Hearing each other’s goals and responding, “you can do it!”

goal-setting-session-2017

About a dozen of us spent the day together recently, creating visions for the coming year and cheerleading for each other’s goals.

There are faster, easier ways to make a list of my year’s goals than hosting a houseful of guests. But easier isn’t always better.

After hosting a day-long goal-setting session for about a dozen women, with my career coach friend Lauree Ostrofsky facilitating, my heart nearly bursts recalling the enthusiastic support these ladies – some of whom had never met – gave each other.

Several women cried as they confessed to the stresses they carry or the barriers that keep them from doing what really calls to them. A few shared dreams and aspirations that would be a reach or a transformation from where they are today.

I loved that we created an environment where people felt comfortable opening their hearts to share their dreams – and even more so, I loved how everyone else responded.

Lauree firmly enforced a rule that once you’d shared your goal or vision, you then had to sit quietly while others gave feedback. It didn’t matter how much of a reach that dream was, these incredible cheerleaders would answer with “That sounds fantastic! I totally see you rocking that. You would be excellent at that.”

You know how we sometimes wave off compliments? Someone tells you that you look great and you respond that you really need to lose 10 pounds or there’s a spot on this dress you haven’t been able to get out …

Lauree wouldn’t allow that. She urged each woman to fully absorb the group’s encouragement and suggestions instead of interrupting with qualifiers like “I’m not sure …” or “Yeah but …”

For years, I’ve wanted to find a way to make money from my love of hosting. I don’t want to be an event planner, executing the details of someone else’s vision isn’t what motivates me. I enjoy creating an experience and welcoming people into something I’m excited to share.

So I said I have this aspiration to make money from building community and hosting, and almost immediately found myself undercutting my own goal. I’ve tried hosting workshops and found it to be a tremendous amount of work for not very much money. I’ve explored ways to make money hosting living room shows and it seems there’s too much legal risk. I worry that charging people for hosting intimate gatherings would fundamentally change what makes them special.

Lauree stopped me and made me listen to the encouragement of the group. Several people said they would happily pay for the kinds of events I put on and they’d come to something simply from trust that if I was doing it, it would be special.

If I’d made my 2017 goals by myself, I probably would have written something about events, but even as I wrote it, I’d feel all the caveats and doubts. Instead, I shared my goal with a dozen supportive peers who didn’t want to hear why I couldn’t, they wanted to tell me why and how I could.

Related, several people shared tentative goals – maybe I’d like to run the New York Marathon, I might like to open my own business, it’s possible I’d like to make a career shift – and we supported each other’s curiosity and embrace of uncertainty. There’s no shame in talking to people about a possible new career and learning enough to realize it’s not a fit, or backing off marathon training if it starts to hurt.

I have a hunch my hosting idea is likely to be a side hustle, something I do in addition to everything else. But I don’t know. I’m still mulling whether it’s a virtual community like webinars and a podcast or physical gatherings like retreats or workshops, whether I can make money from sponsors or memberships or if I could partner with someone who has an existing revenue stream … And while I’m in this information gathering mode, our assembled group simply offered encouragement to explore possibilities.

I’ve long been a fan of goal setting.

I made a list of what I wanted in a mate, and when I started dating John, I quickly recognized that he met nearly all the specs I’d laid out.

When I was graduating from business school, I made a similar list of attributes of my ideal job, right down to wanting an office with windows that got lots of sunlight. It took almost a year after getting my MBA, but when I started at the Associated Press, that gig was almost perfectly what I’d described on my list.

I looked forward to this goal-setting day as a chance to get input and feedback, and I shouldn’t be surprised it was so much more.

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