It happens every time I announce a new special event. Almost immediately, I begin getting messages that say, “Someday I’d love to attend your Storytelling seminar.” Or “When will you be doing your Inspired Livelihood event in Alaska?”

These questions come from folks who don’t understand effective goalsetting. They’ve got it backwards. Sadly, that is a recipe for frustration.

Several years ago when Valerie Young announced our upcoming Making Dreams Happen event, she was deluged with e-mails from people saying they’d like to attend but couldn’t afford the enrollment fee.

She called me to see if I had any ideas about how to handle this onslaught. I pointed out that since this event was about bringing dreams into reality, getting there was the first exercise. 

The ever-creative Valerie issued a challenge to her readers asking them to share what they were doing to fund the conference. We got wonderful stories about the creative ways that participants found to be involved. 

A year earlier, two friends and I decided we wanted to take a little vacation. My cash flow was good so I had the funds;  they had  both spent the previous months working on writing projects that had yet to pay off so their cash flow was squeaky. 

Once we set the goal for the trip, however, they  swung into action. They  had each built a nice little portfolio of cash flow options that included things like selling on eBay, doing market research, spending a Sunday as a flea market vendor. In less than two weeks, they both had the money  they  needed for the trip.

Last year, another entrepreneurial friend was experiencing a cash flow slowdown and decided to get creative. She wanted something that wouldn’t distract too much from other projects she was working on, so she put an ad on her local Craigslist offering her services as a pet sitter in her home. Not long after, I  was talking to her and she proudly announced, “I just passed the $1000 mark with pet sitting.” 

In his blog post Pennies and Dollars, Seth Godin writes, “In fact, too much worrying about cash is the work of the lizard brain, it’s a symptom of someone self-sabotaging the work. The thing to do is invest in scary innovations, large leaps, significant savings.”

So the order of making things happen is this: goal first, funding second. 

What successful goalsetters know is that the process goes something like this: focus on a goal, brainstorm obvious and crazy ways to make it happen, start taking action. 

Keep going until the goal is met. 

Set another goal and repeat.

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Been thinking about joining Alice Barry, Terri Belford and me for Inspired Livelihood in Sedona? Don’t let your lizard brain keep you home. Commit to coming, register and create a funding project. And start your project by giving yourself a nice discount by signing up before March 15

12 Responses to “What Successful Goalsetters Know”

  1. Jane Beaver

    That piece is just so good about goal setting! Also, it’s the second time in a week that I have heard reference to the reptilian (or lizard) brain! I think lizards are very good hunters, and I have never noticed them being that innovative in the sense of setting new goals! So, I think what you have said about setting goals first and then figuring out how to achieve them is definitely the way to go! Thanks for another wonderful insight!

  2. Traci Johnson

    We have to decide how much we want something. If it’s important enough to our mental, emotional or physical well-being then we will find a way to make it happen. It’s all about deciding and doing. Anything is possible if we want it badly enough!

  3. Barbara

    Just saw a great quote on Twitter this morning: You can never get enough of what you don’t need.

    I think it’s also sad that so many people have been warned not to have high expectations “so they won’t be disappointed.” Instead, you get to have a life of constant disappointment.

  4. Alice

    Thanks for this great article, Barbara. Setting goals and finding creative ways to fund them is investing in yourself and it’s good problem solving. Contacting a workshop provider and telling them you want to attend but can’t afford their fee is trying to make your problem, their problem. BTW, I’ve now surpassed the $3,000 mark for dog sitting. ;o )

  5. Barbara

    Yahoo, Alice! Great point, too, about trying to make your problem someone else’s. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen anyone at an event who had assured me they’d come someday. Someday has a way of never arriving.

  6. Joan

    You mentioned that story about the vacation funding projects in your Wanderlust Teleseminar. (One of the best investments I’ve made) It was cool to read you list out specifically the entrepreneurial activities they created for the funding. I have to keep reminding myself the reverse the process whenever I think about goals like that, especially the ones that need funding. Nice article Barbara!

  7. Barbara Winter

    Thanks, Joan. Funny how we have to keep learning the good stuff over and over and over.

  8. Jami

    I love this and I think most of us at some point in our life have fallen in the “I can’t afford it” language trap. So I learned something from Robert Kiyosaki’s books and it changed my way of thinking. Instead of telling ourselves we “can’t afford” something, we need to ask ourselves “HOW can we afford it.” By changing the language, it shifts your thinking in your mind, and then you realize, “hey, if I eat out less this month, don’t buy a new outfit or sell stuff I’m not using anymore on craigslist, I CAN afford to go to that seminar I’ve always wanted to.” Make the shift.

  9. Matthew Clark

    Goal setting is very important if you want something to be done in a short period of time.*-:

  10. Jonathan Allen

    the great thing about teleseminars is that you learn a lot in the comforts of your home’;’

  11. Towel Rails 

    i always love to attend teleseminars because i learn a lot from it even though i am at home:~-

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