June 03, 2019 Practice Points

What Do You Want? Twelve Questions to Help You Create Your Future

Creating goals and strategy for your business and personal development helps you to set your course, helps you articulate your commitments, and fosters a sense of accomplishment.

By Paula Black

Has the first half of the year been what you imagined it would be? Or did you let the crisis-of-the-day lead you from one overwhelmed day to another. Then when it was all over, and you looked around, there was nothing in the pipeline. Panic set in and you got out there to get the work flowing again. Month after month it gave you a sinking feeling—maybe you took it out on your friends, colleagues, or family? Business started to pick up after a while, and things were looking bright. Then the cycle happened all over again. From one overwhelmed day to another, over and over again. It’s a pattern all too easy to fall into, especially running your own business!

Stop the cycle. Think about what you want. Here are 12 questions to answer:

  1. Is it time to make a real change and change what you do and where you do it?
  2. Is it time to find more harmony between work and family?
  3. Is it time to grow your practice with intention?
  4. How much revenue do you want?
  5. How much time do you want to work?
  6. How much time do you want to spend with your family and friends?
  7. How much time do you want to take off?
  8. Are you happy with the type of work you do?
  9. If not what kind of work do you want to do?
  10. Do you like the clients you work for?
  11. If not, what kinds of clients do you want to work for?
  12. Is there enough happiness in your life?

Answer these questions as honestly as you can. The answers will help you identify what your big overarching goals should be. Commit to two or three of them, and then you can start to add strategy to each of your goals in order to achieve them. Goals without strategy are just dreams. If you have always said you would like to write a book and have never done anything to move in that direction—never put your thoughts down on paper, never attended a seminar on publishing, never researched the books in the same genre—for you to write a book is just a pipedream. On the other hand, if you implement and follow through on a strategy, you are well on your way to accomplishing your goal.

Here are three rules to keep in mind when adding strategy to your goals:

  1. Set a timeframe. Time of day, days of the week, or time of month you will do something or expect something to occur. For example, every Friday I will leave the office at 4:00 to attend planned activities with family or friends, with the rigor it would take if I were catching a weekly business flight out of town.
  2. Make a measurable commitment. For example, at every networking event I commit to having three to five meaningful conversations and end the conversions with a plan; get together for coffee, send the person something, or introduce them to someone.
  3. Keep a log or journal. It’s important to see the results of your commitment to your goals. When you can look back on documented evidence of your progress, a couple of stumbles won’t be so significant.

Creating goals and strategy for your business and personal development is important in three ways—it helps you to set your course, help you articulate your commitments, and fosters a sense of accomplishment. Now tell me—who doesn’t want all that!

Paula Black is a business development coach and author from Miami, working with lawyers to create harmony in their work and personal lives.  

Copyright © 2019, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).