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Using Great Questions To Create The Clarity Needed For Success
As we continue on our journey of growth in our lives, our careers and relationships, it’s important to have a clear idea of where we are, where want to go and how we’re going to get there. Of course, plans change and then change again as you get started, but it’s a worthwhile idea to have a plan as you’re getting started. Plans take ideas from abstract to reality.
Here we have systematic approach to getting started.
1. Assess where you are
2. Define where you want to be
3. Get there.
1. To Assess Where You Are, it’s helpful to think about:
– What’s working in your personal and professional life?
– What’s not working?
– What makes you happy?
– What do you most love doing?
– What do you avoid?
– What are you best at?
– What, if anything, makes you miserable?
– What are your strengths that you can leverage?
– What do you wish you could do better?
2. To Define Where You Want to Be:
– Define your *gold standard* – for what you’d most like to be doing
– In the world
– What’s important to you – write down what you want:
– Work-life balance – how much and what for each
– Relationships you want to build – specify
– Values you want to support
– Accomplishments you want to achieve – with time frames
– Do you want to work for yourself or someone else?
– Do you want your work to be a job, a career, or a passion?
– If a passion – what are you passionate about?
– What gets up up in the morning (besides the alarm clock and coffee)
– Rank these as to what most motivates you (or put others down) – for
why you might pick one work opportunity vs. another:
– Intellectual Stimulation
– Skill Development
– Giving Back
– Good Cause
– People – peers / management
– Corporate Culture
– Stepping Stone to something better
– Steep Learning Curve
– Physical Challenges
– Ability to Manage Others
– Leadership Role
– Love the Subject (e.g. Passion / hobby)
– What impact would you like to have / difference you want to make
– In the world
– Who are potential mentors or people who inspire you – that you’d
like to emulate or get to know better?
– What trends (e.g. industry, health, values) resonate with you?
– What would you most like to accomplish, if you could do anything?
– Group them by theme.
– Rank them.
Start to Define what Success Means to You!
– Review the above answers, and start focusing on what you most want
– Professional life
– Personal life
– Volunteer life
– Put a percentage next to each of these 3 – e.g.
– 55% Professional
– 30% Personal
– 15% Volunteer
3. To Get There:
Define 3 SMART Objectives* for each – your professional, personal and
Specific – what do you most want to improve or accomplish?
Measurable – how can you quantify when you’ve been successful at
– What indications are important to show you are meaningfully
accomplishing what you want?
Assignable – who is responsible for the different actions? Can
Realistic – do you have the bandwidth, resources (financial,
time, people) to make it happen?
– If not, consider simplifying that objective, or seeking
additional help / support to make it realistic. What do you
need to make it
Timely – by when do you want to accomplish the different steps or
final objective / goal?
Create an Action Plan, based upon your SMART OBJECTIVES
– Include the who, what, why, when, where and how for each objective
– Consider multiple strategies for each objective
– For example, if you’re in your own business, and you want to *Become
More Profitable *(by x%, in Y time), strategies might include:
– Increase Sales by X%
– Sell more Z to current clients
– Loyalty program
– Referral incentives
– Usage campaign
– Increase awareness among new X type of clients
– PR in relevant media
– Meaningful sponsorships
– Expand geography into X
– Enter X new sales channels
– Improve Gross Profit Margin by X
– Reduce Cost of Goods Sold by X%
– Get multiple bids
– Source better
– Consider revising ratio of X to cost less
– Improve production efficiencies by ….
– Reduce labor by ….
– Take a Price Increase
– Note: It’s easiest to break large tasks down, into smaller,
more easily doable next steps
– Make sure you’ve thought about your financial needs over time:
– What do you personally need to *live*?
– What would you like to *earn*?
– What what you like to *save*?
– What would you like to *donate*?
– And that you have a budget for what you can spend, as well as goals
for what you need to earn to accomplish them.
What is Success, Anyway?
Achieving what you want. The way you want to.
In my career, I’ve worked with thousands of aspiring and established food
entrepreneurs, through teaching and consulting. I truly believe that
success is personal. It’s not the same for everyone.
For some, a business success might be building an internationally
profitable company. Or getting bought out. Or – producing a favorite
recipe, and selling it in 3-5 local, upscale stores, so you feel like you
All are great goals. Each requires different energy, investment, timing and
The key is knowing what you want. Matching your “inputs” to your desired
“output.” Then enjoying the journey to make it happen… hopefully with
Please don’t hesitate to contact me to share your ideas of success!