I ask each guest on my radio show this question:
My friend, Erika Andersen, turned a nice phrase in her book titled Being Strategic. That phrase is reasonable aspiration or hoped-for goal. What was your reasonable aspiration for...?
A light went on and stayed on when I read the description of this phrase. It may be the most pragmatic, reasonable, phrase I have read to discuss setting goals. Here’s what Erika Andersen wrote to describe reasonable aspiration or hoped-for goal.
What I’m encouraging here is to learn to envision the future you want in a more fully fleshed-out way. First you define the challenge...then you pull back the camera to look at all those elements of your current state...most relevant to the challenge. Then...begin to imagine what it would look like in a future where the challenge had been addressed.
Bam! There it is: A pragmatic approach, systematic and even sequential, to reaching our goals which builds on our natural capacity to envision our hoped-for future.
I was born a dreamer. ( That may startle some who know me.) Dreams are not my challenge. Nor is holding on to them, stubbornly some may say, and yet, eventually...sometimes they come true.
My challenge is the rest. I lacked this pragmatic approach Erika describes in her book.
- Define the challenge.
- Pull back the camera to review my current situation. And THEN,
- imagine less the goal but the change in my life when I reach that goal. What would it mean to me, where I sit, what I do, who I do it with, what my day is involved in creating.
Some business authors lecture the reader. That's ok.
But, it is one thing to lecture an audience. It is quite another to weave in a parable set in Castle-on-the-Hill times in Wales to illustrate and describe strategic principles we can apply today to reach our goals.
Erika’s book in itself is a fascinating (i.e., successful) example of...a business parable using the Castle on the Hill and imaginings of what was required to build this castle...back in the day. Her story accomplishes what the best authors and experts accomplish in their writings: they tell the story in a way that allows the reader to make their own discovery.
But wait, there’s more.
Not only is there a parable used to help us discover her process, the parable is also used to illustrate the steps and the practices each reader can use to...create their own pragmatic approach, systematic and even sequential, to reaching our goals which builds on our natural capacity to envision our hoped-for future.
And each chapter ends with exercises the reader can use to help us further own Erika's story. ( I think Erika will say it's because it's our story she's telling.)
I have tried those exercises. They are simple, easy to give a whirl and see for myself. Oh. And they work as intended.
True Confession. Like many books, I have not finished this yet. I list it in the sidebar as a book I have completed. But, that is inaccurate. If you define completing a book as reading each page from beginning to end, then it is inaccurate.
If you define completing a book as re-reading portions over time, keeping it handy for a quick reference, and completing some of the exercises...several times...then I’ve completed the book.
I plan to continue this process. I will keep inching up a few pages at a time. Then I will revisit the early chapters. It is that satisfying a read.
Being Strategic is not for everybody, even every business book reader. But, if you enjoy a well-written book, true to its author’s voice, blending parable and knowledge and actionable steps, into a program you can use to craft a better strategy for reaching your goals, then...it is for you. The rest of you, I don’t know what kind of books would matter to you.
Now, each week I’ll keep asking the question of my radio show guests: My friend, Erika Andersen, turned a nice phrase in her book titled Being Strategic. That phrase is reasonable aspiration or hoped-for goal. What was your reasonable aspiration for...?
And I will keep asking them this until they complain. Because until now, each guest has said Wow. That’s a great question.... Silently to myself, I say each time: Yeah, it is. My friend, the book's author, wrote a whole book about it.
Erika was kind enough to share an hour of her time recently as a guest on my radio show. You can listen in streaming on-demand here.