Goals -v- Projects: Three Important Business Questions

Michael Neill is described by Paul McKenna as being “the finest success coach in the world today”. I remember being ambivalent about the word “success” when I first started in coaching but Michael has always written about it eloquently. In fact, Michael was my own success coach in 2006 and we worked together for a whole year – A WHOLE YEAR – on getting me out of my day job. Why did that take so long? In a word, duty. In two words, misplaced duty. It’s a long story for another day.

Recently Michael wrote to me and sent me a free review copy of his new book, SuperCoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life and he asked me to read it, review it and recommend it to all my clients as a way of helping him sell lots of copies. Fair enough, the man had changed my life, it was the least I could do!

The book duly arrived about ten days go and I read the first 80 pages that night. This is quite unusual for me, I love to read and frequently have several books on the go at once (typical Scanner/Creator), but I just as frequently don’t finish books mainly due to shortage of time in my life right now. But despite the fact that I had an agenda here, the reason I was making such excellent progress through Michael’s book is that it is firstly his best, secondly very relevant to my own life circumstances right now, and thirdly pertinent to the work I am doing with colleagues and clients too. Oh, and its well written, pithy, short and to the point, bossy and directive. In short, I LOVE it. How fortunate is that, imagine it had been b*****s, what would I have done then?

What wonderful timing, what synchronicity!

And so I took it to the Money Gym board meeting a couple of weeks ago and we worked with Michael’s three important (business) questions on page 86 and we talked about them in this week’s Money Gym Wealth Surgery and Nicola asked if I would write an article for this week’s ezine on this topic. Delighted. So now you have the run up to this.

These three important questions come in long-ish Chapter Three which is about far more than just these questions; its about The Problem with Goals. Those of us who have been coaching for a while now have come across the problem with goals before. Some of my closer colleagues and I are moving towards working with intentions instead of goals and Michael suggests we might choose projects instead of goals.

What’s the difference? Here’s what SuperCoach Michael says:

  • Goals are always reached in the future; projects are worked on in the present
  • Goals are things you work towards; projects are things you work on
  • With a goal, your focus is on the desired result; with a project, your focus is on the daily action
  • With a goal, you’re a failure until the moment you succeed; with a project you’re successful until the moment you fail.

I like that last one best, actually.

So here’s “all you need to do” according to Michael:

Go through the list of creative possibilities for your life and, for each item on your list, ask yourself a simple question: “regardless of whether or not I think I can actually have this, do I really want it?” If your answers is an unquestionable yes, you may take it forward to a new “yes” goals list which you then divide into two – a fairy godmother list and a project list.

“A fairy godmother list is made up of those things that you would love to be, do or have in your life but you aren’t really sure if you’re up for creating. However, if they fell into your lap, came to you out of a clear blue sky or your fairy godmother showed up, waved her magic wand and “hey, presto!” they were yours, you’d be all for them.

This is a powerful list to have because it keeps you in touch with your fondest dreams and warmest desires, even if the circumstances for their creation don’t seem to be slanted in your favour right now. Not only will you find that energy of desire a useful guide,but you’ll also notice that items on this list have a habit of showing up when you least expect them to.

You project list is made up of those things that you want to take responsibility for and make at least a part of your life about creating. Whether or not these projects actually come off as planned, you’ll feel good about having invested the time and energy into making them happen. This list will give you a way or organizing your efforts so you can get maximum reward for every action taken.

For each item on your “yes” list, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to make part of my life over the next year about actively creating this?
  • Do I want to invest my time and energy into making this happen?
  • If this didn’t lead to the result I wanted, would I still be glad I took the time to work on it?

If your answer is anything but an unquestionable yes to all three questions, put it on your fairy godmother list; otherwise it can go on your project list.”

Work on your project list. End of.

If you want more of this stonkingly good, common-sense compelling writing from Michael you can, of course, buy his book in all good bookshops, from Hay House or from Amazon.

If you want lots of wonderful extra resources for free, there’s a special link you can use – click here.

We will, no doubt, be including more of Michael’s wisdom at our Money Gym Business Surgery workshop in London on 15th May 2009.

You can see more of Michael in London here in the first couple of weeks of May with Change Your Life, Coaching Mastery and Effortless Success – cor, that’s a bit of a week for MN!

AND you can see Michael at Hay House’s wonderful I Can Do It in London in September – I’m going, so see you there.

I will be writing more about SuperCoach in the coming days and weeks as I re-visit its wisdom with my clients and use it to work on myself too.

Your Biz Your Way

If you have enjoyed reading my words here, you might also enjoy my book - Your Biz Your Way: Learning to Trust Yourself. Relax! You've Got This. Get a chunky free sample and/or buy the book here Read My Book

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