Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner - the most original thinker in creativity & innovation today

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Design & Achieve Your Goals with Creative Thinking

Step 7: Identify Subgoals

(Read STEP 1 -- the first article in the Design & Achieve Your Goals with Creative Thinking series here)

In pursuing step 6, you have hopefully imagined having achieved your goal in some detail. That’s great and you can continue imagining a little longer. Then you’ll have to put your dreams aside. But we’ll get to that in a few steps.

Now you need to identify the actions – or subgoals – that you need to take in order to achieve your dream goal. Depending on how big or small your goal is, there may be a lot of subgoals or just a few. For instance, if your goal is to have your own little shop, you can expect many subgoals such as: learning how to run a business, finding a location, finding suppliers, preparing a marketing plan, decorating your shop and so on. Whereas if your dream is to learn to play the guitar it may be as simple as buying a guitar and finding a teacher.

However it is important to think about both your dream and your stated goal (step 5) when identifying actions you need to take. For instance, your goal may be to travel across Africa, but in your dream you may envision yourself taking lots of pictures using a sophisticated camera and lens kit that you do not yet own. If this is the case, acquiring that camera kit is an action you will probably want to include in your list.


First, I want you to get a piece of paper (or open a document in your computer) and just make a list of the key actions you will need to take in order to accomplish your dream. Do not worry about listing the actions in order at this time. Just think about your dream and your goal and make a list. You can even use a mind-map if you prefer. Spend a little time on this. Perhaps leave the list overnight and come back to it tomorrow and see if there is anything you want to add.

Once you have completed this, I want you to combine related actions and put them in the order you need to perform them so that you can achieve your dream goal. As you do this, you may realise there are other actions you need to take. Add them to the ordered list.

Continue to Step 8

Read STEP 1 -- the first article in the Design & Achieve Your Goals with Creative Thinking series here

I will publish the 12 step Designer Goals process over the next few days. Here are the steps we will do together.

  1. Introduction (This page!)
  2. Acknowledge personal responsibility.
  3. Define your goal or ambition.
  4. Question your goal.
  5. Reframe your goal.
  6. Imagine achieving your goal.
  7. Identify subgoals you need to take to live that dream.
  8. Build ideas for achieving subgoals.
  9. Putting it all together
  10. Build to-do and don’t-do lists
  11. Using your imagination
  12. Get started!


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Jeffrey is also the co-founder of The Brussels Imagination Club. Meet him there on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of the month.


j p b . c o m

Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium