We all have dreams, goals and long-term hopes for our lives and business. But how many of us have actually mapped out how we’re going to achieve them?
In NLP, the Well-Formed Outcomes approach goes one very important step beyond goal setting. It helps you form a working roadmap for your future, like a GPS guidance system for your life.
A Well-Formed Outcome neatly wraps the future up in an attainable package with a set path to get there; what you will see, hear and feel when you achieve your desired outcome.
Starting your roadmap
Well Formed Outcomes effectively start with a SMART goal. For example, if your goal is to get a promotion within your company, that would involve a very specific title and position you would like to attain. Establish your goal as clearly, positively and definitively as possible. It won’t work if it’s vague. “I want to make more money” is not a specifically defined goal. How much more money would you like to make, and what position would you need to be in to make that exact amount? Think in very specific terms. Remember – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, Timebound.
To map out where you’re going in the future, you need to start with where you are in the present. We refer to this as Present Situation Associated. How far away are you from your desired outcome right now, and what are the barriers that stand in your way? What measures could you put in place to effect the change you need, in order to move towards your end goal?
Imagine what you will see, hear and feel when you reach your defined outcome. If, like many people, you struggle to form pictures in your mind, you could take some time to make a mood board that shows the clothes you’ll be wearing, the place you’ll be in and the people you’ll be with. Think about the sensations you’ll experience, make a playlist with the songs you’ll be hearing – preferably ones that motivate you.
Create a picture of you in the future using all of your senses and save it – in your mind, or on paper.
A very important part of the well-formed outcomes approach is the ecology check. This means asking yourself these questions:
- What do you get if you achieve your goal?
- What don’t you get if you achieve your goal?
- What do you get if you do not achieve your goal?
- What do you not get if you do not achieve your goal?
Put it all into context
Once you have defined and visualised your goal, Well-Formed Outcome. You can build a plan around it.
1. Set a specific date upon which you plan to achieve your defined outcome. Make sure the date is realistically attainable. (Remember SMART)
2. Define where you will physically need to be when you achieve your outcome. Ask yourself, is there a place you could be that would negatively affect your outcome?
3. Decide who (if anyone) will share the outcome with you. Do you need someone’s help to get there? Map out who they are and exactly where they fit in.
4. Set pre-defined mini-goals. If you’re a Finance Manager and your Well Formed Outcome is to be FD, it’s a very good idea to get just as clear on the key steps you will take to get to that Well Formed Outcome.
Goals are good. Well-Formed Outcomes are better. By setting and defining your outcome you desire, it is completely attainable.