9 steps to effective goal mapping (or How to meet Oprah) 

About a month ago when we discussed upcoming blogs, I groaned out loud on the phone to Lesley when we discussed that I should write this blog. Goals–Lesley is the half of this pair that makes them, and is successful at achieving them. Continually. She gets so excited about goals and achieving them–check out her post about goals last year…I’m more of a dreamer than a goal maker. However, the next day I picked up on a podcast where I left off, and BOOM-I was super inspired. So here we go: Goals 2016.
I was listening to Lewis Howes’s podcast and he was answering questions from listeners.  Lewis was asked what his 5 year goals include. Although that podcast itself isn’t the focus, this question is. But here is the link if you want to check it out.  He started listing people he wanted to interview–and the first few he listed I was with him, oh yeah he could totally get THOSE guests (like I know his reach from listening to his podcast for a month) and then he listed Oprah and President Obama. In my head, I thought “oh yeah, that’s reaching too far. He’ll never get those.” I was getting ready for work and I literally froze in my tracks–waaaaayyyyiiiit. Why COULDN’T he get those guests? He’s a prominent figure in the personal growth world. He’s got a podcast and a best seller and a great overcoming adversity story. He should have goals that big.

Ok. So let’s switch gears for a moment and I’ll come back to this. At this moment Lesley and I are trying to figure out new goals for our LiveClareLesley empire, and so I’m taking in A LOT of content (books, blogs, podcasts) on making a better business, being a better person, better ways to attract a partner…so generically: how to be better. What a lot of the advice boils down to is:

1) Find your strengths.

2) Find your desires.

3) Aim higher than both.

The people spouting this info are always saying that is what they did, became more successful than their gigantic and once unattainable dream, and now people are looking to these souls who have reached their goals, listening to them repeat these instructions.

strengthsdesires

Now, back to, my new personal growth crush: Lewis Howes, and his goal to get to interview Oprah or the President–I stopped in my tracks because I was pooh poohing a man who just published a book and is on the best seller list. WHY?!? Because, I realized two seconds later, I don’t trust that if I made the goal to interview Oprah from where I’m standing at this moment in my life, that I could interview her; which would make our Live ClareLesley empire explode! That woman is a current day Midas! But why should she talk to two gals in a startup self help realm? I was so wrong and judgmental on TWO levels.  I was judging someone else based on my fear to make a goal, I wrote about something similar on this blog.

The second bad judgment–the only real reason she wouldn’t do an interview with me is because it’s not my goal to get there. Let me say that again: the only REAL thing stopping me from talking to Oprah is that I haven’t taken the steps to get the opportunity to talk to her.

In the same phone convo where I shirked at writing about goals, Lesley said: if I want something, I’ll move heaven and hell to get it. If I’m not that interested, I will let it pass by.

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THAT IS SO TRUE! If we don’t REALLY want something, why is it a goal?  Maybe I could get the interview with Oprah, or maybe I don’t really want it. In other words, I’m either not aiming my goal to get me where I want to go, OR I don’t actually WANT that goal.
Another thought: at the end, or near end, of any theater project every theater friend asks me: so what’s your next project? It’s a general question we all ask each other. Even if the actor asked this question doesn’t have a show, we always have a plan: I’m going to get my headshots redone so I can hit the ground running in January; I’m taking a class starting next week; I’ve got 5 auditions next week…you get the picture. In other words, actors are always working to get more work, to achieve the bigger goal. Many of my friends dream of moving to Hollywood/NYC to make it big. We continue to strive towards this dream. I’m always planning.  Always looking for the NEXT.  So…..why don’t I do this in other areas of my life? Why don’t I have the goal to someday interview Oprah for Live ClareLesley?!? This blog, this empire is just as important–it’s a newer dream with a newer goal, but it’s just as important as my dream to be a Broadway star and win several awards, get asked to do a television show that will run 10 years and have re-runs that will fund my life, let me be bi-costal, travel, and choose how to live out my late 60s through the next 40 years. (Woah, that’s specific. You’re probably having a similar thought to this paragraph as I did to Lewis saying he wanted to interview Oprah. Yup. Brought it back around).

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Ok. So here’s the New Goal Idea (wellllll, it’s not new, and you’ve probably read something like this before, but reminders are always helpful–and maybe you’re in a better place to receive it now. If not, bookmark this page–you’ll think of it and want it later!) we are going to map out our goals backwards!! Go get a pen and paper. Yes. Paper and pen. I’ll wait.

Ok. Write out your answers. Here we go:

1) What is your big lifetime goal?

(For my example, I’m going to steal Lewis’s and say: I want to interview Oprah)

2) Why is that your goal?

(Uh, Oprah is amazing and everything she touches is gold. Oh and she is a role model and helps people–and I want to help people) Oprah is an influence and I have some great questions I would love to ask her, that I don’t think anyone else has asked.

–if you don’t have an answer for this question, or your answer is hard to come to: re-think question #1. It could be you have a different version of this goal, as in you want to meet a different celebrity like a Kardashian, or maybe you want to be a great influence in the world.

3) what is the last step in your goal? (Huh?!?) This is something that you can control but seems inflated. Maybe even untouchable. It’s ok, humor me.

Ok. Ummm the last step in my goal is to have a wide following (like 200,000 followers) and a published book on the best seller list, so I’m a heavy enough hitter to have Oprah know who I am, and her people will answer the phone when I call.

4) How do I get there? (Ugh! Why are my own questions SO hard?!?)

I need to write the book. I need to build up my empire so great that other people are sharing and helping me market/sell my name and ideas.

5) How do I get to my answer in #4?

(Whaaaaat?!? Is this a trick?)

I create a book idea that is sellable and get it to a publisher (or other options), and I establish and make a big name for myself.

6) How do I get to answer #5?

I brainstorm a book idea. Market my website.

7) How do I get to answer #6? I do research; Look at other books, figure out what audience I have, figure out what I want to say. I go look for marketing tips, books, strategies, people who are good at marketing and ask for help/advice.

8) How do I get to #7?

Get an audience by starting a blog/podcast/website/social media presence.

9) How do I get to #8?
…Ok. I think you get the generic idea. Keep digesting your “gigantic and scary and maybe even seemingly-unattainable” goal until you get to tangible solutions/or mini-goals that will start you up that ladder.

Now, please note, that I’d at any given step, if you had no solution, you might want to think what it is that you really want. OR if it’s an old goal and you’ve already tried the steps, walk away and get a new goal (either for a bit or for good)! No sense in driving yourself crazy for a goal you don’t really want anymore.

ALSO–if you find that your goals are more focused on others dreams or goals (as in: my mother always wanted to have a cooking show, so I’m going to be a chef because once I made amazing Mac and cheese and she’s always told me I should be a chef, even though cutting tomatoes is boring and fish heads terrify me. Um, yeah. No. Get a new goal. One that YOU want.)

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Take this paper you wrote your answers on and put it up somewhere you will look at it daily: next to the coffee pot, next to your bathroom mirror, tape it to your computer top or television! You need to look at your goals DAILY in order to remind/challenge/cheer you on to your penultimate goal. (Yes, for you anal retentives, or you feng shui types, feel free to rewrite or make a more attractive version of your goals. But–once you’ve achieved each step, cross it off or check it off or rewrite the sheet and put it ON TOP (don’t throw away the old sheet–you SHOULD be reminded of what you’ve achieved.) But DO change the look or location of the sheet so you don’t get used to seeing it, and start to ignore it. You can also revise as you go–if you find that other solutions might help you get to your goal in a better way.

Feel free to do this goal mapping for any goal. Dig deep into those big goals–anything is attainable, you just need to figure out how to get there.

So now go forth, dream big! (No one was ever hurt by dreaming big, only for not challenging themselves!!) Go answer the question: what’s next?

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

5 Steps to Dreaming Big

We want to make our mark on the world in some individual way. Even more we want to be known.  We make friends. While engaging in relationships we find ourselves changing, or even worse, awaken one day to find we have changed into someone who has veered away from the path we thought ourselves originally on. Sometimes we like who we have become; who our relationships and experiences have made us. And sometimes we don’t.

At times these traits are obvious to us and at others they are not. When I first started this post, I realized that week that I’d become a pushover and a scaredy cat. (We often delay our blogs to protect the innocent–which is usually ourselves!) Anyway. At the time I was afraid to leave my job. For many ridiculous reasons that at the time seemed important and true. One: my life feels like a delicate balance and I don’t want to disrupt it. Two: my job was pretty easy and it paid me reasonably. Three: they know me. I’d been at the job for over three years. Four: they seemed willing to work with my crazy schedule.

All of these are bullshit. My life is a delicate balance, but living is about how you deal with obstacles while pursuing your passion. No job (or relationship, for that matter) is “easy” when you’re not being treated right–and sadly, I didn’t  feel like I was being treated well. Which leads to three–obviously they didn’t know me if they felt they could mistreat me. And my schedule isn’t so crazy and it’s not that I’m not accommodating when needed if possible.


Life is a delicate balance, but living is about how you deal with obstacles

while pursuing a passion.


Well, I woke up a week after writing the above. Went into work like a good worker bee, determined to keep my head down and keep working.  During my shift, I found out I was denied my request for time off to perform the show I was already cast in. I lost it. In what feels like the “Hulk smash” version of myself, I decided I didn’t need a job that told me I couldn’t put myself first, and I quit.

I hold myself in high esteem. I’m a calculated person and I very rarely make snap judgements, uninformed choices, or un-researched plans. For better or for worse, I rarely walk into a big decision without a plan. Quitting a job is just not something I do. This was a big decision, and I had talked myself out of it so many times, but when the thing I am most passionate about was put on the table, I didn’t think twice.


When the thing I am most passionate about was put on the table, I didn’t think twice.


Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics: “stop worrying where you’re going. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ve gone. Just keep moving on.”  These lyrics always reassure me, no matter what I’m in the middle of. In other words, stop thinking about it and just go. Just make the choice. If you are that passionate about making the change happen, things will fall into place. If I hadn’t quit, I probably would have gotten let go, because I was going to do those performances. It was also time to leave that job. But I sat in it for too long because I didn’t value myself enough.

A while ago I wrote a blog on self-worth. This is a gigantic topic that we as a society don’t talk about enough. Therefore we question our worth, and what we want fights a battle against what we can offer. Which determines our worth.  If you continually think down on yourself, hold yourself back, or tell yourself that you’re not worth it, you never will be.


Maybe you continually beat yourself up because you don’t know how to do anything else. And if you pick on your own weaknesses, it won’t hurt as much when someone else does it.


I don’t know you. I don’t know your situation. I do know that I’ve been in both types of situations: the ones where I succumbed and stuck with something I didn’t want to do, and I’ve stuck up for myself and went my own way. Both choices have led to both good and bad outcomes. However, most times I’m  much happier standing up for myself, even though I might have to work harder, give up things, ask for help or money, and suffer a little.

How do you begin? Here is a place where lists will help you.

  1. Figure out why you dislike where you are–and “being you” doesn’t count. Is it because of hours you don’t like, not able to have a creative outlet?
  2. Can you change this by staying in your current situation but by just rearranging things?
  3. What is more important: comfort or creative? Heads up–pursuing the creative or the passion isn’t always easy. Generally it’s twice as tough because if you fail at even the smallest parts of your plan, it’s painful.
  4. Figure out your financials–this isn’t to say “don’t leap until you can afford to” but instead, “understand what downgrades and adjustments will need to be made, so it’s not so harsh a reality later.”
  5. Breathe deep and leap.

Just know that if you’re meant to do whatever your passion is, you’ll find the support. My gal Angie Atkinson is a huge example of this (outside of LL and I). Angie started her path to rock stardom three years ago, and isn’t famous yet, but you’ll hear about her soon. Angie started out wanting to move to NYC to be an actress.  That dream (and her amazing acting prowess) brought her to the city.  However, she decided it wasn’t the path for her anymore, and instead wanted to write and perform music.  She has been working on this in her spare time; writing, rehearsing; performing; and making an album–which she just released–go to iTunes or Amazon to buy it!!  For now check out a video or two.

Remember, whatever mark you want to make, you’re probably already on the path either to make it–just take a look around, what are you happiest doing?  What do you spend the most of your time doing?  Are they similar?  Why not?

We only get one life, so live it large.

Clare

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5 questions to help you focus your dreams.

I think I was six when I said, when I grew up I either wanted to be an archeologist or an actress. I loved digging in the dirt, and wanted to either find dinosaurs or Egyptian artifacts. I also loved playing dress up and creating my own version of skits in the back yard with all of my friends. I’ve always loved working with people and finding stories. Ultimately, that is what both of my career choices was about for me. What I didn’t understand as a child, is that both lives don’t always lead to the average living situation with a husband, kids, dog, house, mortgage, car, fence, etc. But you don’t think about those things as a kid.

When we were children it was easy to glamorize a career. It becomes part of our identity, our dream job. Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up—it’s a standard question. It might change as we go through high school and college, depending on our aptitude and what we are exposed to.  But generally, we hold onto those dreams, those career goals.

I come from the fairy tale generation.  We grew up with Disney, parents who told us we could be anything we wanted to be, and President Clinton telling us that everyone deserved to go to college.  The trouble is, once through college, or stepping into the real world, we try our dream out.  We stretch our legs and try out our skills… but it sometimes isn’t enough, or isn’t the right fit.  As adults we still dream about a career or a goal, especially in the ones that are continually in our faces. The sane ones that we can judge on the surface, but don’t understand the depths of what they actually take to live them.

I’m approaching my five year anniversary in New York. It’s a very exciting milestone, for me. I have survived one of the most brutal cities, and have been somewhat successful in the career I wish to be in. The buckets of money have yet to arrive for my performances, however, I feel like I’m successful in my persistence in this career, as well as my achievements. However, as an actor I’m continually terrified. Terrified of when my next creative job will arrive. Terrified of where the money will come from. Terrified by the dozens of friends, who are just as talented, who quit the business and move home. Its an alarmingly large rate of people who attempt this city, only to return home a year or three later. They have either seen the dark side of the dream, accomplished the dream and didn’t achieve the level of happiness they wanted, or did and are ready for a new dream.

The thing about dreams is they keep us going.  They give us something to wake up in the morning for.  They give our life excitement and challenge. Drive is so important in life. Something or someone to wake up for is a necessity in life. However, we do grow and change and our life and choices form us, and remold us into different adults. We look back and forward at the same time and wonderwhat we really want to achieve. Some of my friends have gotten to the point in their lives and realize that what they really want out of life isn’t offered by their chosen career. Other friends figured this out in college, or just after, and diverted their path towards other things like children, or homes, or staying in the town they grew up. And that is perfectly fine. Point: sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.

Sometimes this stifles us. Sometimes it releases us. What is it that you are really dreaming? Do you want a specific job? Or perhaps a way of life, instead?

Start with your current dream: What is it?

Maybe get a piece of paper or something to make notes. And be honest with yourself.

What attracts you to it–this dream? Is it the goal itself or what the goal will bring? (for instance, if you want to be an actor, do you want to actually be a part of the craft, or do you want to be famous, or do you want to have money?)

Why are you attracted to that aspect? (if it’s the craft, is it because you love that you can become someone else? You like bringing life to someone else’s words? If its famous, do you like that it can open doors? Do you like that you can be charitable to whomever you want to? Do you like that your picture will be everywhere? If it’s the money, what do you want to do with that money? Do you think that getting the money is easy by acting?)

What are you doing to achieve that goal? (Are you auditioning daily? Are you watching movies and reading gossip magazines? Are you only dreaming?)

Switch gears.

What is stopping you from going after the goal? Fear? No talent? No connections? Family/job/money stopping you? (If its fear—do you really want it? If its talent—why are you still drawn to it? If its no connections—why don’t you have them, as in do you need to start looking, or go back to school, or network? If its family/your job/money—are you sure you’re not making excuses only to keep you from it?

If you had to give up everything and only choose one: your family, your dream, your security—which would you choose?

Think about your answers to the questions. Maybe the dream you’re dreaming isn’t the right focus.

Social media gives us a great view of society and sociology. Many people post what they love most and what they are most proud of on social media. What are you posting? Also, what makes you jealous, no matter how slight, when friends post it—why does this make you feel that way?

I dreamt of being an actress. I’m still in the process of making that happen, bumps and bruises, rejection, and the lack of having a “regular life” make it frustrating and mildly unappealing to me. That is my inside view. I look at Facebook and how people I went to college and high school with are married with children and enjoying their lives, while I sit, single in NYC. But I did dream the right dream. Maybe if you sit, looking out your window at others, you should take a look at what you really want and desire. Start with my questions above and analyze yourself. If you need help, feel free to reach out at liveclarelesley@gmail.com

Dreams are amazing. They pull us through the drudge of daily life. But, if it’s the wrong dream, it could be detrimental to your spirit. What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

(Art by de la vega, photo by Live ClareLesley)