Make 2018 a Purpose-Driven Year, Part 3: Mapping Your How

Make 2018 a Purpose-Driven Year, Part 3: Mapping Your How

In Part 1 of this 3-part series, I shared the crucial first step in making your 2018 a purpose-driven year – considering your WHY and its importance in driving your focus, purpose, tasks and everything. In Part 2, I shared the steps to uncover the WHAT, which is the actual process of creating The Bliss List – writing down what makes you happiest – and narrowing down to your “Top Seven.”

What’s next? At this point, you should feel pretty good about how far you’ve come … and hopefully you’re ready to tackle mapping the HOW. In his book, "The Bliss List: Discover What Truly Makes You Happy – Then Land Your Dream Job!," J.P. Hansen provides a method of applying the “Top Seven.” In the sections that follow, I share a combination of Hansen’s methods, along with some tweaks I’ve made along the way. I’ve also borrowed a roadmap to implementation from friend and colleague Brian Ray, founder of the Crossroads Career Network, to provide what I hope will help you make 2018 the best year yet!

Please note: Even though Hansen’s process is geared toward helping job seekers, his process is equally applicable to us as small business owners and entrepreneurs as we seek to define those areas of focus or niche that we wish to pursue as part of our business strategy. Therefore, in this section, I have adapted his steps working with my small business and entrepreneurial clients by substituting the words “Focus/Niche” for “Job.”

We are now ready to take what we’ve discovered in the previous exercises completed in Parts 1 and 2 to apply your “Top Seven.” Here are the five steps:

  1. Write the title or titles of your dream focus/niche. Be as honest as possible and take no shortcuts. Hansen stresses that “even if the title is fictitious, it doesn’t matter … you may want to add a bit of a description to each title, but save the details for the next step.” As in previous exercises, the importance of writing all of this down actually amplifies and imprints this information onto your brain, as well as positively motivates you to continue the process.
  2. Write down a brief description of what each focus/niche entails. This section is where you amplify the information in each of the titles that you created in the previous step. The key question, “What are you passionate about?,” is what Hansen says should drive your work in this step. He points out the importance of “Interspers(ing) your Top Seven (the process) — they should be a match.” Run wild with your imagination and think outside the box. The more creative you are at this step, the more likely you will become successful with making each area a reality.
  3. Write down what skills are necessary for each focus/niche. This step is where you write down the skills it takes to do each of the items addressed in the previous step, along with the skills you already possess for each. You’ll most likely be surprised when you bring to light the skills you already possess, which should set you up for success! Hopefully, most of your current skill sets will align with those areas listed. Any gaps will be addressed in the next step.
  4. Write down the steps needed to make each of these areas a reality. As Hansen explains, you do not want to take any shortcuts during this particular stage of the process: “If more education is required, list it. Will you need additional education/credentials, such as a certification? Would a degree, an additional class, a training seminar or merely a different company environment help you to obtain what is missing? Be as honest as possible.”
  5. Make a plan and set priorities. This step is often overlooked. However, it’s the most important: Without a roadmap in place, you’re likely to stall your momentum. Brian Ray shares the SMART Goal method for goal setting. The SMART Goal Method is an essential part of the ministry’s Weekly Progress Review and Preview Exercise checklist (free for registered users through their website). The word SMART is an acronym describing the five ideal characteristics of each goal:
  • S = Specific: Set goals that are specific and measurable. Define exactly what you want to accomplish.
  • M = Moderate: Select 2-5 goals per week. Too many goals can be overwhelming, so keep it simple.
  • A = Accountability: Show and tell someone what you plan to do, and let them know how you did.
  • R = Record: It’s helpful to keep a written record of your goals and progress.
  • T = Time-activated: Put in your calendar goals by days and times during the week.

The Weekly Progress Review and Preview Exercise checklist contains these sections to complete each week to help keep you on track and serves as a written record of progress over time:

  • High points and low points from last week
  • Celebrate progress from last week
  • Identify things learned that could be useful
  • Set SMART Goals for the coming week
  • What help is needed the most?

If you take the time and effort to embark on this journey, then I promise that you will be well on your way to making 2018 a purpose-driven year – personally and professionally. My sincere desire is that 2018 turns out to be your best year yet!