Whattahook, eh? “Setting Yourself up for Success”? In "seven steps"? Sensing you're in for some kind of cheesy post, aren't you? You're not.

But you ARE about to get the value of one or two coaching sessions with me in this here monster post, if you do your work.


"Success" has such an amorphous quality that it’s almost benign to me. (You too?)

If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

― Albert Einstein

What does success mean to YOU and where are you at on that spectrum right now?

Let's find out, Tiger.

Draw a circle on a piece of paper and intersect four lines so that there are eight pie wedges.

Now, assign each pie wedge a different label, each area representing a different aspect of your life.

This is a tool from CTI (called “The Wheel of Life”) and they recommend you label the sections:

Career, Money, Health, Friends and Family, Significant Other/Romance, Personal Growth, Fun and Recreation, Physical Environment

You can download CTI's Wheel of Life here (it’s on page 2).

I usually have my clients fill out the wheel before we even start working together, so we can get clear on where they are, and where they are going. But I’m finding that the eight categories aren’t representing the full picture, so we’re getting creative with our own categories: sexuality; soul work; relationship with children; relationship with parents etc etc and etc.

And for my solopreneur clients, “career” isn’t quite cutting the fullness of the entrepreneurial experience. So some do a wheel for their personal life, as well as one for their business, while others choose to do a mash-up on the same wheel.

The business wheel could have categories such as: Marketing; Sales; Operations; Accounting; Strategic Planning; PR; Innovation and Development; Customer Service, Communications; Results; Leadership/Team Development; Licensee Management; Flexibility; Productivity and so on. Totally specific to YOU.

(You could also do a wheel for how well your team is performing, or can take a look at your own management process. Those will have different categories still.)

There could be much, MUCH debate about what encompasses “leadership” or “customer service”. I don’t need to be right, I just need you to know what YOU mean by leadership or customer service. On my own wheel of business, I have a Ha-Cha-Cha Factor. This means everything to me and possibly nothing to you. It’s my personal reference point of resonance: am I doing work I love? Is my heart soaring? Am I being philanthropic? Am I collaborating on fabulous projects? It’s super clear to me what it means in any given moment.

Once you have your wheel drawn out (or printed out), assign a number that represents your CURRENT level of satisfaction in that area. Zero – 10, where zero is at the centre where the lines intersect and 10 will be at the perimeter.  Zero means you are completely dissatisfied and 10 is, well, a 10. This is COMPLETELY subjective so don’t overthink it. Once you’ve plotted your number, draw a line, creating a new outer edge for that section and do the same for all 8.

If you’re like most people with a pulse, your wheel will be anything but perfectly round. And if you imagine that wheel going down a hill, you’ve GOT to know that it would be a bumpy ride.

No need for judgment. It's just a snapshot.

Now dive on in to EACH area of the wheel:

What’s working in this area? What do I want to celebrate? What’s NOT working? What do I want more of?

And most importantly:


Go on and write this down. (THIS IS HUGE).

So, you have your vision (life in all realms at a 10) and you have your reality: one bumpy-assed wheel.

Let’s bridge the two, shall we?

Wherein I show you mine

Here’s my wheel:



Clearly, some areas are working very well and other areas could use a bit o’ loving: namely PR. It’s been on the back burner while I focused on other aspects of my work (which accounts for the higher levels of satisfaction in those realms. (Clarity and attention work wonders for satisfaction levels).

I’m pretty clear about what would be going on if PR were at a 10 in my biz:

1)    I’d have a solid PR plan in place.

2)    A rock star publicist would be working the plan like it was her job, ‘cause, like, it WOULD be her job.

3)    She’d actually be enjoying the interesting challenge of keeping up with the media demands for my time: Some TV work, some radio, some writing…all delicious.

Yes, that feels like a 10 for me.

So, moving towards that “10” will require action.

And goals.

SMART Goals for the Smart Set

I usually have my clients set two SMART goals per area. I’ve written about this before, but let's recap. For a goal to be SMART, it needs to be:

S =  Specific (you know EXACTLY what you want to accomplish)

M = Measurable (you know when you’ve succeeded in doing it)

A = Actionable (you know you can move forward and have evidence to back it up)

R = Resonant (it’s aligned with your values and you’re driven to accomplish it)

T = Thrilling (it’s going to be a thrill to accomplish it).

(BTW, R + T = where the honey’s at)

By looking at what a “10” would be like for me in PR, you can probably guess what my two goals will be for that area, non?

  1. Hire a rock star publicist.
  2. Create a PR plan.

Once I decide "by when", then both of these goals will meet my SMART criteria.  AND each goal will require upwards of 5 action items to make it happen (download a blank template for planning action here).

For me to hire that Publicist, I’m going to have to go find her.

So, here’s my plan:

For those of you who can't read Tanyawriting, here's my plan:

  1. Write a job description (by Dec 9th, 2012)
  2. Ask my coaching colleagues/peers who they work with (by Dec 31, 2011)
  3. Reach out to my media contacts to see who they recommend (by Jan 31, 2012)
  4. Interview 10 candidates (month of Feb, 2012)
  5. Make decision (by Feb 24, 2012)

Some obstacles may show up in the process. Some will be real: there may be few suitable candidates. Some will be my own saboteurs (“you can't really afford to take this on right now” or “you’re being too lazy…just do it yourself”). In all cases, I will have a workaround (aka "planned response").

I usually plan for a reward once the goal has been completed, but in this case, having this extra person on my team is the reward in and of itself.

So, your turn.

  1. Create your wheel of life, of business or of life+business (with the most resonant and personally meaningful labels you can muster).
  2. Assess your level of satisfaction in each area.
  3. Ask yourself: What’s working in this area? What do I want to celebrate? What’s NOT working? What do I want more of? AND IF THIS WERE A 10, WHAT THREE THINGS WOULD BE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?
  4. Based on what that 10 would look like, create two SMART goals for each area.
  5. For each SMART goal, create your action plan.
  6. Work it like your (version of) success depends on it. It does.
  7. Rinse and repeat quarterly.

And THAT, my friend, is how you will succeed.

Your definition + Your plan = Your success.

(Go ahead and celebrate that win - and saving the cost of a couple of coaching session  -  by treating yourself to a brand new set of Ginsu knives for your soda can slicing pleasure).


PS - Want more? Contact me. I have a couple of available spots in my coaching practice.