Personal Goals and #OperationBluewater

Most people miss out on life because they don’t have a strategy around personal goals.

Most Lack a Personal Goal Strategy
Let me lay out some the observations I’ve noticed from some of the smartest folks I’ve watched achieve success in their lives.  Often they first tell me about the challenges, that most people don’t even have a personal goal strategy.  1) Most people don’t even have personal goals, seriously try it,  ask folks you work with: “What’s your personal goal?”   2) Most people think the end goal is a at 65 and do all their planning in anticipation of retiring a glorious life after doing 45 years in a desk job.  3) People confuse personal goals with personal first downs.  In football, A first-down is an incremental improvement (10 yards) but not the final goal.  Some examples of first-downs are  to finish a project, get a raise at work, lose 5 pounds, or to put money in their 401k account –all short term tasks but not addressing what they really would do if they were freed in life.  4) Most people keep their personal goals private and to themselves.  Afraid of rejection, or wanting to keep it private they write their idea down in the back of their minds, hoping it’ll someday get accomplished.

Develop A Personal Goal Plan
Now that I’ve outlined some of the challenges, let’s focus on the guidelines.

  1. Actually have a personal goal. This is the most difficult one, although this requires some soul-searching think about the following questions:  “What would you do if you were able to retire right now?”   or  “What would you do if you were able to stop working because you’d be independentatly wealthy”.
  2. Weave this goal into your life. Rather than waiting for 65 to achieve this goal, start weaving it into your life right now.  Make it your job, your career, your mission.  Do real research and write a blog about the topic, start to speak about it, people will see you as someone focused on it, which will fuel your path to the this goal.
  3. Work backwards. Setting the goal is easy, but then layout the steps you’ll need to achieve in order to get there, I try to lay out 10 steps, and I can obviously see the first few steps and the last few steps, yet it’s dizzying filling out the in-between steps.
  4. Tell everyone. Rather than keep your personal goals secret use your online and offline social networks to help people achieve your goals.  You’ll be surprised at people who have similar goals, or want to make that their goal and will join you.   Your network of friends will help you fill in the middle or ending steps that you might have been unable to see.

My Personal Goal: Operation Bluewater, 30 days in Hawaii, Net Positive
For what it’s worth, I’m going through this as I focus on #OperationBluewater: To spend 30 days in Hawaii net positive (I’m not paying to be there) a year, which I briefly outlined a few weeks ago.

Retirement, why wait now?  weave it into my career now, and work from the beach.  I blogged before how I love the tropics, the beautiful beaches, warm humid air, pink skies, Japanese food, and kind souls .  It’s a mere 5 hours plane ride for me from SF, and half way to Asia, and while it feels like another place, the creature comforts I’m used to are all accessible.  Rather than waiting till I’m 65 to retire there, I’m going to slowly relocate, up to 30 days at a time and maybe increase the duration over time.   So far, my plan is on track, and I’m following the guidelines above.

So how is it going? A few weeks ago I was at RetThink at Hawaii and was able to meet locals and those that loved being at the islands, I told anyone who would listen about my goals, and they were supportive.  Lately, it’s started to take on a life of it’s own, more people are talking about #OperationBluewater (see Twitter stream), and want it to be a personal goal of their own, and Christine Lu, Chris NobleEric Nakagawa are starting to talk about ways to make this happen.   Often people are coming up to me and saying “I support your goal of #OperationBluewater” which I translate as “I want to do it too, let’s do it together”, great let’s do it.  So there it is,  I’m putting my personal goals out there, let’s see if my goal can grow into a larger movement.

I wish you success on your own #OperationBluewater, I hope these guidelines helped.  Please share with others about your goals, or methods in which you achieve them in your life.

Photos from the last visit to Oahu two weeks ago
Waikiki Afternoon
East OahuShadePalms on Waikiki
SalvationVintage Truck In Haleiwa, HIDiamond Head at SunriseQuietness

  • I’ll kick off the more detailed conversation about #OperationBluewater below, if we collaborate we can be more effective.

    A few ideas that were suggested by Eric was to create a co-working environment in Hawaii with low-cost housing (preferably near the beach)

    Coupled with a business conference, it could generate enough revenues to attract speakers and attendees that would want to visit and work and live. Since many have internet careers, working remote shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle, especially balancing the offset with networking with those that want to expand business into the pacific and Asia.

    This is totally doable, and can bring more people along than me.

  • Chris and I are setting up the structure for [Re]Think with HQ in Hawaii next year. (Thank you for supporting our first gathering!)

    The “rethink effect” is already in motion. At its core, we’ve defined it as “creating thoughtful disruptions that help people get a fresh perspective. We mix good people together to help them rethink” 🙂

    As a non-profit, we’ll be supporting initiatives that support that simple mission and bring people to the island to gain a new perspective on life. So hence the reason why we’re big supporters for your Operation Bluewater.

    There’s a shift taking place in people that are intersecting. Part of the inspiration for [Re]Think : Hawaii was a result of attending TEDGlobal and hearing Stefan Sagmeister’s talk:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off.html

    It’s great to see that your Operation Bluewater initiative also have similar synergies.

    At the same time, Eric Nakagawa and Chris Noble both have found business opportunities to keep them visiting the islands often enough so between my relocation there and all of your business reasons to visit frequently, I think we’ve got enough momentum for a co-working space. 🙂

  • Jeremiah – I’d love to spend more time there. Last month I was able to visit home for the first time in just over a year and I miss it dearly. I wish I could go over there and hang out with family and friends – all while getting some work done! Would love to explore this co-working option more and get in on that #OperationBlueWater goal! 🙂

    Oh, and if it coincides with a business conference or something of interest, then more power to me!

  • Jeremiah,

    Thank you for this great post on goals, and weaving them into your life. This is so true.

    In my case, I have changed country, from Australia to France, and work as an internet marketer, and develop online, information products, and websites.

    I took the chaklnege to become self employed, and realise how important goals are, and their motivation factor.

    One method I use is to visualise my goal date, but written as a present tense item, so that I am mentally feeling and living it now. This creates a very much more detailed image, that sinks into the subconsciousl m and creates a gratitude effect, and it is like it has already been created.

    I explain this more at http://www.squidoo.com/success-strategy

  • I suspect there’s quite a few of us in the Valley who are here for our careers but if possible would prefer to live elsewhere.

    For people whose work is primarily solo the Operation Bluewater strategy makes a lot of sense. It’s a little harder when you need to do a lot of collaborating to get your job done — as much as new collaboration & conferencing tools have improved remote team experience, I feel strongly that actually being in the same physical space regularly makes for the most effective teamwork. Still, it’s a great goal and kudos to you for knowing what you want and taking the steps to get it.

    I’ve been saying for years “if I could have the career I have in the Bay Area in New York I would never have left NYC”. So for me it might be Operation Broadway not Operation Bluewater, but same basic idea. Hmmm….

  • Rachel

    I like that: OperationBroadway.

    Yes, physical space does bond a team, yet you don’t need to be present all the time. Personal meetings sprinkled throughout the work process and coupled with collaboraiton tools, twitter, skype video can make any working relationship a good way to go.

  • Nice goal. In fact I was recently planning my holidays and read a few tweets of yours about Hawaii and they gave me the idea to go there. I’ve never been there because it is very far from Europe but now that I am living in Seattle for a while I was able to get a good deal in December. So excited.

    It is an interesting time for me and I should really follow your advice. I’ll put it down as my new year’s resolution.

  • Eric Nakagawa

    Jeremiah, I love how the idea of enjoying life and work outside buildings resonates. It is my personal goal of 2010 to increase my time in Hawaii from 10% to 20%, wrapping my own commitment to #OperationBlueWater.

    On goals, I 100% agree about setting them down, back planning, and telling everyone you know. I have set 5-year plans since 2001 and achieve nearly 80% of things I set out to accomplish. I hope others can learn by example and observation.

    Can’t wait to see how big we can grow our ideas!

  • Jeremiah,

    This is a great post and in conjunction with your job search advice, very valuable.

    For those of us unemployed and facing this structural recession with slow rebound, it’s a mixed bag hearing about trips to Hawaii. OF course, I wish I could be there and I’m happy that you’re doing this.

    But the human rights, Knowledge Ecology, Access to Knowledge activist in me can’t help but have some reservations. Forget us employed social media folk.

    There a very real Marketing Technology Industrial Complex (MTIC); you and Charlene are central nodes in it and as society becomes more unequal, that is, those left behind as the de-industrialization and knowledge economy picks up, what about creating safe, serene public spaces in your local neighborhood throughout Silicon Valley?

    Why escape to Hawaii when there’s such beauty in the Bay Area?

    Unfortunatley, Google’s arrogance believe that they can appropriate the clouds, but we do need to resist that marketing appropriation of the Knowledge Ecology MOvement (example here – http://www.keionline.org/).

    Hawaii’s ecology is stunning; hopefully, it’ll inspire social media leaders like yourself to consider and publicly address issues of access and social justice.

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  • Bravo

  • Jeremiah, I agree, that most people often don’t have a personal strategy goal. This article reinforced my need to quickly work on mine. I’m currently a student at Berkeley and I have been following you for over a year. Your thoughts have helped me structure some of mine more clearly -cheers to that!

    Also, I’m originally from Hawaii – have you tried the shrimp truck by North Shore, you must!

    Best,
    Jooyoun

  • Jeremiah – you and I have touched on work/life balance in the past before. Its so important because while you’re working as hard as we do in the meantime its possible to miss out on having a life!

    I like your idea of doing something that reflects your ultimate goal: eg… working at the beach more even if you can’t make it to HI.

    I’ve set goals every year for the past 15 yrs and I use a visual method called a “Treasure Map”: I create a collage of images that represent my goals (both business and personal) and I have them in front of me in a place where I can see them everyday. Here is an example of someone else’s treasure map: http://www.visualgoalsetting.com/ I’ve found it to be a fun method that starts my creative fires.

  • I find that by telling people I have an easier time sticking to my goals.Great post.

  • Jeremiah, this is a great idea! I’m definitely inspired to start my own operation after reading about #OperationBluewater. Good luck with it!

  • I support your idea, Jeremiah. It is exactly what I’m testing right now. Well, not exactly, since the location is not the beautiful island of Hawaii, where we had our [Re]Think gathering, but Cyprus, on the Mediterranean. And it’s also a permanent residency (for now, at least ^^).

    I’ve been working as a lone wolf (the life of a so-called consultant) for a while, always moving from one place to another in planes. In the end, needing to come back closer to Europe, I’ve also chosen an island, mid-way from the major European cities, the Middle-East and Asia/Japan (thanks to great hub connections from some above-average middle-eastern airlines).

    It is kind of difficult to realize if I’ll get more efficient with this new location or if I’ll get lost in some analog black hole. What is certain is that, in Tokyo, I was sucked every day in all these events that allowed me to network a lot, but didn’t, in the end, really help getting work done. I needed a change, even if I’ll certainly miss the 24/7 buzz. Manila, a tentacular city I lived in for a while, didn’t fit my needs either. Talk about a difference now being in a country that is not mapped by Google Map and where Apple doesn’t exist 🙂

    Whatever job offers I got lately, I’ve decided to test this configuration for a while. If it doesn’t pan out the way I want it, I might consider Hawaii 😉

    See you in Paris!

  • It’s nice to see that our move to Cyprus 2 years ago was strategically sound. It was a pleasure having discussed with @neenz and @debs the projection of our work in Cyprus and now more than ever we find that closely working with google about mapping Cyprus will get some exposure and perhaps more traction than ever. Paul – don’t hesitate to drop us a line @patrickdh. The only suggestion, having grown up both in Hawaii and Cyprus is that neither destination would be appreciative of being a secondary dish.

  • My goal is to have a big impact on people’s lives. I think that especially for someone as social as you, you’ll find that goals have to be fulfilling in a way that connects with people.

    The beach you want to be on may be underwater unless we fix global warming, just as an example . . .

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  • So many people lack a goal or direction in their life or business and this can be very detrimental to their success. I like the concepts that you mention here, very well said. I like your idea of working backwards and laying out the steps that are necessary to reach your goal. Additionally, I like your suggestion to tell everyone. By doing this, the people that you tell can hold you accountable when they see you straying from your goal. Brilliant stuff Jeremiah, keep it up.

  • So many people lack a goal or direction in their life or business and this can be very detrimental to their success. I like the concepts that you mention here, very well said. I like your idea of working backwards and laying out the steps that are necessary to reach your goal. Additionally, I like your suggestion to tell everyone. By doing this, the people that you tell can hold you accountable when they see you straying from your goal. Brilliant stuff Jeremiah, keep it up.

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  • It's nice to see that our move to Cyprus 2 years ago was strategically sound. It was a pleasure having discussed with @neenz and @debs the projection of our work in Cyprus and now more than ever we find that closely working with google about mapping Cyprus will get some exposure and perhaps more traction than ever. Paul – don't hesitate to drop us a line @patrickdh. The only suggestion, having grown up both in Hawaii and Cyprus is that neither destination would be appreciative of being a secondary dish.

  • It's nice to see that our move to Cyprus 2 years ago was strategically sound. It was a pleasure having discussed with @neenz and @debs the projection of our work in Cyprus and now more than ever we find that closely working with google about mapping Cyprus will get some exposure and perhaps more traction than ever. Paul – don't hesitate to drop us a line @patrickdh. The only suggestion, having grown up both in Hawaii and Cyprus is that neither destination would be appreciative of being a secondary dish.

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  • Nice post Jeremiah.

    It’s stunning to see how often people lack a clear vision for what they want their life to look like. Most times when you ask people what they’d like from life, you get the generic: “I want to be rich”, “I want to be fit”.

    You’re miles ahead of the game by having a measurable and clearly defined goal.

    Alex Work

    YourGoalBook.com

  • Nice post Jeremiah.

    It’s stunning to see how often people lack a clear vision for what they want their life to look like. Most times when you ask people what they’d like from life, you get the generic: “I want to be rich”, “I want to be fit”.

    You’re miles ahead of the game by having a measurable and clearly defined goal.

    Alex Work

    YourGoalBook.com

  • Great article , straight to the point 🙂

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  • if they were freed in life. 4) Most people keep their personal goals private and to themselves. Afraid of rejection, or wanting to keep it private they write their idea down in the back of their minds, hoping it’ll someday get accomplished.

  • if they were freed in life. 4) Most people keep their personal goals private and to themselves. Afraid of rejection, or wanting to keep it private they write their idea down in the back of their minds, hoping it’ll someday get accomplished.