Do you need a path to follow?

I’m not talking about Photoshop paths, which are quite useful in their own right, but: what’s the objective of having objectives?

True to the blog’s name, Design and a Dog, this question of having a goal and a path which leads there makes me think of our 5-month-old puppy. He has absolutely no objective and it’s physically impossible for him to walk in a straight line. You can imagine how his overwhelming curiosity and assaulted senses lead him every which way. There’s nothing wrong with going through life this way – you just won’t know when you “get there” that you are indeed “there”! Being present, mindful and, “wherever I go, there I am” is not at odds with having business and life goals.

In 2010, Rachel Clark of EMyth coached me for a year. In business and personal terms it was a transformative experience. So many nuggets of wisdom and insight stay with me to the present day and continue to shape the way I live and work. The appreciation to create not only a business plan, but to define strategic and personal objectives as well has really stuck with me. Work should be enjoyable and above all it should serve you and your life personally. Sometimes the pieces just fall into place, but it’s more likely to happen if you know what you want your work to achieve, how and when.

For example, you can aim to pay off a certain amount of your mortgage in 2 years’ time, or to take a 3-week trip to Bali next year, and define the steps along the way that will make that happen. You can use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals for your personal life as much as for your work life.

One tale of writing down goals that later felt like magical thinking: I had to write a business plan in order to apply for my work visa in the UK when I had my first design agency, Vivian Cipolla, together with my dear friend Luca de Salvia. The process was helpful and certainly made me think about the nascent business more than I would have otherwise. However I don’t think I ever reviewed the business plan until three years later when one of our employees needed to submit it for her visa. I was shocked to see that the numbers we had forecast in terms of turnover and profit corresponded almost exactly to the figures we had achieved!

You can think of goals as your destination, which you can break down into steps which become your road map to getting there. And you can still enjoy the scenery along the way!

How do you create your path? Please leave comments!