How to use your heart to set goals you truly care about achieving.
Follow these four steps to setting goals that light you up, plus what you can expect from me, The Ask® and this newsletter in the year ahead.
Oh hello, 2022. New year new… nope not new you. You’re great.
But despite any cynicism you might have around planning or setting goals (after the last two years we’ve been through) it is still right that we feel anticipation about the year ahead.
Our ancestors for the last four millenia have done so. In 46 BC Julius Caesar decided 1st Jan to be the new year — and so the Romans celebrated, with sacrifices to gods, decorating their homes, gifts and salacious parties. History lesson over.
New beginnings are the opportune moment to set our intentions and our sights high. We are free to rock that ‘blank slate energy’ where we can fully believe in what future us is capable of. Kind of like when we had the new year at school year we’d showcase that trendy new pencil case, crisp notepad and fresh school uniform (my school had jumpers and they were SO soft).
And now? As business owners, I believe that if you want it to then you can make a big deal about the fact it’s a new year.
In the first few years of operations, a new year can mark a big milestone. Perhaps 2022 will be the year you go full time on your business, or your ‘first full year’, or the first year you turn a profit. My Limited Company was registered on 3rd Jan 2020 so it turned 2 yesterday. Still a baby!
We give these milestones significance because we want a narrative for our experiences — we are the leading character in our own movie after all.
What do you, the protagonist in your life story, want in 2022?
As new business owners this question can be hard to answer. How do you plan an entire year if you’ve not even done a full year of business operations before? How do you know what is possible? What is too ambitious, or perhaps not ambitious enough?
Not only that but planning in a pandemic has proven somewhat of a joke.
The solution? Not to avoid making plans and goals (you’d be missing out on a key requirement for building a successful business) but rather to start with working out what it is that your heart desires.
Soppy alert! But really that is the stuff that will move you to action so that you actually care about making it happen, pandemic or not.
Your desires shape your ambitions which in turn define your plans; and goals help you to measure if your plans are working.
So start by thinking what actually matters to you this year? What would make you truly proud, happy or fulfilled? On a deeper level.
This is not about removing ambition just ensuring that any ambitions you have tie back to what you truly want (not just what sounds good on paper eg £10k months). As I shared in my reflection Everything I learnt in 2021, many of my Jan ‘21 goals had come from a place of ego or what I felt I should achieve in my business. Although the ones I did decide were the most important, funnily enough, I did everything possible to make sure I hit and ended the year feeling really good about my business.
The 4 Steps to setting goals that align to your desires
Here’s my method to translate what you want into the tools and steps to making it possible.
Step 1 : Look internally and ask yourself what you are prioritising this year. What drivers or values are you looking to prioritise eg freedom, security, creativity, fun.
Step 2 : Taking your key drivers from step 1, work out what they would mean in practice if played out. What would that look like from a business perspective? Different than last year or just more of the same?
Step 3 : Now create a plan around that — how will it happen, who is involved, what else do you need to make it possible? Is this a 2022 thing or longer term?
Step 4 : Write out your goal(s) for each of the plans. So that you can actually track your progress towards them in terms of metrics and timelines.
Many will overcomplicate this process with too many goals or not being specific enough or tying it back to an action. I ran a workshop with Found & Flourish for 17 female founders today and supported them to tweak their answers so they became tangible but also fully aligned to what their ‘why’ is on a deeper level.
Now your turn: I’ve given you the framework above but if you want to guided through this entire process with other founders, get inspired, clear and be held accountable…. I am hosting an intimate workshop in January for people new to their entrepreneurial journey ready to align their real desires to their business vision and plans in 2022.
I’ll coach you through each of these steps (with examples and ideas to inspire you across themes and different parts of your business) and you’ll leave with the knowledge of both what you want and how you can make it happen. Surrounded by other founders at similar stages sharing what they are working on too. Spaces limited. Sign up for the 2022 vision and planning workshop here.
That’s it for this week, a shorter issue as I settle into work again and attend to a backlog of emails and client support but I’m so pleased you are here if you’re reading and have so much cool stuff planned to write for you this year so thank you for being here! If we’ve not spoken before, do reply and let me know what you're working on in your entrepreneurial journeys. There may be a way I can connect you to people and resources you need next. I’m all 👀 and👂.
More below if you want to know more about what to expect from this newsletter, my work and all the rest this year ahead..
Behind The Scenes at The Ask®
What to expect from this newsletter this year….
The stats, likes and messages inform me that you enjoyed reading the 2021 reflection newsletter. Thank you. I’m flattered as it felt risky sharing so much because a) I’ve never been so open which feels vulnerable and b) I just didn’t think you’d be that interested and feared I’d get lots of unsubscribes after just hitting the 1k subscriber mark.
The truth is that I did get a fair few unsubscribes (but we’re at 1020 of you here so it’s all gravy plus unsubscribes are part of the process!) and I now feel firm in the knowledge that sharing my own journey will be a mainstay for 2022. Not every post, but more often. We all want to learn how other business owners do things in practice not just in theory. There is only so much detail I can divulge about other peoples’ businesses whereas I can go deep in my own specifics, facts and feelings.
So buckle up for more writing about me building my business (a business that is helping other people build their businesses). So meta, it hurts.
As well as sharing my own learnings, I will be writing more long form essays on topics you can be thinking deeply about in your entrepreneurial careers such as “Do you know what it takes to build a business in the right way” and “How the desire to maintain a personal brand may be harming your business”, and interviewing more founders and industry-leading creators on how they have built their businesses and what they can teach us about self-promotion, strategy, self-trust and more.
What to expect from me and The Ask coaching this year…
I’m spending 2022 prioritising adventure with some travel plans, more collaboration via partnerships, and to expect the… unexpected. Trying to open up space for serendipity and what the world wants for me, not cramming my calendar back to back with calls and meetings every second.
Products and services wise, it’s more 1-1 client work (taking new entrepreneurs to a place of greater clarity, confidence, focus and structure so that they can make their business a success and find financial freedom) with one space left for January start date, and have a year long group programme running for founders to stay On Track with their goals. Here’s the info if that’s you.
Thanks for reading and here’s to a brand spanking new year 🎊
…and new headshots..
Ellen Donnelly, Founder + Chief Coach, The Ask.