Finding the Sail Boat - Three Options for seeing goals, even when they're invisible.

goal setting mental fitness performance enhancement Jan 25, 2021
goal setting for success

Last week I wrote a blog about the importance of completing an Annual Review and how this Annual Review can serve as the fertilizer for selecting pertinent goals. If you missed it or need a quick revisit, you can check it out here.

For some of you, a goal might have instantly emerged as a result of reflecting on your Annual Review notes. However, for others, it’s not as obvious.

Kind of like those “Magic Eye” books that no matter how long you stared at the fancy art and relaxed your eyes, you could not, for the life of you, see that 3D sail boat.

For you out there that may be unable to “see the sailboat” right now, this blog is for you. For those of you that saw the sail boat instantly, I still think you will get something from this blog as it may spur some inspiration for future goals.

So you ready? Relax your eyes, let’s find that sail boat.

We Have Options

When it comes to goal selection, we have a few options.

These options can help narrow our focus and make determinations about which pursuit is worth pursuing.

As we roll through these three options, I will also encourage you to consider how each could apply to your personal and professional lives.

Some of us out there might want to work on something personal to us, others might be in a different space and want to emphasize our professional or business self.

Regardless, these three options can apply.

Let’s take a look.

Option 1: Domino Goal.

A domino goal is one that when you complete it, it tends to knock down other positive things in your life. For instance, when I exercise in the morning, then I tend to write a blog. I'm reaching out to friends more. I'm eating healthier. All because of that initial domino behavior of exercise. It knocks down these other positive behaviors that I want to engage in. So if you're kind of stuck and not really sure which goal to focus on, or which area of focus to focus on, maybe there's an opportunity to focus on a domino goal.

Examples of Personal Domino goals:

  • Morning Meditation. A morning meditation clears your head so then you are more focused and productive throughout the rest of the day.
  • Nightly journal. By collecting your thoughts at night, you wake up the next morning with a clear head and strategy for how to tackle the day.

Examples of Professional Domino goals:

  • Morning strategy session. Taking 30-mins each morning to collect your thoughts and identify key to-dos can increase the likelihood of a streamlined and productive day.
  • Monthly One-On-Ones. Perhaps by deliberately connecting with your employees, performers, or stakeholders, you will feel more equipped to delegate work, which then helps the rest of your business or team operate successfully.


Option 2: BBB Goal.

A BBB goal (Biggest Bang for your Buck) is a goal that is going to have the greatest overall positive influence for you. For instance, maybe you’re considering going back to school. That singular goal might impact your feelings of passion and accomplishment. It might also help your occupational reality, which might also help your financial reality. So that singular focus of going back to school has a lot of bang for the buck and devoting time in that area is going to have a lot of ripple effects into other areas of your life.

Examples of Personal BBB goals:

  • Losing Weight. Trimming down some pounds via healthy eating or exercise can also be viewed as BBB goal because it will help you feel better about yourself, you’ll have more energy to do cool things in life, and your mind will sharpen so you can be more productive.
  • Connecting with friends more. Connecting with friends more will provide stimulating conversation, enhanced support, increased social opportunities, and stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Examples of Professional BBB goals:

  • Increased networking. The singular focus of networking more can enhance business connections, help you clarify your role or business function, and gain resources that could help you in the future.
  • Streamlining operations. Making it a goal to streamline your operations and processes could help your business run more efficiently and effectively which could lead to greater communication, cost savings, and output.


Option 3: Gravestone Goal.

The gravestone goal is the one that you would complete if you knew that you had just one year live. What goal would you pursue? The focus of this goal is that it highlights a very important area of focus of your life. For instance, maybe you would hate dying knowing that you never sang a song in public or went scuba off a tropical beach. Though it may sound morbid, that's the type of feel that we want with the gravestone goal.

Examples of Personal Gravestone goals:

  • Travel. Is this the year you take that African Safari? See the Eiffel Tower? Visit the Grand Canyon?
  • Absorb Family time. Perhaps it's time to soak up family time. Visit your siblings. Spend a month with your parents.

Examples of Professional Gravestone goals:

  • Increase your impact. Is this the year to take on more charity initiatives? To stop thinking about your role, but instead how you can support others around and under you.
  • Work less. Maybe the Gravestone goal isn’t about doing more at all and instead it’s about doing less.


A quick note, depending on your perception of these goals, there can be considerable overlap between these goal options. In other words, a Domino Goal, could also be viewed as a BBB goal, and vice versa. And actually, if that happens, it’s probably a good thing because you know that pursuing that goal will offer substantial value to your life.


Let’s put it into action - fill in the Goal Matrix.

Take a moment and fill out the below Goal Matrix. Gently “force" yourself to fill in each box.

You won’t have to complete all of them but hopefully one of the six will either be recurring or stand out the most. When you see it. Circle it. And when you circle it, work on doing it.

In the next blog we will discuss how to make that goal SMART and fail proof.

Final Thoughts:

In closing, not all goals are created equal and some goals have greater pertinence, relevance, importance, and timeliness than other goals.

And obviously, it is a bias of mine that we should spend some time in the growth or pursuit of something, however that doesn’t ALWAYS have to be the case. You might be in a position or at a chapter in your life when you just want to ride the wave you’re on and coast a little bit. That’s cool. No problem there. However, if you are looking for a goal to pursue, hopefully these options gave you some focus.

Do you see the sail boat?


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