones to your big goals. You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, and thus it is with writing a book or achieving any big goal. What do you need to do right now to move you closer to your goal? As you create appointments on your calendar to work on your book, don’t just write “work on my book” as the heading. Be specific. “Complete interviews with 3 clients.” “Write the customer service story for chapter two.” “Write the intro for chapter 4.” The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to achieve that goal.
If you find yourself getting stuck, you need to ask yourself why. Have you properly framed the thesis? Have you forgotten some key idea or component? Is the target audience too broad? Do you need to refer to a journal article? This is a time to lean on your coach so that your coach will ask you probing questions to determine why you are not moving forward.
Do you have a coach or accountability partner? In any big project, it’s easy to become derailed, to lose confidence, or to be blocked by an obstacle. I’ve learned that the longer a client goes without touching base, the longer that client tends to stay stuck, which increases guilt, which tends to decrease or halt forward motion. Having regular check-ins with your coach is important for building confidence, problem-solving through obstacles, and being accountable for the work YOU want to accomplish.
A coach is also your partner in celebrating your victories, both big and small. Very few people understand the difficult journey you’re on, but your coach does!
(I had so much fun this past week celebrating the success of Vivian Blade, the author of FuelForward. I was able to attend her launch party and be a part of the celebration honoring her. Check out the video from the party here.)
Bottom line, achieving your goals, especially big goals, is hard work. As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy writing, it is very hard work. But, as I’ve said many times, while I don’t like writing a book, I LOVE what having a book will do for your career, your business, and your personal satisfaction.
P.S. I must also tell you that I LOVE my job as a book coach! I have never been more fulfilled and more excited in my work. I am thrilled as I support my clients who become authors! And I’d love to work with you. I hope you’ll give me a call.