Entrepreneurship Coach Lisa Corrado Shares Her 5-Step Process for Identifying and Achieving Your Big-Picture Goals

Goal setting is a great exercise to help you structure your time and energy more efficiently and narrow your focus. But it’s easy to make the mistake of creating goals that are better suited for to-do lists instead of thinking big and aiming for something impactful. Labs mentor and entrepreneurship coach Lisa Corrado held a session to discuss her five-step process for identifying and achieving both your personal and your business goals.

Step #1: Brainstorm a handful of goals

Brainstorming is a great way to get your ideas out all at once. To start identifying your big goals, take some time to sit down and think of goals that would benefit you. “We surprise ourselves when we allow ourselves to be open-minded. Ask yourself questions like ‘what would be a great goal to accomplish?’ and just let your ideas flow,” Corrado says. “By doing this, you can come up with some terrific ideas. It doesn't mean you're going to do all of them now, but at least you can start taking steps toward identifying them.”

During your brainstorm, don’t hold back from thinking of big-picture goals or make the mistake of focusing on one goal and ignoring others that pop up. No matter what comes to mind, make a note of it. “There’s always someone who's thinking, ‘I'm only going to focus on this one goal’ so they don't get much out of going through this process because they've already made their decision,” Corrado says. “And maybe that's the right goal for them, but they might be missing other opportunities.”

Step #2: Do a “gut check”

After you write down your list of goals, go through them one by one and ask yourself how they make you feel. “Take a look at your list, and for each goal idea that you came up with, write down one or two words that describe how accomplishing the goal would feel for you. Typically the descriptors will be positive, but they may not be,” Corrado says. “If you're honest with yourself, you may have written down something that you realize you really don’t want to do based on how it makes you feel.”

Goal setting can be an  uncomfortable process if you’re doing it right, but it’s important not to dismiss a goal just because it seems too challenging. “Humans in general just want to be comfortable, so we tend to back away from things that seem hard, or we think, ‘I'll do that another time,’” Corrado says. “But if you go through and say, ‘I need to set some of these feelings aside and think about why I want to do this,' it can make a huge difference.”

Step #3: Define the most ambitious goals from your brainstorm

Goal setting shouldn’t be about tackling small, day-to-day tasks like emails or meetings; it’s about identifying goals that can have a significant impact on your life or business. Now that you have a list of potential goals to go after, identify those that are likely to create the most significant changes in your life. “Which of these goals is going to make a difference? We focus on these big game changers because, as entrepreneurs, we should be trying to do really big things. We’re coming up with new ideas, launching new businesses,” Corrado says. “If you’re putting your heart and soul into something, you want to make sure that it’s as big as possible and challenges you.”

As you’re identifying your goals, you may stop and ask yourself, ‘how am I going to do this,’ but for now, don’t worry about establishing any plans or roadmaps. “How can be a scary word. It can make us uncomfortable when we don't know how to do something. You’re just taking the ‘how’ out of the equation,” Corrado says. “You’re not going to talk about how. This isn't about implementing; it's not creating an action plan. It's not any of that. You’re only picking a destination and making sure that the destination is the right one for you.”

Step #4: Identify what you have to change to achieve your goals

If you want to make progress towards  your goals, you have to figure out what you need to adjust to make that happen. Whether it’s time, money, focus, or some other factor, understanding how you’re currently using your resources is essential. “Once you're really clear on what it is you want to do, then it's figuring out what do you have to give up to make this goal happen,” Corrado says. “When you ask yourself this question, it allows you to take this new idea that you have and say, ‘what do I have to pull away from or change to make this new goal happen?’"

It could be another goal that you were already working towards or a project that’s been taking up a lot of time that’s standing in your way. Identify these blockers and adjust them to be able to focus on your new goal. “It could be that you have to give up something else that you're working on or delegate it to somebody. Or just pull some of the stuff away entirely,” Corrado says. “If in the process of evaluating everything that you're doing, you realize you're not willing to take anything away, the answer is not, ‘I'll add this to the pile,’ the answer is, ‘okay, this is a great goal but it's not the right time right now.’"

Step #5: Take inventory of the resources you have

One of the most important assets you have as an entrepreneur is the resources around you. When you’re goal setting, take inventory of the resources you already have around you that could potentially help you achieve your goals. “We typically ask ourselves, ‘what do we need to make my goals happen?’ But I prefer to come from the point of, ‘what do I already have?’ What do I have available right now that's going to make me successful?’” Corrado says. “Before you figure out what you need, it's important to take stock of what you have.”

Seeing that you have an untapped collection of resources can be a huge confidence boost if you’re feeling anxious about tackling a specific goal. “When you're listing all the resources that you can easily tap into, you can start to realize, ‘Oh, yeah. I can do this. This is going to be pretty doable,’ Corrado says. “It could be your training, team, education, skills, or talents. There's always something in there that will surprise you.”

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This post is based on content from a WeWork Labs programming session.

Interested in connecting directly with this mentor? Ask your Labs Manager for help.