Posts Tagged ‘ goal setting ’

Hitchhiking to the Stars: Effective Goal Setting with Todd Sotkiewicz & Gary Purece

It is 1995 and my dear friend Mike is in my little Tenderloin studio, preparing to leave town. He’s got the cash he needs, the packed backpack, a full water bottle and—“Can I cut up this box?” he asks me, holding up an old boot box. “I need to make my ticket.”

“Sure, but what are you talking about? You’re making a ticket? You don’t need to buy a ticket?”

I’m thinking of buses, airplanes, and trains. Mike’s thinking about hitchhiking.

He grabs my scissors and a Sharpie pen and cuts the bottom panel out of the box. He pops the cap off the pen and writes MEXICO in bold letters. He holds it up at me and says, “My ticket.”

He explains to me that motorists will be more likely to trust him if he has a destination. It is, after all, 1995, not 1965, and hitchhiking conjures images of psychokillers and missing teens in the American imagination. By stating his goal, Mike’s earning the trust of those who might help him along his way to Mexico.

Before I attended Effective Goal Setting with Todd Sotkiewicz  of 7×7 Magazine and Gary Purece of Lee Hecht Harrison, goal setting served my business in one concrete-if-metaphorical way: Reach for the stars, and I might just land on the moon.

So this idea they presented impressed me: a clear goal facilitates support and trust along the way. Gary and Todd know their stuff and have obviously collaborated on goal setting successfully, actively, and prolifically. They are also both accomplished, charming, and delightful presenters. And it’s a good thing. I’m guilty of having a pretty bad attitude about goal setting. I’ve shot at a lot of stars over the years, only rarely landing on the moon.

But I have collected amazing mentors and colleagues. I have enjoyed the support and trust of my clients and friends. And maybe that’s because I’ve diligently set goals. After all, who’s going to give me a ride on the highway to success if I don’t have a ticket?

Last week, entrepreneurs nationwide celebrated Small Business Week, and San Francisco marked the occasion with several fantastic events including the Small Business Conference, more than 30 workshops to help small business owners succeed. This week, I offer my notes and inspiration from the four  fabulous workshops I attended:

I’m integrating what I’ve learned into my coaching practice, especially for small business owners. Do you know a small business owner who needs help keeping up with the writing demands of Internet marketing? I can help, and my first session is free.


About Writing

A uniquely human behavior, writing may qualify as a human right or a responsibility to some of us. We feel compelled to write and feel challenged by it at once. Most writers who come to me learned to write around age five or six. They’ve already learned to write. If I’m not teaching my writing clients how to write, what am I doing when I coach and lead workshops?

I address obstacles—what gets in the way of your writing. In my writing sessions, I tackle stuff like:

  • Isolation
  • Fear
  • Mechanics of writing
  • Self criticism
  • Time management
  • Accountability

In my writing coaching and workshop sessions we overcome these obstacles by cultivating:

  • Community
  • Time saving techniques
  • Support
  • Flow
  • Self confidence
  • Engagement
  • Inspiration

Tools I use with my writing clients include:

  • Tips and lessons
  • Sexy Grammar
  • Community support
  • Collaborative homework
  • Peer pressure
  • Time to write
  • Space to write and discuss writing process
  • Nurturing of the whole writer
  • Setting goals

Some of the writing lessons I offer might be:

  • Writing technique
  • Grammar
  • Giving feedback
  • Getting feedback
  • Harnessing inspiration
  • Story structure and theme

Day 15: Halfway There

Today’s Word Count Goal: 32,450

Today’s Word Count So-Far: 25,000

Total Word Count Goal: 50,000


“I’m only behind on being ahead,” I declared to the wife last night.

“Wow, Kristy. Just wow,” she said, laughing.

She’s laughing at my logic, my word-count excuses.

“But it’s true,” I argue, and enter my latest count into the tiny box in the upper right-hand corner of the NaNoWriMo website. Today is day fifteen, so to be just exactly on schedule, I should have 25,000 words, halfway there. And that’s where I am. Not behind.

But I try to plan ahead, to be done by Thanksgiving and not write on weekends. I try to be an over-achieving WriMo.  On those goals, I am behind, way behind.

So yeah, shooting for the stars in order to stand half a chance of landing on the moon–it works for me as a writer. Does it work for you?


Watch the Sexy Grammarian participate in National Novel Writing Month for the third year in a row. I’ll post word counts and worries here daily, Tweet about it, raise funds for the Office of Letters And Light, and host Meet Me/Tweet Me open loft writing sessions all month long.

4 Grammar Rules for Goal Setting

I’m pleased as punch to present my first guest blogger, Renata J. Razza. Renata coaches clients to harness their authenticity and intention to find an easier, more joyful way to be and to dare in work and in life. Go give his delightful blog some love. -Kristy

In homage to the Sexy Grammarian, we’re going to have some fun with grammar and goal setting. Read on for 4 simple grammar rules and what they mean for your goal setting.

1. Every sentence must have a subject (even if only by implication).

In grammar, a subject is the thing that’s doing the action. It’s the sentence’s hero. And every goal needs a hero, too.

You get to be the hero of every one of your goals. So shoot for ” I will…” goals. They emphasize your choice and your desire. In “I need to…” or “I ought to…” goals, there’s an implied external subject that supersedes the written “I.” It’s that voice in your head that judges you and shoulds you, if it says anything at all. Trust me, you don’t want to start working for that guy.

2. Mind your synonyms.

No one wants to read writing that repeats the same word over and over and over. But when you dig for your thesaurus to find a synonym, pay attention to the flavor or connotation of the replacement word.

In goal setting, it’s easy to start with “want” and shift to “will” then to “ought” then to “should” then to “need.” Each of these words dramatically changes the flavor of your goal. Is it just a dream, as “want” implies? Is someone else telling you it’s what’s next for you (like “ought”)? Is desperation hidden in it (need to do it!!)?

Or is it a commitment? Nothing says commitment like the words, “I will do it.”

3. Avoid run-on sentences.

We’ve all read sentences that don’t really know what their focus is and therefore, they don’t really know when to start or stop so they just kind of keep going and then you, the reader, lose the thread entirely, right? (Forgive me: sometimes demonstration is priceless.)

Run-on goals are non-specific and unfocussed. So you never know when you’ve actually achieved them. Notice:

I will grow my business a lot this year.

Now compare:

I will double my monthly number of clients by July 2010.

Specific goals keep a focus and an end in sight. That’s what gives them their power.

4. Only transitive verbs need an object; intransitive verbs do not.

There are verbs that do actions to other things and there are verbs that just act or just are.

In the fervor that drives goal setting it’s easy to forget to give yourself the care and feeding that will allow you to meet your goal. So, go ahead…set ambitious goals. Just remember to drop into the intransitive verbs sometimes to refuel, rest and be.