My friend and mentor, Martha Beck, talks about goal setting in one of her books (Find Your Own North Star). She calls her goals WIGs: Wildly Improbable Goals. By WIGs, she means goals that are scary-exciting. The ones that feel almost impossible, but wow, if one of them happened, wouldn’t that be cool?
I’ve been setting WIGs for years now. At one point in my life, running a marathon was a WIG—now I’ve done eight. Becoming a life coach was a WIG—and I’ve been a life coach for almost ten years now. For 2012, I looked over my list of WIGs and wrote some new ones. I noticed a few that I’d really like to accomplish in 2012.
One of my WIGs for 2012 is to become a published author (and by that I mean I want to be paid for my writing).
My WIG is intentionally vague, unlike the goals in my weekly and monthly planner. The reason I left my WIG vague is to give my WIG room to become. As my friend, Shaman Evelyn Rysdyk says, “See your prayer already answered, then let go of the how.”
Right in the middle of the path to a WIG is a place where magic happens. You can map out the first few steps on the path and you can also work backwards from the WIG and map out the last few steps on the path. But in the middle is unknown territory.
For example, I’ll got back to my marathon WIG. In the summer of 1992, I started medical school in Brooklyn and decided that now was the time. I mapped out a training plan, bought running sneakers and started to run. I pictured myself standing at the start of the NYC Marathon, ready to run, and I saw myself crossing the finish line to cheers and applause. I started to train, but it was very slow going.
Then the magic happened in the middle, the part I never could have planned. I met a woman, Chris, in November of that year who was in my med school class. She was also a runner, and she had done two marathons. She became my running partner (at first I would run a mile to the park with her, she would loop the park while I walked, and then we’d run back to school together). She also became my best friend and she gave me a piece of running wisdom that I used to keep myself going over and over.
“If you can run three miles, you can run six, and if you can run six miles, you can run twelve. If you can run twelve miles, you can run twenty-four, and that’s practically a marathon!”
Now this may sound crazy to you, but it was what my soul needed to hear. I’d never been an athlete and I was afraid I couldn’t finish the marathon. Hearing those words helped build my confidence and having a training partner helped even more. The following year Chris and I both completed the New York City marathon and we’ve run together many times in the years since.
So I’ve mapped out my first steps toward becoming a published author, and since this is a writer’s blog, I’ll list them here:
- Record writing accomplishments 2011 (It’s always good to start with a celebration!)
- Create or join a critique group that meets weekly (by end of January).
- Find 3 contents I can enter and commit to them (deadlines in calendar).
- Research 3 magazines I can pitch to (one a week for three weeks).
These are the first steps that feel right to me. I can also see the last few steps to achieving my WIG (Did you just see me deposit that check?!). I’m going to keep working hard and I know the magic will happen somewhere in the middle to support the accomplishment of my Wildly Improbable Goal.
What’s one of your WIGs?