About a decade ago, I worked for a Jewish non-profit in San Francisco. I was a program assistant, so I got to sit in on the Professional Development seminars that I bought the bagels for. One of these PDs was on program development: there are a hundred ways to do anything, but what is your goal? Thus, the facilitator introduced the O|M method.
O|M stands for Outcome|Method, and also appeals to the hippie-dippy present in all Jews–well, maybe the Bay Area ones! On a sheet of paper, draw a T chart with Outcome on one side and Method on the other. Chances are for each goal you want to accomplish, there’s only one outcome, maybe two, you’d like to achieve. Once you’ve written that down, go at it! on the right side.
Every and any method you can think of to accomplish this goal, write it down! Don’t be shy about outlandish ideas; that’s what this process is here to help facilitate: think outside your own box, beyond your preconceptions and doubts and judgments.
Once you’ve generated this list, you need to choose a Method. And this idea pivots my thoughts today to the “SMART” choices acronym that has been cropping up in my sphere–first Deepak, then financial articles. Although there is some debate about the wording, here’s my approximation of what Deepak said:
S: Stretch more than I can reach
M: Make everything Measurable
A: Agreement with my inner self and those around me
R: Record my progress!
T: Time limits for acting and getting a result.
It does not matter if my Outcome is to play “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the piano by Christmas. It does not matter if my Method is to practice 3 times a week.
If I do not have a Measurement for smaller actions or a Time limit for taking such actions, I will procrastinate… and I will achieve nothing. Except self-derision.
Someone said recently, Goals without Action are Wishes. (And to quote a dear friend, “If wishes were horses, then hobos would ride”!)
I do have this goal. But I do not have a method that has yet been actionable. I haven’t had a plan — I haven’t had a method. So what I think I’ll do is to open my brain to the right column, brainstorm, write down any ideas realistic or un- and help myself overcome just even the very first hurdle.
Because surely, if you’re like me, that first one is the highest.