what do i want? what am i doing? and why?

Sunset at Varkala by Koshy Koshy

As the weather turns cold and the leaves fall from the trees, we start to reflect on the previous year and set our sights on the coming one. To reflect and review is a natural, cyclical impulse.

We do ourselves a favor when we stop to assess what we set out to do and why we are doing it and to discern whether or not it still makes sense.

If you haven’t already, take some time to look back on goals, lists and plans you made for 2011 and take a moment to ask:

Your goals: What were the reasons, desires or drivers behind the goals I set? Are they still relevant? How have they changed?

Your scope: Did the projects I set for myself accomplish my goals? Were/are there other things I should/could be doing to accomplish them? Where did I get side tracked? Conversely, did I miss opportunities because I stuck too rigidly to the task at hand?

Estimations and plans: Were the time frames I gave myself realistic? Did I give myself enough time? Not enough? Was I able to have some semblance of balance between work, life, family and everything else? Did I slack too much?

Going through these questions isn’t just an exercise to go through at the end of the year, but a few times throughout it. A good rule of thumb is to review your goals at least twice a year. If you have set up your projects and scope and are planning monthly and weekly you will have a sort of built in defacto review.

Taking a moment every few months to take a step back and ask the above questions while you’re planning will keep you from going too far down a path which may have made sense when you set your goals, but no longer does.

This is harder than it looks.

Life is not static; opportunities arise and must be seized – charts, plans and to-do lists be damned! On the other hand, we don’t want to jump at each bright, shiny object that crosses our path.

I am wrestling with this right now. I look at the past year and can say that I have accomplished much. A lot of these things, however, had nothing to do directly with my business. I did this knowingly and for reasons that were sound, but I fought with myself the entire time.

For example, my Hello Etsy! talk, these posts, and my Steal This Process Project and Time Management Kit were waaaay out of scope. In fact, the whole thing was an effort to get the word out about e.m.papers, ha! But it gathered momentum and took on a life of its own and has been a deeply gratifying project.

Having said that, in the coming year I want to do a better job of really focusing on a few key goals and making sure I prune back unrelated extraneous activities, no matter how enticing new opportunities may seem. But I also don’t want to lose sight of the fact that sometimes the surest path to a goal is not always a straight line.

This involves discipline and a lot of soul searching to answer the questions: What do I want? Why? Will what I’m doing help me get where I want to go? Reviewing helps us figure this out.

‘What do I want?’ and ‘Why’ are the alpha and omega between reviewing and defining goals. Reviewing sounds easy, but it’s not. Make sure not to skip or gloss over this important step.

P.S. As the link above points out, The Steal This Process Kit is now available and ready for download. It’s a 60+ page guide book plus a slew of templates (in both Excel or PDF formats) that walk through and help you implement the concepts I’ve been sharing here and in my workshop, which you can now view here. The kit is 20% off until Friday, November 11; use the code: earlybirdspecial. Thanks so much to all of you who have already signed up to the mailing list!

6 thoughts on “what do i want? what am i doing? and why?

  1. Scoutie Girl always provides me with what I need to know at exactly the right time! Right now I am pulling my hair out with planning and I’ve watched your Presentation Video Eleanor and already feel raring to go! I tried to use the code for the Kit and it says it’s already expired, it’s not Friday 11th yet :(

  2. Hi Rachel! Thanks so much and I’m glad you enjoyed the video, music to my ears!

    Sorry, I fixed the discount code and it should work now (still getting used to e-junkie’s coupon system!)

    If you have any more trouble, you can email me directly at eleanor(at)empapers.com

    1. Thanks for the fast reply!
      Got it and downloading it now! I am late planning 2012 but this will help a great deal, and I’m sure hubby will be happy lol he’s a great support to me but I am sure he is fed up of me trying to figure out my planning and goals and asking for help, he loves to help me but this is the direction I was missing!
      Thanks a million!

  3. Biz-wise, I’ve actually done really well with my “What am I doing?” and “Why” questions when it came to action. It’s the thinking bit before that which tends to snag me. I get SO wrapped up in all the different possibilities that I freeze up and can’t act. My big lesson of the last few months has been how to take in criticism, ask for advice, and brainstorm in ways that flow with my Self rather than just doing what everyone tells me.

    I’m also learning about launches. I just released a great ebook at the start of this month, but I have two products just about ready to go that “should” be released for Jan1, meaning a December build-up and launch. Doing them both feels greedy and confusing, but argh!

    So I’m taking my lessons where I can. This is only my fourth month of operation, so there’s loads of new info coming in all the time, and I’m doing what I can to absorb it. In the meantime, I’m keeping a steady eye on the horizon where the answers to my Whats and Why are stored.

    1. Hi Ellie,
      That’s my challenge too…not trying to do everything, when there are so many enticing possibilities! In 2012 I’m going to try and get a little ‘left brained’ with my goals and use them as way to filter out everything that doesn’t directly help me accomplish them…even if that makes me nervous.
      Good luck to us both!

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