Episode 10: How I'm Turning My New Year's Goals Into Reality By Taking Action and Ownership
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Links to Topics Mentioned in Episode 10
- Tedx Event Listing
- TED Talks, The Official TED Guide to Public Speaker and it's by Chris Anderson
- Tim Ferriss: 3 Critical Rules of Branding
- The Insider's Guide to Maternity Leave
Full Transcript - Enjoy :-)
Hi, I'm Victoria Hefty and welcome to Activate Purpose where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career.
In today's episode I'm actually going to break down three of my goals for the year so, this is 2018, and I'll share some of the steps I'm taking to act on those goals and more importantly, the inner struggle of how deciding what I want on making these goals.
At the end of my last episode, episode nine, I talked about New Year's resolutions and why I like them, so, essentially I think it's important for people to dream about the goals they would like to achieve and even if they don't reach every single aspect of their goals, to me, it's not a loss.
I believe that you learn simply by taking action and that knowledge builds on itself for the next time you want to try something else. Point is, I love setting goals, but, this year I wanted to do something different.
My past goals, I think, like most people have always been, I don't know, maybe outward facing, so, actually I shouldn't say outward facing, but, they've been to get in better shape, save more money, read more books, so sort of, I don't know. I always feel like they're the same goals for most people.
But this year, I decided to be a lot more intentional about what goals I was going to sort of select for my year and part of the reason why I started this podcast, Activate Purpose, was to share my journey on how I'm trying to find my purpose while balancing motherhood and career just like I said a couple of minutes ago. Frankly, I still don't know what my purpose is so why not pick three things that I want to explore more this year and see where they take me.
In episode three, I talked about how I struggle to dream big, but, after going through this whole, I don't know, mind thing, I finally came up with three big goals that I wanted to accomplish. One of the goals was doing, I should say, let me just clarify, three big goals that I wanted to accomplish, like, over the course of my life or in the more long term than three goals this year and now I'm creating three more goals, like, that's not how it works.
One of the goals that I had for my big, big, dream is to do a TED Talk on the main stage at the TED annual conference. I believe it's held in Vancouver every year. To help push those goals along, one of my more mini goals this year is to actually speak at a TEDx.
TEDx is more of a licensed, more local decentralized version of the big TED talks. I would say, probably every major city has one, school, organization. If you go on TED.com you should be able to find out more information, but, basically there are thousands of them every year and it really does help their purpose, which is, sharing or spreading big ideas or I think it's ideas that spread. Anyway, I'm gonna focus now.
I was initially hesitant to have the TEDx as my goal this year because I had specifically said that my big goal was to speak at the huge conference. Not at the smaller ones, but, if I was being honest with myself, I realized this was actually silly because the two are not neutrally exclusive as I found out.
Once I started doing more research about what it takes to be invited to a TED Talks, you do have to be invited, I realized that anyone that's invited needs some proof that they're a good speaker and actually talking at TEDx, having videotaped "evidence" about your ability to speak is actually a great way to show the organizers that.
I realize that there's this whole process of depending on who the local TEDx organizer is or what the theme is and sometimes you actually have to even be nominated to even get an invite to the local TEDx thing.
Once I actually started getting very tactical about how to pursue this goal, I realized that there was a lot more involved and that it actually wasn't just going to magically happen. I mean, of course I didn't think that all of this was just gonna happen, that I was just gonna say I want to be in a big TED Talk and it was gonna happen, but, I realize that, up front, actually, seeing the steps involved brought me back down to earth a little and realized that it was time to actually do the work to make it happen.
Frankly, it was time to get to work so really figure out how I was going to pursue this, so, let's work backwards. Since one of my goals was to do one TEDx event this year and the local organizers tended to give their theme early, I have actually started researching the main website for local regional events around my area.
My first milestone by the end of this month, which is in just a couple of week will be to email two to three organizers to get more information about their program or anticipated programs for the year. I'm pushing it out a couple of weeks because, one, I mean, this is what this podcast is about. It's all about balancing and I have a lot of things going on. I'm finishing up a couple of big independent consulting projects and I really want to be very thoughtful about the research I do in case I get a quick email from one of the organizers, so, I just want to push it up just a couple of weeks so I can be prepared for an immediate response if I have to.
I've also learned that while being an activator who can make things happen quickly is a good thing, it's not always sustainable over the long run, so, I want to be much, much more intentional about the type of projects that I take on and space them out in a way that I think work in my favor and keep me excited rather than keeping me or leading to burnout.
Timing wise I'd like to do the talk in the fall to prepare, to have plenty of time to prepare, but, I'm also trusting that if something opens up earlier and the organizers think I'm a good fit, I'll be able to make it happen. I think that that is important. Flexibility is important.
One of the things that has actually helped me to get and stay excited about this goal is a book I think I've talked about before, but, it's called TED Talks, The Official TED Guide to Public Speaker and it's by Chris Anderson who actually now owns TED and he actually talks about the journey of coming to own the sort of brand and concept in the book. It's one of my favorite books so far that I've read. I highly recommend it to actually anyone that's interested in not just becoming a public speaker, but, being, one, a better speaker and learning how to communicate ideas. I think that that is really important.
I read this quote and I don't have it in front of me, but, it was essentially like, you will never achieve your goals unless you can actually articulate them. I think that communication is becoming a much more critical skill and I think this book, I saw so many things that it could helpful for, so, I encourage you to check it out.
Again, it's TED Talks, The Official TED Guide to Public Speaker and I'll have a link in the show notes. I should say the audio book is done by Chris, himself. I always like when audio books are done by the author and he has a really cool accent and I just enjoy listening to him and the content is very engaging and it's really thoughtful so that will be helping me to pursue my goals. That's goal number one is to do a TEDx Talk in 2018. Fingers crossed.
Goal two. To own is to own a category. Let me explain what that means. Tim Ferriss, I talked about him, I believe in episode eight, but, he is one of my favorite people to listen to or read because he has at least, I think, a way of giving advice that strips out sort of all of the hype and breaks down the essentials.
One of the things that actually I did for fun and I believe I said in episode eight was I answered six questions that he featured in his book, Tribe of Mentors and asked them and answered them about myself. So, if you're curious about me or a little bit more about what makes me sort of tick, you should check that out.
I was listening to another episode of his called, The Three Critical Rules of Branding. Funny enough, one of his rules is to actually forget about branding and all the jargon and focus on what your product or service uniquely brings to the market. That's it. He says and I tend to agree with him on this, that there's so much noise in the branding space and that it can actually really detract from what you really need to focus on.
The thing that he said that struck the biggest chord with me was to own a category. Tim says that if you are not number one or number two in your area or in your category, find a different category or create a new one.
Now, this doesn't have to be a vastly different thing or category, but, you do have to have a different angle than someone else and that really struck with me particularly the own a category because I was thinking, well, I have a website, I have this podcast, which I love doing, I have my book, Insiders Guide to Maternity Leave, but, I don't know if I would really say, I own a category. I feel like, spoken like a true consultant, I'm a jack of all trades and I'm not really an expert in any one thing and I've made the commitment that that's going to change in 2018.
I debated sharing this goal because a lot of things, which I'll talk about, but, I realize two things. One, that like many people have said, having an idea is nothing if you can't execute on it. I think sharing my ideas, just because I share it, yes, there's always a "risk" that someone's gonna take the idea, but, what does that really mean because, two, I believe that it's all in the execution. A lot of people can execute different ways how I translate my idea into something physical or in a service is very different than how someone else may so I should not be afraid to share it.
Then, two, I do think that when you get an idea out of your head you say it out loud and you put it out there in the universe, wonderful things can happen and I also think it's the ultimate form of accountability, which most people need to achieve their goals, at least I do.
Back to owning this category. This is the year that I want to establish myself in an area that I was clearly passionate enough to at least overcome a lot of fears and doubts and write a book about which is, maternity leave. It's not necessarily the most exciting topic, but, something that is very essential for most people, or most women I should say, who plan to have children. Now, more so there is obviously paternity leave and adoptive leave, but, for me I think the vast majority it's still focused on maternity leave.
I want to become more of an expert and create resources that will help moms to navigate all of the professional challenges and roadblocks that can happen when they're preparing for on or coming back from maternity leave.
I did my research with this framework in mind and I realized that no one seems to own this space. At least in the US or in Canada, so, why not me? I don't know it's kind of a bold statement, but, again, why not? Why shouldn't I at least try? I realize that this will take time, but, the first thing I'm working on is actually a new website that will expand on the information that I shared in my book.
I spent a couple of days and this is just being honest because I think it's important to see behind the scenes how at least how I think, I spent a couple of days worrying about what the website was going to be about, was this a good idea, and then I had, where do I start, and then I had this aha moment, like, hello Victoria, you wrote freaking book about this topic. Start from there and transform what you know into engaging online content.
That's what I'm going to be doing. I'm still working through what type of content is going to actually be on the site. What makes sense more in book form, I think the stories make sense more in the book form, but, some of the more other aspects that are more susceptible to updates will be on the website and I think it's gonna be a challenge to frankly, for me to make some of the information that is really important, but, also dry, more engaging. I think that that's a good thing to do. I think that's a good skill for me to learn and so I'm looking forward to doing that.
Like I said, it's gonna be a challenge, but, if I can do it right, I think I'll definitely be proud to say that by the end of 2018, I will have owned a category.
Those are my two big goals. The TEDx and this new maternity leave website. My last goal for the year, because I did say three, is sort of a fun one. It's like a fun mini project that I'm hoping to get my family on board to do. I've shared it with my mom and she's excited about it, but, I'll need more help.
Basically, I have a toddler at home who absolutely loves books so I've read more than my fair share of children's books. A few weeks ago an idea came to me while I was meditating, which I'm finding a lot of ideas are coming to me during that time. It took I'd say a couple of months of meditating, but, that quiet time has really been good of just letting, I don't listen to all the ideas that come through, but, this one stuck. So, I'm going with it.
I realize that my grandmother, is getting very old. She's 85 and she has, to me that's old, but, she's still lively and knock on wood, very healthy and vibrant, but, you just can't take anything for granted and I realize that she has all this wisdom that I want to capture and share with my daughter. I had an idea that I'm going to create a children's book for the kids in my extended family and the book will have 10 life lessons from their great-grandmother.
I'm gonna have it illustrated and bound like a proper book and this isn't to scale or sell or anything like that, but really, it's going to be a family memento, but, I'm going to treat it like a formal book project. I don't know how I'm going to do this exactly, but, honestly that hasn't really stopped me before. I think it goes back to what I was saying. Once you put yourself out there and you've done some of these other types of projects, at least I have done many projects that I didn't know what I was doing, but, I figured it out, it gives me more confidence to not let that be the hurdle.
There's so much information out there that I know I will find it. It's also the type of project that I can create with my family, but, I can also realistically outsource some aspects, like, I can get someone to help me write it. There's tons of ghostwriters, especially if I have all the material from my grandmother and I'm not an illustrator, but, I know that there's talented illustrators out there if you happen to know someone email me. I can get someone to do a beautiful job, so, I think it would just make a great present for my grandmother and I think it's a wonderful way to share her legacy and story to not just my daughter, but, keep in the in future for perhaps even my grandchildren.
That's my third goal, so, again to wrap it up, three big goals for 2018 so you can keep me accountable and I can listen to this next year and I think measure my success is to one, do a TEDx Talk in 2018, own the maternity leave category, and to create a children's book.
My challenge for you today is to think of one creative goal that you want to take on this year. It doesn't matter, it doesn't have to be a big one. It can just be a small goal maybe it's something that will make you money on the side, just a couple of dollars here or there or a family project or something fun that's just for you. I don't think it's about being complex, but, I think it's something that gets you excited and then I would ask you to just do one thing. Google your idea and read the first couple of articles that come up. Don't get overwhelmed if the articles are really involved or have a negative view. If it's negative, actually, close it out and read the next article.
Basically, all you need to do is read it, soak it in, close the page and then don't come back to it for another week. If you're still excited about the idea, take one more step that's mentioned in the article and go from there. It's all about baby steps. The point is take action, which brings me to the end of the show, which at least, for the next two episodes 'cause I'm really liking this and I'm gonna end with my favorite piece of advice, which is, not knowing what you want is completely okay, but, failing to do anything about that is not okay.
If you have any questions about what I've talked about, any ideas or just any thoughts on topics you want me to discuss in future episodes, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will make sure to give you guys an update in about a month, again, from my own personal accountability about where I am in achieve my goals and you can actually view show notes to everything I've talked about in today's episode on activatepurpose.com/episode10 and lastly, if you enjoyed today's episode I would love a review. The link will be in the show notes and please subscribe to receive next week's episode.
Until next time.