“Designing Your Destiny”

tropical island

~ Getting Clear and Setting Goals ~

by Karen Orell

Over the last thirty years I’ve worked with thousands of people who were struggling with their direction, making decisions and were living a life they didn’t prefer or want. Exploring the road to how they came to be there was like taking someone into a dark forest with a tiny dim-lit candle. Some hazy recollections and guesses would come up, but no real understanding that led to en-light-enment of how the arrived at their current circumstances. By shining a bright light on their road of life I helped them understand how they contributed to creating that life by the choices they had made. The choices that you and I make every day and in every moment are like the compass of our lives. Our choices and decisions guide us to the outcomes that we see in our lives. And whether we do this consciously or unconsciously makes all the difference as to our outcomes.

One of my favorite long-term clients had quite a dilemma when I first met her. She came to me frustrated, confused and exhausted from juggling three start-up businesses that were all costing her money rather than making money. By taking a step back and getting a more objective view of what she truly enjoyed she was able to refocus her energy, time and commitment to just one of the businesses. Since she started working with me this business has become extremely successful, developing new products and services that have expanded both her client base and income.

This is a perfect example of what I call the “shotgun” versus “laser beam” effect. Before working with me her days were disorganized and split among a wide variety of different directions without any great clarity of the end goals or the “shotgun” approach. By getting really clear on what the most important thing was she was able to stay focused on that to achieve success. You see when you know what you want, and I mean truly know what you value, what your motivations are and what you want to achieve in your life, everything becomes very clear. Then you can choose to make the decisions that lead you to the expression of your highest good. And then as each new choice comes up you can ask yourself “Does this take me farther away from my goal?” or “Does this get me closer to my goal?”

My “KARENISM’s” on Goal Setting:

  • If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
  • If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t know when you get there.
  • If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter what road you choose.

Being proactive by planning is a major key to having the things that are truly Important to you in your life and live the life you dream of. There are a number of areas to investigate to help you get more clear and focused on your life goals and achieving them including your joys, gifts, and drivers or motivators. To get started with your planning you need to be really clear on your goals. Goals come from your heart and having great clarity on your life plan and life mission for why you’re here.

To help with getting clarity I’ve designed some effective and easy techniques that have worked great for others and I personally use every day both professionally and personally.

Start by getting really clear:

I. What are your true joys in life?

Many of you have read “The Secret” or seen the movie. One of the key factors presented was being “in the flow” to achieve your greatest life. Being in the flow is like having the optimum use of your physical form to direct your energy into the goals you have for your life. The more clear you are on what your true joys are the more you’ll be able to contribute and the happier you’ll be.

Exercise for pinpointing you greatest joys in life:

What you’ll need:

  • Set up a two-hour window without interruption
  • Quiet location
  • Journal and pen
  1. Block a two-hour window into your calendar, when you can have complete solitude and privacy. The best time will usually be first thing in the morning or later in the evening when your mind is best able to clear other daily living out. A weekend day off is another good choice when you’re not usually as committed to other activities or appointments.
  2. Decide on a location that you find especially peaceful and nurturing. A great choice is a somewhere in nature where you feel especially happy and content. One of my favorite locations is a glider port overlooking the Pacific Ocean where I can really have a great high-level vantage point. A location like this with a view will help with more long-term thinking and with a greater over-all view of your life.
  3. Find a comfortable place to sit and center yourself by closing your eyes and doing deep breathing for about five minutes. Relax your entire body as you breath and bring your focus into your center and your heart.
  4. Beginning at your birth, start to slowly review your life looking for the most joyful and exciting moments that you ever experienced. Moments where time stood still and you were in complete bliss will stand out for you as landmarks. Notice whom you are with, the surroundings and what in particular about the event you found exciting and fulfilling.
  5. As these events come to mind write down the feelings you had at that time. Add notes on everything at that event contributing to those feelings.
  6. After you finish writing these up look at the common themes of people, locations and activities. Finding these common themes will give you a major foundation for planning your life including where you live what type of work you do and who you’re in relationships with.

The optimum situation would be to have your income producing related to or involved with the activities you find the most fun and exciting. If your work doesn’t include these activities it’s especially important make plans in your daily life to include the activities you’ve discovered bring you great joy.

II. What are your major gifts and Talents you have to offer?

Determining and clarifying your major gifts is a major key to how to proceed with your life. In many ways this is almost like the road map to how to proceed in your life. This will direct you to your strengths and be the foundation of all your goal setting.

Exercise for finding your gifts

The people who know us best are sometimes a great source of information about who we are at our deepest levels.

  1. Your assignment is to either call or write up a short note to send out to friends, peers and close business associates letting them know that you’re doing a project and ask for assistance. You nay also want to include relatives depending on the relationships you have with them. If you have supportive caring relatives then add them to your list of people to ask.
  2. Input from between six and ten people should be a good amount of feedback to use as your research. When they accept ask them the following questions:
  • If you were to describe me to someone that doesn’t know me, what would you say about me?
  • What words come to mind when you think of me? What words best describe who I am?
  • Is there anything else as far a traits or personality you can think of that describes who I am?

3. When you’ve finished getting feedback, create a new list of the words and traits they gave you. Find the common words, personality traits and themes. Write the list of the top five of each and these for some real insight and clarity of your greatest gifts.

III. Major Drivers or Motivators

Every one of us as humans have common “drivers” which in some way determine what we need and therefore what we do. For instance air, water, and food are some of the common human needs that we all have. Abraham Maslow, a psychologist and researcher graphed a chart of the main levels of basic human needs.

Maslow basic needs hierarchy

 (Click on graphic for larger view)

There are also other more personal needs that each of us have, that determine what we choose to do with our lives. These needs are usually based on avoiding pain or achieving pleasure and each of us has our own unique list of needs and hierarchy of importance of those needs. In Maslow’s work he created a list of needs that were important to what he referred to as the “self-actualized person”

Truth, rather than dishonesty

Goodness, rather than evil

Beauty, not ugliness or vulgarity

Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites, not arbitrariness or forced choices

Aliveness, not deadness or the mechanization of life

Uniqueness, not bland uniformity

Perfection and necessity, not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident

Completion, rather than incompleteness

Justice and order, not injustice and lawlessness

Simplicity, not unnecessary complexity

Richness, not environmental impoverishment

Effortlessness, not strain

Playfulness, not grim, humorless, drudgery

Self-sufficiency, not dependency

Meaningfulness, rather than senselessness.

Being crystal clear on the needs you have and in what order they fall is like opening the door to your own vault. The answers to “What are my needs, motivators and drivers?” are key to how you make every decision in your life.

  1. Using the traits from Maslow’s “self-actualized person” write up a list of which traits are important to you. Which traits are you drawn to and find that you value highly.
  2. Put a number next to each item in your own list by order of importance until each trait has a number next to it.
  3. Next on a new separate list of the things you would do whether you were paid or not. These are activates and experiences which are so important to you that you do them without any concern for money. This may be things that you do as a volunteer or just do naturally in your day-to-day life.

IV. Your Vision & Goal Setting

By having the information you’ve gathered in these exercises you can create a mission statement for your life of who you are, why you’re here and what it is you’re here to do.

Then use the information to start setting your goals with this new-found clarity. You’ll then be able to make the right decisions for choices that come up. You now have your own list of joys, gifts, personality traits and needs that will act as your compass for your direction in both your personal and business life.

Seven Areas of Your Life

Each of us has our own internal set of areas and a set of ways we interact with others. We can set goals for each of these areas to help us with the right choices and stay on the path to achieve our dreams.

The areas to include are:

Inner Game





Outer Game




Write up your new set of goals for each of these seven areas for short, mid-term and long-term goals you want to achieve.

Goal Setting Guidelines

  1. Write down your goal in present tense.
  2. Goals should be specific with either a number or date.
  3. Goals should be measurable.
  4. Goals need to be written down.
  5. Goals are the end result of what you want to achieve. Don’t define how you want to achieve the goal, focus on the final vision.
  6. Set your biggest long-term goals first and then fit the other smaller shorter term goals around them.
  7. Break down your larger long-term goals into smaller shorter-term goals.
  8. Block in time in your schedule for the milestones to achieve your goals.

Types of Goals to Set

  1. What are your short-term goals (the next 90 days) in all seven major areas of your life?
  2. What are your Mid-range (the next two to five years) goals in all seven major areas of your life?
  3. What are your long-term goals (life time goals, retirement, what is your mark that you want to leave) for all seven major areas of your life?

Staying on Track with your Goals

Do daily tracking of you goals and progress toward them. Post your long-term goals in a place you see everyday to remind you of what is important and what you want to achieve. Share your goals with your community to get support and help you stay on track to achieve them. Revisit your long-term goals at least once monthly to see if they need revision. Revise your goals as needed. I like to do a revisit of my goals at the beginning of each new month and start the new month with a clear plan. Rewarding yourself for accomplishing your goals is key. Give yourself a gift for your hard work of something that is important to you and is meaningful.

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Winston Churchill

I encourage you to:

Choose to plan you life.

Choose to direct your life.

Choose where you will spend your time your energy and your life force.

And Enjoy the life you’ve created!


Ready to see your life transform?

Check out more programs available through Karen’s Business Consulting, Personal Coaching, Group Programs and upcoming Events.

You may also send Karen  a private message at Karen@KarenOrell.com

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